Would Your Business Premises Be Ready For A Flood? How property flood resilience measures can help protect your business

The Would Your Business Premises Be Ready For a Flood? factsheet, sponsored by Aviva, has been created to summarise what the Property Flood Resilience Code of Practice means for small businesses at flood risk and contains easy to implement suggestions to help them prepare for flooding.

The factsheet summarises a new cross-sector code of practice developed by industry professionals to improve standards of property flood resilience. 

More than 300,000 UK business premises are at risk of flooding1, and as many as 40 per cent of businesses do not reopen after suffering a catastrophic loss from flooding2. During 2013-2014, the average economic cost of flood damage to businesses was £82,0003. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, on average losing 50 working days when they are flooded4.

Property flood resilience (PFR) measures are an important part of the response to existing and predicted flood risk. They can help reduce damage and costs by limiting the amount of water that enters premises. However, implementation of PFR in the UK is low5. The Property Flood Resilience Code of Practice is an attempt to address this by outlining good practice measures for both property owners and professionals to make their properties better prepared for floods. These measures can reduce damage, costs, speed up recovery and reoccupation. PFR measures reduce the amount of water entering buildings (known as resistance measures), or limit the damage caused if water does enter a building (known as recoverability measures).

This factsheet is designed to provide an easy introduction to PFR for small-business owners. The full version of the document is available on the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) website. Professionals working in this area are encouraged to promote and support this code, change behaviour and mitigate the impacts from flooding to the communities, homes or businesses that are at flood risk. Property owners should ask their building surveyor to follow the PFR Code of Practice when specifying flood resilience measures. Ensure that any contractors hired install any measures in line with the standards outlined in the Code of Practice. 

Small-business owners may also be interested in Business in the Community’s (BITC) Would You Be Ready? Small Business Resilience Starter Kit, which contains simple tips to improve a business’s resilience, by being better prepared for disruptive events including flood, cyber attack and civil unrest. BITC has also created Would You Be Ready? Guide for Small Businesses, for small businesses to create their own bespoke emergency plans.

About BITC’s Business Emergency Recovery Group (BERG)

Would Your Business Premises Be Ready For A Flood? was produced by BERG, a group created by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. BERG helps UK businesses and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies. Convened by BITC, BERG is an influential network of UK business leaders and strategic partners that include national charities and UK government departments. BERG focuses on helping small businesses because they are fundamental to the success of the UK economy. Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face a disproportionally greater of disruptive events such as a fire, flood or cyber attack. Without proper preparation, any one of these events could result in business failure and potentially life-changing consequences for owners and employees.

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References
  1. RICS; 2018; Consumer Guide: Flooding, available at https://www.ricsfirms.com.
  2. Rainbow International Restoration; 2019; Flooding Statistics UK; available at https://rainbow-int-franchise.co.uk
  3. Environment Agency; 2018; Estimating the economic costs of the 2015 to 2016 winter floods; available at https://www.gov.uk/
  4. Crichton, D.; 2006; Climate Change and its effects on small businesses in the UK; available at http://www.greensuffolk.org
  5. Clark, J., Pratt N., Muirhead O.; 2018; Bricks & Water: A plan of action for building homes and managing water in England; Policy Connect; p.26 available at https://www.policyconnect.org.uk