Protect your home from floodwater

Protect your home from floodwater

Recognising flood depths, onset, surveys and more.

You should be aware some facts about the flood risk and facts about the vulnerability of your house in order to keep yourself and your family safe and to choose the best option for protecting your home. The more reliable the facts, the more certain you can be that you have chosen the best option. Factors that influence the best choice of flood protection is discussed below. However you should be aware that many of the important facts can be difficult to establish and require technical knowledge and experience to make reliable estimates. You should obtain specialist advice from surveyors with flood risk experience or specialised flood risk consultants.


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The area at risk of flooding should be identified and the mechanism of flooding determined, such as the source of flooding (e.g. rivers, seas, reservoirs, groundwater, surface water, sewers and mains supply) and the pathways that water will take to reach the site.

Facts about the flood risk

There are four facts about the flood water that are of particular importance:

Flood depths

Flood depths expected at your house. Low depths (for example 100mm) are unlikely to put people at risk but water damage to buildings and contents may be significant without any flood protection. High water depths (for example 1m) may severely threaten the safety of people and may cause extensive damage to buildings. It may be dangerous to keep deep floods out of a building because of the large weight of water pressing against the walls.

Flood duration

Flood duration is the time that flood water is expected to stay at your house. Temporary flood defences may successfully keep water out if flooding is expected to last for just a couple of hours, whereas, long flood durations may give time for water to penetrate into the building. It may be safe to take refuge and stay in a building for short duration floods but this will depend on the other factors.

Flood onset

Flood onset is the time for flood water to reach your house from its source. Short onset flooding (flash floods) are particularly dangerous as there is little time available to get people to safety or to protect buildings.

Flood annual probability

Flood annual probability is a measure of the chance of flooding to your house over the course of 1 year. Different approaches to flood protection may be needed depending upon how likely flooding is expected.

These four key factors are used to decide what you and your family should do when flooding strikes, for example ‘evacuation’ or ‘go-in, stay-in and tune-in’. The factors are also important for guiding the best way to flood protect your home. There are other important factors that have an impact on flood risk at your home, notably the expected velocity of flood water. Rapidly flowing water at even low depths will increase the risk to both people and buildings. The effect of flood defences should also be taken into account when estimating the above factors.

Sources of information for the important factors include the Environment Agency, local authority and local library archives. Local knowledge, particularly from long-standing residents, is invaluable. Calculations of things like rainfall, river flows, pipe capacities and measurements of ground levels may be needed to make reliable estimates, for which you should obtain specialist help.

Facts about your home – a property-level survey

A property level survey should establish facts such as the level of thresholds and floors, the likely points of water entry, whether attempts should be made to keep water out of your home or just to allow the water in and enhance the building in such a way as to limit the damage and promote rapid clean up. The property-level survey of your house should be performed by an experienced professional.

This gives surveyors a recognised framework for assessing flood risk and will help people set out the flood risk information that insurers may ask them to provide. This offers a way of encouraging insurers to accept good property level protection schemes as a way of mitigating insurance, and therefore making insurance more available and affordable. However, it will need to be promoted to people, local authorities and agencies, as well as the insurance industry.

Choosing the right flood protection products

Flood protection designed to keep water out of your house is referred to as flood ‘resistance’ products. Temporary flood resistance products are those that need deploying (fitting or activating) prior to flooding arriving whereas permanent flood resistance products do not need activating. Flood ‘resilience’ refers to measures that reduce flood damage to buildings in situations where water is allowed to enter.

The important facts about the flood risk and the facts about your home, when taken together, will guide the best choice of permanent resistance, temporary resistance or resilience and the product lists in this handbook will help with this. Other factors will play a part in the decision making process, such as cost, visual impact, ease of deployment and product performance.

The best answer for your home will most likely involve a combination of products. Other risks, such as the continued operation of fire exit doors, will need to be considered and competing priorities balanced as well as ensuring that any protection methods do not unnecessarily add to ooding elsewhere.

