Virtual Live Event – Q&A Session Summary

Questions & Answers (Q&A)

Project Programme

Q1. How long are the works scheduled to take?

A. The installation works are scheduled to last approximately 1 week on site per property. Following this there is another week of ‘snagging’, where the measures are finalised and signed off.

Q2. What has been the up take so far?

The uptake has been very positive so far. Out of just over 100 homes identified to be at risk, approximately 85 have had their initial property survey completed.

Approximately 42 have already proceeded to sign up to installation, with the first group of 11 non-listed properties currently finishing installation works on site.

Cost and Insurance

Q3. What is the maximum funding available per household? Are the measures provided on a first come first served basis?

The measures required for each property can vary quite significantly, so there is not a set amount of funding per property.

The provision and installation of Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures will be at no cost to the property owner, except where they request upgrades to the appearances of measures (for example door handles or certain finishes) or in exceptional circumstances.

All properties identified as at risk of flooding (approximately 100) can benefit from the scheme within the project timescales, and it is not on a first-come-first-served basis. The deadline for requesting an initial property survey has now passed.

Q4. Is there a guarantee on products installed and also a cost to replace so that we know if they fail what it will cost to replace privately?

The Lakeside products come with a warranty of one year and will be replaced or repaired within that timeframe should there be damage to the product. Outside of the warranty period, replacement items such as rubber door seals can be purchased from Lakeside Flood Solutions for a small fee.

The manufacturer liability and replacements does not cover damage caused by some factors such as wilful damage, negligence, failure to follow a manufacturer’s instructions and mis-use, alteration, or repair of products without the manufacturer’s approval.

Further information will be provided to all homeowners once the measures have been installed.

Q5. Will the results of the survey (positively or negatively) affect insurance?

Insurers are free to use whichever data they like to determine whether to offer insurance and at what price. Insurance premiums will be based upon risk, and the risk will not increase through having a survey or installation of PRF measures. In fact, insurers are more likely to look favourably on properties which have PFR measures installed as this increases resilience to flood risk and reduces likely damages. Homeowners will be provided with a certificate to demonstrate PFR measures have been installed.

Property owners should be aware of a scheme called ‘Flood Re’ that is designed to help households in flood risk areas to find affordable home insurance. Flood Re is a re-insurance scheme, so homeowners don’t deal with them directly. The homeowner can search for and buy home insurance through the usual methods. Insurers can then pass responsibility of the flood risk part of the policy to Flood Re if necessary and cap the cost of premiums based on the council tax band of the property in question. For more information on Flood Re, including whether you are eligible, go to www.floodre.co.uk.

Property Flood Resilience Products

Q6. What say does the homeowner have on the product options available?

The initial property survey allows the design consultants RAB to recommend the type of measures suitable for the property based upon the identified risk of flooding.

Following this, Lakeside Flood Solutions will undertake a final measurements survey and identify specific products which would be suitable for the property. At this point, the homeowner has the opportunity to discuss the measures, state any preferences and ask queries with Lakeside so that a solution is found that is agreeable to the homeowner as well as provide the required level of flood protection.

The homeowner can discuss various measures with Lakeside to find the most suitable product, however, the measures installed need to prevent water ingress from all the identified routes into the property. This is because the funding is available based on protecting the water from ingress of flood water.

If a measure is not included which would then allow water to enter (such as sump and pump), this protection would not be achieved. All the measures recommended in the final schedule of works are necessary to prevent water entering from all routes of ingress.

Q8. I’m concerned about the suggested of "water repellent render" and "wall sealant" a little disconcerting. As you probably know many of the buildings in the area affected including my own are lime based and so the fabric of the building is based on it being breathable. Do you know if these repellent and sealant products aren't going to create more problems than they solve?

The render and sealant products used by our contractors are all specified to be suitably breathable.

Q9. What is your recommendation for electrical equipment (such as fridges, ovens, washing machines etc) which can't be raised?

It should be noted that the purpose of this PFR scheme is to prevent water ingress, such that raising equipment would not be strictly necessary following installation of the measures.

Listed Buildings

Q10. Are the product examples shown in the live event presentation suitable for listed buildings? Given the conservation area and listed status of many buildings in the Pednormead area, surely the default position should be that Flood Doors are used where possible, given how unsightly the flood board brackets appear to be, particularly on properties with no porch or recess to fix them to.

