Nick Clark reviews Flood Damaged Property, a guide to repair by David Proverbs and Robby Soetanto

Flooding is a topic that has come to the forefront in recent years. While there have been some notable flooding incidents in history, it is the more recent events that have caused concern due to the large number of properties that have been affected over various locations.

David Proverbs and Robby Soetanto's book Flood Damaged Property is written to assist those who will be involved in the repair process, including damage management companies, loss adjusters and surveyors.

In flooding events where many properties have been affected over a wide area, the method by which they are repaired is important to ensure a successful result for both owner and insurer.

Currently, there tends to be a fragmented approach and property owners can make unsatisfactory comparisons over varying methods of drying, the extent of stripping out and repair. Without proper guidance available to the people involved in the repair, it is difficult to confirm which approach is correct. Typically, different professionals have varying views on the correct solution.

This book sets out to analyse repair strategies in order to suggest the most appropriate manner for dealing with individual components, including floors, walls, doors and windows, utilities and fittings. It seeks to identify the effectiveness of repair by balancing the cost of the individual component against the likelihood of successful restoration. The comparisons contained within the book will assist in dealing with specific situations and allow value judgements to be made.

The authors emphasise that when assessing a flood damaged building, professionals must pay proper regard to the nature of the flood event, as this may influence the repair solution. Erroneous assumptions can easily be made about the source of the floodwater, and historically, insufficient attention has been paid to factors such as the speed of the water, whether it is likely to be contaminated and the period that the floodwaters take to recede. These factors are clearly explained to assist all involved in making proper judgments.

The methods of drying buildings following flooding are a very important component of the repair process and there is a specific section in the book relating to the drying process. All aspects potentially affecting the success of the drying process are considered. The authors emphasise that in many cases the drying process needs to be measured more effectively to ensure that the building is properly dry before repairs are carried out. While this may sound obvious, the authors' research indicates that in too many cases the drying process is measured subjectively and is therefore prone to error.

In terms of the book format, there are many useful tables and graphs, although these may, at first sight, appear rather complicated. However, they should not deter the reader. They should be used in their proper context to support the analysis of individual problems.

This book will be useful for all those involved with the restoration of flood damaged properties. It should go some way to improving the consistency of the approach applied, which will be to the benefit of property owners and insurers. IT

' Nick Clark is technical referral and audit manager at Crawford & Co

Flood Damaged Property is published by Blackwell Publishing, price £39.50