How to prevent and deal with Floods in Flats
Floods in flats and apartments can cause serious damage to not only the property the leak originates from, to the property below and the personal property of the occupant as well. It may not always be feasible to flood-proof a property, which means acting quickly when a flood situation happens is vital in reducing the damage to your home or property. To avoid flood damage, it is important to know how to look out for the first signs of escaped water.
Signs of flooding in flats
Leaking ceilings are often the first visible sign of a leak in the flat above. We often see leaks in blocks of flats with the escaped water causing damage to the property as well as tenant possessions. The most common causes of these are plumbing failures from stopcocks, boilers and bathroom and kitchen plumbing leaks.
Some blocks of flats are particularly prone to plumbing leaks and, to mitigate against increasing insurance premiums, are required to establish regular management inspections of plumbing within flats. Often the causes are common faults across numerous flats which were built with the same plumbing weakness. Ultimately the landlord is responsible for ensuring that all reasonable measures to prevent flood have been taken.
How to prevent flooding in flats
- Turn off the stopcock on the rising main when leaving the flat for a prolonged period
- Undertake regular plumbing inspections to check for potential areas of weakness, particularly checking washing machine hoses and plumbing under the bath, sink & toilet fittings
- Install a flood notification alarm, such as a floor mounted detection device. We have seen these prevent minor floods becoming very large ones
- Leave a copy of the keys with a concierge or neighbour if appropriate, so that access can be gained to your flat in the event of an emergency when you are out or away
What to do if your flat floods
- If the flood originates in your flat, ensure the flow of water is stopped via the tap on the rising main
- Notify all flats to the below and adjacent, in order that any potential damage to these properties can be dealt with quickly
- As with any leak, use mops, towels and buckets / wet vacuum extractors, to remove the surface water quickly to mitigate any further damage to building materials
- Employ a professional damp testing/restoration contractor which can identify, possibly with the aid of thermal imaging cameras, the area of water spread and the degree of saturation into building materials
- Removal of affected floor coverings may be necessary to expose the damp building structure below. Often we find that laminate and wood floor coverings can be damaged beyond repair by water
- Drying equipment including dehumidifiers and fans are used to accelerate the drying process and mitigate the potential for mould growth.
If you’re a landlord who has experienced flooding in your property, or a tenant with a troublesome leak, contact us for expert advice on which drying equipment, fans and dehumidifier equipment you need to avoid any further damage.