Repairing flooded buildings

An insurance industry guide to investigation and repair

Demelza House

Demelza is a charity providing hospice care for children with life-limiting conditions and their families across Kent, East Sussex and south London. Our services include hospice-at-home care, hospice care, planned short breaks, emergency respite, therapies, symptom control, end-of-life care, and bereavement support. These services are currently provided through: ● Demelza House, an eight-bedded hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent ● Demelza James, the hospice-at-home service operating in west Kent, East Sussex and south London. We care for approximately 400 children and families in our catchment area, with about 300 using the services at Demelza House and about 100 using the Demelza James hospice-at-home service. Demelza’s annual running costs are approximately £3.5million. We do not receive any government funding and rely 100% on fundraising to run our services. Our main cost is direct care for the children and families to whom 78% of our income is devoted. Fundraising and volunteers absorb 20% and just 2% goes on administration. In other words, of every £1 donated 78p goes directly to caring for children and their families. We would like to thank you, the reader, for buying this book and so supporting Demelza. We also thank the authors for their generosity in donating their royalties from the sale of this book to help our children and their families.

Ted Gladdish CEO Demelza Hospice Care for Children

Repairing flooded buildings

An insurance industry guide to investigation and repair
Flood Repairs Forum

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EP 69

© Flood Repairs Forum 2006 First published 2006 ISBN 1 86081 903 6

The contents of this book reflect the knowledge and experience of individual and corporate contributors. However, the authors and their sources, and the publishers, take no responsibility for the subsequent use of the information, nor for any errors or omissions, it may contain.

Cover picture: Flooding in the City of York, November 2000 (Courtesy of BDMA/One Call)



Foreword Members of the Flood Repairs Forum Abbreviations 1 2 3 Introduction Technical competence of the remediation team Complex building types Managing the customer contact process Policyholder contact – a staged approach Frequently asked questions Damage reporting and collecting the ‘right’ information A general guide to drying Minimum drying standards Primary and secondary damage Triage, clearance and cleaning Health and safety in flood damage repair Primary legal standards applicable Overall recommendations for flood repairs Equipment for drying buildings Types of dehumidifier Refrigerant dehumidifiers Desiccant dehumidifiers Convection drying

vii vii viii 1 3 4 5 6 10 13 19 20 21 22 23 23 25 45 45 46 46 47

4 5



vi 8 Methods of drying buildings Establishing a drying programme Key factors in the drying process Importance of monitoring High temperatures Vulnerable materials Common problems Monitoring the drying process Monitoring equipment Certificate of drying Report of flooding event Report of repairs to flood damaged property Standards for repairing flooded buildings Domestic insurance cover The insurance contract The policy excess Policy conditions and exclusions Prompt notification Non-disclosure Sum insured Maintenance and repair Flood resilient repairs Small businesses Freehold. leasehold and tenancy issues Scope of commercial insurance policies Claims process Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Susceptibility of contents and equipment Susceptibility of buildings and fittings Risk surveys Flood event procedures Using flood protection products – a guide for purchasers Flood protection and flood mitigation products Existing standards Other types of flood protection products Underwriting and risk References and useful websites and other sources of information 49 49 51 52 52 52 52 53 53 54 56 58 63 73 74 74 75 75 76 76 77 77 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 90 91 93 94 96 97 99 9 10 11 12 13 14 .

and the many unnamed individuals and organisations who gave us their time. Over time we believe that the Forum’s collective experience will provide improvements in the ways that we deal with flooding. will lead to higher standards in repairing damage caused by flooding. we will know. to suggest best practice. phenomena increase the likelihood of flooding – rising water tables in some parts of the UK. and. So if this proves to be only the first edition of many. in some part. mitigate and prevent flood damage. Our appreciation for the help in preparing this book goes to the British Damage Management Association. Through better understanding of the issues we are confident that the service provided by the professional person. it is reasonable to suppose that global warming will lead to unusual weather patterns and. loss adjusting. in providing contributions. the intention was to fill a gap in the marketplace by putting all relevant knowledge held by the insurance and construction industries into a single document for those involved with the problem or risk of flooding of property. Against this background. all at no cost. Whether or not projected rising sea levels are realised.vii Foreword Members of the Flood Repairs Forum British Damage Management Association Capita Insurance Services Tony Boobier Crawford and Company Adjusters UK Nick Clark Cunningham Lindsey United Kingdom Richard Ayton-Robinson Lloyds TSB Insurance Ian Jones Munters Ltd Alistair Phillips David Clifton Norwich Union (Aviva Plc) John Wickham Royal & Sun Alliance Plc Diana Blaskett University of Wolverhampton Professor David Proverbs Victor Samwinga When this guide was originally conceived in 2003. and construction and repair – have shared our knowledge and experience to raise awareness of the key issues involved with flooding. working with the homeowner or tenant to repair. often man-made. for instance. Other. Tony Boobier for the Flood Repairs Forum . Overlying this new approach to dealing with flooding is the significant problem of global warming. we – the individual members of the Flood Repairs Forum representing organisations in insurance. in turn. greater incidence of flash flooding. advice and support. investigation. out of this. that Repairing flooded buildings will have achieved its purpose.

viii Abbreviations ABI BDMA BSI CCTV CDM CILA CIRIA CORGI COSHH EA FPA HIP MDF N/A NHBC NICEIC PAS PAT PPE PVC-U RICS Association of British Insurers British Damage Management Association British Standards Institution controlled circuit television Construction (Design and Management) [Regulations] Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters Construction Industry Research and Information Association Council for Registered Gas Installers Control of Substances Hazardous to Health [Regulations] Environment Agency Flood Protection Association Home Information Pack medium density fibreboard not applicable National House-Building Council National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting Publicly Available Specification portable appliance testing personal protective equipment unplasticised polyvinyl chloride Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors .

1 Chapter 1 Introduction Flooding is an issue that is likely to affect both home occupiers – owners and tenants – and the insurance industry for the foreseeable future. It causes distress to property owners and occupants. The River Severn floods parts of Upton-upon-Severn several times each year . and the technical difficulties associated with the repair process can test experts to the limit. this joint industry approach often means involving all parties for all affected properties working together to produce mutually satisfactory results. Since flooding invariably involves more than one property. The background to this guide arises from the recognition that organisations in the insurance and construction industries can jointly offer solutions which bring together the main parties to restore insured property to its condition before the flooding event.

Introduction . this guide is concerned with ‘large bodies of water’ – not the effects of small or isolated events such as in the case of a burst water tank. and linked industries such as mortgage lending. and some elemental requirements of customer care – recognising that inadequate communication and management of expectation rests at the heart of many of the difficulties that occur. at the insurance industry. to the recommendation of flood resistant repairs. The flow of the contents of the guide take the reader through the sequence of events in a flood claim – from inspection. although it is entirely feasible that some of the considerations that apply to large events would also apply to small scale flooding. through the drying process. The insurance and repair of flood damaged buildings is complex but Repairing flooded buildings attempts to simplify and apply logical organisation to these areas. It is not entirely intended as being a stand alone document – indeed there is already a great amount of data and information available elsewhere – but hopefully it will provide a useful reference document if used in isolation. professionals within that industry.2 It is with this in mind that a group of like-minded professionals started to work together to create a manual of best practice aimed specifically. For the avoidance of doubt. In addition it assists those who are perhaps less experienced in flood repairs to understand some of the basic insurance and technical issues involved. although not exclusively.

those most likely to have the most knowledge and understanding will be (in no specific order): ● building surveyors – probably. such as Chartered Builders.3 Chapter 2 Technical competence of the remediation team This chapter considers the appropriate skills and qualifications needed for an individual to deal with complicated flood damage situations. it is recommended that within the team there is a ‘technically competent person’ who will act for all interested parties in an impartial technical capacity to promote the satisfactory and appropriate repair of the damage to the building to restore it to its pre-flooding state. techniques and detailing appropriate to the property in question ● knowledge and experience of the effects of water on building structures and components ● an understanding of contemporary methods of drying flooded buildings and reinstatement methods. members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) ● members of the British Damage Management Association (BDMA) ● members of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA). Chartered Engineers and other professions. For reinstatement projects following flooding involving complex building types. . However in most cases. although not necessarily. A technically competent person will possess: ● a detailed knowledge of design and construction methods. There may also be other experts with suitable qualifications and experience. Currently there are no specific qualifications to reflect technical competence for the full breadth of this topic.

The following duties are expected: ● completing a risk assessment ● initial inspection. which may be seen as conduits to other properties. Complex building types Complex building types specifically requiring the involvement of a technically competent person are defined as follows: ● historic and listed buildings ● buildings within a conservation area ● timber framed buildings ● buildings with concealed insulation ● buildings of non-standard construction ● buildings with basements or cellars ● buildings with structural problems ● buildings with complex mechanical and electrical services installations ● buildings which have been previously flooded ● buildings adapted for the disabled ● buildings where the method of construction is uncertain ● buildings that may contain hazardous materials ● buildings where restoration time or mitigation may be affected by adjacent or attached properties ● buildings where drying programmes already implemented have not provided adequate results ● buildings with water main risers. and the damage caused ● specifying and scoping the initial strip-out and flood mitigation ● evaluating drying requirements and other appropriate methods ● recording moisture readings (plot and plan survey) ● management of drying monitoring and issuing a ‘certificate of dryness’ ● specifying and scoping repairs ● compiling a budget for repair costs ● administering Statutory Approvals ● ensuring that CDM procedures are adhered to – knowledge of the practical application of CDM is essential ● managing party wall issues ● inspecting the quality of works for compliance with the repair specification ● certifying satisfactory completion of repairs and that the building is restored to pre-flooding condition ● preparing a brief summary of the event for possible inclusion in the ‘Home Information Pack’ to be introduced by the Government in 2007. . reviewing and recording of the pre-flooding condition of an affected building.4 Technical competence of the remediation team To discharge their responsibilities properly in the case of a claim. the technically competent person may need to seek specialist advice and guidance from others. or interstitial cavities.

client or policyholder as defined above. Other terms may also be used such as tenant. or a service from a tradesman. They normally will seek to identify a balance between adequate dryness and the degree of inconvenience of permanent repairs being further delayed. The policyholder is a client of an insurer (or insurance company). the customer is the person or organisation that buys equipment or products from a manufacturer or supplier. It is noted that there is no need for a building to be absolutely ‘bone dry’ to allow the permanent works to start. and will differ from property to property. These latent problems may not be taken as any sign of negligence on the part of the professional team. the customer should recognise that due to this uncertainty. Good communication manages expectation throughout the life of the event. Equally. This is not a precise science. all of whom will usually act in good faith. As a general rule of thumb. and independent assessment called for. Only where there has been gross disregard for the most basic of criteria should professional judgement be called into question. Organisations involved in providing insurance services and in the remediation processes following flooding are described on the next page. The homeowner needs to be reassured that by adopting a correct approach to drying and repairs. regardless of the uncertainties that inevitably arise in damage of this nature. can be complicated. and ancillary services. Communication is an essential part of the process of dealing with claims and rehabilitation of a damaged building. This chapter seeks to identify when that stage is reached. repairs can commence but historically there have always been issues as to when a property is suitably dry. In most cases. One key issue is that of health and safety. landlord and householder who can be described by some of the above. The client is usually the customer of an insurance or finance provider.5 Chapter 3 Managing the customer contact process Describing the various parties involved in providing or using insurance services. This chapter considers the issues involved in the communications between the professional team and the homeowner (who is usually the policyholder) or occupant. . Once drying is complete. residual issues can emerge. floodwater is ‘dirty’ by its very nature. damage to health and safety will be reduced or hopefully removed in its entirety. The homeowner owns their property and may also be a customer.

and is ideally delivered as the key stages described below. A loss adjuster investigates claims and determines the validity and value of individual claims. they should first be disconnect them from the electrical supply. and providing emergency support. only tools that are insulated must be used If in doubt. Stage 1 – Incoming claim from policyholder Insurance company and insurer are terms for the same type of organisation. Information and advice for the policyholder to be given by the insurance company or assistance company ● Advice about whether a third party is being appointed to assist them with the claim. It may delegate work to specialist subcontractors. circuits and appliances is often not evident. and water in electrical equipment. ‘trades’ or tradesmen. This is the first key stage and involves the timely and accurate collection of information. and details of any loss adjuster appointed by the insurance company. Advice to the policyholder on what they can do to help ● Windows to be opened if the weather is fine ● Electric sockets and fittings should not be used if they are affected by water. Information that is essential for processing a claim is shown in a specimen form on the page opposite. If working on any part of an electrical system. the name of the company. always remembering that water is a highly efficient conductor of electricity. When touching or moving mains electrical equipment and appliances. and of the company’s representatives. An assistance company is often engaged by insurers to help a policyholder in mitigating and reducing damage. If so. a contact (where possible) and telephone number should be given ● Providing the policyholder with a telephone number for the insurance company in case they have a query regarding their claim ● A brief explanation of the role of the damage management company ● The claim should be checked for validity under the policy ● Explaining that the policyholder does have a choice about the contractor used but costs must be agreed with the insurers before proceeding ● Providing any other information reasonably requested by the policyholder. Appliances connected to an electrical supply should not be assumed to have effective earth protection or double-insulation.6 Policyholder contact – a staged approach Managing the customer contact process Communication with the policyholder throughout the life of a flood claim is an essential part of the claims process. A damage management company assists insurers and policyholders in establishing what needs to be done to rectify damage by an insured event (eg flooding of property) and to liaise with policyholders and with contractors that repair damage. a qualified electrician should be consulted . A contractor is usually a large building firm (which might also call itself a builder) that undertakes work to repair property. particularly buildings.

Managing the customer contact process 7 ESSENTIAL CLAIMS INFORMATION Name of the claimant Address of the damaged property Is the property being lived in? If the property is uninhabitable. Could there be risks of electrical shock from a neighbouring property? If the building’s electrics have been affected. If an electrician has already visited. sick or disabled occupants. insurance company. if so. how deep is it? If the water if more than 6 inches deep. telephone. semi-detached or terraced What rooms have been affected? To provide a general understanding of the scope of the damage What has been affected in the rooms? To provide a general understanding of the scope of the damage EC IM EN Telephone numbers of the claimant As many as possible. including contact numbers at temporary accommodation . was he qualified and has he left a report or lock-out certificate? What type of property is it? House. the temporary address of the claimant Preferred method of communication with the claimant For example. language difficulties. asthma sufferers. allergic responses to chemicals SP Is there still standing water in the property and. SMS text messaging or e-mail Insurance cover information ● Policy number ● Commencement date ● Expiry date ● Types of cover For example. bungalow or flat. standard or extra ● Excess on policy How much is it and how will it be collected? ● Claim reference number Date of flooding event Special circumstances of the claimants For example. has an electrician been called? Who will appoint an electrician – policyholder. elderly. buildings or contents or both. loss adjuster or damage management company. detached. young. it will need pumping out by the fire brigade or waiting until it subsides Is there any power in the property? Is the power isolated at the main or outside the property? Does the adjacent property have power.

