A flood is an abnormal and progressive rise in the water level of lakes, streams, and rivers resulting from excessive rains. This causes the water to overflow and submerge vast acres of predominantly dry land. During a flood, homeowners find their properties come under immense hydrodynamic loads from rising waves crashing against the walls. The continual push of the floodwater and gradual deposits of sediments around the walls of their houses weakens the buildings’ structure. It even compromises the materials which constitute the houses’ foundations.
Reddy Kancharla is a civil engineer and geotechnical consultant from Briarcliff Manor in New York City. He has over 25 years of valuable industry-based experience in the fields of civil construction, geotechnical consultancy, and construction quality control. He specializes in designing building foundations, assessing structural failures, providing remedial designs, rectifying structural discrepancies, and scheduling construction projects. He has successfully constructed many of New York City’s famous landmarks. These include the Goldman Sachs building, Yankee Stadium, the USTA National Tennis Center, and the terminals of JFK Airport.
In his opinion, sudden flash floods can have a devastating effect on residential homes. The structural damage to the buildings might be so severe as to pose a hazard for the occupants. Many of these homeowners often hire civil engineers to construct flood-resistant residential houses for them. in doing so, these specialists resort to the following building techniques:
- Building elevation
This is one of the most common building techniques civil engineers adopt to construct flood-resistant residential homes. It involves constructing the houses in such a manner that the lowest floors are above the flood level. To achieve this object, they first build an elevated foundation in accordance with local building codes. Then, the specialists move on to construct the ground floors and upper stories of the residential buildings.
- Dry floodproofing
In many cases, it might not be possible for civil engineers to construct a residential house in regions outside the floodplain areas. They then have to resort to dry proofing. This flood-resistant building technique involves inserting sealants into the walls and shields to all of the houses’ openings. They even ensure the drainage system of residential houses has additional pipes and pumps to seep out the floodwater entering the buildings.
- Wet floodproofing
The wet floodproof building technique involves constructing residential houses using various kinds of water-damage-resistant construction materials. These include concrete, galvanized steel, marine-grade plywood, ceramic tiles, waterproof veneers, and exterior-grade materials lumber, and closed-cell insulation foams. They also install hydrostatic vents at various places throughout the homes to prevent the buildup of floodwater pressure. The specialists even re-design the ductwork to protect the electric cables, gas pipes, and HVAC systems.
According to Reddy Kancharla, civil engineers must approach the local authorities and see their flood maps. This helps them identify areas that are not prone to severe flooding. They can then suggest to the clients to build their homes in these places so that they can live there safely.