Preparing your business premises for winter

December 07, 2021

The fickle nature of weather in the UK only exacerbates the unpredictability of floods and extreme weather, and with so many areas susceptible to flooding, one unexpected severe storm can trigger widespread damage. In England and Wales alone, more than five million properties (as many as 1 in 6) are at risk of flooding. In Scotland 1 in 14 properties are at risk and in Northern Ireland, the figure is 1 in 20. With these odds, there is a good chance that one of these properties at risk belongs to you.

Not preparing your property for possible flooding and extreme weather could therefore sink your business.

Flooding: Stay afloat with solid preparation and a comprehensive flood plan


Flooding is one of the most common worldwide natural disasters and the effects can be devastating for businesses.

Did you know, a flood costs a business around £82,000 on average1? Unfortunately, it is impossible to completely flood-proof your property, but thorough preparation can lower the risk of damage and reduce interruptions to your business.

Begin your preparation by consulting your area’s flood risk map. The Environment Agency (EA) publishes maps for England, Wales, and Scotland, which can be accessed by clicking here. The EA makes three types of maps, each addressing a different flooding hazard: surface water, reservoirs, and rivers and the sea. There are separate flood risk maps for Northern Ireland; click here to access these. For areas of high flood risk, the EA offers Floodline Warnings Direct, a free service that provides flood warnings via telephone, mobile, email, SMS text messaging and fax. Sign up here.

Once you have assessed your risk, it is time to prepare your business accordingly and establish a flood plan. You can also buy and install products in advance that fortify your property against water damage. The Environment Agency estimates that with proper preparation, most businesses can save between 20 to 90 percent of the cost of stock lost due to flooding.

For more detailed guidance including how to create a flood plan, please click here.

Extreme weather: How to protect your property


Thanks to weather forecasting, we can often prepare for extreme weather in advance. To reduce the impacts of extreme weather however, it is important to regularly inspect and maintain your business premises and develop an incident response plan in case of damage.

There are 4 main things to consider when developing an incident response plan:

1. Roofs

Regular inspection and maintenance, particularly in advance of forecasted high winds, will reduce the risk of damage to your roof. If you spot any missing, loose, or damaged roof tiles, be sure to replace them promptly. For larger repairs, contact a roofing specialist.

2. External objects

In extreme weather, objects outside of your business premises such as bins, furniture, and trees can be launched in the air, causing damage to your property. This can also make the inside of your business premises more vulnerable to wind and rain.

Where possible, take precautions to prevent flying objects by moving them to secure areas or fixing them to the ground before a forecasted storm.

3. Rainfall

Heavy rain can cause damage to your property if it enters through doors/windows/holes, and it can lead to flooding. Precautions should therefore be taken, and you should ensure your gutters are clean and drains are in place and secure so there are no blockages.

4. Utilities and services

A storm has the potential to impact your utilities and services, for example, a fallen tree could become entangled in overground wires that feed electricity to your property. Consider what can be impacted and how, and whether any services can be isolated ahead of a storm.

Be one step ahead with our checklist


To help you prepare your premises for a forecasted storm or extreme weather, we have created a generic checklist that can be tailored to your business’s requirements. Click here to download the checklist.

Sources
1 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/672087/Estimating_the_economic_costs_of_the_winter_floods_2015_to_2016.pdf

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