The ideal flood door for the appearance of listed buildings would be timber. However, there are currently no certified timber flood doors available on the market. The alternative flood doors are uPVC or composite doors, which would not be fitting with the character of listed buildings. This issue is compounded by the fact that listed buildings generally don’t have standard door openings, making fitting of flood doors more difficult.

The council has hired a conservation expert and has worked closely with the council’s conservation team to find the most suitable solution. The product deemed most suitable are the flood barriers which come with cover plates in a preferred colour to match the property.

Flood risk

Q11. I am slightly sceptical about the need for this. We have owned our property since the early 1950's and flooding hasn’t been an issue.

The flood risk at the properties within the scheme was identified through a flood modelling exercise undertaken in 2015. The model that was produced is a ‘combined model’, which takes into account flood risk from surface water runoff, fluvial flood risk (water rising over the top of the banks of the River Chess), and rising groundwater.

The model is based upon characteristics of the wider catchment including soil type and rainfall data and runs a number of scenarios to predict future flood risk.

The initial property survey reports confirm the predicted flood level at each property. Climate change is causing more intense weather patterns which increases the risk of flooding.

We can already see that in the last decades flood events have become much more frequent in the county. It is therefore important to note that just because a property has not yet flooded, this does not mean that it won’t flood in the future.

Q12. When you say RAB intend to make the properties X% flood resilient, how much is X? For example, on the properties which have had works completed, how resilient are they now thought to be?

The flood resilience at each property is quantified by the height of the flood resilience measures installed, providing a standard of protection of ‘X’ millimetres. This height will be measured from the lowest remaining route of ingress into the building, such as window, top of barrier, and so on.

Q13. Chesham 1879 clubhouse seems to be right on the limit of potential flood zone - based on information in the RAB report. Can we see more detailed predicted flood levels compared to our floor and threshold levels? in order to determine extent or scale of any flood measures required ? The flood risk for Chesham 1879 seems to be dependent on a rise in groundwater. We know from water levels in the river that groundwater level is seasonal / annual. Is there a general prediction that groundwater level is going to rise in future years?

The predicted flood levels are based upon the modelled outputs which took into account fluvial, surface, and groundwater flooding. The modelling was undertaken using industry best practice at the time, using predicted trends in water levels, rainfall, and catchment characteristics.

At the Chesham 1879 clubhouse the flood risk is in fact marginal based upon the predicted flood depths. However, the property qualifies for the scheme for which there is funding available. It is always up to the homeowner to weigh up the risk with the benefits.

Church Street Culvert

Q14. What didn't you complete in Church Street when you had the road closed? What still needs to be done? What exactly are you doing to the culvert under Church Street (next summer)?

Works to the Church Street culvert were halted due to a number of technical complications encountered on site. This included utilities that had not been picked up by survey, and groundwater ingress.

Further preparation work has now been carried out such that this coming summer we will aim to complete the culvert upgrade works as planned.

Q15. Will you also be doping works further 'upstream' and indeed downstream in the Germain Street area?

Following the flood modelling work undertaken in 2015, a number of options were appraised to identify the actions that would be most beneficial in reducing flood risk to the area in light of other constraints.

The combination of upgrading the Church Street culvert and PFR measures resulted in the best outcome and was decided to progress on that basis. No other works are currently planned.

Highway Maintenance

Q16. Some of the surrounding lanes used to divert are still in a state of terrible disrepair is this going to be resolved? It's quite a leafy area and the roads drains get blocked. Are we going to see more frequent drain clearing? Should the focus not be on cleaning the drains regularly, sorting the drains out on church road, and sorting out the flow of water e.g Pednor Road? All this work is defensive and adaptive rather than attempting to mitigate the risk.

The Buckinghamshire highways department is aware of the issues raised.

Upgrading the culvert beneath Church Street will increase the amount of water that can travel through the pipe, reducing the risk of water backing up and flooding above ground. The works will also include upgrading some of the poorer elements of the highways drainage. The drains in the area have also recently been cleaned.

As per Question 15, the preferred combination of the culvert upgrade and PFR measures were the result of a flood modelling and optioneering exercise, and is thought to provide the best value for money in light of the site specific constraints in the area.