As residential property risk and surveying experts we aim to advise people on how to minimise the risks associated with owning property in the UK.
Flooding can cause serious damage to property and its contents, and can result in months of disruption. In fact, according to the RICS, over 5 million homes are at risk of flooding in the UK. Therefore, it is vital that home owners are clued up on how to reduce the risk to property if flooding occurs.
Prior to a flood warning:
If you live in a flood risk area, there are a number of things you can do to prepare for the worst:
1. Register with Floodline by visiting their website or call them on 0345 988 1188. This is the government system that will notify you when there is a flood risk in your area.
2. Make sure that your property is insured against water damage, plus the costs associated with drying out, temporary rehousing, restoration and professional fees (i.e. solicitors and surveyors).
3. Keep your important items and sentimental possessions upstairs to reduce the possibility of water damage should the worst occur. This may include things like insurance documents, birth certificates, photos, medicines and passports.
4. If you are in a flood risk area, bear this in mind when renovating your house by adding a waterproof coating to walls and sideboards etc, opt for tiled floors rather than carpets downstairs, install power sockets and other electrics at least 1.5m above floor level, add flood guards to windows and doors, ensure ventilation bricks have covers, landscape your garden to direct water away from your property, ask a plumber to fit a backflow prevention valve to prevent sewage back up and install wall to floor membranes.
5. Invest in a sump pump (not battery operated), emergency sandbags and flood boards which can be fitted around windows and doors in the event of a flood.
Following a warning that flooding is expected:
Once you have received a warning that flooding is possible in your area, there are some further measures that you can take to help prevent extensive damage to your property:
6. Turn off your gas, electricity and water mains. Make sure you know how to do this so that you can do it quickly and calmly in a flood emergency.
7. Put sandbags outside your house to help create a barrier between it and the flood water.
8. Put plugs in sinks and baths and weigh them down with sandbags where possible. Remember to plug any other water inlets such as overflows, taps and toilets (especially if your pipes don’t have non-return valves).
9. Move any electronics, rugs and other important items upstairs.
10. Ask someone for help if you need some assistance in preparing for a flood following an alert.
For more information about flooding, please read this helpful guide published by the RICS: http://www.rics.org/Global/RICS-Flooding.pdf
Note: This article is intended is a guide and is not an exhaustive list.