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Effects of heavy rainfall on construction-related infrastructure


BBSRSpecial publicationApril 2018

Titelseite: Effects of heavy rainfall on construction-related infrastructure

The principle of the sponge city is described as a form of natural rain water management and as a means for cool cities.

This principle was applied to a property in this project. Due to the resulting flooding protection, improved microclimate, an improvement of the landscape and, if applicable, lower charges for rain water and the lower consumption of potable water, the effects are also positive for individual properties. Peak runoff is also reduced in the public network through decentralised rain water management and water retention.

Through the integration of reservoirs and intensifying total infiltration as well as evaporation and transpiration, runoff will become virtually zero during the event and the water balance of the property will once again be closed to the natural water balance.

Redesigning a property as a sponge property has a positive effect in terms of vulnerability and resilience. To extent to which heavy rainfall affects the building fabric on a property is critically dependent on the construction, the location including topography, the landscape, the degree of sealing, the soil characteristics as well as the intensity and duration of the rainfall. Particularly the use of unsuitable building materials can cause damages to take on disastrous proportions due to the accumulation or ingress of water.

Scientific support
Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR)
Division II 6
Dr. Bernhard Fischer (

Ingenieurbüro Reinhard Beck GmbH & Co. KG, Wuppertal
Sebastian Arns, Maren Hellmig

University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal
Prof. Andreas Schlenkhoff

Kommunal Agentur NRW, Düsseldorf
Stefan Vöcklinghaus, Nadine Appler


  • Introduction
  • Reason
  • Current state of regulations, engineering and research
  • Vulnerability and resilience
  • Measures to protect against and bind heavy rainfall
  • Analysis of effectiveness based on a sample property
  • Cost analysis
  • Reciprocal effects of the measures on other environmental potential
  • Evaluation of the measures
  • Summary
  • Bibliography
  • Appandix

This publication is also available in German:

  • Starkregeneinflüsse auf die bauliche Infrastruktur
    ISBN 978-3-87994-219-0, urn:nbn:de:101:1-201805176223
    >> more