Flood damage to property

It is estimated by The Environment Agency that one in six homes in England is at risk from flooding. This equates to approximately 5.2m properties. Of these, 1.4m are at risk from rivers or the sea alone, 2.8m are at risk from surface water alone and 1m are at risk from both. There are therefore twice as many homes at risk of surface water flooding than those affected by river or coastal flooding.

It is not always obvious that there is a risk of flooding. Just because a property is not close to a river or the sea is not reason to think that there is no risk of flooding. Surface water, groundwater and overflowing sewers are increasingly common causes of flooding.

The most common types of flooding are:

  • Surface water flooding (pluvial) - occurs when heavy rainfall overwhelms the drainage capacity of an area.
  • Sewer flooding - occurs when sewers are overwhelmed by heavy rainfall or when they become blocked.
  • Groundwater flooding - occurs when underground water levels rise above surface level. This is most likely to occur in low lying areas underlain by permeable rocks.
  • River flooding - occurs when a watercourse cannot cope with the water draining into it from the surrounding land. Coastal flooding - results from a combination of high tides, low lying land and, sometimes, stormy conditions

A Flood Report can be obtained to check on the level of risk for the property you intend to purchase which will also give you recommendations as to what you can do to reduce the risk to your home if appropriate. The report will also confirm whether you should be able to insure your property on standard terms. Before committing to buy your property it is important to establish the terms on which buildings insurance, including flood risk cover, is available and that there are no onerous conditions or excesses linked to the insurance premium.

In addition if you are concerned about the risk of flooding then you need a discussion about the level of risk to which the property is exposed with a building surveyor or, if necessary, a flood risk assessment consultant may be appropriate. If you do wish to commission a specialist survey to provide further information in relation to flood risk the following organisations may be able to assist in providing suitably qualified professionals:

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

  • Association of Building Engineers
  • Chartered Institution of Civil Engineers
  • Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management


Should you wish to speak to us regarding this article please call Joanne Roberts on 01952 297979 or email Joanne at joanner@terry-jones.co.uk

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