Stage 3 – The initial visit to the policyholder (for example. it should be pumped out – if necessary by the fire brigade ● As many undamaged items as possible should be moved to higher levels or to upper storeys away from the floodwater. by a loss adjuster. Stage 2 – Communicating with the policyholder by a third party assigned to the claim (for example. otherwise by telephone – to the policyholder and advise him or her of their role in the claim process ● Where possible the policyholder should be given a named contact in each organisation that has a role in dealing with the claim and told who is responsible for appointing these named contacts ● The policyholder also should be given a telephone number and claim reference number for each of these contacts ● The third party should confirm the details of the policyholder – postal address details (in case they are in temporary accommodation). plaster. the card may be posted onto a wet floor. a contact card should be posted to them. or that telephones may have been disconnected.8 Managing the customer contact process ● If standing water is deep but outside water levels have subsided. by a loss adjuster or damage management company) ● Is the event covered under the terms of the insurance policy? If so. evenings and weekends ● If it is not possible to make contact with the policyholder within 24 hours of receiving the claim. and landline and mobile telephone numbers for daytime. Other possibilities may also be considered: that the occupant may have moved out. assistance company or damage management organisation) ● The third party should introduce themselves – preferably in person. the claim can be validated ● Fraudulent behaviour may be considered and any indicators checked ● The policyholder should be reassured that things will get better and their problems treated sympathetically ● The process for handling the policyholder’s claim should be explained ● The reasons for the processes used to dry the property should also be explained (eg removing wallpaper. and flooring to aid drying) .

contractor or damage management organisation) Maintaining regular contact will be appreciated by the policyholder. with contact numbers clearly shown ● They should be given a wallet or file that can be used to keep together all the documentation relating to the claim and repair processes. without using jargon ● An information leaflet should be left with the policyholder. This should be done on a weekly basis by visiting. Acceptance of the repair work by the policyholder verbally or in writing should not preclude additional work in the event of unforeseen problems arising later. and to update them on estimated completion dates. The policyholder should be asked if there are any outstanding problems or issues that need to be resolved. to confirm progress with the claim and with repair work. or by telephone. including information provided by all parties involved in these processes.Managing the customer contact process 9 ● The policyholder’s expectations of repair work should be established from the outset. Stage 4 – Keeping the policyholder updated (for example. including giving an indication of how long the process is likely to take ● The policyholder’s questions need to be answered clearly. Agreement should be sought by the contractor that the policyholder is satisfied with the work undertaken and there are no outstanding issues relating to the work they have undertaken. A process will normally be in place to deal with any outstanding concerns or the dissatisfaction of policyholder. and especially a quick-reference list of contact numbers. by a loss adjuster. Stage 5 – Completion of work by contractors Contractors and others involved in rehabilitation of the property should advise the policyholder when their work has been completed. This can be done by phone or in person but needs to be reinforced in writing. Stage 6 – Completion of the claim by the insurance company A final call should be made to the policyholder to confirm completion of the claim and that they are satisfied with the outcome. . claims handler.

but. . furnishings etc of a room (raising the relative humidity). The survey should relate to all parties involved with the claim. it will be retained there until it condenses on colder surfaces or is reabsorbed into the walls. contractor.environmentagency. Ventilation – opening windows. Arguably a combination of good ventilation with heat will produce the best results. but for the small extra drying effect produced by the heat it is doubtful that it could be said to be an economical floors. www. particularly in windless conditions. Heat. Only one survey should be carried out covering all these aspects to avoid the customer being bombarded with separate forms from each party. floors and furnishings. The survey should cover all aspects of the claim (ie communication – verbal and written – quality of work undertaken and overall impression) in respect of each service provider. replacement goods supplier etc involved in the remediation floodwarning EA’s Floodline tel 0845 988 1188. Drying out materials to very low moisture levels causes cracking. specialist restorer. cracking or loss of water content and still recover (eg timber). for example – is a more significant factor in removing water and moisture from a room. www. Sources of flood information for the property owner are: Environment Agency (EA) which provides comprehensive information on its web site www. if any ● the loss adjuster ● the EA’s flood warning service tel 0845 933 3111. but even that can take time. others cannot without the detrimental effect being potentially permanent (eg new cement or plaster). and while some materials can tolerate embrittlement. gov. that is: ● the insurance company ● the assistance carpet supplier. if maintained at high levels for long spells can have deleterious effects on materials used in buildings and furniture.10 Stage 7 – Feedback Managing the customer contact process After completion of building work and the claims process a customer satisfaction survey should be sent to the 826674 Frequently asked questions Why can’t I just go and hire some heaters to dry my property? Heat alone will not dry out the fabric of a property and its contents. A hot or warm atmosphere absorbs moisture from the walls. until the air and its moisture is carried away from the room. any damage management company. that is. moreover.

Where an efficient and effective drying programme has been installed the potential for mould growth is greatly reduced. The reduction in moisture content of wood to a natural and sustainable level of 20 to 22% within three weeks of saturation is an important step in preventing rot taking hold. Is my property dry. depending on the level of damage. The ultimate result of precipitate action could be failure of any new flooring material.Managing the customer contact process Should I turn my radiators on to dry the property? 11 The same applies with radiators as was explained in the answer to the previous question: they may have a small beneficial effect by themselves. Effective ventilation is a very important measure in drying out a building in a satisfactory time. In some cases. The cavity should be inspected as part of the drying survey. stale air cannot circulate. This gives the appearance of the material being dry which is deceptive since decisions made regarding reinstatement (eg applying a new floor covering) could be taken before the screed and substrate have dried out properly. If the moisture is removed quickly. Will the floodwater affect it? As soon as the water has subsided. A decision can then be made about the best method of remediation. because the screed floor looks nice and white? Within the first few hours of drying a certain amount of evaporation takes place from the surface whatever the degree of saturation within the material. an investigation will be made to identify the level of damage within the floor. If the insulation has degraded it might have to be removed. Mould only becomes a problem when conditions within the property become out of balance (eg following flooding) and in the corners of rooms where damp. Will the flood affect the insulation in my cavity? This depends on the depth of floodwater in the cavity and the type of construction. or dried in situ. I have underfloor heating. Mould growth normally commences 2 to 3 days after the building becomes wet. but more so when combined with ventilation. mould growth will not occur as the contributory factor in its growth has been removed. the underfloor can be successfully dried in situ. . How long will it take for mould to start to grow in my house after a flood? Mould spores will be found in most homes with no harmful effect. The depth of standing water in a property may not be a good guide to the level or height of moisture intrusion in the fabric.

12 .

This chapter provides a recommended template for a standard flood damage condition report. utilities. It provides a comprehensive summary of the findings of the professional at the time of first visit. The report is not meant to replace current insurer reporting requirements but should exist as a stand-alone document. insurance companies. contractors and householders and landlords to return conditions to their previous state (Courtesy of BDMA/DRL) . Flooding caused by extreme weather conditions and major infrastucture catastrophes will invariably have widespread effects and require harmonised efforts by central and local government. The first key element is the correct and consistent reporting of the scale of the problem.13 Chapter 4 Damage reporting and collecting the ‘right’ information This chapter provides recommendations for the information which should be collected at the earliest opportunity to ensure the correct application of skills and the degree of urgency required.

14 Damage reporting and collecting the ‘right’ information BUILDING CONDITION REPORT IN RESPECT OF FLOOD DAMAGE DATE OF FLOODING EVENT Address: IM General Name of building owner: Weather conditions at time of inspection: Surveyor: Age of building: EC SP Is English Heritage notification required? Type of construction: EN Claim ref: Project ref: Date of inspection: .

Damage reporting and collecting the ‘right’ information 15 Roof coverings Description: Condition and defects: Chimney stacks and flashings Description: Condition and defects: Surface water drainage Description: Condition and defects: Condition and defects: Condition and defects: Cellar or basement Description: SP Condition and defects: Ground floor Description: Condition and defects: First floor Description: Condition and defects: EC Main walls Description: IM Foul drainage Description: EN .

and plumbing and sanitary fittings Description: Electricity supply and electrical equipment Description: Gas supply and gas appliances Description: EC IM EN Condition and defects: .16 Damage reporting and collecting the ‘right’ information Internal partitions Description: Condition and defects: Fireplaces and chimney breasts Description: Ceilings Description: Condition and defects: Internal decoration Description: Condition and defects: Joinery Description: Condition and defects: SP Condition and defects: Condition and defects: Condition and defects: Water supply.

Damage reporting and collecting the ‘right’ information 17 Other information ● List of fixtures and fittings ● Evidence of previous or historic damage (ie stains. odour. cracking. peeling) ● Comments on maintenance defects not related to flood damage ● Height of flood level (eg indicated by staining) ● Date of event report ● Date of first contact by insurance representative ● Date of first attendance ● Date of start of remedial work and installation of drying programme ● Specific recommendations Surveyor’s or inspector’s signature: EC SP Disclaimer [A suitable disclaimer should also be included] IM Date: EN .

18 .

It is also recognised that there continue to be advances in drying technology which are the subject of continued discussion and debate between industry experts. In many cases of flood damaged buildings the most appropriate method to be used needs to be decided by the expert. typical equipment and methods of monitoring. but rather to provide a basic understanding of the methods and equipment available. drying out continues by removing waterlogged and damaged carpets. and with drying standards. It is not the intention of this guide to contribute to that debate.19 Chapter 5 A general guide to drying The following chapters provide an overview of some of the key technical issues involved in repairing flood damaged properties. Further detailed information is also available in the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) publication Flood damaged property [1] which complements this guide. methods of drying. with full knowledge and understanding of the facts and conditions. For this reason there has been no attempt to prescribe the most appropriate solution for any given circumstance. furniture and fittings – virtually everything in contact with water or moisture which is not part of the fabric of the building (Courtesy of BDMA/DRL) . After all standing water has subsided.

cause failure or damage to areas restored or repaired. construction materials or contents will not migrate or transfer to areas or surfaces which may promote mould growth. or compares favourably with areas not associated with the flood ● The moisture on and in the building materials will not support the growth of mould and mildew ● The levels of trapped or bound water within the building envelope.20 Minimum drying standards When can a building that has been affected by water be considered dry? The underlying principal that has guided the development of a minimum standard of drying effectiveness is that the moisture levels found in the property after the damage should be reduced to levels that existed before the flooding. The building materials and general structure of the property – floors. walls ceilings. ● The condition of internal construction materials is at or better than that normally considered acceptable. or damage to previously unaffected areas. they would be considered sufficient when the following have been achieved. doors etc – must be returned to their pre-flooding moisture condition. A general guide to drying . These criteria must be achieved before it can be accepted that drying equipment and services are no longer required.

A general guide to drying 21 Primary and secondary damage Primary damage is caused directly by floodwater penetrating building materials and components to the extent that they are permanently or temporarily affected and unable to maintain the functions for which they were designed or produced. Flood damaged property [1]. well maintained building has a low level of moisture held in the building structure – too low to support the growth of fungi. It is usually avoidable by prompt action following the flooding event. Additionally. . insurers will usually deal with this damage as part of the original claim. Drying advice and methods to avoid secondary damage are given also in CIRIA’s publication. as water evaporates from these wet materials it can travel as moisture in the air and be absorbed by other materials remote from the area initially affected. Damage from fungal growths is considered to be secondary damage and is avoided by early action. typically by the migration or movement of water or moisture from the initial flooded areas to areas clearly not previously affected. they become wet enough to support fungal growths and drying out is therefore essential. It is generally accepted that some growth will occur within 2 to 3 days of the building being affected by water. coupled with resultant high levels of humidity. After a flood event this balance is disturbed. and safely below levels that encourage growths. Secondary damage is caused after the initial flooding. A normal. When water soaks into a building and its materials. Most moulds and other forms of fungi do not grow in conditions where the moisture levels are in equilibrium throughout the property. Where secondary damage occurs and there has been no fault on the part of anyone involved.

they are generally prevented from becoming airborne. while wet. Clearance Before any building. but taking photographs. .22 Triage. Cleaning Floods of all types will bring into the home a variety of contaminants and. No attempt should be made to dry the building until all wet cleaning has been accomplished although starting to dry out upstairs areas by ventilation can be considered. Typically this is when obvious salvageable house contents are moved out of harm’s way in order of greatest value or significance. The following points should be considered. This must be seen as a first step. Damage inspection A general guide to drying Identifying the full extent of primary damage and possible secondary damage will provide the necessary information to undertake the following triage assessment. shovels may be a better choice. Simple personal protective equipment (PPE) will be needed to provide the required safe conditions where silts have already dried. Using garden hoses or power jetting can significantly speed this cleaning and contaminant removal operation. Removing perimeter floorboards to reduce the effects of swollen boards pressing against and damaging walls should also be considered. drying or restoration work can commence. but. clearance and cleaning The remediation phase after flooding should follow a common sense approach. It is therefore sensible to remove these contaminants while they are still wet together with the silt often associated with flooding. Triage assessment This is the assessment and planning of the most pressing actions required to mitigate or control the damage. the affected areas must be cleared to allow cleaning and decontamination. logging all actions and obtaining loss adjuster’s or insurer’s permission before disposing of insured damaged items are a necessary part of this process. where thick deposits are present. The outcome of triage usually requires action within the first few hours (the golden hours) after the floodwaters have receded. HSE Infoline 0845 345 0055 The whole area of health and safety is complex.23 Chapter 6 Health and safety in flood damage repair Health and Safety Executive: www. Guidance should be based on generic risk assessments (pages 25 to 33). instruction. and the following chapter serves simply to provide an aide-mémoire to the key issues involved.hse. Primary legal standards applicable Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 It is the employer’s duty to ensure health and safety of employees at work. .gov. as far as flood damage is concerned. in particular: ● to provide safe systems of work ● to provide training. supervision and information to ensure health and safety ● to provide arrangements for use. and to cooperate with the employer on health and safety measures. It is the employee’s duty to take reasonable care of themselves and others who may be affected by acts or omissions at work. transport and storage of articles and substances ● to ensure health and safety of others affected by the work. which specifically refer to: ● who might be harmed ● evaluation of risk ● preventive measures. Companies involved in the remediation process also owe a duty of care to the occupants of a building which is as great as their duty of care to individual employees.

or health and safety shortcomings. Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (PPE) It is the employer’s duty: ● to assess the risk of exposure to hazardous substances ● to avoid exposure (or. Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) It is the employer’s duty: ● to assess the risk of exposure to hazardous substances ● to avoid exposure (or. if not possible. Risk assessments also must specifically identify issues relating to confined spaces under the Confined Space Regulations 1997 and how appropriate measures should be implemented. control the levels of exposure) to hazardous substances by providing and maintaining PPE ● to provide protection to employees against exposure to risks which cannot be controlled by alternative means that are more or equally effective as PPE ● to provide information and training to employees for using PPE.24 Health and safety in flood damage repair Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 It is the employer’s duty: ● to carry out risk assessments ● to identify. and to notify the employer of serious and imminent danger. . control the levels of exposure) to hazardous substances. implement control and monitor preventive measures ● to provide information and training to employees ● to encourage coordination and cooperation between employees where the workplace is shared. It is the employee’s duty to work in accordance with training and information provided for health and safety. plan. if not possible.

employees. and monitoring to ensure that it is used where necessary and in the correct manner. followed by an effective programme of auditing and review of a representative sample of work. It should be recognised. Supervision is particularly important due to the often small numbers of workers (sometimes lone workers) on site and the transient nature of the work. Overall management of health and safety has to be achieved by verifying the competency of suppliers on health and safety matters when they are appointed. where required. There has to be adequate training in its use and maintenance. The responsibility for the management of health and safety on site has to remain with the individual organisations relative to the nature of their involvement with the claim. Even when generic assessments are deemed to provide satisfactory control of the hazards present. is an essential element of an effective management system. It is not sufficient to simply make PPE available. to carry out further site-specific risk assessments. by auditing documentation. though. It will always be necessary to assess general guidance against the unique circumstances at each work site and. The generic risk assessment identifies typical hazards. Implementation of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations is frequently employed as a control measure. Regular monitoring of compliance with health and safety by employees on site. .Health and safety in flood damage repair 25 General risk assessment processes The intention of this section is to provide general guidance to all parties involved in a flood claim situation. It is not possible for the insurance company or the loss adjuster or any other organisation to monitor health and safety issues remotely other than via the periodic audit and review arrangements mentioned above. Following this guidance will not guarantee full compliance with all health and safety regulations in all claims situations. and supervision of. risks and preventive actions. a record that this assessment has been undertaken must be made. that this is the method of last resort if a risk remains after all other options to eliminate or reduce it have been applied. All suppliers must have an effective system for providing training and information for.

