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02/06/2017 - House prices show longest sustained fall since 2009 crash 02 Jun 2017
01/06/2017 - Apps for surveyors: 2017 edition 01 Jun 2017
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15/05/2017 - Revealed, the least affordable places in Britain to buy a property: 15 May 2017
08/05/2017 - House price growth stagnates in the UK, latest index shows 08 May 2017
06/04/2017 - Dramatic scene after house collapses in affluent street in Kingston 05 Apr 2017
28/03/2017 - Borrowers urged to fix their mortgage fast as rising inflation could soon spell the end of super low interest rates 28 Mar 2017
22/03/2017 - House prices see 1.3% monthly surge 22 Mar 2017
09/03/2017 - UK property market growth continues to rise modestly apart from in London 09 Mar 2017
24/02/2017 - House prices go potty! 24 Feb 2017
09/02/2017 - How the Government's Housing White Paper plans will affect you 09 Feb 2017
08/02/2017 - How to flood proof your home: We visit 'Resilient House' with latest defences to help protect against expensive water damage 08 Feb 2017
30/01/2017 - Homeowners taking advantage of cheap remortgage deals 30 Jan 2017
25/01/2017 - Analysis: Stamp duty is killing the housing market and harming the economy 25 Jan 2017
11/01/2017 - Mapped: Which London neighbourhoods have seen the biggest house prices rise since the crash? 11 Jan 2017
09/01/2017 - January sees largest fall in BTL products since 2009 09 Jan 2017
04/01/2017 - 'Thousands' of Starter Homes to be built in 2017 04 Jan 2017

News.

08/02/2017 - How to flood proof your home: We visit 'Resilient House' with latest defences to help protect against expensive water damage

The floods that struck the North of the country last winter cost £1.3 billion and caused untold misery. They were the latest in a series of weather incidents to wreck the properties and lives of thousands of households.

But their devastating impact could be averted by the development of the 'flood-proof' house of the future. Here, The Mail on Sunday takes a look inside – and gives tips on how to adapt a home to withstand a disaster.

The shiny black door with the number 10 immediately suggests Downing Street, home to Prime Minister Theresa May. But this door opens on to 'Resilient House', a modest terraced property on a business park in Hertfordshire, developed to show how easy it is to protect a home from a flood.

Beneath the plasterboard on the inner walls are bubble wrap-style membranes designed to draw water out through channels. A sump in the floor can swiftly pump away water.

In the kitchen, specially designed units in Finnish eco materials can be quickly decontaminated and re-used rather than thrown away.

At the front and back, door seals can lock out the worst of an inundation.

The Building Research Establishment has funded the modification of this house, along with several partners including insurer Axa. The cost? Around £60,000, but this should more than pay for itself in the event of a flood.

Builders have installed in the home a range of permanent defences, whether from rising ground water, a river breaching its banks or a burst mains.

The proof of the pudding will be in the flooding. Only when the defences have been put to the test in the next few weeks will the team overseeing the project learn how well their efforts have fared, including the speed at which it dries out and becomes inhabitable again.

A standard house can take months to dry out and the cost of fixing damage is on average £50,000 – time and cost scales this project hopes to shrink.

David Williams, technical director at Axa, says: 'Currently it is a rarity for a homeowner in a flood risk area to opt for the materials we are using inside Resilient House.

'The reasons include thinking they will never be flooded; or for those who have been flooded believing it is a one-off event. There is also the worry that their home will stand out as being different.'

Cost is also a deterrent, with some defences pricier to install than others. Williams adds: 'Resilient House shows you can have a home that looks normal and comfortable.

'If we can encourage more homeowners to include such modifications, it will help bring down installation costs.'

Damage: Homes in Appleby, Cumbria, were flooded in 2015

EMERGENCY DRILL...FOLLOW THE ACTION PLAN TO DEAL WITH THE RISK OF A DELUGE 

1) Check your home insurance. Owners of flood-prone properties may not always have improvements taken into account when premiums are calculated, but they should still get a better deal than before.

The launch of Flood Re last April – a joint Government and industry initiative – means the cost of the flood element of home insurance (both the premium and excess) is now capped at more affordable levels for plans sold by insurers signed up to the scheme.

It gives access to flood insurance to homeowners who could not get cover previously (but excludes homes built after 2009 and privately rented flats). Aviva says new customers in high-risk areas save an average of £500 a year on their premiums.

It is possible to switch a home insurance policy mid-term and make savings.

There may be an administration charge of up to £50 but an insurer will refund the remaining premium pro rata, so long as no claims have been made.

To check out the latest deals, try a comparison website or go to the British Insurance Brokers' Association at biba.org.uk.

2) Consider acquiring flood-resistant products such as airbrick covers or barriers. Store them in an accessible place.

3) Think about installing permanent safeguarding measures such as non-return valves which stop waste water backing up into a home, see above.

4) Investigate measures to reduce the impact of a flood. These include raising kitchen units on legs or replacing them with plastic, steel or solid wood units.

Place white goods on raised plinths and replace timber floors with solid ones covered with tiles.

Fit water-resistant doors and window frames and use water-resilient plaster or lay plasterboard horizontally so only the bottom strip would need replacing.

Find out more information at nationalfloodforum.org.uk or rics.org run by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Some effective steps post-flood damage cost little, such as raising electric sockets to a higher level or attaching a television to a wall.

Government grants of £5,000 were handed out to many flood victims in Cumbria. To encourage them to take future flood risk more seriously, the grants could only be used on anti-flood measures.

The insurer Aviva helped its customers apply for these grants and now half ofthe 400 policyholders flooded in Cumbria last winter have some form of resilient repair, such as airbrick covers and raised electrical sockets. 

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs published an action plan last autumn to encourage wider take- up of flood-proofing measures.

Its research found many people resist because they believe it is up to 'the authorities' to manage flood risk.

A survey of brokers also found that insurers do not necessarily make lives easy for those at risk of flood, with a third failing to offer lower premiums to reward homeowners who install anti-flood devices.

Some insurers are also unwilling to allow victims to add such improvements during a flood repair, even if it cost no more or the policyholder agreed to meet the cost. 

It is hoped the launch of a property flood resilience database later this year may persuade insurers to reduce premiums for homeowners who have taken preventive measures.

This database will hold information on properties that have been improved to set standards under a new Building Research Establishment certification scheme.

Stephen Garvin, a director at the Establishment, says: 'This data will be 'fed' to insurers in conjunction with other flood risk data.

'It will allow them to balance the flood risk of a particular area against the prevention measures taken at an individual property.'

This may, it is hoped, result in reduced insurance premiums. 

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk 08/02/2017