COTAC Study 2

Fire and Flood in the Built Environment: Keeping the Threat at Bay
ISSN 2634-7709
The existing built heritage is an irreplaceable asset, and a full range of appropriate HBIM fire prevention and salvage data should be incorporated in any BIM4C approach. With the aim of ensuring its future wellbeing, the seriousness and rigour by which the HBIM data should be compiled would do well to acknowledge the high levels of loss that has already occurred through the effects of fire.

Edited by Ingval Maxwell OBE DADun RIBA FRIAS CAABC ACA FSAScot
Chairman: Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation
COTAC, London 2015: Reformatted Report July 2020

Part 1: Fire

On 20 November 2014 COTAC’s Annual Conference entitled “Fire and Flood in the Built Environment: Keeping the Threat at Bay” was held in The Gallery at Alan Baxter and Associates, 75 Cowcross Street, London. This Report builds upon the information and advice that was freely offered by the speakers during the Conference programme. It aims to relate the presentations, and discussion outcomes, to emerging thoughts on the impact of fire when creating a Building Information Modelling for Conservation (BIM4C) initiative by identifying what issues need to be considered in a Historic Building Information Modelling (HBIM) environment.

Part 2: Flood

The climate in which conservation work is practiced is constantly changing, whether through weather, social or economic forces. Increasingly, it is about the process of managing change where detrimental forces, such as the increasing physical effects of rising sea levels and storms, are generally unstoppable.

In collating relevant HBIM data to help deal with consequential flooding there is a need to devise and incorporate a number of processes. Given the potential scale of the issues involved, this might best be considered at two levels: the geo-spatial large-scale flood, and the local physical, including equipment and pipe leaks.


There has been no shortage of the number of disastrous situations that have emerged to threaten the integrity of the built historic environment. Significant buildings have been regularly lost to the effects of fire due to a variety of causes, and the impact of climate change seems to be directly related to the increasing number of flooding incidents that have seriously affected both national and international heritage assets.

The 2014 COTAC Conference offered a series of well-informed presentations in a three-part day, initially looking at the Fire question, followed by Flood, and culminating in discussion. This follow-up Study report aims to build upon key aspects of the conference process.

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