Guidance on cleaning or disposing of contaminated PPE and on basic hygiene should be given to employees.ciria. Often for lone workers making short duration visits – such as loss adjusters – the provision of suitable washing facilities can be problematical. Consideration could be given to the inclusion of similar simple health and hygiene advice in documents (or other forms of communication) provided by insurers to their policyholders in connection with flood claims. The main objective should be to ensure a consistent. Guidance to the user of risk assessments is given in the immediately following pages. In large scale flood Providing appropriate welfare facilities for all people living and working on flood sites is also important to ensure that satisfactory standards of hygiene can be maintained. and. coordinated arrangements should be made to provide temporary washing facilities. When clean water is not immediately available.26 Health and safety in flood damage repair Asbestos. Where washing facilities are not available. in particular where found in decorative textured surface coatings. A good example would be the issue of Weil’s Disease information cards for employees who potentially may come into contact with the leptospirosis . This information is part of an initiative supported by the ABI. Draft forms for preparing a health and safety risk assessment are shown on pages 34 to 44. safe method of working for all involved in claims for and the repair of flooded property. Care must be taken to ensure workers have appropriate information and support on health related issues. It is important that public health experts are asked to assist with educating the general public in this area so that these and other fears are brought into perspective. with hot and cold running water. anti-bacterial wipes and similar products for cleaning hands should be provided. legally compliant. for the general public who are the victims of flooding. illness caused by the stress of being in a flood situation. It is widely recognised that the greatest risk to an individual’s safety is drowning in the floodwaters. The information provided on the CIRIA web site is one example of this type of education. Construction Industry Research and Information Association: www. is a problematical area since only licensed contractors are allowed to work on asbestos products. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) are currently investigating what best practice guidance can or should be given to its members. An agreed industry wide approach to handling claims involving asbestos is recommended. for shared use at the site. The health implications of contaminants in floodwater can often be misunderstood. a supply of disposable protective gloves and other PPE should be provided.

illness or loss Anything with the potential to cause harm or loss Probability that the hazard will cause harm or loss Amount of harm or loss that will (most probably) result Product of likelihood and severity Revised risk after application of existing controls Final risk after application of additional controls Employee Contractor Public Visitor . immediate first aid only or slight loss No or trivial injury.Health and safety in flood damage repair 27 Key to risk assessment user guide People at risk (P) – abbreviations Emp Con Pub Vis Definitions of risk Hazard Likelihood (L) Severity (S) Risk level Revised risk (RR) Final risk (FR) Severity ratings 5 4 3 2 1 Likelihood ratings 5 4 3 2 1 Risk levels 25 – 16 15 – 6 5–1 High Medium Low Immediate action to identify and implement control measures – work should stop if danger is imminent Action plan to identify or implement controls – time period commensurate with risk level (eg higher risk. shorter period) No action required Almost certain Likely Evens chance Unlikely Improbable Very high High Moderate Slight Negligible Death(s). permanent incapacity or widespread loss Major injury (notifiable category). severe incapacity or serious loss Injury. illness requiring three days or more absence (reportable category) or moderate loss Minor injury or illness.

and failure to identify water course location in general floodwater. falls and strikes by building materials Hazard identified Falls into open manholes.2) 10 Pre-visit enquiries to establish if electricity supply is isolated or not.1) 5 Emp 5 Con Pub Emp 4 Con Pub Emp 4 Con Pub Emp 3 Con Pub Emp 3 Con Pub 15 Existing general risk assessment process for employees visiting remote (eg previously unseen) premises 12 Existing general risk assessment process for employees visiting remote premises 12 Existing general risk assessment process for employees visiting remote premises 9 Identify as part of general risk assessment process (5. whether hidden by floodwater or not Trips over ground or building features hidden by floodwater P S L 3 R Existing controls Health and safety in flood damage repair RR Any additional controls required FR (5. entrapment.28 Slips. Factors can include. Risk also applies to driving (eg by entering floodwater en route to destination) P S L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required FR (5.2) 6 (3. fast flowing or rising water.1) 4 3 (3. otherwise boots with slip resistant soles to be worn None 3 (4.1) 3 (3. unconsciousness.2) 10 Entering floodwater to be avoided unless the ground or route details are known with certainty (4. Occupants to be similarly advised Key Emp – Con – Pub – Vis – Employee Contractor Public Visitor P– S– L– R– People at risk Severity Likelihood Risk level RR – Revised risk FR – Final risk .2) 10 Careful consideration of location with regard to this hazard. deep water.1) 4 3 (4. trips.1) 3 3 9 Existing general risk assessment process for employees visiting remote premises (3.1) 4 Floor areas to be avoided if structural integrity not certain Building and building fabric to be made safe before entering potential collapse zone Areas of potential slipperiness to be avoided.1) 3 Drowning Hazard identified Potential for drowning in floodwater. for example. Building containing floodwater not to be entered nor appliances to be touched until isolation of electricity supply is confirmed.1) 5 Emp 5 Con Pub 15 Existing general risk assessment process for employees visiting remote premises (5. trenches etc hidden by floodwater Falls through wooden floors made structurally unsound by water damage Being hit by falling building materials or components (eg ceilings made structurally unsound by water damage Slipping on wet or slippery surfaces.1) 4 (4.1) 5 Emp 5 Con Pub 15 Existing general risk assessment process for employees visiting remote premises (5. Entering floodwater where these potential hazards exist is not advised Electrocution Hazard identified Electrocution due to earthing of live electrical apparatus via floodwater or wet surfaces P S L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required FR (5.

material randomly on the ground surfaces (eg dog and animal fouling etc).3) 12 Pre-visit review should be carried (4. Typical diseases and conditions are listed on next page P S L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required FR (4. coveralls and disposable nitrile gloves should be worn to protect from minor splashes (4. confined spaces. ● Avoiding direct contact with floodwater ● Wearing PPE (eg coveralls. are given on next page biological . Wellington boots. petroleum and diesel fuel. page 32.1) 4 Emp 4 Con Pub 12 The existing risk assessment process may be used to identify obvious visible evidence or odours of sewage in floodwater. agricultural or other sources. between equipment. Normally it will not be possible to detect contamination due to hazardous biological agents (4. floodwater should be prevented from contacting skin directly or by wetting of clothing.Health and safety in flood damage repair 29 Hazardous substances – chemical Hazard identified Potential contamination of floodwater with wide variety of unidentified hazardous chemicals (eg fertilisers. and precautions. including preventing cross-contamination. gloves and wellington boots) ● Not smoking (table. and fire and explosion are also relevant) (4. files and paperwork) and contamination of other environments. (Controls described in tables for biological substances. including unclean buildings) ● Protecting wounds with waterproof dressings ● Preventing cross-contamination (eg. and maintaining personal hygiene during handling. on fire and explosion also applies) ● Not eating in contaminated areas or before washing to prevent ingestion of bacteria etc ● Good personal hygiene (eg washing hands and face as soon as possible after encountering contamination.1) 4 out to establish if flood zone has involved leakage of chemicals from any industrial. The following. local authority or fire services to be contacted for information. or transferring information to clean paper. should apply.3) 12 Same as for controls described above (4. However it may not be possible to detect contaminants in all cases. Typical viral or bacterial infections and associated symptoms. In general.3) 12 It must always be assumed that floodwater from external sources (ie not from building’s clean water supply) will be contaminated. Environment Agency. their advice to be followed where significant escape of hazardous chemicals is confirmed. ‘DIY’ chemicals found in homes.1) 4 Other hazardous substances made by mixing chemicals with floodwater Emp 4 Con Pub 3 12 Same as for controls described above Hazardous substances – biological Hazard identified General contamination of floodwater with wide variety of unidentified hazardous biological agents (eg viral and bacterial) typically from sewage or contamination normally found in water courses (eg bacteria that cause Weil’s Disease) but also floodwater (even localised) in contact with contamination from other sources of waste. For large scale flooding. then. etc) P S L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required FR Emp 4 Con Pub 12 Existing risk assessment procedures may lead to detecting some chemicals by smell or by observation of slicks etc on water surface. Avoidance of contact with chemicals is a primary objective since hazardous nature and concentration or dilution of chemicals is impossible to predict and PPE will provide only basic protection. and disinfecting equipment ● Washing PPE (or throwing away if disposable).

treatment should be sought as soon as possible. vomiting Tetanus. causing organ damage and jaundice. this appears to be limited to the Hepatitis A and E viruses (though E is not common in the UK) which are spread by contact and ingestion of water contaminated with infected faeces. weakness. (3. especially of rats. If initial symptoms are suspected as being related to contact with the bacteria. even if personal programme of injections is up-to-date. and nausea when lying down) ● Later and more serious symptoms are anaemia. tetanus can be fatal Emp 5 Con Pub 3 15 As shown above (5. Leptospirosis bacteria are transmitted to fresh water (salt water kills them) from animal urine. Caused by various forms of bacteria in floodwater Emp 3 Con Pub 2 6 As shown above Emp 3 Con Pub 3 9 As shown above (3. Incubation period of infection 2 – 6 weeks.1) 4 earlier in table) should be followed. not just foul drains.1) 3 Many patients have no symptoms. Symptoms appear 2 – 21 days after infection as stiff muscles near the wound followed by stiffening of jaw until locked in position. frequent and painful fits and muscle spasms. chills.1) 3 Hepatitis. sore eyes and jaundice.3) 12 Additional controls (as shown (4. muscular aches and pains. avoiding contact with water or wet surfaces. Caused by a bacterium entering the body via a wound. Although rare in the UK due to immunisation programme. C and D are spread by contact with infected blood or body fluids only) Gastroenteritis.30 Hazardous substances – biological (cont) Hazard identified P S L R Existing controls Health and safety in flood damage repair RR Any additional controls required If symptoms occur following contact with contaminated floodwater. nosebleeds. it can be fatal. Symptoms include tiredness. nausea. some feel off-colour for a few days. (Hepatitis B. They are very common in water courses of all kinds. or by direct contact of nose or mouth with infected water Emp 4 Con Pub 3 12 The existing risk assessment process may be used to identify obvious visible evidence or odours of sewage in floodwater. vomiting and discomfort on the right side of the upper abdomen (region of the liver) (3. ● Onset of symptoms is rapid after the infection event (4 – 10 days) ● Initial symptoms are similar to those for cold or influenza (eg fever. bruising of skin. focussing on disinfecting and protecting cuts and wounds. a doctor should be consulted and the health and safety officer be notified FR Weil’s disease is a serious but less common form of leptospirosis infections. muscle pains and headaches followed by loss of appetite. some feel off-colour for a few days. Many leptospirosis infections do not become so serious though all require prompt treatment. nausea. Immunisation against the disease is commonly available at GP surgeries and hospitals . Features of infection are as follows.2) 10 Additional controls generally as (5. In relation to floodwater risks. Normally it will not be possible to detect contamination due to hazardous biological agents (4. weakness. loss of appetite. muscle pains and headaches followed by loss of appetite. Anti-tetanus injection may be given. Many patients have no symptoms. Full symptoms include tiredness.3) 9 Additional controls as above. advising the doctor that leptospirosis infection is suspected (3.1) 5 above.2) 6 Additional controls as above. Infection is usually through cuts.

If work requires cleaning and disturbance of mould.1) 5 to identify potential hazard areas entered unless it is certain that atmosphere is free from toxic gases and vapours.2) 10 Suspect areas should not be (5. Odour will not always be present to provide warning – in particular caution should be exercised in areas that appear to have had no ventilation for some time. minimising the risk of airborne fibres although waterborne spread could occur.1)4 Emp 4 Con Pub 12 Existing risk assessment process (4. this must be carried out by trained personnel in compliance with a specific risk assessment and guidance note so that unprotected individuals are not exposed. respiratory irritation.Health and safety in flood damage repair 31 Hazardous substances – biological (cont) Hazard identified Moulds are a type of fungus that can develop on wet building materials given specific conditions. Advisable that arrangements should be made for ventilation before entry Asbestos Hazard identified Asbestos fibres from asbestos-containing building products may be liberated when these products are damaged by floodwater P S L 3 R 9 Existing controls Existing specific asbestos procedures RR (3. Typically this would be a cellar. Spores from moulds can cause allergic reactions.1) 3 Any additional controls required FR Emp 3 Con Pub Damaged asbestos-containing (3.2) 8 should lead to visual identification of mould Confined spaces and asphyxiation Hazard identified In addition to drowning risks it is also possible that toxic gases or vapours produced from floodwater borne chemicals could be present in confined spaces. Gases and vapours may be toxic in their own right or may have displaced the air required for normal respiration.1) 3 materials (ACMs) will usually be wet. but also any enclosed space where there is little or no ventilation. Mechanical drying or ventilation of contaminated areas should not be attempted until damaged ACMs have been identified and removed for disposal by competent operatives Key Emp – Con – Pub – Vis – Employee Contractor Public Visitor P– S– L– R– People at risk Severity Likelihood Risk level RR – Revised risk FR – Final risk . Unconsciousness (see also drowning) or asphyxiation could result P S L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required FR Emp 5 Con Pub 15 Existing risk assessment process (5. particularly ensuring that spores are not disturbed that would lead to inhalation or skin contact. skin or eye irritation. People with pre-existing conditions of this type are particularly vulnerable. Some toxic strains of mould can cause more significant ill health problems P S L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required Areas of mould should be avoided. though this will not include locations where wet conditions have been left untreated for some time (usually well in excess of 3 days) FR (4. In most cases mould will not have developed at the time of early initial visits.

