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Why are Houses at Risk of Flooding?

Ahh Mother Nature, a soul of complexity and power - the untameable dame. Okay maybe not the best description but you get the point. Like king's, we aim to protect our castles from unscrupulous characters, bankruptcy and of course dreadful weather.  Taking conscious steps to make sure we aren't left out in the cold is very important especially in the erratic climate we live in.

In this article the Relko Group (fire and flood restoration specialists) will uncover the exact reasons why homes are at risk of flooding and present a number of practical solutions as to how you can adequately keep you and your home  (or business) protected. But before we get down to the ‘nitty gritty' of flood protection practicalities, we think it's equally important to prod the issue from the source asking the question "Why do we insist on building on flood plains?"

High-risk Housing

Local authorities in high risk areas are well aware of the dangers posed by building in flood-prone areas but continue to do so. Their seemingly lax or blasé approach to safe housing development flies in the face of the Environment Agency's (EA) protests, who oppose such reckless projects - according to an article in The Independent.

The article went on to say that "last year local councils allowed at least 87 planning developments involving 560 homes to proceed in England and Wales in areas at such high risk of flooding that the EA formally opposed them. The biggest development of this kind is the 149-home Goresbrook Village Estate in Dagenham, Essex, expected to be ready for occupation in March 2015."

"This is exactly the kind of decision-making that has made flooding more of a problem than it should be and that threatens the lives and livelihoods of many people," were the words of Bob Ward, the director of policy at the London School of Economics' Grantham Institute. Mr Ward's words harbour axiomatic truths that cannot be so easily overlooked and if we can easily prevent the needless loss of life then we should do everything in our power to do so, shouldn't we? The answer to such a question isn't as ‘cut and dry' as you might expect. The UK (in recent years) has seen a dramatic increase in the demand for new housing following the influx of migrant workers into the country. This in turn has pushed the government to act, by building more properties to accommodate the swelling numbers. As you can see a much more convoluted picture emerges.

Keeping all of this in mind, we can now get on with addressing the more practical aspects of floods... prevention.

Homes usually flood because they aren't properly flood-protected. People who live in high-risk areas that ignore the warning signs or advice tend to find themselves floating up the creek without a paddle. There are, however, exceptions of this where owners of coastal homes have had their entire homes swept away. Coastal erosion (the wearing away of land by waves and high winds) can quite literally sweep the carpet from below your feet (or rather home). In instances like this abandoning ship is the only option. On the other hand, typically speaking, home owners situated in relatively high-risk areas do have some forms of flooding defence to call upon.

Specialised flooding products

Sandbags, window and door barriers, high pressure sealants and airbricks for example are all designed to limit the level of damage inflicted on a property or business. By effectively utilising these types of products you can dramatically reduce the cost and damage sustained following a flood.

The level of defence depends on a number factors which include:

  • The quality of the flood protection products. Investing that little bit extra in flood-resistant products will undoubtedly help to bolster your homes defences.
  • The volume and concentration of water.
  • The positioning of your home. If your home is situated on a slope then the water will inevitably run downwards reducing the damage.

Other Protective Measures

Insurance - Ensuring that your home is adequately insured is very important. In the event of a severe flood, entire homes can become devastated both inside and out. The cost of repairing such damage can reach eye-watering levels, so having a comprehensive insurance policy that safeguards you for a varied set of circumstances is an absolute must.

Foresight/forward planning - Being flood aware doesn't solely mean watching the news, but actively investigating other avenues like the risk posed by local rivers or reservoirs.

By taking this information on board you can adequately prepare yourself should the worse occur. With that we conclude Relko's "Why are houses at risk of flooding" article - on our website you will find dozens of other interesting and informative articles relating to flood prevention. To see more, please click here.