Split image of house before and after lifting on stilts

During a flood, a brick house rises into the air on metal stilts. Sound like sci-fi? Not quite. If an ambitious developer in the United Kingdom gets its way, this could be the future of homes in flood zones.

Brotherton: “With the flood warning, the house would be elevated so your property and your contents are safe.”

That’s Adrian Brotherton of the Larkfleet Group, the company that designed the house. The home can be elevated almost five feet with a built-in jack system. This means that during a flood, the house is kept high and dry while the residents evacuate.

The idea was inspired by the U.K.’s housing shortage. The company wanted to find a way to develop homes in flood-prone areas where people cannot build now.

And as climate change increases storms and sea levels, more flood-resilient homes are going to be needed.

Not only would the houses be safer from flood damage, Brotherton says they look less obtrusive than the homes-on-stilts found along many American shorelines.

Brotherton: “The house can remain at ground level. It can look like a normal, everyday house.”

It will be years before the design is fully tested. But if all goes as planned, the future could include homes that can be literally lifted out of harm’s way.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy. Photos credit: Larkfleet Group.

Jan O'Brien was assistant editor and website manager at Yale Climate Connections from 2007-2022. She brought more than three decades of experience in environmental publishing and policy research and more...