1) 4 in table on electrocution (page 28) Additional hazards introduced by working processes Hazard identified Chemical substances used for cleaning. To prevent fire or explosion. Arrangements should be made for safe ventilation and dissipation of vapours as soon as possible 5.1) 3 None (3. Areas that appear to have had no ventilation for some time should be treated particularly carefully. it is possible that gas supply pipes may have been damaged causing gas leakage with the risk of explosion Emp 5 Con Pub 2 10 During existing risk assessment process. no naked lights and no activation of electrical equipment (including mobile phones) which may cause sparks should be allowed. solvents etc).1) 4 None (4. and not run across access points and routes 16 All work to be carried out in compliance with manual handling risk assessment and guidance note. All operatives employed on restoration work to be trained in safe practices (3. no smoking.1) 3 Emp 3 Con Pub Vis Emp 4 Con Pub Vis Emp 3 Con Pub Vis Electric shock from appliances for drying and dehumidifying.1) 4 None (4.1) 3 Any additional controls required None FR (3.1) 5 If flooding has caused structural damage. Only trained personnel should use hazardous materials All electrical equipment must be PAT tested on site immediately prior to installation RR (3. These may collect in enclosed spaces in sufficient concentrations to be ignited by naked flames or sparks. disinfecting etc P S L 3 R 9 Existing controls Individual COSHH assessments and guidance notes or work instructions for each chemical.2) 10 an identifiable odour – existing risk assessment process can be used to identify potential hazard Areas of suspected flammability (5. including extension leads Risk of tripping over trailing cables and extension leads 2 8 (4. Gas supply company should be contacted urgently Short circuiting electrical apparatus may also cause fires Emp 4 Con Pub 2 8 Same as for controls described (4. detection of gas must be exercised with vigilance (5. Leads to be kept to minimum lengths. pumping equipment etc) Con Pub Vis 4 4 (4.32 Fire and explosion Hazard identified The risks may be similar to those described in the table on biological substances (pages 29 – 31) where flammable vapours or gases may be present from floodwater borne chemicals (eg petrol. no smoking. no naked lights and no naked lights and no activation of electrical equipment (including mobile phones) which may cause sparks should be allowed.1) 5 should be avoided unless it is certain that atmosphere is free from flammable gases and vapours. To prevent fire or explosion. P S L 3 R Existing controls Health and safety in flood damage repair RR Any additional controls required FR Emp 5 Con Pub 15 Many flammable vapours will have (5.1) 4 in table on electrocution (page 28) Same as for controls described (4.2) 10 Areas suspected of damage should be kept well clear of.1) 4 .1) 3 Manual handling (eg of waste materials.1) 4 4 12 Cables to be run at high level or taped to floors for complete lengths.

Open skips must be removed by end of each working day.1) 5 gases and vapours in the air should not be entered.Health and safety in flood damage repair 33 Additional hazards introduced by working processes (cont) Hazard identified When confined spaces (eg underfloor voids) are decontaminated following flooding.2) 6 Site cleanliness is vital. Work should comply with specific risk assessment and guidance for the activity and space available. toxic gases and vapours may be produced from floodwater borne chemicals or for chemicals used for decontamination to present a hazard. Saturated home contents (eg carpets and soft furnishings) must not be stored in gardens overnight.1) 3 notes for the specific work activities should be complied with. (3. Waste materials and contents can represent a significant hazard P Con S 5 L 3 R Existing controls RR Any additional controls required FR 15 Existing general risk assessment process to be used to identify potential hazardous areas (5. Reinstatement work. but also any enclosed space where there is little or no ventilation. Only personnel trained in confined space working should carry out decontamination and repair work (3. if left on site overnight.Odours will not always be present to provide warnings and particular caution should be taken where areas appear to have had no ventilation for some time. Typically this might happen in a cellar. waste must only be transported by companies holding valid certificate issued by the local enforcing authority Key Emp – Con – Pub – Vis – Employee Contractor Public Visitor P– S– L– R– People at risk Severity Likelihood Risk level RR – Revised risk FR – Final risk . can be hazardous. by its nature. Whatever method is used. possibly requiring elements of the building fabric to be removed and replaced (eg floorboards or plaster from walls) Disposal of flood affected property and general waste. Arrangements should be made for ventilation before entry. Materials can be carried away from site in vehicles or placed in skips delivered to site. Skips. must have lockable lids and must be secured when not being used.2) 6 Risk assessments and guidance (3. (3.1) 3 Waste must not be allowed to accumulate and must be removed from site at the end of each working day.2) 10 Areas suspected of having toxic (5. All personnel carrying out work at the site should be trained to relevant safety standards Emp 3 Con Pub Vis 4 12 People not involved with the specific work activities should be excluded from the work area while operations are underway. Work areas must be made safe against unauthorised access when no one is working on site Con Pub Vis 3 4 12 All waste must be disposed of in compliance with the relevant regulations. Gases and vapours may be toxic in their own right or may have displaced the air required for normal respiration Stripping out and reinstatement of affected materials.


safety and welfare of all those involved in damage remedial work or visiting the site. gas and oil installations. and redecoration. and of the general public and building occupants. cleaning and maintenance operations. to enable them to adequately control any known hazards or specific requirements. EC IM EN . boiler servicing and repairs etc.Health and safety in flood damage repair 35 PROJECT OVERVIEW The project comprises various works to individual properties to achieve a like-for-like reinstatement following flooding. no accidents or incidents occur to any person employed on or visiting the site. The project manager’s schedule outlines the scope of these works. wall plasters and finishes. occupation. Construction phase health and safety plan The construction phase health and safety plan developed by the appointed contractor must adequately address all the hazards and specific requirements for safety concerned with this project. This is to ensure – as far as is reasonably practicable – the health. electrical. OBJECTIVES FOR THIS REINSTATEMENT PROJECT Health and safety It is the employer’s policy to ensure that. Generally the work comprises replacing timber flooring. and to reduce accidents during contract. so far as is reasonably practicable. SP Pre-construction health and safety plan The pre-construction health and safety plan is provided to give the contractor accurate information and instruction for all people engaged on the project. kitchen units etc. skirtings.

Carchester 100 Lock Road. Farmington FR1 10YZ Central Midlands Area Office.36 Health and safety in flood damage repair NATURE OF THE PROJECT CDM client: UK Insurance Company CDM client’s agent: ABC Insurance Services Policyholder: Mr and Mrs J Smith Project Administrator: (and address) Mr K Fisher. W A Frensham & Co. 21–30 Parkway Road. 11–20 Downs Street. Angforth-by-Sea RE50 0XY Planning Supervisor: (and address) Health & Safety Executive area office: SP Description of the works: Timescale for works: Site location: Property and site description: EC IM Mr A Shepherd. Ken Fisher Insurance Services. 1–10 Frobisher Road. Marsham Thatchett. Lowlandshire Semi-detached house in residential location Repair and reinstatement following flood damage Anticipated 12 weeks. commencing March 2006 EN .

The positioning must not cause hazard by obstruction to vehicles or pedestrians. Ground conditions A ground condition survey is not considered necessary for these works. It must be assumed that the floodwater contained contaminants and that they will be present in the property. with the help of the service provider. Anyone who could come into contact with electrical currents should wear rubber soled footwear and. These areas to be agreed with the property owner. However. since. as a result. However the structures. if possible. fault paths could be found via any metallic conductor or water-saturated surface. must verify the condition of every service before starting work to ensure it has not been interfered with and is not in a dangerous condition. insulating gloves. All those working on the site. Access is by a concrete drive to the front of the property. the contractor. EC IM EN . or have infiltrated the cavities and under floors. The property does not have listed status. However. The contractor should ensure that these permissions are obtained. Council permission will be required for any skips that are to be positioned on the highway.Health and safety in flood damage repair 37 EXISTING ENVIRONMENT Surrounding land uses and related restrictions The house is situated in a quiet residential area with no known restrictions. There is adequate space for material set down and storage. must be considered contaminated by absorption. and all other people who need to know and are likely to be affected by the works must be notified. The contractor should exercise extreme caution with the testing and subsequent reinstatement of all forms of power. The contractor should ensure adequate and appropriate PPE is available and used against any contamination hazard. SP Services and utilities The position of any underground services is not known and the contractor should make the necessary enquiries to determine service runs. The human body is a good conductor. Hazards in structures There are no known hazardous materials in the existing construction. nor lie within any conservation area. especially the electrical supply. Isolation of any service will be advised by the service provider to all appropriate people and those who need to know. Traffic systems and restrictions The property is located in a residential road. There are no specific parking restrictions immediately outside the house. limited set down will apply to the public highway. in the case of faulty installation. The contractor must note the location of any overhead lines – if necessary helped by individual service providers – before commencing works.

SP EC IM EN .38 Health and safety in flood damage repair EXISTING DRAWINGS AND INFORMATION There are no drawings or construction details for the building.

Health and safety in flood damage repair 39 DESIGN OF THE REPAIR WORK Significant hazards (including health hazards) identified by the designer The designer must also apply the hierarchy of risk control and avoid all foreseeable risks. General requirements for consideration of health and safety are contained within the Preliminaries and Specification documents. leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease is an acute form) and salmonella poisoning are all implicated with floodwater. gas and plumbing systems have been damaged. and providing appropriate PPE. demolition and drilling will create high levels of building dust and debris. Special precautions must be specified by the designer when dealing with significant hazards including: deep. EC The principles of the structural design and required work sequences The contractor should follow an agreed method statement for replacing the electrical. with work sequences using safe working practices. site workers and visitors. IM EN . These works should not restrict access to the property. welfare facilities and information to occupiers. The electrical. gas and plumbing installations. possibly involving sewage. Heavy flood damage has occurred and precautions are to be taken in the event of contamination. The property has suffered heavy flood damage. SP Specific problems and issues Breaking out. Hepatitis A. and by damping down airborne dust. saw cutting. stagnant or contaminated water temporary support (eg propping) asbestos or hazardous substances making safe and repairing gas installations flammable products making safe and repairing electrical installations low light levels any other designed works that create a scaffolding access to external elevations significant hazard. The contractor must take appropriate precautions against the risks of contracting these diseases including making arrangements for good personal hygiene. Appropriate precautions should be taken by providing equipment and training for using PPE. These systems will need to be made safe.

40 Health and safety in flood damage repair CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND PLANT SP EC IM Precautions are to be taken by providing appropriate PPE and training employees in its use. stone and concrete electrical cabling and equipment sparks from steel cutting equipment gas pipework and appliances. EN In respect of the proposed works. In respect of the proposed works. stored. prepared. All materials and products should be handled. the contractor’s attention is drawn to the possible hazards in operations with the following plant and equipment: electrical equipment compressed air equipment petrol and diesel generators mixers vibration and noise from plant and hand held tools. fixed and used in accordance with their manufacturers’ instructions and recommendations. products and waste products: plaster cement/concrete paint dust when disc cutting (or processing) masonry. . the contractor’s attention is drawn to the possible hazards in using the following materials.

These routes are to be kept free of obstructions by vehicles. Their approval should be obtained in advance. the contractor will need to make arrangements for the availability of water. However. materials. Set down and storage must not impinge on the access unless agreed with the respective parties. electric and toilet facilities. skips etc. for example. Unloading. Any restriction in these routes is to be agreed with the project administrator.Health and safety in flood damage repair 41 SITE-WIDE ELEMENTS Positioning of site access and exit points Access and exit points to and from the site should be via the front garden or driveway unless. SP Vehicle and pedestrian routes Existing vehicle and pedestrian access routes are to be maintained. EC IM EN . safety issues determine another arrangement. layout and storage areas Setting down of materials and skips should be on the the front road with subsequent storage on site to be agreed with the project administrator. homeowner and local authority. Any use of domestic facilities will need to be agreed with the homeowner. Site accommodation The site/property will be not be occupied and the security of the building will be vested in the contractor during the works.

Repair work will be the responsibility of the contractor. SP EC IM EN .42 Health and safety in flood damage repair RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WORKING AREA The property will not be occupied by the homeowner/policyholder.

and reported as required by HSE. by the contractor in accordance with current legislation. however minor. Serious injuries must be recorded on site. EC IM People working on the site All persons working on site are deemed to have adequate skills and training to undertake their work task in a correct and safe manner. Safety equipment Appropriate safety equipment should be provided. An accidents book should be kept on site and all accidents and incidents. EN . and its use stipulated.Health and safety in flood damage repair 43 SITE RULES General rules The Preliminaries and Specification document gives general requirements for the conduct of the contractors while on site. recorded in the book. SP Accidents and first aid The contractor must ensure that a qualified first aider is on site during work and that a suitable first aid kit is always maintained at the site.

On completion of the remedial works. including information on operation and maintenance. SP Project goals The health and safety plan is provided to help prevent injury and damage to people and property. the contractor will provide the Planning Supervisor with: product information on the materials used NICEIC certificate CORGI certificate Copies of equipment manufacturers’ literature. EC Information required for the health and safety file The contractor should provide information to the Planning Supervisor for the health and safety file in accordance with guidance given in HSE Construction Sheet 44. The contractor is required to adopt measures for preventing accidents and to monitor the effectiveness of. or increases hazard levels as a result of unforeseen circumstances. IM EN .44 Health and safety in flood damage repair CONTINUING LIAISON Liaison with the Planning Supervisor Any proposed change that affects the design or works. should be immediately notified (with advice on health and safety implications) to the Planning Supervisor for coordination and recording in the health and safety file. and compliance with. the measures through the health and safety plan.

