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PortZED is a mixed use CSH Level 6 seafront development situated at the eastern end of Shoreham Port in the City of Brighton & Hove. The six elliptical shaped buildings are designed to maximise energy systems appropriate for this seafront location while creating a visually pleasing design characterised by the helical wind turbines.

The scheme comprises c.15 000 sq ft commercial space for offices, retail and community, and c.48 000 sq ft of residential space housing 67 highly sustainable residential apartments, all with balconies allowing flexibility for inside/ outside spaces in summer and winter.

Key to the PortZED development will be the visitor centre also housing the Green Business Hub. This will nurture green start-up companies as well as developing established businesses already in the area, and will provide a focal point and information resource for local environmentally active organisations while creating local employment opportunities.

Further project details

1. What approach did you take in assessing risks and identifying adaptation measures to mitigate the risks?

Using climate tapes and Bill Gething’s adapting to climate change report, we assessed the site against various climate scenarios that could occur in the future. Some of these had more relevance than others. We chose a wide ranging set of parameters that would affect the building and designed in adaptation strategies so that various scenarios could be accommodated in the future. Any changes that led to mitigation were taken in the course of the design work.

2. How have you communicated the risks and recommendations with your client? What methods worked well?

The design team informed the client of mitigation measures and these have been largely agreed at the design stage of the project. Regular meetings are held between the client and design team to discuss progress, risks and opportunities. We are in the process of establishing what mechanisms and more importantly, the size of equipment that may be required at a future date. The impact of these changes and a cost benefit analysis has been undertaken to inform the client.

3. What tools have you used to assess overheating and flood risks?

We have requested a great deal of information from various authorities including the Environment Agency, OFWAT and future climate tapes.

It has been necessary to extrapolate some of this data from incompatible sources, and in other cases there has been no data available. In particular we will need to use energy plus modeling with future climate tapes for overheating, to determine when the installation of active cooling will be required in the building. We have already taken mitigation steps on shading and increasing the thermal mass of the units.

Regarding the development’s flood risk, we are using EA data to find out the risks to 2115 as stated in PPS15. We have looked at the areas affected and established scenarios of when the units can be adapted and at what point abandonment has to take place. Even in this case “wash through constructions” are being designed to enable the buildings to be inhabited as soon as flood waters recede.

A flood risk assessment has been carried out that follows the guidance in PPS25 and the accompanying practice guide (published in December 2009). Its format follows the FRA pro-forma included in the practice guide. Reference is made to the Environment Agency’s flood maps and the Brighton and Hove strategic flood risk assessment.

4. What has the client agreed to implement as a result of your adaptation work?

The client has agreed that all matters that are cost neutral or a cost saving will be taken within the project. Items that cost money will be assessed by a cost benefit analysis to ascertain the long term benefits and added value in terms of sales/rent. The business case for each item will be written and a decision taken on that basis compared to business as usual and potential damage from one of these weather events taking place.

5. What were the major challenges so far in doing this adaptation work?

The scale of risk taken is difficult to establish, i.e. should the design take into account a 1 in 50, 1 in 200 or 1 in 1000 storm event on a current basis when climate change is accelerating? We have obtained a range of weather tapes to use in simulations but these are based on various climate change scenarios. It is easy to choose the most severe, but it is difficult to justify why this is required as opposed to more moderate scenarios.

Akey challenge is where is the point at which the cost of the extra design erode the developer’s profit so as to adversely affect its commercial viability.

The pace of technological advancements is another challenging aspect for example the size of ducts and other equipment allowed for now may not be the same in 50 or 100 years time.

6. What advice would you give others undertaking adaptation strategies?

Design out as many of the problems identified as quickly as possible in terms of mitigation. This will work out cheaper than allowing more space for future installation of ductwork and equipment that has a more adverse effect on the design and operation of the building. Any equipment chosen should be reliable in as much as there are very few technologies that exist in buildings today that did not exist at the time of the oil crisis in the 1970s.

It is important to acquire enough data to justify to the client a return on the increased investment .

PortZED project overview