Flooding is quite common in the UK, in fact, it is the most common natural disaster. Adverse weather is often to blame, and as we know all too well, this type of weather can make an appearance at any given time across the country. If your business is located close to water this risk is even greater.
Flooding can cause major disruption to businesses, creating substantial loss and damages. Considering how common flooding can occur and how much of a damaging impact it can have, it is important to understand how to minimise the risks as much as possible.
Disruption Caused by Flooding
Initially, as a result of a flood the business will likely have to pause trading, which will inevitably impact your bottom line. It isn’t just the immediate downtime that is an issue though. Businesses rely on a constant stream of income in order to continue to grow. When a business is recovering from a flood growth can suffer, as funds need to redirected to repair damages caused by flooding. There is also then the downtime needed to do repairs which could go on for a lengthy period of time depending on the extent of damages.
Flooding can cause major damage to the structure and fabric of buildings which need to be repaired properly and as quickly as possible. Once the floodwater is drained, damage can be assessed but repairs can take several months in the worst cases. It is important that building repairs are done properly to avoid issues further down the line such as damp and rot. Repairs can be costly, but it is important that they are done correctly otherwise additional expenses could be incurred at a later date.
In addition to any damage to the fabric of the building, there will also likely be damage to equipment. Some equipment may survive, however, if water interferes with any electrics, they will need replacing. Having to replace equipment will also result in further business downtime; especially if the equipment is necessary to business function or impacts on safety.
Whilst having insurance is a life saver after a flood, it can be rather time-consuming dealing with all the insurance claims, especially when you have other things to be doing in order to get your business back up and running. It can also take time to get the insurance money to do the repairs which means a longer business downtime.
Although claiming on insurance can be a time-consuming process, you’ll be glad you had it. It is important to check that your insurance covers flood damage including damage to stock, assets and property, otherwise you could have a nasty surprise when you come to claim. Make sure that you have your policy documents available and take pictures of the damage wherever safe to do so. Make sure not to make any changes or remove anything until insurers can assess the situation.
Being prepared is one of the best ways you can deal with flooding; this involves having a flood plan in place which can help you identify what you need to do in the event of a flood to protect your stock and employees, as well as equipment and the building itself.
The plan could involve simple things such as keeping valuable stock or equipment at a higher level. If you’re business is situated in an ‘at-risk’ area for example, if it is close to water, then it may be worth investing in flood defences. Although these defences can be expensive, they can be cost effective in the long run if the alternative is regular flooding. In at-risk areas you can often receive funding for flood defences, contact your local authority for more information.
If floodwater damages your electrical system, it will impact the IT system which can be detrimental to the functioning of your business. Nowadays, a lot of businesses rely on the use of an IT system and they can be costly to repair or replace. Therefore, it is important to have a back-up in place and a plan of how to get the system up and running as soon as possible.
One of the most dangerous things about a flood is when the water comes into contact with electrical items. This is one of the reasons why you should not enter the building just after a flood, as it could be dangerous to do so.
It’s important to have a qualified person assess the safety of the building before re-entering your property after a flood. It is advisable that you aim to keep electric equipment away from ground level wherever possible to avoid electrical issues and if you know a flood is a possibility; turn the electricity off.
Making sure you regularly have your boiler serviced is essential in any business, but when it comes to flooding it is important your gas system is in good condition to avoid impact from the flood. If you know a flood is coming it is important to turn off the gas to avoid a bigger issue or dangerous situation.
For any information on how MSL can help with being prepared for a flood, contact us today.