How do I protect my home from flooding?

Once it has been identified that a property may be at risk of flooding, the focus will naturally shift to seeking ways to manage and mitigate that risk.

To ensure any proposed measures are effective it is critical that a property’s vulnerabilities are well understood.

Every property is unique. While the building construction and scale may be similar to neighbouring areas, the external layout, landscaping and drainage can vary. Internally the fixtures and fittings will be different. These variations mean there is not often a one-fits-all solution to managing flood risk holistically at a site scale.

Initially the focus will typically be seeking ways to protect large openings such as doorways and windows. However, it is important to also identify all other routes of ingress, such as suspended floors, damaged or defective masonry, or drains. The pressure from flood water can mean even the smallest defects within a building’s fabric can be exploited to find a means of ingress.

We always recommended that a flood survey is undertaken to assess a property in detail, to identify all areas of vulnerability and subsequently determine what type of mitigation measures are likely to be most effective.

 

What measures are available?

The types of flood mitigation solutions come under two categories; flood resistance which focuses on keeping flood water out of a building or site as far as reasonably practicable, and flood resilience which seeks to ensure internal areas which are allowed to flood can recover efficiently. Employing a combination of both flood resistance and flood resilience measures is a good way of providing the best possible protection to a property.

The cost of flood barriers can lull some into a false sense of security that they alone will provide full protection to a property, however this complacency can be costly in itself should flood water find another route of ingress. While flood walls, flood barriers and flood doors often provide a good level of protection, it must also be recognised that these measures are not infallible. Walls and barriers can typically only guarantee protection from flooding up to certain depths. At greater depths the structural integrity of a building may be compromised such that flood resistance measures are ineffective without further structural assessment and design.

Where ingress of floodwater cannot be prevented it is important to focus on making internal areas flood resilient, to minimise damage and reduce the time and costs involved in recovery following a flood.

There are numerous types of measures, many of which can be tailored to fit a client’s requirements and budget.

It is always important to ensure flood products are BSI kite marked or manufactured to the relevant British Standard for flood resilience products (BS 851188 – formerly PAS 1188) to ensure they offer tested and reliable protection to your property. All measures should be installed by a competent contractor.

 

What else can I do?

Be proactive. Flooding, particularly from surface water, can occur very quickly during and following a storm event. Having measures in place that are passive, or can be readily deployed, provides peace of mind that you and your belongings are safe.

Sign up to receive flood warnings for areas which cover your property or nearby:

England: https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings

Scotland: https://floodline.sepa.org.uk/floodingsignup/

Wales: https://naturalresources.wales/flooding/sign-up-to-receive-flood-warnings/?lang=en

Prepare a Flood Action Plan. This should set out step by step measures to enact when flooding is predicted to minimise damage and disruption and ensure life and property is protected.

While local authorities and agencies will enact emergency response plans when flooding is forecast, these should not be relied upon to provide adequate flood protection at a property scale. These authorities may have hundreds of properties to protect, and a handout of a few sandbags will often not be sufficient to prevent water ingress. Be proactive.

 

How can FPS help?

A Property Flood Resilience Survey or Due Diligence report can be completed to assess the risk to a property or site, determine existing flood resistance or flood resilience, and detailing what measures could be implemented to minimise the risk.

FPS Environmental Ltd are able to offer Due Diligence Reports and Property Flood Resilience Surveys.

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