27 Jun

Homeowner converts garage to keep floodwater out

Katie lives in a three-storey detached dwelling built approximately 15 years ago, situated adjacent the River Calder, Luddenden Brook and the Rochdale Canal. On Boxing Day 2015 it was one of the many affected by the devastating floods that hit the Calder Valley.

The property was originally laid out with a garage and utility room on the ground floor and the living accommodation above. When the flood hit, water entered the property through the garage door and the many air bricks, inundating the internal garage and spreading into the ground floor hallway. 

All stored items were damaged along with floor coverings, skirting boards and low level plaster.

To reduce the risk of future flooding from this kind of extreme weather event, the garage door, seals and drainage system would need to be adapted.

Initially it looked as though it would be possible to re-instate the property on a like-for-like basis using flood resilient and resistant products, i.e. replacing the garage door with a flood barrier, installing self-closing air brick covers and making improvements to the existing drainage system. 

However, Katie still saw the garage door as a potential weakness to future ingress. During discussions with her surveyor, employed and funded through the Repair and Renew Grant scheme, another solution came to light.

Katie and the surveyor agreed that once all the usual planning and building regulation consents were in place, the best way forward would be to block the garage door opening with a cavity wall and window. The cavity wall would provide a more robust barrier in any future flooding events.

It is worth mentioning here that if you would like to carry out similar works to your property, structurally changing existing details requires regulatory permissions from your local authority, a process which can take some time.

Other measures included in the overall works were non-return valves and automatic flood closure covers to all airbricks plus an extension to the drain at the front of the property.

Now the works have been completed, Katie feels at ease that her property is better protected from future instances of flooding. Since then, she has taken a number of additional steps to help herself, her family and her community feel better prepared.

“Having been personally affected by flooding I joined the local flood group and volunteer as a Flood Warden. I know firsthand what it is like to be affected and want to play my part in raising awareness. That is why I have signed up to receive flood alerts and keep an up to date flood plan that my whole family are aware of.”

The work was carried out using financial assistance, which became available following the 2015 flood. Katie reported that the application form and accompanying notes were relatively straightforward and communication with Calderdale Council was good, with any issues/queries ironed out by the Flood Risk Management team.

Part of the surveyor’s report included recommendations for a joint scheme with adjacent neighbours. This would have involved seeking permissions from relevant subject authorities and having sufficient funds to carry out the full extent of works.

However, the £5,000 grant was used towards the cost of individual property measures so there was no funding available for a joint scheme.

The scheme closed to new applications on the 31 March 2017, but there are still a number of small yet effective steps you can take to make yourself, your family and your property more resilient. Check out our Six Steps to Protecting Your Property to get started.

Posted in: case study, property resilience