Flooding impacts communities throughout the world as climate change induced extreme weather events increase. With this in mind reducing flood risk is becoming more of a priority for many householders, businesses, insurers and communities in general. Flooding has multiple implications. Flooding can impact on the ability to obtain a mortgage as well as gaining the necessary insurance. Flooding impacts on land and property values, investment and planning decisions, and the nature of property development, refurbishment and protection schemes.
Flooding and the risk of flooding must be reported in an appropriate way at the appropriate time, such as during mortgage valuations and surveys.
There is an increasing emphasis on adaptation to manage the impacts of flooding. Buildings will need to be built that are more resilient to the impact flood scenarios. There will also be a need to carry out repairs on existing housing stock following a flooding incident.
In September 2016, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published The Property Flood Resilience Action Plan, setting out steps that could encourage the wider use of such measures.
The plan sets out several steps to increase property-level resilience, including:
Looking at how Building Regulations can be used to encourage flood-resilient construction and reinstatement;
Considering how re-insurance scheme Flood Re can support and offer incentives for flood resilience.
Creating rigorous independent standards and certification processes for surveyors, and for products and their installation;
Setting up an independent online portal to inform householders and small businesses on flood resilience; and
Establishing a partnership between key stakeholders, including surveyors, to encourage and enable the uptake of resilient measures.
Understanding types of flooding and how they can combine to affect a property. Chartered surveyors are centrally placed to advise on a number of key areas:
How to interpret the flood risk survey
Understanding of building pathology and building defects so the effectiveness of resilient repair methods can be assessed
Identify the costs and benefit of different approaches to resilience
Knowledge of the different approaches to resilience and the products available
Ensure that the installation of resilient measures meets the required standards.
There are 3 stages to the process for the occupier who wants to install resilient measures:
1. Flood risk survey: to understand the risk at the property;
2. Building survey and advice: to recommend appropriate flood-resilient measures; and
3. Installation: resilient measures are fitted to the correct standard.
The 3 stages outlined above require specific skills and knowledge and the ability to evaluate how they are interrelated. A standard flood risk survey will identify the types of flooding to which the building is vulnerable, the risk of flooding and the likely depth. This information is used to consider the construction of the building and whether keeping water out is practical or structurally prudent.