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How can flood resilience help protect your property?

11/02/2020
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We’ve teamed up with our friends at Sedgwick to help commercial property owners know what to espect when researching and planning resilience measures for their business. For more information on their national team of expert surveyors visit https://www.sedgwick.com/uk

It’s time to talk about flood resilience

Flooding devastates lives and businesses. The sobering statistic is that research has shown about 40% of businesses don’t survive a flood. It’s now widely accepted, even in government, that flood risk can’t be eliminated by investing solely in local and regional flood defence schemes.  We have to acknowledge and accept that a residual risk remains.

It’s up to businesses and individuals to take charge of their risk and develop strategies to minimise the fear and impact of flooding at property level. Simple, low-cost measures can be really effective in ensuring a business survives a flood.

This is part of a FloodFlash series about better preparing your business for flooding. Check out others in the series to understand:


What can I do to protect my commercial property from floods?

Once you’ve accepted the flood risk and the need to take action, it is about making the business more resilient to flooding, in terms of both physical measures (at property level) and practical preparedness to respond.

First you need the right advice. Flood resilience isn’t just about resilience products, it’s a complex issue.  Simply installing one solution may ignore other threats to your building and create a false sense of security. For example, installing floodgates without treating brickwork or installing non-return valves in your plumbing may not prevent floodwater entering the property.

When you think of flood resilience it’s easy to default to flood barriers like these. A full resilience plan includes many different measures: those that prevent water getting into the property, and those that make cleanup easier when it does.

Make sure that whichever supplier you choose they take a holistic approach to protecting your physical assets (buildings) and business (business continuity) by designing a strategy that will work for you. Beware of door-to-door salespeople and cowboys that prey upon communities that have recently suffered flooding. Newly established companies often pop up to make money from government grants after recent floods. They often provide cheaper products or faulty installation.

A note from FloodFlash: our friends at Sedgwick have been providing an extensive range of services to a wide variety of companies in the UK insurance market for over 100 years.  From loss adjusting to third party administration and complementary support services – in the UK they’ve over 2050 colleagues and 26 offices. There are of course other suppliers available. If you want to shop around a good place to start is the National Flood Forum’s http://bluepages.org.uk/.


I’ve chosen my resilience partner – what next?

First you need to create a flood plan

We recommend that you first assess the impact a flood could have on your business and create a flood plan specific to your particular circumstances.  There are many factors to consider, but some key areas are detailed below:

  • Make sure you sign up to Environment Agency flood warnings (think who gets the warning)
  • Create a simple plan of what you’ll do when a significant flood warning is received (who is responsible and what they’ll do, who they’ll contact, what are your priority actions will be)
  • Identify  business critical equipment/documents that are vulnerable to flooding (consider how you can safeguard them)
  • Create a flood survival kit to allow you to contact staff/customers/suppliers and take immediate actions to minimise the impact
  • Ensure you are ready for action by practicing your flood response with an annual drill.

We recommend referring to www.floodguidance.co.uk for further information

Secondly make your building more resilient

Firstly employ a suitably qualified and experienced surveyor to provide you with advice.  The surveyor will walk you through the stages below to take you form the concept of resilience into a fully functioning flood resilient building;

  1. Hazard assessment – to establish the likelihood, nature, frequency and susceptibility of the property to flooding
  2. Property survey – assess existing flood resilience and gather information to allow consideration of possible suitable resilient options
  3. Options development – options for installation of resilient measures assessed and discussed with client and recommendations specified
  4. Construction – flood resilience measures installed in accordance with best practice and the needs of the client
  5. Commissioning and handover – ensuring all measures are properly constructed/installed and end user is clear on operational and maintenance requirements
  6. Operation and maintenance – it is key the measures and products are properly operated and maintained (which should be within the flood plan)

What kind of resilience measures will be recommended?

It doesn’t have to be that expensive. Typical measures include moving IT, electrical equipment above flood risk height, storage of stock raised off the ground, use resilient materials for floor and wall coverings to minimise time, decontaminating and drying. 


How do resilience measures fit in with Floodflash insurance?

A strategy of flood resilience works really effectively with the Floodflash insurance, by following simple steps:

  1. Consider the impact of a flood on your business, at different depths
  2. Use a resilience surveyor to help assess what depth of flooding you can cope with using cost effective resilience measures
  3. Invest in resilience to limit the impact up to that flood depth
  4. Take out FloodFlash insurance to protect your business above that depth so that you are covered if the resilience measures are overwhelmed

An example of FloodFlash insurance and resilience working together

Tonbridge Juddians RFC carried out resilience measures to protect their clubhouse building. They raised the building on stilts meaning it was more resilient to low-level flooding. As a result they could choose higher depths for their FloodFlash and their premiums were much cheaper.


About Sedgwick

At Sedgwick, flood response and restoration are one of our specialisms.  We believe in supporting businesses by providing advice to help make them more resilient.  We have a large team of building surveyors providing advice and recommendations on how to take a flood resilient approach.  Working with our national network of contractors, we can then install flood resilient measures when a business decides to invest.

If you’ve any questions about resilience or need a surveyor, give Sedgwick’s National Technical Manager, Ian Gibbs a call on +44 (0) 7880 780259 or email ian.gibbs@uk.sedgwick.com.