Flood grants must be used wisely, warns property expert
Published by Jo Foster for Property Care Association in Housing and also in Central Government, Environment, Local Government
Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the Property Care Association (PCA)
EXPERTS are calling on the Government to make sure money set aside to better protect flood-hit properties is used wisely.
Grants of up to £5,000 are being made available to ensure the thousands of homes and businesses so far affected by flooding are less susceptible in future.
But specialists are worried that money from Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘Repair and Renewal’ scheme, which begins on April 1, might end up being simply wasted if it’s not properly directed.
Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the Property Care Association (PCA) - the national trade body that represents professionals undertaking flood recovery and resistance work - has now written to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to outline his concerns and offer expert advice.
He said: “The prospect of money to help make flood-hit properties more resistant and/or resilient to flooding in future is fantastic and these grants could deliver a huge boost to those who have been unlucky enough to have been affected.
“But those measures must be properly designed, directed and applied to be effective. I would hate to see consumers waste this money and more on products, services and advice that prove worthless in the long term.
“Unless this proposed influx of cash is used properly, it could well end up being washed away with the next flood.”
Mr Hodgson says homeowners have a unique opportunity to make their properties more resilient to floods by carrying out such work as an integral part of any restoration project.
“This grant money should become available when the insurance company pays for repairs, which means flood resistance and resilience can be fully integrated into the work.
“Well planned and fully integrated protection measures will represent better value for money, reduce disruption and will be far more likely to succeed.
“There’s now a range of innovative products, technologies and techniques that can make some properties almost completely flood-proof. The limits of what can be achieved is only constrained by cost.
“We can now create dry, habitable environments deep underground - in situations that are permanently wet. It is just a case of adapting these techniques and technologies to fully protect homes that become wet only occasionally.”
More than 6,500 homes in the UK have been badly affected by floods since December and forecasts predict more bad weather on the way.
Mr Hodgson says it’s important those affected so far act quickly and insists any measures are properly considered, thoughtfully designed and professionally installed.
“The Government’s help for people suffering with flooding is something that is to be welcomed, but the money must be spent in the right way,” he added.
“Mr Cameron has insisted work on the scheme, to be run by councils, will begin after a survey by a “competent professional” and that’s good to hear.
“But the sheer number of properties affected will make supervising the quality of work very difficult.
“We would advise home and business owners to check-out the credentials of any flood restoration expert before agreeing to have any work done.
“Members of the PCA are experts in this field and also members of TrustMark, which ensures tradesmen are trustworthy, reliable and operating to the Government’s own endorsed standards.”
More information on flood defence can be found at http://www.propertycare.org/Homeowners.Flood_Restoration.Flood_Defence_Systems.asp
Contact the PCA directly on 0844 375 4301.