Recently the Thames Valley has experienced a excess rainfall that amounted to flood plains over flowing destroying homes, vehicles and personal possessions. It is expected to cost to cost an average of £40,000 to fix a flooded home, insurance companies will be delayed in paying out claims. Being proactive with the weather is a necessity; here are a number of ways you can prepare for the worst.
- The Environment Agency is your first contact with regard to hazards and potential risks. Flood risk maps are available on their website; this information will inform you if your property could be at risk. However low or high the risk is, being prepared for the worst will save you your time and possessions. Having a flood plan in place is the best way to be proactive.
- During a flood you should have plenty of drinking water readily available, sand bags at all entrances and if possible surrounding the property. Having a good defence is key, if you are at risk, be proactive and call the flood line. There will be an automated message for your area detailing flood warning information, or you can speak to an operator 24hours a day. Having a water pump on site is the best way to clear any immediate water.
- 10% of homes are built on flood plains in the UK, new developments that are built on flood plains or riversides are now built on stilts (off the ground), in most cases these are necessary, where as old builds are built on ground level and are at high risk.
- Ways to keep updated with relevant information, if a flood is effecting your area, the Environment agency will be walking through the flood hit locations, taking details of the level of damage, an explanation of what they think will happen in the next 48 hours. They will inform you of what number to call if you need further assistance. Be calm and ask as many questions as possible to learn all the details.
- Affected areas will have travel disruption, listen to the local radio to find information
- The weather forecast will give detailed information about expected weather. They are usually over cautious to protect themselves and help the general public be proactive with what could happen.
- What to do in event of water entering the property or at risk to water entering the property,
- If water has entered the property you should turn off the power to all appliances and empty power sockets. Possessions should be moved off the floor at height where the water will not cause damage. Having an effective water pump will serve best to limit damage. You can ask local fire and rescue service for providing a pump this may come with a charge.
- If the property is flooded and you have to vacate the property, check with your insurance to see if your policy will cover you for temporary accommodation.
- If an emergency call 999, if non-emergency call 101 or flood line.
- When maintaining the property, windows, exterior walls, floors, drains and landscaping. Being proactive can prevent your home.
- If you think the property has structural damage you should have a surveyor attend site and evaluate the situation.
Organising for proposed works
When having to completed works, there are certain steps that need to be taken for the works to be on time and cost effective.
When attaining quotes, detail is everything. All the works that you want undertaken must be included in the quote, contingency plans are sometimes included; but I recommend only setting one aside when the works are depending on initial works to see the extent of damage.
Identify the works that need to be completed
- See any other works that can be accomplished at the same time, (Scaffolding is costly, any works that can be done whilst erected can save future costs)
Find 3 contractors to quote for the works, this gives you the best options, this helps when comparing can sometimes help identify the good from the bad.
When quotes have been attained, they should be refined to be as similar as possible, trades may use different materials. Be assertive with what specifically you are looking for. Understand what they are suggesting is the best method to complete the works, sometimes contractors chose to cut corners which in turn results in more work in the future, so it’s important to make sure what they list in the quote is important.
Decision time – Sometimes these decisions are put forward to the directors, other times it can be down to the managing agents to decide. Choosing the cheapest option is not always the best option, same with the most expensive option. Try to get all quotes as similar as possible this will limit the difference in price. All trades will have good references, don’t be fooled.
You have now chosen the contractor to complete the works, before they start work they must:
- Carry out a health and risk assessment
- Assign a date to carry out the works
- Show they have current insurance
- Aware of any asbestos in the building, in case they are working within or near the area.
- Show that all employees are competent and trained.
- Carry out a method statement
A work method statement is compulsory, this is needed to underline the method the works are to be completed. This document will detail any hazards and control measures, which have been introduced, as well as detailing a step by step guide to ensure the safety of anyone who is involved with the task at hand.
Using a method statement is not just for show, to comply with Health and Safety legislation which requires them to make suitable and sufficient enquiries as to the competence of any organisation carrying out works. A method statement is a good way to identify if a company can demonstrate how they can provide good services.
Using the following steps will ensure the works will be completed at a fair price, protecting you in providing the correct information to directors and owners.