These substances are called desiccants and are capable of extracting moisture directly from the atmosphere. .45 Chapter 7 Equipment for drying buildings There are several different methods of drying buildings and it follows that there are different types of equipment that can be used. Types of dehumidifier There are essentially two ways of accomplishing dehumidification of atmospheric air. vacuum drying and ‘open and closed’ systems. This chapter is not intended to provide a comprehensive guide to all available types of equipment but to highlight two methods – dehumidification and convection drying. heat exchangers. ● By chilling air to below its dewpoint causing moisture to condense on cool surfaces ● By passing air over substances that have an affinity for moisture. Other methods include heat transfer.

is chilled by refrigeration when it has been cooled sufficiently to bring its condition to saturation. this ratio is called coefficient of performance. In a typical refrigeration unit this condensation occurs directly onto a finned cooling tube. So high. Desiccant dehumidifiers The desiccant dehumidifier uses a drying wheel that is impregnated with an adsorbent substance such as silica gel. has preheated air drawn through it in the opposite direction. The optimum operating range of the desiccant dehumidifier is 0 to 25 °C and 40 to 90% RH. is sectioned off into two zones. The actual cooling effect or energy extracted can be several times greater than the energy input required to operate the system. This air is then reheated as it passes through the dehumidifier which. ● A working zone in which the air that requires drying is drawn through the honey comb structure and adsorbs the moisture within the air stream ● A second zone. so as the wheel moves from the reactivation zone it is and warm and dry and ready to accept more moisture. Air. which has a honeycomb structure. . The wheel. reduces the relative humidity.46 Refrigerant dehumidifiers Equipment for drying buildings Using refrigeration to remove moisture from the atmosphere is a common method for dehumidifying air. in turn. in fact. In its final dehumidified condition the air is considerably cooler and contains less moisture but it is still nearly saturated with a relative humidity of close to 100%. The moisture held by the desiccant is then absorbed by the air and driven off as a warm wet vapour. Drying by using mechanical refrigeration can be quite efficient depending on the prevailing temperature and relative humidity (RH). and is collected and drained away. The wheel rotates within the unit at 8 to 10 revolutions per hour. Further cooling causes moisture to condense. which is usually called the reactivation zone. that it can draw moisture from the surrounding air. at its initial temperature and moisture content. The best operating range for a refrigeration dehumidifier is 15 to 28 °C and 60 to 98% RH. A desiccant is a substance characteristically having a high affinity for absorbing water without changing its chemical composition.

The key to successful convection drying is to match the incoming dry air water capacity with the evaporated moisture caused by heating. convection drying uses three factors of drying – air movement. More technically. but it is beyond the scope of this document to comment on these. including air. convection drying is where the wet (high specific humidity) air within the flood affected area is replaced with drier air (lower specific humidity). . This can be accomplished simply by heating incoming air.Equipment for drying buildings 47 Convection drying As an alternative to dehumidifiers. and to remove it quickly before it condenses on surfaces or is adsorbed by hygroscopic materials. by changing its chemical or physical composition. this reduces its relative humidity and results in a more hygroscopic (or drier) air which is able then to carry away the moisture generated from evaporation. Manufacturers and users of this method claim some key benefits over dehumidifiers. which will in any event be understood by a technically competent person. all combined with continual air changes. raised air temperature and very low moisture content. A hygroscopic material is one that is able to abstract moisture from its surroundings.

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air changes to carry away moisture-laden air.49 Chapter 8 Methods of drying buildings The process of drying a flood damaged property is fundamental to its permanent restoration. Whatever type of drying or dehumidification process is used it will depend on heat to aid evaporation. amounts of water in the air and absorbed by materials. These inputs will be factored into the process in varying combinations depending on ambient temperature. and air speed. Establishing a drying programme A drying programme needs to be controlled and monitored to ensure an optimum rate of evaporation (ie the maximum safe rate of drying that allows wet materials and products to return to their former dimensions and colours). standing water in buildings must be allowed to subside or be pumped away (Courtesy of BDMA/HDRS) . or convection drying methods. room temperature. The collection system can be a simple refrigerant or desiccant dehumidifier. This chapter provides a high level view of the issues connected with the drying process. Before drying operations can start. and air movement to transfer wet surface or boundary moisture into collection systems.

its representative or the property manager make a decision about drying out the property? For example. the insured and building occupants (eg tenants)? ● How quickly can the insurer. and levels of cooperation between. Methods for drying buildings . The various factors that contribute to moisture in the air and in materials. and how they interact. ● Can the building be sealed? ● Is the building’s heating or air conditioning system available to use? ● What is the condition of the property’s electrical system? ● What types of material are being dried? ● How long were materials under water? ● What was the depth of flooding? ● What type of equipment will be used for the drying process? ● What are the outside weather conditions? ● What are the attitudes of. are explained in Understanding dampness [2].50 There are a number of questions that need answers before establishing a drying programme. There are some general rules of thumb that may be used. are there issues of insurance cover which need first to be resolved? ● What is the overall condition of the fabric of the property? ● Is the property at risk of re-flooding? ● Is there any trapped interstitial moisture (ie moisture trapped in insulated floors or walls)? As a result of considering the answers to these questions there are a number of ways that a property can be dried.

principally: ● speed of air movement ● ambient and room air temperatures ● air moisture content (which is related to air temperature). bricks and blocks in walls. and are best left to technical experts. The more floodwater that can be removed at this stage. All these factors are important in the evaporation process. often involving detailed calculations. If the water has not subsided of its own accord. . the less that has to removed by the drying processes. The water remaining in the property should be confined to building components and materials – wood and concrete in floors. When as much standing water as possible has been taken away. and at a suitable temperature. Other factors are also important such as the moisture content of materials. Pumping is. in fact anything that can hold water or delay the process of drying (eg carpets. they can be adjusted during the process to get the maximum drying capacity by a trained and skilled drying technician. and Welsh dressers hard against walls). it must be combined with a suitable number of ‘air movers’. for instance. a very fast method of removing large volumes of standing water from a building. permeability of surfaces and the presence of moisture barriers.Methods for drying buildings 51 Key factors in the drying process To a great extent the efficiency and speed of a drying programme will depend on the effectiveness of any operation to remove floodwater that remains in the property. of course. Whatever type of dehumidification is used. There are different ways of deciding which type of equipment to use. The drying process involves a number of criteria. and how many pieces of equipment to employ. Portable furniture should be removed. other means will need to be found for removing it (eg pumping – the sort of service provided by local fire services). a programme of drying can start. These decisions and processes are relatively complex.

this can be done when drying has commenced. It will identify equipment malfunction but. Common problems The most important aspect to look at is the possibility of trapped moisture within the structure. provide information on the effectiveness and speed of drying thereby allowing for manipulation of the process in terms of equipment. The most likely areas for trapped moisture are within insulated floors and cavities in walls. or increased or reduced in number. to ensure that effectiveness and speed are maximised. but the problem can occur in other areas – in fact it can be any location where evaporation of excess moisture is restricted or prevented because of the lack of permeability of the materials surrounding the affected area. Methods for drying buildings High temperatures Higher temperatures can be used in certain circumstances in order to dry the property by evaporation but is made considerably more effective with ventilation. Monitoring records should be taken and retained for inspection. temperature management must normally be combined with other mechanisms such as control of vapour pressure. . It is to be expected that some vulnerable materials will warp or shrink if they are not dried in equilibrium to the local environment.52 Importance of monitoring Monitoring the drying process provides the technician with valuable information about the condition and state of an installed drying programme. most importantly. and how they are used and monitored. Vulnerable materials The ideal conditions for drying will depend on the nature of the property and on the equipment selected. equipment will need to be adjusted. During monitoring visits. and allows for alteration and re-focussing of drying criteria. In most circumstances the ideal drying conditions should be held at approximately 40 to 50% relative humidity with temperatures at 18 to 23 °C. Surface coatings and impermeable membranes can inhibit the release of moisture and slow the drying process. For effective drying.

Obtaining accurate moisture meter readings is rarely easy. The accepted RH for mould growth is 60% RH. The most widely used are hygrometers. It also presents examples of a completion report covering repair work to the building for inclusion with a building user’s manual and a report for a Home Information Pack. The importance of undertaking this exercise is to ensure that the best drying conditions are achieved which in turn allow an optimum evaporation process to take place and are also critical in insuring that secondary damage doesn’t occur. Monitoring equipment There are many different types of proprietary equipment available [2] and different methods used to measure both air conditions and the material equilibrium moisture levels. This instrument measures both temperature and relative humidity (RH). Other equipment also includes infrared thermal topography. resistance (or conductance) meters and calcium carbide meters.53 Chapter 9 Monitoring the drying process This chapter reviews methods for monitoring the drying process. but can be as high as 70%. Relative humidity exceeding certain levels could promote mould growth. ultimately leading to a certificate of drying which is considered an essential part of the restoration programme. Hygrometers To measure air conditions a thermal hygrometer should be used. .

Ideally. This means that the materials will not conduct electricity in their dry state – they have high resistance. but whatever meter is chosen. There are many different resistance meters available. The greater the amount of moisture in the material the easier it becomes to conduct electricity. The sample of the material is obtained using a drill.54 Resistance meters Monitoring the drying process The dry condition of many materials (eg wood. A review of testing for moisture in materials [3]. Further information on different methods for testing both air and material moisture levels is given in the CIRIA publication. takes readings that are as accurate as can be obtained and then interprets them correctly. Certificate of drying Presenting a certificate of drying to the property owner is recommended when drying operations have been completed. It is then weighed and inserted into the calcium carbide meter. Therefore the measurement of electrical resistance is an indicator of moisture content in the material. BDMA members are entitled to use the Association’s recommended wording provided they adopt its agreed standards and protocols. bricks and concrete) acts as an insulator. It is prudent for suppliers of all kinds to agree specific warrantee and guarantee wordings with their liability insurers to avoid later misunderstandings. only a technically competent person should issue the certificate. The resulting test provides a quantitative assessment of moisture content as a percentage of the wet weight of the drilled material. . Calcium carbide moisture measurement method The calcium carbide. the most important factor is that it is used by a person who is fully trained and understands how to operate it. Shown on the opposite page is a form of words for a certificate of drying based on British Damage Management Association (BDMA) wording. The calcium carbide powder is added ensuring that both the test material and the calcium carbide do not mix before the tester is sealed. it is good practice and ultimately removes uncertainty about responsibility for the resulting condition of the property. if there were to be any unresolved issues. pressure based measurement method is a test where the free water in a sample is converted to an acetylene gas by mixing the sample with calcium carbide. A certificate should be included in any building user’s manual which exists. As moisture is introduced into a material it increases its conductivity and allows a small electric current to pass through it.

or better than. normal room conditions . or representative of the customer. when: the moisture on and in the building materials will not support active growth of mould and mildew. EC Date contractor completed drying works: IM EN the internal conditions are at. following water damage. has provided relevant information relating to the history of the property and in particular any previous problems with dampness or water damage events. in the opinion of the contractor. It has been assumed by the contractor that the customer. completed in accordance with agreed good practice which states that a building may be considered dry.Monitoring the drying process 55 CERTIFICATE OF DRYING The damage management contractor certifies that drying works required as a result of the event at the property and carried out by the contractor are now. SP This certificate does not cover pre-event dampness or water damage. and that these are listed below together with any apparent signs of such matters observed by the contractor (who has not carried out a full survey of the property). Property at which event occurred: Customer name: Type of event: Contractor reference number: Date of event: Date contractor completed any additional works: This certificate of drying works is given in good faith by the contractor on the following basis: the contractor has attended the property and taken moisture readings in all areas identified by the contractor as having been affected.

An example of a form for the report is shown opposite. a report which identifies the issues involved. provide sufficient technical information to allow a certificate of drying to be issued for which a greater degree of technical knowledge is required. if they have one. Monitoring the drying process A caveat! It is emphasised that the content of this guide does not. in its own right.56 Report of flooding event Once the repairs have been completed. what was carried out. It should also be made available to future owners – potentially as part of the Home Information Pack (HIP) which the Government intends to introduce in 2007. and any further problems likely to arise should be presented to the owner for their immediate information and for including in the building user’s manual. .


and in the building user’s manual.58 Report of repairs to flood damaged property Monitoring the drying process Also. again. a report should be prepared describing the work that has been done to restore the building to its preflooding condition – a suggested format is shown opposite and in the pages which follow. as part of the remediation process. . if one exists. be included in the HIP for any future sale process. This report should.




This report relates to drying operations arising from a flooding event and not to any inherent or pre-existing problem or matter at the property which could result in dampness or water penetration. DETAILS AND CERTIFICATION OF ANY REPAIR WORK CONCERNING INSECT OR FUNGAL ATTACK.62 Monitoring the drying process Where appropriate the report should also contain details and certification of: ● biological decontamination (eg of sewage overflows) ● insect infestation: diagnosis and/or treatment ● fungal attack (including moulds): diagnosis and/or treatment ● asbestos: in situ and sites from where asbestos removed. ASBESTOS ETC SP The contractor in charge of drying the building cannot be held responsible for any dampness or water damage that occurs due to reconstruction. inadequate ventilation. moisture barrier products should have been installed before applying any coverings (eg under wood laminate floors). defective damp proof courses. cellars and basements. The contractor’s opinion regarding the acceptable levels of dryness within the flooded property is based on the assumption that moisture sensitive materials will not be used in any redecoration or refurbishment process. production of excess moisture from normal household activities or unsatisfactory building methods resulting in condensation. reinstatement or redecoration works carried out after it has completed the drying work. This includes (without limitation) concrete floors. EC IM EN . ground floor voids and columns. party walls. and on contents generally ● that moisture content remaining will not encourage fungal or insect attack or other deterioration. Also: ● that moisture content remaining will not have adverse effects on decorative and construction materials. If these materials have been used.

