Law Society Flood Risk practice note update

Geosmart is raising awareness of the update to the Law Society’s Flood Risk practice note

How will it affect your property purchase or development?

The Law Society has revised its practice note on Flood Risk, with stronger guidance on the importance of undertaking flood searches and investigating insurance cover for both residential and commercial property.

Flood insurance claims are in excess of £600m a year and climate change is continually redrawing the flood risk map. Insurance for high risk areas of flooding is backed by the government sponsored Flood Re scheme, however this excludes new properties built since 2009 and commercial development.

Flooded streetSignificant changes have occurred in areas identified at risk of surface water flooding and overall river and coastal flood extents. Other sources of flooding such as groundwater and sewer flooding must also be considered – clients could be exposed to impacts on insurability and lending on their properties.

The flood risk practice note highlights that localised private drainage failure – for example failure in the operation of soakaways – is the main reason for flood claims in the UK. Potential reasons for this could include poor design or the impact of a shallow water table which can be readily screened using Geosmart mapping data on drainage infiltration and groundwater flood risk.

It may not always be obvious that a property is at risk of flooding. Properties at risk do not need to be close to a river or the sea, or on low lying ground to be exposed to flood risk. It is therefore essential to do appropriate due diligence when purchasing a new property, including detailed analysis on the type of flood risk, extents, and impact on insurance. Geosmart have conducted research which indicates that some types of flooding, such as groundwater, may be excluded from insurance policies and a careful review is required.

Changes to the TA6 property information form are also proposed that will seek information from the seller on flood issues and past events. This is not guaranteed and must be verified in line with the Law Society’s more stringent advice.

Sites purchased for new development require in-depth scrutiny because planning permission may be difficult to obtain due to flood risk or sustainable drainage (SuDS) issues. Geosmart specialise in undertaking detailed flood risk and drainage assessments, based on our unique database of flood perils. In many cases we can offer mitigation measures allowing clients to proceed with their purchase and development.

Contact GeoSmart today to receive expert advice on your Site.