A new house design could help raise buildings in flood-prone areas. The UK design firm Larkfleet’s “elevating house,” spotted by TreeHugger, is built to be raised up and down on jacks as necessary. It could allow more housing to be built in areas where flood risk is high, according to the company.

The 71.6-ton steel-frame house could be raised up almost five feet in just five minutes. Water and sewage connections would be flexible enough to extend up to the raised house, and solar panels could provide continued electricity, though the idea is that the residents would evacuate (with the fate of their home somewhat more secure). The ability to withstand flooding could theoretically open more areas in the UK to development, alleviating housing shortages.

As TreeHugger’s Lloyd Alter notes, this isn't the only design solution for flood-prone areas. Without sacrificing high-design aesthetics, houses can be built permanently on stilts or otherwise raised above the typical flood level, as FEMA recommends [PDF]. Some particularly flood-prone areas in the U.S., like Baton Rouge, already require elevated construction above the height of flood-level estimates.

Plans for Larkfleet’s three-bedroom pilot house are pending approval by a local district council in eastern England, and construction could start as early as 2017.

[h/t TreeHugger]