Repair and restoration of buildings following floods
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Repairs - introduction

Before you commence repairs to your property it is important to consider the following points.


Following a flood contact your insurance broker or company as soon as possible to begin your claim. You should check with your insurance company what is covered by your household/building policy and enquire whether it covers "extra" costs, such as costs of temporary accommodation, drying apparatus, and electricity/gas inspections. Do not throw anything away or undertake work until you have made contact with your insurance broker or company as it may prejudice your claim and before moving/repairing anything take photographs or video footage of all damage if possible and mark the water levels on the walls for the reference of the insurers.

Without insurance, flood repair can be a very expensive process and generally local authorities do not have a responsibility towards repair (except for their own buildings) although most will provide some help.

For further guidance on insurance refer to the insurance page.

Finding help

Damage caused by flooding will generally be beyond the capability of the individual householder or small businessperson to clear up and repair on their own. Do not attempt work that is beyond your capabilities. The services of a local builder, often supplemented by specialist trades such as plasterers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers will probably be needed.

Your insurance company, often in conjunction with a loss adjuster, may appoint a builder to help you. Alternatively, you may be asked to contact several builders yourself and obtain competitive quotes for work required and seek approval from the insurance company before building work can begin. If you are not insured then you will need to choose a builder yourself.

Ensure you select a reputable builder, such as a member of the Federation of Master Builders or other specialist trade bodies. Where possible you should use a firm that is recommended to you, either by your local authority, insurer or loss adjuster, or by personal contact. Another option is to find a builder via a website like Beware of builders touting from door to door. Cowboy builders often try to exploit people’s desperation after a flood. They may not be appropriately trained and qualified in flood repair. Do not pay cash in advance and obtain signed receipts for all work done.

Builders will normally be able to let you know what work will be needed to restore your property and how much it will cost. However, if there is structural damage then the builder must call upon the services of professional engineer or surveyor. It is preferable to get more than one quotation, but also to consider all aspects of the firm and its tender, including where their expertise lies and what references they have. If in doubt or tackling a big job, it may be best to bring in a professional in a consultative role, this may save you money and time in the longer term.

The British Damage Management Association (BDMA), the certifying authority for practitioners in flood recovery and restoration, warns that incompetent restoration work can lead to health risks and irreparable damage to building structures. They recommend using a reputable recovery agent that is experienced in dealing with flood damage and advise on checking their credentials and taking insurers recommendations first. You can use the flood damage section of the Yellow Pages to obtain contact information for companies to aid in the various areas of repair and refurbishment.


This site details repairs for all elements of your property.

In all cases it is worth remembering that if you have been flooded once, it may happen again. It is therefore well worth considering the use of materials that are less vulnerable to damage when you repair your building if flooding is likely to re-occur in the future. This may also include furnishings, such as kitchen units, or other items that would be difficult to move away from flood waters. For further information regarding this see the advice sheet page.

02 August 2007