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 is currently waiting on a ‘Code of Practice’ to be published to further enforce high standards.
One aspect we still remain incredibly concerned about is when companies offer ‘FREE Flood Surveys’.
We believe flood protection is more about knowledge, expertise and careful consideration, NOT sales targets.
Ultimately if a free flood survey is conducted, the salesperson visiting survey 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.
Why Have 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 and lifestyle/circumstances of the client to ensure the mitigation is suitable.
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.
If you imagine building a house, the first step would be to have an Architect draw up plans. You would not jump this step and go straight to asking a building company for quotes. Flood Protection should be no different and needs careful consideration to ensure that the issues can be resolved.
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. We offer site visits and surveys nationwide and are more than happy to assist with any problems.