What to do if your business premises have flooded
Flood water is often dangerous, due to its speed, depth, hidden obstacles or contamination in the water.
The most important thing to do is to make sure that you and your employees remain safe!
Either move to upper parts of the property and call for assistance, or leave the property by a safe, dry route. If anyone remains in the flooded property and the mains electricity supply was not turned off before the flood, do not touch any electrical appliances until you are told it is safe to do so.
Call 999 if there is any threat to life.
When everyone is safe follow these principles below to recover from this flood damage:
- Notify your insurance company that the property has been flooded
Although you cannot yet identify the damage caused, you can establish whether they will provide alternative work space and emergency funding which may enable your business to continue running.
- Notify your own family and that of any employees with you
This is so that families know where their relative is.
- Implement your business recovery plan
- Notify customers
If applicable, notify customers of the temporary disruption.
- Speak to your insurer
If your insurance company will not cover an alternative work space for you and your employees, you could consider:
- Moving to a new office
- Employees working from home
- Renting another property in the area (as a short term solution).
- Do not return to the property until you are told it is safe to do so.
When can I return to my business?
- Follow these principles
- Make your own record of the flood damage
More details are available here on how you can do this.
- Contact your insurance company again, if you have one. You may have done this already, to advise them that the property has been flooded and to arrange a temporary alternative workplace. Once you regain access to the property, you will need to contact them again to arrange for a loss adjuster to visit. They should also be able to explain to you how the claims process works. If the property is rented, it may be the landlords insurer (and loss adjuster) who will be involved in assessing the damage to the building whilst your own insurer will assess the loss of contents, stock, equipment and business interruption. To complete the process you will need to liaise with both insurers.
How do I repair my business?
- Clean up your property correctly
Follow our guidance for advice on how to do this.
- If you own the property, start to organise the process of drying out and eventual repair/replacement
If you are a tenant of the property, or only lease part of the building, it is likely to be your landlord who organises this process. Where an insurer is covering part or all of the cost, their loss adjuster will be the main point of contact between you and the insurance company. Although decisions on the claim are the sole responsibility of the insurance company, who will usually still remain in contact with you or the landlord, it is the loss adjuster who you will deal with on a regular basis. So do not commission works until the insurer has agreed. If you are not insured (and own the property), you may start work immediately. More information on loss adjusters and loss assessors is available here.
- Consider installing property flood resilience measures
If the property is likely to be flooded again, they may want to do the repair work in a way that helps to reduce the damage that the next flood causes. This can be done by installing Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures. Sometimes the insurer will be willing to fund all or part of the cost of that work. For more information on what PFR measures are and what types are available, please click here.
- Get consent from your landlord (if you have one)
You may need your lender’s consent, or consent from your landlord or a superior landlord, for any repairs or replacement of parts of the property, so check your mortgage deed and lease, or call the lender. It is prudent to wait until you have that consent before starting work. More information on things to consider about the clean up, is available here.
- Check for grant funding
Grant funding may be available to help meet the cost of flood protection measures. Further information about the sources of grant funding that is available to for is available here.
- Ensure property flood resilience measures meet required standards
There are recognised quality standards for property flood resilience measures currently available in the UK. You can find out more about what standards are available, and what is covered by each, through the standards section of our website.
Flood forums can offer a wide range of additional advice and support:
- National Flood Forum – independent charity organisation that works alongside flood affected communities nationally within the UK, to deal with the impacts and challenges of flooding
- Scottish Flood Forum – A network of community flood resilience groups, providing information, training and support for flood-affected communities in Scotland.