Flood is one of the most frequent and costliest natural hazards that businesses face. With the rising sea levels, who knows when your usually flood-free city will suffer from a big flood? Flooding can occur anytime there is heavy rainfall, melting snowpacks, ice jams, and failure of man-made dams and barriers. The reasons for this are the deforestation of mountains, and illegal mining and logging.
Although scientists have become very specific on flood warnings, this does not mean your business is safe from the damage that this can cause. Many times, no matter how many preventive measures you put in place, a flood can trigger a range of disastrous and catastrophic structural damages to your building. How can you make sure your building is floodproof? How can you assure your employees that they are safe and sound in their offices even if the wind is howling and the rain is battering your building?
There are a couple of things you can do as precautionary measures. One, you can install concrete blocks and barriers surrounding your building when there’s a possibility of a small flood. Two, you can also dry proof your building by filling in caps and making the building as watertight as possible. While these are very effective, they will be more efficient at controlling the flood if they come with the following strategies:
Check the City’s Flood Map
Look up your city’s flood map and check if your building lies in the area where flood is possible. You can also contact your city government for information. Even if your building is not located in high-risk flood areas, there is still a possibility of flood reaching your area because of overflowing drainage and other things like the release of water from a nearby dam.
Know the Base Flood Elevation
Are you a tenant or a landowner? If you own the building, then you should have an idea of the base flood elevation (BFE) of your property. The elevation of the lowest floor of your building should be at least three feet above the BFE or higher than the expected flood levels. If the building’s first level is below the BFE, think about relocating to a higher floor. If you own the building, you should also think about vacating that level and moving tenants to the upper floors.
Buy Insurance Policy
Another thing you should do to ensure the protection of your property and workers is to buy a flood insurance policy. This kind of insurance exists because it protects the building owners from liabilities in case of a major flood. You can purchase this insurance through private agents and companies.
Landscape with Native Plants
Native plants and vegetation will prevent soil erosion and allow floodwaters to drain. Native plants are indigenous to the area where they grow. It means they have been growing in a particular region or ecosystem for hundreds of years. They drain water more efficiently because they are used to the environmental hazards in the area. You can surround your office lawn with trees and plants. They don’t only make your property look good, but they are also great at protecting your building from flood damage.
Put Electrical Components in the Upper Floors
Hire a professional and licensed electrician to move electrical components to the upper floors. Even flood managed to get inside your building, it should not reach your electrical box. When it does, the problem will exacerbate because there is now the risk of electrocution and fire. It will prevent damage to the electrical system, and allow you to do repairs efficiently and easily after the flood subsides.
At the same time, you should also raise your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment. This is probably one of the most expensive components of a building. Make sure it is protected from flooding by putting it on the rooftop or the topmost floor at best. Ask the contractor to build a flood-proof wall around the equipment.
Use Flood-resistant Materials
Flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least three days. They won’t wear and tear even if submerged in floodwater. These are the materials you need for your floor coverings, insulation, and wall coverings if your building is in a high-risk area.
Flooding does not only damage your property, but it also puts in limbo your business. Any significant damage to your store or building will dampen your revenues. At the same time, your workers will feel unsafe knowing that the next big flood could put their lives at risk again. When floodproofing the building, it is as much as for your employees as it is for your business.