As residents and businesses in flood hit areas of Calderdale recover from the devastating floods of Boxing Day, Calderdale Council is offering advice for making insurance claims and ensuring reputable contractors are hired for any building work needed.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Barry Collins, said:
“Knowing how to claim and who to approach for repairs can be difficult, so our building control team has produced advice to try and prevent mistakes being made or residents being ripped off.”
If your property and/or contents have been damaged due to recent flooding and you’re unsure what to do regarding your insurance claim, we’d advise you to contact your insurer as soon as possible. The insurance provider may also commission both a loss adjuster and a Chartered Structural Engineer to investigate the matter. Take photos both of the building and any damaged items before removing from your property, to use in any future claim. You may find it useful to compile lists of damaged or lost items, to create a diary or log of activity and to record the contact details of every one involved in the repair of your premises.
If your property is not insured it may be useful for owners to consider employing a Chartered Structural Engineer, Chartered Surveyor or Chartered Building Engineer to survey the premises on their behalf, to determine the damage that has occurred and any potential means of repair. They can also provide advice regarding the continuing stability and safety of the premises.
Such a qualified building professional may hold the qualifications CEng, MRICS, MCABE or MCIOB, and are expected to conform to the professional and ethical standards of their institution and to offer third party insurance for their activities; however it is always best to ensure clarity of purpose and the costs of services to be received before commissioning work, to avoid the risk of unexpected costs or disappointment of outcomes.
Useful advice regarding the impacts of flooding can be found can be found on the independent CIRIA webpages at: http://www.ciria.com/flooding/about_this_site.htm(external link)
If your premises are located either adjacent to, or over a water course, you may potentially hold additional responsibilities for the water course, known in legal terms as the riparian land owner. Further guidance is available from the Environment Agency at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/riverside-ownership-rights-and-responsibilities(external link)
If your home needs repairs and you are unsure who to approach for the works, we would advise that households seek several quotes for repair work from reputable businesses and request references, where possible, to check on the quality of work. Also ask neighbours or friends if they have any recommendations, and use local businesses where possible.
It’s also a good idea to enquire about likely costs and service outcomes before any work starts.
If you would like further advice or want to report a problem trader to Trading Standards, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online form, visit Citizens Advice(external link) or telephone 03454 04 05 06.