“FPS undertook flood surveys for residential properties and showed great professionalism at every stage. The reports were excellent.” James Latham, London Borough of Hillingdon Council.
FPS were engaged as Flood Risk Consultants by the Local Authority on request of a Local Flood Action Group. This scheme was to undertake Flood Surveys incorporating a hazard assessment of the location, and develop a flood mitigation plan based on flood risk and flooding mechanisms via property surveys.
The residents live adjacent to an ordinary watercourse that is prone to breaching its banks in periods of high rainfall, regularly flooding footpaths and occasionally flooding properties. In 1987 one resident recalled circa 1ft deep water internally and again in 2016 to skirting board depth. This had been hugely traumatic for residents. The 2016 event had seen some residents out of their homes for over 3-months and others had experienced insurance claims that took almost a year to fully settle.
Quality in Delivery
The extensive history of flooding in the area required a robust analysis of the location, which FPS were ideally positioned to undertake.
- Risk assessment – Our team surveyed a total of 8 properties, adopting the Source-Pathway-Receptor model when undertaking the Hazard Assessment.
- Survey – The report detailed the mechanism of likely flood events, the construction of the property & identified all external features which may exacerbate flooding. It established the drainage connectivity at the property where accessible, identified existing flood mitigation measures, recorded aperture dimensions, and displayed routes of ingress on an FPS prepared site plan. During the on-site surveys accurate measurements were taken by FPS using the latest Leica and Bosch laser measures, linked to our iPad software. This enabled us to build a detailed model of each property and the associated site plan alongside mapping of routes of ingress and both video and still images for future reference.
- Property owner collaboration – The scope of work required FPS to initiate the process by conducting site visits to assess the location and properties whilst undertaking a consultation with residents to gain their first-hand experience.
- Local Authority collaboration – At the time of surveying the Council were unclear as to how the scheme would be implemented or funded, and therefore the reports had to consider the property construction, drainage, flood risk, and property owner goals/budget/lifestyle. We also established indicative installation costs based upon FPS extensive knowledge to enable both residents and the Council to fully understand the cost of mitigation measures – allowing them to budget and undertake robust analysis of available funding options. All reports were completed within a 2-week period post survey and provided to the council. There was time pressure from the residents and thus a quick turnaround was important.
- Optioneering – Once the data had been captured, we set about establishing a report making a judgement of the most appropriate measures to protect the property that also considered the lifestyle, i.e. occupancy cycles etc, and ability to implement measures, of the residents.
- Proposal – FPS followed the Local Authority guidance and approval processes with feedback meetings and reports on project progression.
Our surveyor established the parameters and defined with the Flood Action Group that the objective was to help protect the properties, based on the outcome of the assessment opposed to a pre-determined solution.
With industry leading knowledge of PFR solutions available, the FPS team where able to support residents through a comprehensive alignment of product and requirement alongside the installation requirements. This proved to be a valuable as residents freely asked questions and received knowledgeable answers.
Our robust approach ensured we could deliver the optimal outcome.
Abilities to Implement Measures in Flood Events
During the consultation process our team ran through the various options available for flood Resilience measures and the installation requirements that would be present with some options i.e. door barriers and the associated positioning and fixing in a flood event. It became apparent that some residents were unable to deploy measures themselves, due to physical limitations or because they work away from the property.
Accordingly we built these restrictions into the report by asking two questions:
1. Could an installation action plan be developed whereby in a flood event neighbouring property owners could aid the implementation of measures i.e. aware of storage locations, provided with access to the property and available to install.
2. Could PFR measures be implemented that would protect the property but require no implementation.
The scheme being driven by the local authority brought a number of benefits. Many other schemes required the property owner to drive the process, however, by the Council taking the leading role a more cohesive approach was adopted. This enabled those affected to come together and by having an independent surveyor, property owners were provided with a greater degree of support. We found that through allocating Simon Crowther BEng (Hons) MCIWEM C.WEM as the surveyor, it enabled those affected by the flooding to come together, concerns were shared, and our knowledgeable surveyor was able to provide reassurance.
We believe this drove the 100% up-take rate as property owners were not trying to find a solution on their own but were able to draw upon their neighbours for support. Trusted advisors play a role in helping people overcome emotional barriers towards PFRs and help ensure any aesthetic costs and disruption are minimal. Park et al (2020) make the case for promoting PFR as the desirable social norm (e.g. highlighting that other people are taking the risk seriously) as a potentially powerful intervention.
We have also championed the “Build Back Better” philosophy, launching the principles to Parliament and appearing in the Flood RE “Build Back Better” video. In addition to the measures identified within the report that would provide Resistance measures, we also developed a list of Recoverability measures such as raising a low-level boiler or obtaining a puddle pump, wet vac and dehumidifier so they could bounce-back more quickly from any future floods.