63 Chapter 10 Standards for repairing flooded buildings This chapter provides benchmark repair strategies for common flood damage scenarios in domestic properties. suggests a range of measures that can be taken to improve the flood resistance of new and existing buildings that might be vulnerable to repeat flooding. on pages 64 to 71. The construction methods and materials used for domestic buildings vary considerably and many older properties need the knowledge of a qualified building surveyor to specify and oversee repair strategies [4. Plates show the levels that flooding has reached at Upton-upon-Severn .5]. The resilient repair options to improve the flood resistance of new and existing buildings follow guidance provided in the Government publication Preparing for floods [6] issued in February 2002. where appropriate. For buildings that predate 1930 and those of non-traditional construction methods the advice of a qualified building surveyor is recommended. Consequently the guidance which follows. will be most applicable to domestic buildings built after 1930. It covers the basic elements of construction and.

pebbledash. cedar shingles. subject to controls ● Specialist moisture repelling coatings ● Self-draining insulation System built properties of precast reinforced concrete or steel frame ● Corrosion of metal components and fixings ● Deterioration of insulation .64 External walls – external finish Flood damaged element Benchmark repair strategy Brickwork. tyrolean Painted finish – on various render backgrounds Pressure cleaning and making good pointing if required Pressure cleaning if required Standards for repairing flooded buildings Issues to consider Pre-flooding condition of materials and pointing Pre-flooding condition of render Resilient repair option N/A N/A Pressure cleaning – repainting if required ● Aesthetics ● Entrapped moisture beneath impervious coatings ● Bonding ● Substrate ● Corrosion of fixings ● Entrapped moisture Microporous coatings can be considered Tile hanging. pre-finished panels. PVC-U cladding Cleaning manually with low pressure hose and brush N/A External walls – structural element Flood damaged element Benchmark repair strategy Solid brickwork or stonework construction of various thicknesses Cavity brick or blockwork construction of various thicknesses and materials Controlled and monitored drying Issues to consider Solid walls may suffer from pre-flood dampness and never achieve ‘dry condition’ ● Type of insulation within cavity ● Silt entry to cavity through Resilient repair option Considering water resistant coatings externally to 500 mm above flood line Ensuring airbricks sleeved and cavity fully sealed where air bricks and services penetrate walls Reconstructing with traditional materials and methods Controlled and monitored drying Timber framed construction Stripping out internal finishes and insulation to facilitate controlled and monitored drying Allowing to dry with natural ventilation and seeking immediate advice from surveyor Seeking immediate advice from qualified building surveyor Seeking immediate advice from qualified building surveyor Chalk–clay. face blockwork and stonework Unpainted render. smooth. roughcast. mathematical tiles. cob or mud walls Submersion in floodwater can result in significant loss in strength or collapse Reconstructing with traditional materials and methods.

stone or block with urea formaldehyde foam or blown fibre insulation cavity fill Cavity brick. stone or block with closed cell foam or selfdraining mineral wool batts cavity insulation Solid masonry with external insulation of self-draining mineral fibre batts or rigid plastics behind cladding Solid masonry with internal insulation behind plasterboard linings Benchmark repair strategy Seeking immediate advice from qualified building surveyor Issues to consider ● Entrapped moisture ● Deterioration of insulation Resilient repair option Closed cell insulation foam Controlled and monitored drying Corrosion of wall ties and insulation fixings Stainless steel ties and fixings Controlled and monitored drying ● Corrosion of insulation fixings ● Entrapped moisture ● Contamination of insulation Stainless steel fixings Stripping out plasterboard and removing insulation if of water absorbent type ● Corrosion of fixings ● Existence of embedded timber grounds in masonry ● Stainless steel fixings ● Low absorption insulating boards or semi-rigid selfdraining mineral wool batts Timber frame walls with mineral wool or other insulation ● Removing internal linings insulation to facilitate and controlled and monitored drying of timber frame. ● Seeking advice from surveyor ● Deterioration of the external sheathing panels reducing racking resistance ● Damage to breather membrane N/A .Standards for repairing flooded buildings 65 External walls – insulation Flood damaged element Cavity brick.

Repainting Wallpaper Removing and replacing when new plaster thoroughly dry Temporary micro porous paint finish to allow plaster to dry before re-papering Entrapped moisture beneath certain impervious finishes Removing plaster to 500 mm above flood line ● Visible joint between new and old plaster ● Bonding of old plaster Loss of bonding Resilient repair option Water resistant render and lime based plaster or hydraulic lime coatings Water resistant render and lime based plaster or hydraulic lime coatings Fixing boards horizontally where re-flooding likely to allow for easier partial replacement. sheet of veneer panelling Removing and replacing Salvaging panelling in historic buildings for refixing after drying Ceramic tiles on cement–sand rendered background over masonry Washing off and regrouting if required with a water resistant grout ● Substrate ● Insulation ● Services ● Integrity Paint finish: emulsion. and internal walls and partitions – internal finishes Flood damaged element Benchmark repair strategy Issues to consider Gypsum plaster directly applied to masonry background Lime based plaster on a cement–sand rendered background over masonry Plasterboard on adhesive dabs applied to masonry or fixed to timber studwork Controlled and monitored drying following removal of affected decorative finishes Removing affected plasterboard ● Visible joint between new and old plasterboard ● Continuity of vapour barrier on timber frame where partial removal Timber strip. Not suitable for timber frame N/A Waterproof adhesives and grout Microporous paints Avoiding vinyl wall coverings . eggshell or gloss Washing down and removing loose and flaking finish.66 Standards for repairing flooded buildings External walls.

● Replacing lath and plaster with plasterboard Masonry walls with gypsum plaster finish ● Removing plaster to 500 mm above flood line ● Controlled and monitored drying Masonry walls with lime based plaster finish on cement and sand render Metal framed partitions with plasterboard sheets or faced gypsum panels Controlled and monitored drying following removal of affected decorative finishes Replacing plasterboard or gypsum panels Issues to consider Condition of timbers or other works may make replacement more economic Condition of timbers or other works may make replacement more economic Resilient repair option Preservative impregnated timbers.Standards for repairing flooded buildings 67 Internal walls and partitions Flood damaged element Benchmark repair strategy Timber stud partition with plasterboard Controlled and monitored drying following removal of affected decorative finishes Timber stud partition with lath and plaster. plasterboard sheets horizontally Preservative impregnated timbers and plasterboard sheets horizontally ● Visible joint between new and old plaster ● Bonding of old plaster Water resistant render and lime based plaster or hydraulic lime coatings Loss of bonding Water resistant render and lime based plaster or hydraulic lime coatings Corrosion of metal frame and fixings N/A . or lime and horse hair plaster ● Controlled and monitored drying of timber.

68 Floors Flood damaged element Vinyl floor tiles or sheet vinyl floor covering submerged Standards for repairing flooded buildings Benchmark repair strategy Cleaning or replacing Issues to consider ● Substrate ● Duration of flooding ● Type of floodwater ● Aesthetics Resilient repair option N/A Quarry tiles submerged Cleaning or replacing ● Substrate ● Duration of flooding ● Type of floodwater ● Aesthetics N/A Solid concrete floor submerged Cleaning and monitoring drying ● Substrate ● Insulation ● Services ● Integrity Consider relocating services Suspended timber floor with chipboard ● Cleaning or replacing chipboard if damaged. ● Controlled and monitored drying of structural timbers ● Substrate ● Entrapped moisture ● Type of floodwater ● Access may be required to clean silt from flooded void ● Substrate ● Entrapped moisture ● Type of floodwater ● Access may be required to clean silt from flooded void ● Substrate ● Insulation ● Services ● Integrity ● Aesthetics ● Replacing with solid floor ● Replacing with marine plywood Suspended timber floor with softwood tongued and grooved floorboards ● Cleaning or replacing floorboards if damaged. repairing or replacing Replacing blocks with screed and floor finish (eg carpet) Modern ‘thin section’ hardwood block or wood strip floors including parquet Repairing or replacing ● Substrate ● Entrapped moisture ● Type of floodwater ● Aesthetics Replacing with screed if on concrete floor and covering Suspended concrete floor of beam and hollow block construction Cleaning and monitoring drying ● Substrate ● Insulation ● Services ● Integrity ● Access to void beneath Considering relocation of services . ● Controlled and monitored drying of structural timbers Replacing with solid floor Oak blocks set in bitumen on solid concrete floor slab Cleaning.

runners and ironmongery Resilient repair option Replacing with PVC-U unit Double glazed hardwood patio doors or window units ● Cleaning and allowing to dry out before assessing damage. runners and ironmongery Pre-flood condition of windows Selecting units with stainless steel fittings and ironmongery Selecting units with stainless steel fittings and ironmongery Replacing with PVC-U units Wooden window frames submerged in floodwater ● Cleaning and allowing to dry out before assessing damage. architraves and trims of MDF or small section softwood Skirtings. removing and replacing For high quality. purpose-made hardwood joinery. priming and redecorating Joinery might require removal for other trades but could be salvaged if economic N/A . door linings. removing paint finish. ● Replacing glazing units only if seals have failed Replacing with PVC-U unit Double glazed PVC-U patio doors or window units PVC-U external door Cleaning and replacing glazing units only if seals have failed Cleaning and replacing glazing units only if seals have failed Corrosion of fixings. runners and ironmongery Corrosion of fixings. Overhauling or replacing ironmongery Issues to consider Considering cost of replacement against salvage where of modest standard Corrosion of fixings. architraves and trims of large section softwood or hardwood Replacing Controlled and monitored drying. ● Repairing with strengthening to treads or replacing N/A ● Shrinkage of glue blocks may cause squeaking when dried out ● Some stairs may have MDF treads and risers N/A Staircases of solid timber construction below flood line Built in wardrobes and cupboards submerged in floodwater Fitted kitchen units submerged in floodwater Replacing N/A ● Building off floor using plastic legs ● PVC-U units Unless of solid hardwood and high quality. door linings. considering specialist restoration N/A ● Building off floor using plastic legs ● PVC-U units Hardwood or PVC-U Skirtings.Standards for repairing flooded buildings 69 Joinery and fittings Flood damaged element Painted softwood or treated hardwood external door Benchmark repair strategy ● Cleaning and repainting or replacing if warped. ● Replacing double glazed units only if seals have failed Cellular type internal doors Timber staircase of softwood or hardwood submerged in floodwater Replacing ● Cleaning and allowing to dry out before assessing damage.

● Presumption for replacing all components in contact with floodwater Issues to consider ● Remaining installation may not comply with current regulations and be condemned ● Moisture may affect other components N/A Resilient repair option Raising sockets and routing cables above flood line can be considered Fixed electrical appliances submerged in floodwater Electrical metering equipment in contact with floodwater Should be replaced N/A Electricity supply authority to be contacted immediately N/A Repositioning equipment above flood line can be considered Gas installation Flood damaged element Gas service pipes and apparatus in contact with floodwater Gas fire (wall hung or floor mounted) submerged in floodwater Benchmark repair strategy Electricity supply authority to be contacted immediately and its advice acted upon Should be replaced Issues to consider N/A Resilient repair option Repositioning equipment above flood line can be considered N/A Repositioning boiler above flood line can be considered Central heating – wet system Flood damaged element Benchmark repair strategy Steel panel radiators in contact with floodwater Pipe work and apparatus in contact with floodwater Radiators to be cleaned and repainted ● Equipment to be cleaned and sanitised ● Any electrical components to motorised valves or controls replaced.70 Electrical services Flood damaged element Electrical installation comprising PVC sheathed cables. switches and fuse boards submerged in floodwater Standards for repairing flooded buildings Benchmark repair strategy ● Immediate advice to be sought from qualified electrician. sockets. and insulation replaced Boiler (floor or wall mounted) submerged in floodwater Should be replaced Issues to consider N/A Resilient repair option N/A N/A N/A N/A Repositioning boiler above flood line can be considered .

cast iron or plastic submerged in floodwater To be cleaned and sanitised ● Removal to facilitate other works ● Salvage and storage may be uneconomic ● Plastic bath may have chipboard frame N/A MDF or chipboard base vanity unit Whole of vanity unit to be replaced N/A N/A Drainage Flood damaged element Underground drains and sewers backed up with floodwater Benchmark repair strategy ● Debris and silt to be flushed through to remove.Standards for repairing flooded buildings 71 Sanitary ware Flood damaged element Vitreous china sanitary ware submerged in floodwater Benchmark repair strategy To be cleaned and sanitised Issues to consider ● May need removal to facilitate other works ● Salvage may be uneconomic Resilient repair option N/A Bath of pressed steel. ● Conduct CCTV survey if blockages encountered Issues to consider Pre-flood condition of surface water drainage and sewerage systems Resilient repair option N/A .

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for example damage caused by: ● poor quality design ● poor quality materials ● poor quality building work ● failure to maintain the property in a reasonable condition. In specific cases. from the floor up . in the event that the borrower is unable to make repayments of the loan. Lenders also require properties to be covered by building insurance in order to protect their ‘investment’. if any unforeseen insured event affected their property and led to damage. hence the normal requirement that the insurance is arranged through the lender or with the lender’s approval. and recover the loan. lenders and other interested parties. The basis on which the lender provides a loan to purchase property is that the borrower will undertake to maintain the property in a saleable condition so that. it would be repaired and they would be reimbursed for their losses. Salts from dampness in the structure has led to paintwork on this basement wall losing cohesion. Flooding will encourage this form of deterioration: moisture will rise in the fabric and the effect show as lifting paint over the affected area.73 Chapter 11 Domestic insurance cover The descriptions of the insurance policies covering buildings and contents given in this chapter are for general guidance only and they do not necessarily reflect the views of all insurers. reference must be made to the individual insurer or lender concerned. the lender can repossess the property. sell it. There is still an area of risk to both owners and lenders when flood damage occurs since not all damage is covered by buildings insurance. Some lenders require continuing proof that the property remains insured. Buildings insurance (and contents insurance) provides the policyholder with the peace of mind that.

it is not the intention of the insurer to pay for ‘betterment’ or for maintenance of the fabric of the building above and beyond that necessary to carry out reasonable repairs and redecoration following a flood. In its most simple terms. or the subsequent cleaning. this means that the insurer will be placing the insured in the same position they were in before the insured event. where applicable. Excess amounts will vary between insurers and types of risk. In the event of multiple occurrences of flooding within the same flood event. The policyholder should refer to their policy document for the insurer’s precise wording. lawns. The extent of cover will depend on individual policy wordings. the insurers may choose to apply only one excess. hedges. This can be done in one of three ways. which is the first amount of each claim the insured has to pay. the lender – the insured. under either the buildings or contents policies. The insurer has the option to: ● pay the policyholder for the cost of repairing the damage ● appoint someone to undertake the repairs and pay them ● arrange a cash settlement with the policyholder if it is not possible to pay for the damage to be repaired economically.74 An example of damage not covered by insurance would be the failure of a damp proof course or of tanking in a basement. Domestic insurance cover The insurance contract An insurance policy is primarily a contract between two parties. Most insurers do not provide cover for fences. These are often expensive to repair and owners may not always understand that they are not covered by buildings insurance. While repair and redecoration may give rise to improvements. namely: ● the insurance company – the insurer ● the policyholder and. The policy excess Almost all insurance policies apply a policy excess. The insurer will normally then adjust the amount of the claim paid to the policyholder that reflects the degree of improvement. An insurance policy protects the policyholder against loss or damage caused by one or more of the insured events stated in the policy. However. they may be covered by insurancebacked schemes on new properties (eg National House-Building Council warranties). Betterment is deemed to apply under buildings insurance where the property has not been maintained in a reasonable condition and subsequent improvement is made to the building’s condition as a result of a claim being met for an insured event. . shrubs or flowers against damage by flooding. In older properties these are maintenance issues that are not covered by insurance policies.

