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Making properties more resilient against flooding

Property owners with homes or business premises in high-risk flood areas can take a range of actions:

  • Sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood alert system.
  • Create a flood plan to prompt effective action.
  • Do property level resilience works to minimise the amount of floodwater ingress, to get the property back into use quickly.

Flood resilient properties help to reduce the impact of flood risk. Making a property more resilient should bring a range of benefits in the event of a future flood event:

  • property easier and quicker to clean out and disinfect;
  • lower risk of potential damage;
  • less disruption; and
  • cheaper repair costs.

Property level resilience works

There are two types of property level resilience works.

  1. Flood resistance products.
  2. Reducing damage caused by flooding.

Flood resistance products

Flood resistance products can minimise and reduce the amount of floodwater that might enter a property. They can help provide extra time to move valuable items to a safer, higher location in the property.

This type of work needs to be checked often. It should be done in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, to make sure it stays in safe working order.

Some examples of flood resistance products include:

  • flood doors or removable flood-barriers;
  • flood windows;
  • artificial sandbags;
  • non-return valves on drainage systems;
  • toilet bungs;
  • air vent covers; and
  • sump pumps.

Certain types of flood resistance products have been independently tested to PAS 1188 2014 standard. They carry the appropriate British Standards Institution Kitemark to show that they are fit for purpose.

Reducing damage caused by flooding

The second type of resilience work accepts that flood water will enter a property. This is designed to reduce the damage it can cause and minimise the disruption, time and cost associated with repairs.

Some examples of this type of work include:

  • service alterations - lifting energy meters and installations above the likely flood level;
  • relocating heating equipment to a safer, higher site in the property;
  • lifting the height of plug sockets;
  • installing flood resilient flooring and plastering;
  • replacing chipboard kitchen or storage units with plastic or stainless steel versions and worktops;
  • fitting shelving units to store items above ground level; and
  • storing important documents, sentimental items and valuables at first-floor level.

Property owners may wish to commission their own independent flood-survey report. This can be used to identify and discuss what can be done to reduce the risk of flooding.

Further information

For flooding advice, visit: National Flood Forum. This is a national charity to help, support and represent communities and people at risk of flooding.

For details of the products available to help against flooding, visit: Bluepages. This is an independent directory of suppliers of flood resistance products.

For extensive property-level protection guidance for homeowners and businesses, visit: Know your Flood Risk.

For case studies:

Flood show home case study

Mr Barr of Mytholmroyd made a number of resilient improvements to his home to reduce the impact of flooding.

He said:

"I have prepared my house in such a way that if it floods again, I will have rather limited damage. To my way of thinking, the December 2015 flood was off the scale.

I have lived here for 30 years and it was the second time I have flooded. The first time was only a few inches deep. Mother nature is a force!

However, I feel comfortable now knowing that the work I have done to:

  • lift my electrics;
  • fit removable doors and a tiled floor;
  • remove the plaster to the stonework;
  • and raise the height of my cooker, fridge and washing machine.

This helps make my home more resilient and easier to dry out, clean and repair if (or when) it floods."

Removable pantry cupboard door