Flood risk management is a bit like a jigsaw of many pieces, all working together to reduce our flood risk. I make no apologies for always focussing on the bit in the middle, our homes. It is our homes that are devastated by floodwater, with much loved possessions and memories destroyed forever. I know from first-hand experience and from the many people I have talked to over the last 21 years, that the recovery from the flood is far worse than the flood itself.
The average person out for their homes for 9 months but many people have been displaced for much longer. Over the last few years I have talked to homeowners who have made their homes ‘flood recoverable,’ or as the repair process is now referred to as ‘Building back better.’ I have been a long-time advocate for this, since I first benefitted by doing this in my former home.
So what is ‘Building Back Better’?
Building back better is made up of two components, either trying to reduce the amount of flood water entering the house, by using kitemarked flood doors or flood barriers, self-closing airbricks, non-return valves (to stop the sewage backing up into a home via the drains) and sump pumps etc. Or using materials that, if flooded, can recover more quickly, such as waterproof plaster, waterproof flooring and flood resilient kitchens. People I have talked to who have used these methods have either not been flooded or been able to return home very quickly after a flood and have not had to cope with the appalling devastation a floods brings.
All this comes with an added cost. Homeowners often don’t have the money to invest in such measures and the insurance industry has insisted on ‘like for like repairs.’ So come the next flood, the same horrible process will have to be gone through again, causing yet more trauma for the homeowner and more expense for the insurer. To me, it is a complete nonsense!
I am delighted that the new Flood Re ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) scheme will make a huge and tangible difference to future flood claims. Once it has been passed by Parliament (hopefully April 1st) insurers will be able to pay up to £10,000 on top of a flood claim to enable the property to be Built Back Better and enhance its ability to recover if it should flood again. It will obviously take a while for all insurers to get on board with this, so keep an eye on the Flood Re website, as they will have a list of which insurers are signed up to BBB, when it’s available. Floodre.co.uk
To read about what other homeowners have done to help their homes recover after a flood, read my EMag, which is packed full of inspirational case studies https://edition.pagesuite.com/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=b3dddc3f-8c89-4711-86f3-4f0f9ce9a713