Our surveyors will prepare a report that is specific to your home. The report will combine the latest available information from the Environment Agency with measurements taken using GPS equipment at your home. The result is an assessment of flood risk from the different types of flooding. The different types of flooding are described on this page. During our visit, we will survey the "envelope" of your home to identify any possible routes for water to enter the house.

The report will assign your home to one of 3 categories.

1 - Your home is at low risk of flooding and no further measures are required;

2 - Your home is likely to flood and mitigation measures will be recommended;

3 - Your home is at risk of severe flooding such that protection may not be viable. In this case, some guidance will be given on making your home "resilient" to flooding.

River flooding

Flooding from rivers and streams is also known as fluvial flooding. You can find out whether your home is at risk from fluvial flooding from maps on the Environment Agency web site. In small streams, flooding can occur rapidly, but generally lasts for only a few hours. For large rivers, the Environment Agency is able to provide flood warnings with a long lead time. However, flooding in large rivers like the Thames and the Severn can last for several days.

Our surveyors will use the latest available information from the Environment Agency in providing fluvial flood levels for your home. Where these levels are not available, we will use hydraulic methods to estimate the equivalent flood levels.

Tidal/Coastal flooding

Tidal flooding occurs from the sea and in estuaries, most often when high tides (spring tides) are made even higher by the weather conditions. Storm surges occur due to low atmospheric pressure and the effects of the wind. Whilst the effects are fortunately not as devastating as those seen recently in the Philippines or North America in 2012, they can still affect large areas. The maps on the Environment Agency also show the risks from coastal flooding. Warnings of high tides are also issued by the Environment Agency, in conjunction with the Met office.

Tidal flooding generally only lasts for a few hours because the levels are controlled by the normal tidal cycle, with about 6 hours between high and low water. However, the effects can last much longer, especially if the flood water is unable to drain back into the estuary or sea.

Our surveyors will use the latest available information from the Environment Agency in providing tidal flood levels for your home. Where these levels are not available, we will use tidal level information to estimate the reference flood level.

Surface Water flooding

Surface water flooding, also known as pluvial flooding, is when heavy rainfall builds up on the land surface and is too much for the drains and streams to handle. It has always been quite common in urban areas where there are hard, impermeable surfaces. Heavy summer storms can lead to the capacity of local drains being exceeded which can trigger surface water flooding. In recent years, especially in 2007 and 2012, many rural areas also suffered from surface water flooding. The rain was so prolonged in those years that it made the ground very wet - so much that it behaved almost like an impermeable surface. Some areas that had never flooded before were affected by surface water flooding. Because it is very localised, it is very hard to predict when and where it will occur. The duration of surface water flooding is generally no more than a few hours, but it can be very dangerous because the water flows at high speed across the surface.

In areas that have been subject to surface water flooding, our surveyors will wish to speak with you about the flooding - they will wish to know how long it lasted and which direction the water flowed in. For areas that have not been affected by surface water flooding, it will be necessary to inspect land adjacent to your home to establish possible flow routes.

Groundwater flooding

Groundwater flooding is a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the year 2000, there were fairly few incidents of groundwater flooding and there was no special provision for it in flood risk management. However, the heavy and prolonged rainfall in the autumn of 2000 led to a general rise in groundwater levels, especially in the chalk areas of southern England. The groundwater rose above the ground surface of low lying areas and stayed there for many weeks. Homes with basements were badly affected and people had to use pumps for weeks at a time to keep the water levels down. In Oxfordshire, the River Pang became a "river" in its upper reaches near East Ilsley flowing for the first time in 100 years - the same happened again in 2012. The groundwater flooding proved too much for a set of newly completed (but unoccupied) homes in Oxfordshire - they were damaged beyond economic repair by prolonged exposure to flood waters.

The conditions that have occurred in 2000 and 2012 have identified many of the areas at risk from groundwater flooding. Our initial review will therefore seek to review any previous history of groundwater flooding in the area. This will be followed by a hydrogeological review to see if the conditions are conducive to groundwater flooding.

Sewer flooding

Sewer flooding occurs when the capacity of the sewers is exceeded and the contents of the sewer appear at the surface, or worse still, in your home. It would be bad enough if the sewer just contained floodwater, but it generally contains waste water from baths, toilets etc from nearby homes. Flooding from sewers is therefore very unpleasant. Sewer flooding can occur at the same time as surface water flooding and water can enter your home in the same way as surface water flooding. However, there are many unpleasant instances of sewage backing up through drains and toilets and entering homes from the inside - not nice.

Our surveyors will undertake a review of sewer flooding incidents from available Water Company records and from discussions with homeowners.

Infrastructure flooding

Infrastructure in this sense is reservoirs, canals and any structure that retains water. Infrastructure flooding is caused when that structure collapses, either completely or partially. Some useful work has been done by the Environment Agency on the impacts of reservoir failure and you can check [here] to see if your home is at risk from reservoir failure. The other most common infrastructure failure leading to flooding is from the breach of a canal. These are generally less severe due to the generally limited volume of water in the canal and the flat areas through which many canals are routed. However, this is not always the case.

We will review the available maps prior to the survey to identify if there is any risk from reservoirs, canals or other mechanism. If required, we will review the infrastructure in terms of its location relative to your home and the likely flow paths and depths in the event of a failure.