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How Homes can be protected from flooding        

Being flooded is an appalling experience, one which has long term consequences for everyone concerned.

It doesn’t have to be 'doom and gloom'. You can take action to substantially cut down your risk.  Be aware of your flood risk, plan and prepare in advance what to do if a flood is coming, and make moves to protect your home or business from being flooded.

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The first step to protecting yourself

As a first step, it is important to be aware of your flood risk – especially if you live in an area with a history of flood events. Following on from this, you should take proper precautions, such as pre-planning what to do in the event of a flood and making moves to protect your property, such as installing flood defenses like floodproof doors, investing in a sump pump and protecting doorways and air bricks.

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What should I do if I find out that my home or business is at risk?

Depending on the extent of your flood risk, a more detailed Flood Risk Assessment may be required. This will involve a physical survey of the property and will reveal the following:

  • The level of thresholds and floors
  • The likely points of water entry
  • Whether attempts should be made to keep water out of your home or just to allow the water in and enhance the building in such a way as to limit the damage and promote rapid clean up
  • Making it resilient to flooding, so if the floodwater does come in the damage is limited

This property-level flood risk survey of your house should be performed by an experienced professional who is a member of the Property Care Association (PCA) Flood Protection Group.

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What will a flood risk assessment report on?

They will report on:

  • A list of all vulnerable apertures – doors, windows, air bricks
  • A list of all wall ingress points – pipes, BT/cable entry points, boiler vents, etc
  • An inspection of the wall to see if it will withstand standing water for a period in excess of 24 hours. This will include checking of brickwork, mortar, etc
  • A check on utility meters below a 900mm threshold
  • A check on the internal floor of the property – properties with raised floors, cellars and basements are obviously more prone to flooding than others
  • A check on the sewerage system which is particularly important if the property has downstairs toilets and showers

OK...I have the flood risk report.  What next?

Depending on the recommendations of the flood investigation, you should next consider quotes and installation costs for the protection methods advised within the report.

If you are unsure who you should request a quote from, we do strongly recommend requesting quotes from a member of the PCA Flood Protection Group. The PCA is the Trade Association representing property specialists.  All its members are rigorously checked and audited to ensure their technical competence.

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What types of products are available to protect my home from being flooded?

Your Flood Risk surveyor will advise you but consider the following:

+ Protecting the airbricks

Giant Hogweed - Full blossom - PCA

Your choices are:

  • A ‘one-use’ only, adhesive cover strip, ideal if you live in a low risk area.
  • Covers that can be screwed into the holes in the airbricks
  • Some have fixtures which are permanently fixed to the wall, then once you have a flood warning you can easily clip the protection cover in place.
  • An airbrick replacement, which looks and acts like a normal airbrick but is self-closing, when exposed to rising water, giving the homeowner peace of mind that the airbrick will be protected should a flood occur when they are away from their home

+ Protecting doorways

Giant Hogweed - Full blossom - PCA

Floodwaters can often enter a home via the doorways, sometimes entering a home through the front door and leaving via the back door. This type of flooding could well be prevented be fitting doorway flood protection. These can be fitted in front of your doors, should you receive a flood warning, or think a flash flood might be likely as a heavy thunderstorm is forecast. Also available are ‘normal’ looking front doors that have a BSI Kitemark that once locked become flood protection products. These are preferred by the insurance industry as no human intervention is required as they will work when the homeowner is away from home.

Other types of protection products

Floodwater can often enter your home or business from many ways, not just through the front door and airbricks. Many people report that the first thing that alerted them to the fact that they were flooding is when their carpets became saturated. In this situation, using a pump in a sump under the floor could help keep the water level down.

Anti back flow valves are very useful to stop sewage entering your home via the toilet, as are ‘toilet bungs’ which can easily be fitted to stop the floodwater over topping the toilet. Floodwater will find the easiest point of entry, even via your washing machine, or similar outlets, again you can purchase quite cheaply anti backflow valves for these items.

Also think about the condition of your external brickwork as flood water will find the easiest port of entry, have a good look at the outside of your property and repair any suspect mortar and cracked bricks. On the market now are sealants which will make the brickwork more resilient to leaking but at the same time will allow the bricks to breath.

Will protecting against flooding help my insurance?

The way flood insurance is delivered is being changed. As from autumn 2015, those deemed at high risk of being flooded may well be put into ‘Flood Re’ by their insurance
broker. Charges will be capped and based on individual Council Tax Banding. Excesses will also be capped between £250-500.

This news will be a huge relief for those at high risk of being flooded who are struggling to obtain affordable flood insurance. However, this is not a ‘get out of jail free card! Under the rules of Flood Re after the first flood claim, Flood Re will pay for a property level survey to determine what adaptation measures need to be made. If the survey recommendations are not implemented and the property is flooded again the homeowner will receive a warning letter. If the homeowner then submits a third claim and has not implemented the recommendations they will no longer be eligible for insurance.

BSI Kitemark products advisable for flood insurance

When considering flood protection products, it is advisable to only fit BSI Kitemark accredited flood defence solutions (where available). These are the preferred choice of insurers, which becomes an important factor in your decision making process if you wish to maintain flood insurance cover.

You should note that most properties in the UK can only be protected from flooding up to a maximum height of 900mm.  Check that the solutions being offered to you are suitable in both height and width and conform to the member’s Kitemark (PAS1188) certificate.  

Remember also to compare prices, leakage rates, guarantees and warranties and make your choice.

Flooding & Insurance >>

We can create flood resilient and protected buildings...

Interested in seeing flood protection in action.  If so, click on the video to watch some case studies of flood resilience and protection.

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Protect yourself - find flood related professionals

By developing our unique Flood Protection Group resource we are able to to introduce residential customers and homeowners to certified flood protection specialists in order to minimise the worst effects of flooding.

Members of the PCA have proven themselves to be the leading experts in flood protection services in the UK. Find a qualified flood protection specialist near you using our search box below. 

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