Floods in the UK
Two prolonged storms hit the UK in quick succession, the first bringing heavy rain and dangerously high winds, the second much the same but really piling on the misery for home and business owners as rain fell on to already saturated ground and further filled streams and rivers leading to some of the worst flooding in living memory.
The debate about the causes – Global warming? Over development? Building in flood plains? Taking away soft, draining grounds? Well, they are perhaps for another day.
Right now, thousands of people are busy with the big clean-up. As water recede and homes drain, owners are left with a mud/sewage residue, damage or loss of furniture and prized personal possessions and severe damage to plastered walls, wooden doors, skirtings, architraves, carpets, electrics and kitchens.
To begin putting things right, a fast assessment of damage must be carried, photographs taken and insurance companies notified. Once they have granted permission, work can begin. Ruined items can be put in the front garden for collection, and items that might be salvageable put outside to air and hopefully dry. Anything that can be kept should be thoroughly disinfected.
Once a home has got wet, it is vital to get it dry quickly to prevent the growth of mould. Ventilation combined with dehumidifier use (once electrics have been checked by a qualified electrician) will achieve the best result. Irreparable plaster should be removed quickly, revealing bare brick that will begin to dry.
Flooding and the Impact on Cavity Walls
Cavities should be checked to see if insulation is soaked and if so this should be removed as a priority. Ruined carpets, soft furnishings and curtains should also go.
Your council, flood warden and insurance company should all be able to advise you on reputable companies who can help and insurers may even do everything for you, including finding alternative accommodation. Unfortunately, the average flooded home needs many different trades to put things right – cleaners, rubbish removers, electricians, gas engineers, plasterers, cavity wall extraction companies, decorators, carpenters – it’s a very long list and takes a lot of organising, especially when in an area when many properties have been flooded and demand for trades is high. We suggest that you don’t pay traders in advance – sometimes disreputable firms swoop on an affected area to charge extortionate amounts for shoddy works.
As floods seem to be increasingly common, consider flood prevention when making good, just in case there’s another incident. There are many quite simple things that can really make a difference, you can get Government advice here.
Finally, if you consider yourself to be potentially vulnerable (nobody would blame you, flooding is a terrible experience), well you need to seek help. Citizens Advice, your council and flood warden should all be able to assist you in your time of need so don’t suffer in silence.
Good advice for tenants can be found here.