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How to Prepare Commercial Property for Flooding: Creating a Flood Plan

Last year the UK was drenched by the numerous storms: Desmond, Eva and Frank; amounting to what was the wettest winter on record since 1902. Extreme weather conditions can seriously affect businesses, and even property values. Whilst the real estate industry is paying close attention to combat climate change, becoming more sustainable and reducing energy consumption, it does not seem to be paying enough attention to the affect single extreme weather conditions can have on individual assets, in events such as floods, storms or droughts.

In the past decade there has been an average of 800 extreme weather events yearly. The number of extreme weather events has doubled globally since the 1980’s according to a report published by Urban Land Institute. Damage to real estate infrastructure has hit global insurance companies with a yearly bill of around 150 billion USD. Properties that were not previously at risk of flooding now are.

With the recent heavy rain across the UK causing flooding and transport chaos it has never been more important to be prepared for the worst. Creating a flood plan is crucial for householders and businesses alike. Creating a flood plan is important even for properties that are not situated in a ‘high risk’ area, as there is a still a risk of flooding in the future.

The initial step in creating a flood plan, is signing up to the Environmental Agency’s regular flood warning updates. A flood plan is a written document that defines how you will respond in the event of a flood.  Ensuring that you have suitable temporary flood protection materials is also essential, within the flood plan you will detail where the flood protection materials are being stored. Good flood protection materials should include door and window guards and watertight air brick covers to act as flood barriers; large plastic containers which can be used to protect goods and furniture.

Inside your flood plan, you must also provide information to the location of gas, electricity and water shut off taps, and explain how these can be isolated. Listing important contacts is wise, such as the local authority, emergency services, insurance companies and building services including the contact information to the relevant trade professionals.  It is also advisable to have a list of contact details for current suppliers, so that they can be notified in the case of a flood and evacuation.  It is particularly important to consider staff that may need special assistance in exiting a flooded building, such as the elderly, visually impaired or those with impaired hearing.

For properties in flood risk areas, flood resilient measures need to be a priority within the plan. Such measures include ensuring walls, floors, service intakes and drains are upgraded to guarantee that the property is protected to the highest possible standard. This will also make cleaning out and drying out much easier in the even that flood water does enter the property.

Speaking to a chartered building surveyor about flooding is always a good idea. Whether it be in regards to a new property lease, having a full survey and a pre-lease building assessment will outline the flood risks of the property. In understanding the risks in your current property and how to create a flood plan; a commercial property surveyor will be able to guide you through and prepare a planned preventative maintenance (PPM) assessment. A planned preventative schedule will help your business budget for repair works including flood prevention maintenance of the building. A PPM schedule will ensure that the costs of repair works are distributed evenly so that cash-flow is not affected by substantial one off costs.

Anderton Gables is a commercial property expert, specialising in property and construction consultancy in the northern region of the UK. With offices in Preston and Manchester City Centre, the chartered building surveyors work with a range of clients, spanning from large multi-national companies, high street retailers, to small businesses and private occupiers.

Anderton Gables provides a vast range of chartered building services helping tenants and property owners in the preparation of flood plans and being aware of their flood risk. Their services include: dilapidations, pre-lease building assessments, schedule of condition, strategic advice, building services, building reinstatement cost assessments, planned preventative maintenance, to mention a few. All of Anderton Gables’ services will be tailored to your individual needs.

For more information on Anderton Gables’ chartered building services and how they can help you create a flood plan, visit www.andertongables.co.uk .