The chosen flood protection products will only be effective if they are used in the right way, at the right time and are stored and maintained correctly to ensure their long term effectiveness. You need to be clear about the best way to act in a flood emergency to protect lives and buildings. A flood plan is essential for achieving these aims.


Further details on this can be found at

Tempest Restoration 24/7 service


A. Here at Tempest Restoration we have been providing flood restoration services to properties across the UK. In that time we have dealt with water damage of all scales. Over the years have not only been involved in 1000's of small domestic disaster restoration claims but also major incidents from the Cumbrian floods to the Buncefield fire at the oil storage terminal in Hertfordshire. Our continuous investment in the very latest flood drying equipment and technician training enables us to handle professionally any size and scale of flood damage. Our aim is to provide a prompt, professional and reliable disaster restoration service to domestic and commercial property owners.

A. We are fully equipped to clean up flood damage after all types of flood. Over the years we have helped thousands of homeowners and businesses alike recover from Coastal flooding, River flooding, Flash flooding, Groundwater flooding and Sewer flooding. Read our guide on common types of flood water. We are able to deal with all types of water including clean water, grey water (a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to) and black water (water which contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness). Read our guide on common categories of water. Floods can be caused for many different reasons. Heavy rainfall, storm water, river flooding, coastal surges, leaking/burst pipes or human error are all typical causes of flood water in the home or business premises. The source of the ingress isn't always visible neither. Water can trace itself to a point from a large distance away from the entry source. Here at Tempest we have specialist detection equipment for trace and access on water ingression to a property.

A. Flood water can devastate a property. The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface. At this point, the potential damage done to a structure that you may not have been aware of can be large in scale. Or, it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property. Whatever the cause, primary flood damage is just the beginning and you need to act fast to minimise the consequences of secondary damage. Your home is full of porous materials that absorb water like a sponge which will damage structural integrity. Water causes corrosion and damages electrical equipment which can be fatal if not identified. Residual moisture becomes water vapour throughout the building which will condense. If the water is not completely removed it can lead to dry rot and a high risk of microbial growth e.g. mould and bacteria which is damaging to your health and isnt always something visible to the naked eye like typical black mould in a bathroom.

A. After a safety assessment, we look to identify the cause of the water leak or ingress using various tools and equipment. Our experienced team of technicians will look to make a decision on the best course of action for your situation. The next stage utilises advanced water removal equipment followed by rapid drying technology and humidity control to remove the water and moisture from the property.

A. Their are many potential health risks associated with flood water. Apart from the initial potential risk of drowning, the further potential risks to your health very much depend upon the nature of the water. We are able to deal with all types of water including clean water, grey water (a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to) and black water (water which contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness). If there is any possibility of contamination DO NOT TOUCH IT, call Tempest Restoration on 0845 052 4522. Read our guide on common categories of water.

A. Every case is different and their are many factors that make up the scale of damage and repair required due to flood damage of a property. We recommend a site survey to ascertain the level of damage and repair required. Once on site, we are able to quickly advise on the best course of action to bring about the most effective recovery. Our state-of-the-art equipment ensures the remediation process will be thorough, effective and as fast as possible, returning your home or business to normality as quickly as possible. Using the latest technology and with highly experienced technicians, our aim is to complete the restoration in the best way to reduce costs and prevent secondary damage in the future.

A. Every flood is unique and as such the timescale is dependent on many variations and factors. A small scale water leak is usually quiker to repair than large scale flooding caused by a river overflowing. Our knowledgeable and experienced team will assess the damage and act fast and efficiently to provide a tailored and precise response to your properties specific requirements. The use of modern equipment, rapid drying technology and working practise means that your home or business will be safely and quickly returned to normal, minimising disruption and cost.

A. We operate across the UK with technicians available in major towns and cities. Our head office is based in Swaffham, Norfolk where we undertake all our training.

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