Suitable Basement Conversion

Widespread flooding highlights the importance of preparation

With the UK recently hit by serious flooding, damage to property and disruption to transport has revealed the need for greater preparation.

While severe weather conditions are relatively rare, the cost of recovery when they do hit can easily outweigh that of earlier investments in preventative measures, such as basement waterproofing for domestic and business premises.

There are other parts of the world in which a similar necessity for preparation is being proven at the moment. Lessons will hopefully be learnt from this as climate change makes such events more likely.

Ongoing crisis

With hundreds of flood warnings issued nationally, ranging from Wales to Yorkshire to the Midlands and beyond, record-breaking levels of rainfall in short periods are pushing emergency services to their limits and leaving many people stranded.

This problem is exacerbated because the ground in these areas has already absorbed as much liquid as it can reasonably store, meaning that further falls simply sit on the surface. Rivers bursting their banks in low-lying places has led to significant amounts of damage in the UK.

Over in Italy, the usually picturesque city of Venice is suffering from flooding issues of its own once again, albeit related to tidal anomalies rather than specifically to rainfall. Its multi-billion-dollar flood barrier system is behind schedule (the original deadline was 2011), over budget, and at the centre of a corruption scandal.

Preventative steps

Groundwater is an issue for almost every construction project; however, with the increased chance of flooding becoming a reality for many parts of the UK, additional contingencies may need to be put in place going forward.

In the case of basement waterproofing, this can be an excellent step to ensure that structures that extend beneath ground level do not suffer from the ingress of moisture of any kind, whether due to normal conditions or to the encroachment of floodwaters.

Property owners in locations that are known to be liable to flooding will need to go the extra mile, building in such a way that the effects of a freak flood will be minimised. A waterproof basement is a good start; however, there will also be a need for sturdier defences when waters rise outside and barricades such as sandbags that can be deployed in emergencies.

It is also the responsibility of local councils and the national government to ensure that there are the right resources available to ensure the worst of the flooding can be dealt with as and when it arises.

In some cases, this will involve building permanent defences in key areas. Arguably more helpful would be enhancements to the maintenance of existing defences, as it only takes one clogged drain or blocked run-off to lead to disaster.

As the scope of the climate emergency facing the country and the world is further outlined, flooding will be as much of an issue in the northern hemisphere as fires are becoming in the south. Being armed against such natural calamities is vital.