News & Views

Update on Kabina®'s new floodproof homes for the Thames Valley and other UK flood zones

27 January 2017


  • Kabina® has:
  • - a shortlist of sites for development in the Thames Valley
  • - developed the design for Kabina®'s flood-responsive house foundation
  • - identified potential JV partners in the UK for modular, offsite house manufacture
  • - begun discussions with insurance underwriters for its floodproof homes

Kabina®'s Development Director Rick Deakin has been looking for suitable sites for our development. His criteria are: sites containing flood-risk land (categories 1, 2 and 3), preferably allocated by the local borough, from 3 to 40 acres, mostly within the Thames Valley but also in Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon and other locations.

Rick Deakin: 
"Maidenhead is a good example of a place with strong demand and plenty of infill plots that have a risk of flooding. Historically planners and the Environment Agency have avoided flood land for development but with our floodproof homes and sustainable site design we plan to make use of such land for development, so relieving the pressure on the green belt. We'll be helping solve the national need for new homes and we'll be a net contributor to the natural environment".

While Rick has been driving up and down motorways the design and engineering team, led by Neil Cheston has been developing the Kabina® modular flat foundation system. This, combined with a special kind of gabion wall called 'Ramwall' will give the new floodproof homes a secure and reliable, sustainable method of managing any flood event. Kabina®'s plan is to work with a proven and established off-site producer of modular homes, which will be secured on top of the Kabina® flat foundation platform. Kabina®is in discussion with a potential partner and will release information on this company in due course.

Kabina®'s lead architect is the internationally-renown Dutch specialist water architect Koen Olthuis of Waterstudio in Rotterdam. Koen has been advising Kabina® on Dutch standards and we recently presented our design to the NHBC in Milton Keynes. Koen sees Dutch best practice as an inspiration for UK flood zone initiatives.

Neil Cheston: "Principles of buoyancy and stability are about as old as the wheel. It so happens the Dutch have written them into their building codes so it would make sense for the UK to follow suit".

This shows the Kabina® modular, flat, buoyant foundation which sits on prepared flat ground.

Kabina®'s design development has also been assisted by Martin Francis, who is both a 'land' and naval architect with many years' experience designing superyachts as well as innovative buildings. Martin: "There's such a great opportunity in the UK to develop new homes that work socially, aesthetically, environmentally and make sense economically. Historically flood zones have been a no-go but that's probably because nobody had worked out a sensible and viable design solution for such land. If we have the engineering prowess to deploy stationary semi-submersible oil rigs in the North Sea we should be able to design a home that experiences five feet of flooding once a year for a week!"

Kabina® has also appointed Tim Illston, engineering consultant, to support Neil Cheston in developing relationships with UK manufacturers.

Guy Lane, co-founder of Kabina®: "I see national and local policies as being perfectly sensible. The government doesn't want to see inappropriate development in flood zones, in particular within functional flood plains. Kabina®'s approach is to design and landscape sites and install foundations and gabion walls such that Kabina® developments will be net contributors to sustainable flood management, at the same time providing homeowners with a great place to live."


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Guy Lane
Marketing Director
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Kabina Ltd

13 Hawley Crescent,