Flood Certificate could help home owners reduce risk of damage

Home sellers and buyers are familiar now with the Energy Performance Certificate that outlines the property’s energy performance and how it can be improved.

Now a leading think-tank has floated the idea of introducing flood certificates that would help home owners do more to prepare their home for flooding.

The Social Market Foundation’s research has revealed only a small number of UK households have taken any action to make their home better prepared to deal with an instance of flooding and survive without major damage.

The cross-party think-tank wants a shift in public policy and attitudes to support those areas most at risk of flooding. Its research has been backed by the Government and the Flood Re scheme run by the insurance industry to help keep the costs of household flood insurance down.

Ensuring property is resilient

Its solution is for Flood Certificates to be introduced. These forms would show that a home owner has taken certain measures to ensure their property is resilient and prepared for a flood event. When selling a property in a flood-risk area, those home owners with a Flood Certificate could potentially demand a higher price because their property is better prepared.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) were introduced in 2007. Anyone selling or letting a property must have a valid EPC (each one lasts 10 years) that outlines the home’s energy use, typical energy costs and details any recommendations on how to reduce energy use and save money.

In its report, entitled Incentivising Household Action on Flooding, the Social Market Foundation says introducing a Flood Certificate could shift attitudes among householders on flood readiness. For example, replacing electrical sockets higher up a wall can reduce the risk of electrical damage, while special doors and air brick covers could stop water entering a property.

The report noted: “There are clear private gains to be made from taking on resistance/resilience measures.”

A major issue for the UK

In recent years, the UK has suffered serious damage after major storms. In 2015, floods in Scotland and the north of England caused £1.3 billion of damage. Those affected by floods are often forced out of their homes for months while they dry out.

Researcher Matthew Oakley said: “Flooding is a major issue for the UK. While it affects relatively few people each year, the impact on the families and communities affected is huge. But despite the damage caused, as a country, we do too little to protect our own properties from the risks and costs of flooding. This needs to change.

“To increase the resilience of the UK’s housing stock, more needs to be done to support households to protect themselves. Making flood readiness a visible part of a property’s value would allow those who invest in flood precautions to realise a financial gain for that that work – and encourage those who have not prepared to start doing so.”

The Flood Certificate would show:

  • A property’s overall risk of flooding
  • When the property last flooded and the depth and nature of flooding
  • The likely cost of reinstatement from various potential future levels of flooding
  • Any resistance and resilience measures that have been recommended by a surveyor
  • An assessment of the extent to which these recommendations have been taken up