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Property Surveying Blog
Written by Mohbin Malik

In this week’s blog post, I am going to generally explain flooding and the risks involved along with a few simple solutions to ensure that you and your property are well protected!

Flooding isn’t something that may think could affect you, however, it is worth bearing in mind that the Environment Agency has calculated that around one in six properties in the UK is at some risk of flooding. In real numbers, this means that just under 5 million homes carry the risk!

It is, therefore, important for homeowners to understand the basics about flooding and the associated risks. A flood can threaten your safety, cause serious damage to your property and if you’re unlucky enough to suffer from a flood, it can result in many months of disruption and stress.


What are the main causes of flooding?

I will now take a look at some of the more common types of causes of flooding within the UK.


Surface water flooding during heavy rain

Heavy downpour resulting in the overfilling drains and sewers can cause surface water flooding. This is significantly worse in urban areas where the ground consists of mostly hard surfaces such as concrete or tarmac.  This will result in rainwater flowing straight off the ground rather than soaking into it.


Groundwater flooding

Rising groundwater levels due to heavier rainfall. This generally occurs during long and intense rainfall when infiltration into the ground raises the level of the water table until it exceeds ground levels.


River flooding

This occurs when rivers and streams are unable to carry away floodwaters through unusual drainage channels and they burst their banks. River flooding can cause widespread and extensive damage because of the sheer volume of water and may taking a long time to drain away. Rivers will often have level management procedures in place to avoid this, however, these are only safeguards and are not prevention.


A burst water main in the road outside our property

Considerable amounts of water may be released, which may flood the street or road and enter properties. This can cause extensive damage to the ground floors or basements.


A burst pipe or water tank within the building

This obviously depends upon the area and type of leak but can be drastic and create extensive damage if the escape of water is caused by a burst tank within the roof space. The whole property could be flooded from top to bottom. However, if you were just looking at an isolated radiator leak the damage would be small in comparison.


How do I find out if my property or the property I am buying is at risk of flooding?

At Berry Lodge, we recommend that property owners and prospective purchasers should be aware of any flood risk to their property. The first check is to investigate whether your property is in a river flood risk area on the flood risk maps available on the Environment Agency’s website.

As standard our pre purchase surveys such as an RICS HomeBuyer Report or Full Building Survey will include these and highlight any past issue, or potential issue.


Damage is done, how long will it take?

Reinstating a property after a flood will take anything from several weeks to many months depending on:


The extent of the flood and the amount of properties affected

If the flood is widespread, there may be hundreds or thousands of properties that need assessment and remediation.


Processing the insurance claim

The claim must be lodged, a loss adjuster appointed to assess the damage.


Cleaning and drying operations

This can take weeks if not months depending on the severity and duration of the flood.


What preventative measures can homeowners take?

It is common in areas where there is a risk of flooding to replace carpet with tiles or wooden flooring, especially at basement and ground floor level. It is also worth making sure that power points in at-risk rooms are located high up on the walls, rather than at floor level. Also fitting non-return valves in drains can be a useful defence against flash floods. Ensure drains and gutters are clear of debris so rainfall can drain away. Prepare a flood kit with waterproofs, wellies, gloves, buckets, spades and a torch. Close doors and windows. Turn off the gas, electricity and water if it is safe to do so. Lastly, keeping your valuables in the loft space rather than a basement is also advisable.


If you have any concerns, need some advice or would like to find out how we can help why not give us a call and take advantage of the 30 mins free consultation and speak with one of our experienced surveyors who will gladly help.