Impact of flood characteristics on damage caused to UK domestic properties: the perceptions of building surveyors

2015-01-08T14:38:15Z (GMT) by Robby Soetanto David G. Proverbs
Flood damage to domestic properties can be considered as a function of two key factors, that is the flood characteristics (e.g. velocity of flow, time duration, and nature of any suspended contaminants) and characteristics of the property (e.g. physical location, materials of construction, and ability to withstand floodwater forces). A thorough literature review identified that little or no consideration is given to the characteristics of the flood when assessing flood-damaged domestic properties. This indicates that the damage caused by floods is considered by many to be a simple problem to resolve, whereas in reality, it is a complex phenomenon, highlighting the need of research in this area. This paper presents the perceptions of 289 building surveyors regarding flood characteristics as part of a two-year research project to benchmark the assessment of flood-damaged domestic properties in the UK. Surveyors perceived the sewage, fasciae and contaminant content, and depth of the floodwater to be the most important factors to be considered in flood damage assessment. This was followed by the time duration and source of the floodwater. The velocity of the floodwater was considered the least important factor. Findings also revealed that methods to determine these factors were primarily a function of individual subjective perceptions and often based on visual inspection of the floodwater alone. Definitive guidance is therefore needed in order to minimise variations in subsequent repair and reinstatement works.