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The Mill, Cardiff

The project parameters were established using FFtF and UKCIP scenarios based on a ‘changing world’ adopting the 2050 medium emissions scenario and an ‘extreme reality’ 2080 high emissions scenario. Workshops with the adaptation team, the Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff City Council were held to establish the climate priorities of the study and whether these can be addressed through design adaptations on ‘The Mill’ site.

The study addressed both physical and behavioural changes that may be necessary to make the community more resilient in the face of climate change and suggest urban design and architectural measures to be implemented at the design stage.

The design adaptations were assessed by the team to ensure policy consistency, value for money and contractual compliance.

The design code for the Mill appended with a new ‘future design code.’ These design code measures are being evaluated at present.

Further project details

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

Forum for the Future identified key issues to be addressed for two potential future scenarios using the UKCP09 data. FFtF analysed the potential risks and presented 12 themes and possible outcomes from these climate scenarios at a workshop held in February 2011 with the wider research group. The climate risks were then prioritised according to the design codes ability to influence design adaptations within ‘The Mill’ site boundary.

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

The February 2011 workshop was held over a day and a half and included key members of the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff City Council and UKCIP

The research team presented the 2050 to 2080 scenarios and then undertook workshops to discuss and prioritise the risks.

The team presented real time scenarios using comparable climate data from Southern Europe and America and Australasia to illustrate the possible precedents for future in changes to the natural and built environment.

The design code measures were drafted and circulated to the wider team and client.

A subsequent workshop was held in April 2012 to review the design code measures in relation to both the design impact and the cost associated with each measure as a percentage of the overall build cost.

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

Overheating was assessed using EIS software at an individual house scale.

An Environmental Impact Assessment was undertaken for the outline planning application and the flood risk has been assessed and recommendations have been made for flood levels on the site.

The 2050 scenario is provided for by the outline planning flood risk assessment. Regional strategies will be required to address the flood risk connected to the 2080 scenario as this would affect Cardiff City as a whole and large scale regional responses cannot not be included in this study. However, the proposed water management strategy on the site provides additional storm water storage and Ely River edge capacity.

The Mill water level diagram

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

The study prioritises the aspects of the WAG client led design code that demands a code level 5 development and zero carbon energy infrastructure. It will emphasise those aspects of the design code that both provide the potential for adaptation to future climate scenarios and the work will form part of the Design Code setting benchmarks for design and performance on the site zz the client is supporting our approaches to the new potential private developer to attempt to implement the adaptation measures.

The second part of the study tested which adaptation measures could be considered viable by the development consortia in addition to those prioritised within the existing design code.

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

The two climate scenarios have potentially different, and at times conflicting, design responses required at a strategic and an architectural detailing level. The study needs to address both possible outcomes, however, the diverse set of requirements present a challenge.

The real time climate data studies have shown that a direct comparison to the 2080 dataset is difficult, at present, no direct comparison can be found. This may indicate that the scenario is unprecedented and therefore currently available architectural strategies may need to be modified.

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

A wide range of input is required to achieve results in a short timeframe and early advice and discussion with key team members is crucial.

Workshops are a valuable source of direct feedback and enable complex ideas and levels of information to be discussed at length. It is particularly useful for prioritising the inputs and evaluating proposals.

Partnering with a university or engineering company to assess both wind effects, masterplan heat patterns and individual building responses would be beneficial to refine the strategies.

We have found that the design influences the resilience more than bolt solutions and that by embedding flexibility in the layout and buildings allows the users to adapt to many climate scenarios.

The success of this type of work is dependent on the values of the client and there are client groups who welcome the adaptation measures.

Many suggested adaptations are in fact today’s best practice and is therefore familiar and quantifiable. This is a good starting point for discussions with developers.