The insurer should make sure that the policy document and any attachments are clearly worded. The effect that a breach of any of the conditions by the insured might have on a claim is explained in the following sections. This includes the number of occupants in the household. there are specific conditions which relate to claims made under an insurance contract. Most insurers accept telephone notification of Prompt notification When faced with their property having been flooded.Domestic insurance cover 75 Policy conditions and exclusions As already stated. the policyholder should give as much information as possible. In a domestic situation. Each is entitled to rely on the wording of the contract. the insured person should inform their insurer as as soon as is practicable.abi. however. When notifying the insurer. A failure by the insured to comply with these conditions may entitle the insurers to reject a claim. if there are any young children or elderly people. Association of British Insurers: www. and is usually renewable on an annual basis. Both parties are bound by the precise wording of the contract between them. the policy is a contract between two parties – the insured and the insurer. . require a detailed explanation before a decision is reached and often these investigations take time. and if any occupant has disabilities or infirmities that may require specialist services or make normal alternative accommodation inappropriate. Insurers have designed their systems so that they can react to major catastrophes with speed and remove as much stress as possible for their clients. is not material to the loss and does not prejudice the insurer’s The Association of British Insurers provides guidance on this matter. They may. In addition. an insurer will seldom decline to deal with a claim due to a breach of a policy condition if that breach has been innocent in nature. the details of claims being given over the telephone. in fact claim forms are rarely required these days.

for example. the insurer may have grounds for adjusting their liability under the policy.76 Non-disclosure The insurance contract is a contract of ‘utmost good faith’ between the parties. If these facts come to light. Domestic insurance cover Sum insured The sum insured. the insurer will not only not deal with the current claim but the policy may be rendered void. for example. The insurer may wish to consider the extent of its liability under the terms of its policy when. if so. which is the responsibility of the insured. If the insured sum does not reflect the cost of rebuilding the whole property. the value of the land on which the property is sited. the sum insured is only 50% of the amount required to reinstate the property then liability may only be accepted for 50% of the claim. must reflect the cost of rebuilding the property. There is an obligation on the insured to disclose any ‘material facts’ which would influence the insurer’s judgement in deciding whether to accept the particular property in question as a suitable risk. The effect of withholding a material fact is quite simply that the insurer is not aware of all the details relating to the risk in order to assess it properly. on what terms. Most policies provide cover to repair or rebuild a property on the basis that it is adequately insured at all times: this is known as cover on a ‘reinstatement’ basis. This may include whether the property has a history of flooding. . The sum insured is not based on nor does it reflect the property’s market value – it does not include. and. This means that neither party is entitled to mislead the other when entering into the contract.

cases. . this could affect the settlement of the claim.Domestic insurance cover 77 Maintenance and repair A property owner (the insured) who has been made aware that a defect needs repairing. Flood resilient repairs* Flood resilient repairs are repairs which lessen the impact of damage by further flooding by altering or enhancing the specification of repairs following the original flooding event. who have an obligation under the policy to deal only with the cost of standard repairs (subject to the terms and conditions of the individual policy wordings)†. † There are however some good options for meeting the balance of cost. the insurer may require a contribution from the policyholder that reflects any improvement to. or that a particular course of action needs to be followed to minimise future risks. The Association of British Insurers have made it clear that the additional cost of providing flood resilient repairs does not fall on insurers. or betterment of. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has confirmed that many of their leading members would be prepared to consider extending loans to cover the additional cost of these measures. but not all. additional costs will be involved. Failure to mitigate damage or its consequences may permit the insurer to reduce the amount they pay on the claim. * ABI have issued a technical document. If the insured has failed to maintain the property. Where the policyholder has not maintained the part of a building which is the subject of the claim in reasonable condition. has a responsibility to repair the defect and to make less likely the occurrence of further damage. Furthermore the Government has confirmed that it will look into the feasibility of offering financial support for pilot studies in appropriate properties. Assessment of costs and effectiveness on future claims of installing flood damage resistant measures [7]. Insurers will expect this to be done even if they neither required the relevant issue to be notified to them nor made it a condition of insurance. the property. In many. providing the homeowner has sufficient equity.

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examples might be corner shops and small electrical retailers in midterrace properties. they may find that they cannot operate or trade. and the actual claims process. There are however three key issues which differentiate the domestic from the commercial situation – the position under a lease. lose vital records. there are some applications for small businesses or SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) operating in residential-type premises. furniture and furnishings from flooding. For small businesses. and suffer loss of profits – all insurable risks (Courtesy of BDMA/Document SOS) . many of the issues in terms of drying out and repairing their properties will remain the same since the fabric of the buildings is usually identical to that found in domestic properties. Small businesses will not just lose equipment.79 Chapter 12 Small businesses Although this guide is primarily concerned with damage caused by flooding of residential properties insured under domestic insurance policies. the scope of insurance cover.

Failure to do so. but it can be frustrating if works need to be delayed until all parties in the claim situation have sight of the legal documents (eg tenancy agreements). may prejudice the landlord’s claim. leasehold or tenancy arrangement in place. In these circumstances it is usual for an insurer to appoint a loss adjuster who will request sight of leasehold or tenancy documents to clarify responsibility for repairs. even if accidental. Where repairs to the property more correctly fall under the landlord’s insurance arrangements rather the tenant’s. Hopefully policyholders will already have an understanding of their responsibilities.80 Freehold. Matters can become even more complicated where there are improvements to the building which have been carried out by the tenant or leaseholder but which have not yet reverted to the landlord. This will depend on the wording of the freehold. Small businesses . or action taken by the tenant without the insurer’s approval. the tenant must advise the landlord of the situation as quickly as possible to ensure that the the insurance company is made aware of a potential claim within the time limit stipulated by the policy terms. leasehold and tenancy issues Consideration needs be given to the legal position in terms of who has responsibility for damage.

and. only a proportion of the claim may be paid corresponding to the degree of underinsurance ● policy excesses. sometimes known as ‘consequential loss cover’. or ‘deductables’. Some of these conditions. may render the policy void if a condition has not been complied with ● some policies operate on a pro-rata basis which reflects the adequacy of the sum insured. Also the landlord may be covered for loss of rent while a leased or tenanted building is uninhabitable. A detailed explanation of commercial insurances is beyond the scope of this guide but as an overview: ● commercial insurance policies do not normally operate the same type of new-for-old cover that homeowners enjoy ● commercial insurance policies often contain conditions which are specific to the nature of the business being carried out. known as warrantees. may be higher than those for domestic policies ● there may also be insurance cover for loss of profit due to interruption of the business. where the value of a property is understated. will be able to advise the business owner of the extent of cover available. Commercial and domestic policies are by their nature very different and may give different levels of cover. The broker will ensure that the insurance company is notified in accordance with the claims notification requirements of the policy. and this should be the first port of call by an affected policyholder following a flood damage event unless the insurer stipulates otherwise.Small businesses 81 Scope of commercial insurance policies Most commercial insurance policies will have been arranged through an insurance broker. Some brokers also have ‘delegated authority’ which is a degree of authority from the insurance company to make decisions on its behalf. . even if the types of affected premises are similar. in addition.

in other words. In these situations. Where building repairs are concerned. Loss adjusters are independent and impartial experts whose fees are paid for by the insurer. and formulate and present all aspects of the claim to the insurer’s loss adjuster.82 Claims process In most commercial situations of significant value and complexity. This process differs from the domestic situation where the insurer or loss adjuster may directly appoint a repairer to carry out repairs and deal with the repair costs directly. Their fees are not increased should the claims settlement figure be reduced for any reason. and tenants fixtures and fittings. As in domestic repair situations. In addition a claim for flooding of a small business will also normally need to consider stock. different insurers should consider the appointment of the same firm of loss adjusters to deal with all aspects of a claim at the same premises.lossassessors. trade contents. also examine the insurance policy and the insurer’s response to the loss. including the responsibilities of the parties under any tenancy or leasehold arrangement. Policyholders also have the option to appoint a firm of public loss assessors who will assist them in preparing the claim.cila. the insurance policy may also provide additional cover for the cost of accelerating the schedule of repair work (eg by working overtime) to offset insured consequential losses or loss of rent where it is cost effective to do so. any deductions for underinsurance or the policy excess may be . and compliance with CDM Regulations is obligatory. Small businesses Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters www. The loss assessors. communication between the parties is essential to ensure a coordinated ‘one team’ approach as far as is practicably possible. the affected business will be encouraged to fund the repairs and then recover payment from the insurer net of VAT if the business is registered. Where appropriate to do so. they have no personal incentive to reduce the value of a where there is disruption to the business or where the value of the property repairs exceed a couple of thousand pounds. If the activities of the business have been affected. the insurer will appoint a Chartered Loss Adjuster to investigate the Institute of Public Loss Assessors who are paid by the policyholder. and generally guide the claim to a conclusion. This will be insured separately to building and contents policies – very possibly under an entirely different policy through different insurers. The loss adjuster will report to the insurer on matters of policy liability. health and safety issues remain important. They will also negotiate on the policyholder’s behalf. These other insurers may wish to appoint loss adjusters with particular expertise. At that time.

83 Chapter 13 Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property The purpose of this chapter of the guide is to provide advice for: ● identifying if there is a risk of flood to a property ● establishing the level of flood risk to a property ● managing the level of flood risk to a property. soil. and. floor gullies etc. floors and other major structural elements). The nature of the contaminants will affect the speed and cost of cleaning and of restoring premises to their original condition. ranging from sediments. sewage pipes. more worryingly. chemical wastes and effluents etc which can be particularly destructive. air bricks. organisms. horizontal pipes. cavities. dissolved substances. Inside the pottery at Boscastle. waste water fittings. drains. More often than not water will penetrate – and pass through or round – the building fabric (eg walls. Floodwater will be contaminated in one form or another. Floodwater will not just enter a building through door openings. following the August 2004 floods (Courtesy of BDMA/Richfords) .

It is also not uncommon for otherwise undamaged property to be destroyed and replaced purely because the costs to decontaminate and repair are uneconomic or because of a requirement to do so under health and safety regulations. The susceptibility of the contents in commercial premises will vary greatly. as most losses will involve an element of cleaning and decontamination. In many instances the property does not even have to be permanently damaged for the insurer to incur costs. but even the most robust equipment is likely to suffer some form of damage ranging from partial corrosion (and other forms of material deterioration) to total destruction.84 Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Susceptibility of contents and equipment Once floodwater enters a property the scale of the loss will increase dramatically. Domestic contents are very susceptible to flood damage and in many instances the contents of the ground floor are totally destroyed. .

and it may be visible and odorous. possibly indicated by an offensive odour. Depending on severity. compromising the damp proof course and setting up long term damp problems ● Organic contamination (eg silt) is associated with most floodwaters and brings with it issues of hygiene. .floodprotectionassoc. floodwater is likely to cause contamination to buildings and fittings. cause ongoing problems such as chemical reactions and fungal growths affecting both the structure and contents ● Cavity walls are often lined with insulating materials which may deteriorate if they absorb floodwater ● Floors of absorbent chipboard laid over foam insulation and a sheet of polythene act like a reservoir. they may be dried out – absolutely thoroughly – and tested before switching power back on ● Gas and oil meters and boilers may be affected by floodwater. flooding can render a property unusable and bring normal household or business activities to a halt. Even when it has subsided. fine silt particles contained in floodwater have a tendency to settle in layers in floor voids. Provided equipment and circuits have not been damaged by floodwater. ● The chemical action of salts in some floodwaters can affect brickwork.Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property 85 Susceptibility of buildings and fittings Most modern domestic and commercial buildings in the UK were not built to withstand flooding (although some improvements in this particular area are being introduced). ● Concrete can absorb huge quantities of water and. in which case they may require purging and appropriate drain points being fitted. until completely tel 0845 933 3111 Flood Protection Association: www. contamination can affect a building in the following ways. and in cavity walls where it renders damp proof membranes ineffective ● Electrical installations that have been subjected to water penetration or even moisture are susceptible to failure. particularly in older buildings. More specifically. holding water in and above the materials Environment Agency:

in these circumstances insurers recommend that the property owners would benefit from a more detailed ‘catchment assessment’ or ‘hydrological survey’. and this can only be given by those possessing appropriate and recognised professional qualifications such as a qualified hydrologist or specialist building surveyor recognised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. . and changes to weather patterns. Insurers therefore recommend that a policyholder obtains professional advice. Man-made physical changes to the landscape and environment. they are not able to offer formal risk management services to policyholders beyond standard survey The nature and pattern of flooding has altered in recent years. a level of risk from flooding may exist in a significant proportion of properties in the UK. Any mitigation or alleviation measures should therefore be considered in the context of managing the risk of the whole property and their potential impact on the wider environment and not just the originally expected point of entry.86 Risk surveys Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Insurers’ risk advisers are not qualified hydrologists or structural engineers. Identifying the locations at risk Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors: www. This is especially true for those buildings in multiple occupation which are spread over large sites or areas. and that by reducing the risk in one location will potentially increase it in another. Some of the key elements are considered below. has resulted in unprecedented events both on and beyond existing floodplains. Although insurers do have some limited in-house risk management experience. These services are commercially available but insurers tend not to specifically recommend any preferred suppliers and normally suggest that the policyholder contact either their local Environment Agency office or local authority for guidance. While the causes of flooding events may differ between locations. A characteristic of any large volume of water is that it will always find the weakest point into any

reservoirs. storm drains. blockages and failure) can be dealt with quickly. Flooding can occur from any open or enclosed watercourse. quays etc ● fluvial – rivers. harbours. Establishing the level of risk Many authorities and agencies have carried out. brooks. . but more commonly in combination. docks. managed or maintained by a number of different parties: ● local authorities ● the Environment Agency ● water authorities ● private land owners. The proximity and relationship between buildings and the following sources should be understood: ● open sea – estuaries. Factors that could reduce the level of risk ● Watercourses and drainage systems in the area are unobstructed and well maintained ● Buildings as a whole are situated in a position of raised ground and would not be totally or partially cut off in the event of flooding in the surrounding area ● The properties are serviced by pumped drainage and sewerage systems. streams. To ensure that any potential problems (eg damage. dams. risk assessments and evaluations for the watercourses under their control.Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Identifying the sources of potential flooding 87 The starting point of any risk management process is to identify the sources of risk. lakes. contact details for the each of the responsible parties should be obtained and kept at hand by the property owner. These organisations should be able to provide assessments on the potential frequency and severity of flooding along with details of any maintenance and improvements programmes they have in place. by natural or man-made causes. or are carrying out. open drains and ditches etc ● pluvial – sewers. Identifying the responsible parties The above sources could be owned. culverts etc.

through the external brickwork and internal floors. cavities and.htm . type and use ● Surface water is unable to percolate through ground where it has been covered with large areas of impervious materials (eg car parks and large paved areas) ● Surface water run-off risk for premises is located at the foot of raised areas of ground or high land (eg embankments. but also via drains and sewage outlets. tenants and _the_impact. The water will find its way into the building through the weakest point so it is therefore not only necessary to prevent water from entering the premises via doors and windows. Floodwater is likely to be contaminated and may result in some property that would normally be salvageable having to be destroyed. Insurance is not able to reduce all the effects and in cases of the most onerous risks is not available. hills and mountains) ● Premises are situated in a position of raised ground and total or partial access would be prevented in the event of flooding in the surrounding area. in instances of prolonged inundation. While it is not always possible to prevent flooding its effects may be reduced or managed.88 Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Factors that could increase the level of risk ● Buildings are not protected by adequately constructed and maintained defences ● Watercourses and drainage systems in the area are obstructed or poorly maintained ● Any part of the premises is situated in a low lying area of ground ● natural or man-made drainage is inadequate for its size. The following are examples of the actions that may be appropriate. Managing the risk Flooding regardless of depth or frequency is very disruptive both economically and in terms of the health and well-being of the property owners.ciria. Once floodwater comes in contact with the fabric of a building it is only possible to slow its ingress. Construction Industry Research and Information Association: www.

