Israeli couple uplifted as stilts beat Thames flood


When Yaron Ivry’s home by the river Thames was destroyed by floods last year, he was determined it would never happen again.

So he came up with a novel solution — raising the £750,000 five-bedroom property on stilts.

The work has taken three months and cost £80,000 but Mr Ivry, a father of three, is satisfied that it will mean he and his family can live in their home, near Wraysbury in Berkshire, without fear of it being invaded by water.

“Our house is on an island in the river, and the water came up from all sides and we were surrounded. It was devastating. We were forced to leave,” he said.

Mr Ivry, an electrical engineer, and his wife Sigal, are Israelis who settled in Britain in the 1980s.

He said he came up with the idea after seeing on the internet that a concert hall in Shanghai had been built on stilts.

“I instantly knew I had to try it. I had worked out I only had three options. Knock it down and start again which would have been a huge job or seal it and fit it with pumps, again very expensive and not guaranteed.
“Or I could raise it high enough that it would not be affected if the floods came again.”

After getting planning permission from the local council, Mr Ivry found specialist builders who could carry out the job.

He said: “They created a network of steel beams under the house which would hold its weight as the property began to lift.

“They put 28 super-strong jacks underneath the steel cradle. A saw then cut through all the brick walls below the concrete floors, detaching the building from its foundations.”

He added: “This was all done with all our things inside.”

The gap at the bottom of the house was concealed with reclaimed bricks, to match the rest of the house.

Mrs Ivry said the couple’s determination not to let the river beat them stemmed from their Israeli roots.

“It is in our personality and background. We believe there is a solution to every problem,” she said.

The couple are members of Maidenhead Synagogue.

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