Specifying for a changing climate: weather-resistant materials, fixtures and fittings

The changing climate is creating an increase in severe weather events and so producing new challenges for the built environment. We look at key projects that have been designed to withstand floods, storms and other severe weather conditions.


2011, the annual NBS BIM Report recorded BIM adoption at just 13%, with 43% unaware of the technology’s potential. Today, based on a survey of more than 1,000 industry professionals, some 73% of firms are now using BIM, while just 1% are unsure of what it offers.

While BIM has helped to improve communication and collaboration between stakeholders, there is still room for improvement. According to a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Civil Engineers and ALLPLAN, organisations face a variety of issues when using BIM, including unexpected design changes (55%), exchanging information between parties (45%), and incompatible software (43%).

These problems are, in part, caused by the wide range of software available – according to Newforma’s The State of Technology: AEC Firms report, there are seven BIM applications frequently used across thearchitecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, and many more niche tools. While an architectural firm involved in a project may work in Revit, the structural engineer may prefer to use Tekla, and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers may use Navisworks, which causes issues to arise when sharing files.

Rain(a)Way flood permeable tiles

Developed in the flood-prone Netherlands, Rain(a)Way tiles are designed to be installed in exterior areas to help with water runoff from severe rain – a key and growing problem in areas that are largely coated in tarmac and other non-permeable surface coverings. These permeable tiles feature two layers of concrete, with the lower being permeable to allow rainwater to slowly seep into the ground below. The shaped non-permeable upper layer holds water in pockets while it is waiting to be absorbed, and can be filled with gravel to allow it to be walked over.

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A heat-reflecting mineral paint from KEIM, Soldalit-Coolit is designed to reduce solar heating – a growing problem in areas subject to extreme heat in summer months. In addition to helping to reduce the cooling demands of the building, the paint minimises thermal absorbion of the façade surfaces, and so reduces render damage caused by temperature fluctuations. The paint is also water-repellent, weather-resistant and lightfast, and is available in a wide selection of colours.

Image courtesy of Yiorgis Yerolymbos

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FTT Thermo

Developed by FAKRO, FTT Thermo is an energy-efficient roof window that is designed with passive and energy-efficient construction in mind. Featuring widened frames, the window is designed to reduce thermal bridges and improve window insulation. Designed in pine, the wood is finished in an environmentally friendly acrylic lacquer.

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Green roofs

A selection of planted roof solutions from Sika, green roofs are an effective way to reduce storm water flow, with the ability to retain up to 75% of rainwater, while reducing the urban heat island effect and improving air quality. Sika’s solutions encompass a selection of products that form a green roof, include concrete deck, vapour control layer, thermal insulation, drainage board and growing medium. The company also provides advice on tailoring green roofs to specific projects, based on material, design and planting needs.

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The Climate Tile

Developed by Danish architecture studio Tredje Natur, this is a modular tile that is designed to be installed on pavements alongside standard tiles. Featuring a system of tunnels, ridges and oles, the tiles collect rainwater and funnel it away from pavements and into nearby planting areas where it can be used for irrigation. “The Climate Tile is a solution that can ease the problems with rainwater that cannot get away, whilst creating more urban nature in our grey streets,” the architects explained.

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