Are ‘Free’ Flood Surveys a Cause for Concern?
According to the Association of British Insurers, flood surveys should be conducted by Chartered Surveyors, or Qualified Civil Engineers.
Within the flood defence sector, there aren’t any ‘barriers’ to market. Anyone can set up a company offering flood defence advice or equipment without regulation. In the past we have seen individuals with no training or experience brand themselves as ‘flood surveyors’.
Fortunately, the flood sector has moved forward a long way in the past few years, and the sector now has a voluntary Code of Practice from CIRIA to further enforce high standards.
One aspect we remain concerned about is when companies offer ‘FREE Flood Surveys’.
Flood protection is more about knowledge, expertise and careful consideration, not sales targets.
Ultimately if a ‘free’ flood survey is conducted, the salesperson visiting must aim to make a sale to cover their time and travel – or they will go out of business very quickly (and we saw 5 flood defence companies go out of business last year).
If a comprehensive survey is conducted, this can easily take 2-3 days to complete (including the site visit and preparing a report) – plus travel and insurance costs.
What are the benefits of a paid Survey?
By paying for a flood survey, you are paying for the Surveyor’s or Engineer’s time, expertise and experience. They will visit with the goal of designing or recommending the best or most suitable mitigation plan.
They should assess the construction style, flood risk, drainage (where possible) and lifestyle/circumstances of the client to ensure the mitigation is suitable. Equally they will be able to recognise limiting factors of the property which determine the scheme (such as the maximum height of barriers recommended on a certain structure).
Importantly, it should be noted flood modelling maps are limited by their resolution, and often enough, cannot be relied upon at a property specific level. These are undertaken on a national scale. Understanding the limitations of these maps should be undertaken through seeking professional flood risk advice. The surveyor’s role is to translate what the flood mapping is showing to what would likely happen on the ground, at property level.
Arguably the most important stage of a flood mitigation scheme is the survey. The next steps in the mitigation project are all founded following the recommendations of the site survey.
The surveyor should produce a clear report explaining where issues may occur, with steps focusing on how best to mitigate and reduce the flood risk to the property.
If you imagine building a house, the first step would be to have an Architect draw up plans. Flood Protection is no different and needs careful consideration to ensure that any issues can be resolved effectively.
Whilst flood protection will not completely remove the flood risk, it pays to be as well prepared as possible.
What to Look For?
It is paramount to check the qualifications and experience of your surveyor. If they cannot provide detailed answers to the following questions, we would recommend being very wary:
1. What qualifications have you got that relate to flooding?
2. What is your experience?
3. Can I see some case studies of projects you have worked on?
4. Have you got full Professional Indemnity Insurance?
Adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance is notoriously expensive for consultants within the flood sector and environmental consulting, as ultimately if something goes wrong, the consequences can be huge.
In certain circumstances a surveyor or engineer could be classified as being a designer under CDM Regulations if they are making design recommendations to reduce flood risk, and therefore having the correct expertise and insurance is essential.
At Flood Protection Solutions Ltd we are passionate and proud of our expertise. Our top consultants now conduct research with organisations such as Cranfield University, allowing us to lead in flood defence and advice. Our team have over 50 years combined experience and regularly feature as flood experts for media outlets, including Sky News.
We offer site visits and surveys nationwide and are more than happy to assist with any projects.
For further information please visit here: Flood Surveys, or contact us on 0115 987 0358 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.