water retardant plasters and linings) ● Reposition electrical points and other essential utilities to heights well above the expected water levels or at maximum heights for comfortable use ● Ensure that power to security systems and essential equipment can be maintained during flooding ● Relocate or reposition safes and strongboxes above expected water levels ● Consider installing one-way or pumped valves to waste outflows ● Store and maintain flood defending equipment and supplies above the expected water level or in a location away from the expected flooding ● Consider using temporary flood protection to slow the ingress at weak points in and around the building (eg sandbags and flood boards). especially if there is little to no warning. for both new and existing buildings. reposition and raise furniture. Details on structural solutions. remembering that they should be removed after the flood has subsided. Drain stoppers can be used to prevent drainage systems silting up. equipment and valuables to areas well above the expected water levels (eg from basement or ground floor to first floor.Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Permanent changes and actions 89 Environment Agency: www. or raise up on racking etc) ● Replace susceptible wall linings. gov. furniture. . The more permanent changes that are made. For existing properties that are at a high risk of ● Relocate. structural solutions may be the only option.environment-agency. can be found in: ● in Preparing for floods [6] ● on the CIRIA website. in these cases the involvement of the local planning authority is likely to be required as well as the services of a specialist engineer. fixtures and fittings with waterproof alternatives (eg stone or plastic floorings. tiled or water resistant wall coverings. the easier it will be to deal with a flooding event.

boats and other external equipment that can be moved from flood risk areas or secured ● evacuation instructions. Flood defending equipment and supplies It is recommended that the following equipment is made readily available to assist in dealing with a flooding event: ● sandbags and flood boards or other alleviation products ● watertight plastic bags (varying sizes) ● shovels ● torches and spare batteries ● waterproof clothing and footware ● spare warm clothing ● protective clothing including gloves and boots (for potential contaminated floodwater situations) ● battery operated radios to monitor flood warning announcements ● mobile phones ● first aid kits ● vacuum flasks and energy foods. . local authority. and property owners) ● a list and location of items that should be moved above floodwaters ● a list and location of items that can’t be moved but should be enclosed in watertight bags or containers ● a list and location of items that should have their power sources isolated or disconnected ● location of gas and electric isolation cut off points and switches ● location of flood defending equipment and supplies ● a list of weak points for items such as toilets. and washing machine and dishwasher waste pipes in and around the building that would need to be protected by sandbags or other suitable alleviation products ● a list and location of vehicles. The plan should be kept in a water-resistant container in an easily accessible location that is known by all occupants and keyholders and should contain: ● important contact details (eg for Environment Agency local office. responsibilities and actions to be carried out in a flooding event.90 Flood event procedures Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property It is recommended that homes and businesses at risk should introduce a formal plan that outlines the personal roles. Actions to take before and during a flooding event Once a flood warning is received: ● flood event procedures should be put into operation ● flood warnings and announcements on the radio should be monitored. insurance adviser or company.

Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property Actions to be taken after a flooding event 91 BSI Publicly Available Specifications for flood protection products The British Standards Institution. Purchasers of flood protection products should not confuse such a claim with independent testing and certification of product conformity to the required standard by BSI Product Services. BSI Product Services is committed to helping purchasers of flood protection products to identify suppliers and products that meet agreed standards – products that have been independently tested and that conform to specification. on an attached label or on its packaging is solely a declaration of conformity by the manufacturer. Only the Kitemark carries the assurance that BSI Product Services has certified the product as meeting the required standard. Further details of these PASs are given in the next chapter. testing. Once the all clear is given. The Kitemark may be used under licence by manufacturers and their agents. installation information and marking for different types of flood protection products intended for temporary use around structures. Temporary and demountable products [9] This specifies the designation. This should be obtained from: ● the insurance adviser or company ● the local authority. Specification. in association with the Environment Agency. factory production control. Building apertures [8] This PAS specifies the designation. Using the specification number (eg PAS 1188-1) on the product. have prepared three specifications covering flood protection products. floors and drainage systems etc). Any manufacturer can claim conformity of their products to a standard but it is their responsibility to ensure any claim is not misleading. . factory production control. In a flood it should not be assumed that there would be no water seepage through the building fabric (ie through the brickwork. installation information and marking for different types of flood protection products intended for using across building apertures and property entrances. the Flood Protection Association and HR Wallingford. It is claimed that it allows only one third of water ingress compared to other BSI flood protection recommendations. Flood protection products are intended to limit the passage of water through building openings over which they are installed (eg doors and windows). the Association of British Insurers. Building skirt systems [10] This is the only specification currently covering products capable of protecting all sides of an individual property or group of properties. advice should be sought on how best to handle the clean-up operation. They generally allow time for possessions to be moved above the flood level and for other damage limitation plans to be put into action. Specification. Specification. Flood protection products offer a more effective means of limiting the passage of floodwater than simply using sandbags. cavities. PAS 1188-3 Flood protection products. BSI Product Services awards the Kitemark to products which meet BSI specifications. Using flood protection products – a guide for purchasers Purchasing flood protection products should be regarded as one element of a comprehensive flood preparation plan for a particular property or group of properties at risk of flooding. testing. PAS 1188-2 Flood protection products. PAS 1188-1 Flood protection products.

leakage is within acceptable limits. for example. giving confidence to potential customers to buy their product. carries out type testing of the product to establish that. Periodic inspection visits to manufacturing premises ensure production quality is being maintained on an on-going basis. The Kitemark on flood protection products demonstrates the manufacturer’s commitment to quality. BSI Product . Manufacturers are required to have a comprehensive production control system to ensure products are manufactured consistently to the required standard. BSI Kitemark scheme: www.92 The BSI Kitemark scheme Identifying and managing the flooding risk at a property The Kitemark may be found on a wide range of products which provide protection in the event of flooding. in association with HR Wallingford. Furthermore.bsi-global. Samples of the product are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended installation procedures.

and the expected causes and level of flooding. ● Formal government-managed flood defences do not always prevent flooding from occurring ● Some locations do not. Those that do become commercially available are marketed and advertised as being effective in helping occupiers mitigate the effects of flooding. The research and development of flood protection products is receiving a high level of interest. As a result individual property owners need to become more aware of the risks to their property and to take a greater responsibility in protecting it from either occasional flooding or total inundation. and will not. This has resulted in a number of manufacturers seeing a move into the flood protection market as a lucrative opportunity. Many product ideas never make it beyond the R&D phase due to the costs involved in getting them to full production. benefit from formal defences where flooding occurs. . though. The true effectiveness of any given product will depend.93 Chapter 14 Flood protection and flood mitigation products The flooding events experienced in the UK over recent years have highlighted the following. especially in those locations that have previously experienced flooding. on the characteristics of each property. In some instances the product may be totally unsuitable.

94 Existing standards

Flood protection and flood mitigation products

In an effort to enable consumers to make more informed purchases the British Standards Institution, in association with the Association of British Insurers, the Environment Agency, the Flood Protection Association and HR Wallingford have produced Publicly Available Specifications (PASs) covering a range of Kitemarked specifications for flood protection products. The three PASs currently available are:
PAS 1188-1 Flood protection products. Specification. Building apertures [8]

These products are intended for installation across building apertures (eg doors, windows, air bricks and air vents) and will include: ● door boards ● air-brick covers. Positive features of these products ● They are generally suitable for low level flooding (eg less than 50 cm) of short duration ● They can slow inundation to allow people to evacuate premises and to move possessions away from or above the highest expected flood level ● They are lighter and environmentally friendly alternatives to using sand bags ● They are relatively easy to install (one or two people can handle them) ● They are relatively inexpensive. Negative features of these products ● Every building aperture must be protected individually ● They rely upon property owners and occupiers receiving flood warnings in advance, and installing protection quickly and correctly ● They are unsuitable for flooding at high levels and for long durations ● If used in isolation, floodwater will still enter properties through building fabric (eg brickwork, cavities, floors and drainage systems) ● They will delay and not prevent damage to buildings and their contents ● If not removed after flooding they have the potential to cause damage to the fabric and structure of buildings.

Flood protection and flood mitigation products


PAS 1188-2 Flood protection products. Temporary and demountable products [9]

These relate to products intended to be demountable or for temporary installation around structures. They include: ● pallet barriers ● board barriers ● skirt barriers ● water filled barriers. Positive features of these products ● Potentially they can protect entire properties and sites ● They are generally suitable for low-to-medium-level flooding (eg less than 1 m) of both short and long duration ● They are able to slow inundation to allow people to evacuate premises and to move possessions away from or above the highest expected flood level ● They are more environmentally friendly, and generally more effective and quicker to install, than sand bags ● They are more effective if supported by ‘sump-and-pump’ within protected areas. (Silting up of a sump under flood conditions needs to be considered.) Negative features of these products ● They rely upon property owners and occupiers receiving flood warnings in advance and installing protection quickly and correctly ● They are not always suitable for flooding at high levels (eg greater than 1 m) ● They require a minimum of two people to install and, in some cases, require additional equipment and machinery ● In floods of long duration, water will still enter the protected area through the barrier joints, up through the ground and over the top ● They can be expensive to buy and install so they are normally purchased only where high value property is at risk or where more than one property owner can contribute ● Potentially they can lead to damage being caused to surrounding third party properties where floodwater is diverted by the barriers.


Flood protection and flood mitigation products

PAS 1188-3 Flood protection products. Building skirt systems [10]

This BSI specification, for building skirt systems, is the only one currently covering products capable of protecting all sides of an individual property or group of properties. Products meeting the requirements of this specification claim to be significantly more effective since they allow only a third of the water ingress than products meeting other BSI flood protection specifications.

Other types of flood protection products
There are many commercially available products and installations that do not meet a relevant British Standard or PAS, but which can assist in reducing the impact of flooding. Some examples of these products are: ● water resistant coatings for external walls ● flexible tanking membrane skirt systems ● wire wall sand basket systems ● tailored drainage management ● water resistant kitchen units ● electrical appliance raisers ● large water resistant bags for items which cannot be raised or moved. Using any of the above products in isolation will not eliminate the affects of flooding, but, if used with other products as part of a wider damage limitation and risk management plan, they can reduce the cost of flood related claims. The Flood Protection Association represents companies specialising in flood protection products and services.
Flood Protection Association:

It is recommended that a survey is carried out in every instance where flood protection products are being considered or used. and their contact details should be available from local offices of the EA. It should be remembered. It is therefore unlikely that an insurer would wish to recommend using any single product or service in isolation. though. and where appropriate a detailed flood risk assessment should be undertaken by the EA or similar recognised authority. Insurers would normally expect product and service recommendations for individual risks to be obtained as part of detailed flood risk assessments from experts having the appropriate professional qualifications. that the impact and extent of damage caused by flooding will vary considerably from one property to another. . The promotion of products and services that meet BSI requirements should be encouraged. these experts might be qualified hydrologists. even if they are within the same location. some insurers also act as underwriters for other parties (eg banks and building societies) providing insurance products. Any request from a manufacturer or installer seeking the endorsement of a product from an insurer should normally direct their initial enquiries to insurance underwriters rather than claims staff. and it follows that the effectiveness of any given product will vary greatly. or specialist engineers or surveyors.Flood protection and flood mitigation products 97 Underwriting and risk It is essential that before any underwriting allowances are made that the true causes and extent of flood risk at any given premises are established and understood. Conforming to British Standards will allow the general public to make more informed decisions when considering the selection of flood protection products. Underwriter usually refers to that part of an insurance organisation that looks after all or part of risks undertaken by insurers.

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Building apertures. Preparing for floods. BSI. Publicly Available Specification PAS 1188-1:2003. London. BRE Report BR 466. Flood protection products. London. 2004 [2] Trotman P. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Specification. Flood protection products. Specification. Assessment of the cost and effect on future claims of installing flood damage resistant measures. London. Construction Industry Research and Information Association. Swindon. 27 March 2001 [6] Department for Transport. Publicly Available Specification PAS 1188-2:2003. Building skirt systems. Construction Industry Research and Information Association. Understanding dampness. Publication C538. Local Government and the Regions. BSI. Flooding and historic buildings. 2000 [4] English Heritage. 2003 . Publicly Available Specification PAS 1188-3:2003. BRE Press. EH. A review of testing for moisture in materials. 2002. Flood protection products. London. London. Specification. Flood damaged property. London. 2003 [8] British Standards Institution. ABI. Garston.99 References and useful websites and other sources of information [1] Proverbs D and Soetanto R. Publication X178. 2004 [3] Dill M J. 2004 [5] Floods and historic buildings. Sanders C and Harrison H. London. Temporary and demountable products. BSI. 2003 [9] British Standards Institution. 2003 [10] British Standards Institution. [7] Association of British Insurers. Technical Advice Note (Product Code 50776). Proceedings of the Joint Conference of English Heritage and Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council.

uk Environment Agency Environment Agency’s Flood Warning Service tel 0845 933 3111 Health and Safety Executive English Heritage British Disaster Management Association Construction Industry Research and Information Association Department for HSE Infoline 0845 345 0055 Institute of Public Loss Assessors Office of the Deputy Prime Minister www. Food and Rural Affairs Environment Agency’s Floodline tel 0845 988 1188 www.100 Websites and other sources of information Association of British Insurers Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors References and useful websites Flood Protection Association www.

The background to this guide arises from the recognition that organisations in the insurance and construction industries can jointly offer solutions which bring together the main parties. out of this. It causes distress to property owners and occupants.About this book Flooding is an issue that is likely to affect both home occupiers . About the Flood Repairs Forum The Flood Repairs Forum is an informal grouping of floods experts from organisations in insurance. restore insured property to its condition before the flooding event. Since flooding invariably involves more than one property. to suggest best practice. Individual members of the Forum have shared their knowledge and experience to raise awareness of the key issues involved with flooding and. BRE Press Garston. Watford.and the insurance industry for the foreseeable future. and the technical difficulties associated with the repair process can test experts to the limit. WD25 9XX EP 69 ISBN 1 86081 903 6 ISBN 1-86081-903-6 9 781860 819032 . loss adjusting and repair. this joint industry approach allows all parties for all affected properties to work together to produce mutually satisfactory results. and. investigation. in doing so.owners and tenants .

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