Flood Prevention for Historic Commercial Properties

Flood Prevention for Historic Commercial Properties

As summer moves on, property owners have to find ways to safeguard their homes and properties from the threat of flooding after major storms. But what about historic properties, like hotels, forts, restaurants, and landmarks?

From poor management to not preparing in time, flooding poses a major risk for historic property owners and sites throughout the country, especially in spots where flooding constantly looms during the wetter seasons.

Risk of Flooding

Positioning structures and managing ground drainage have always been two major components to avoiding flooding and overcoming its effects. These steps can help minimize the overall damage a property can face following a major storm. In this case, it’s not unusual to find older buildings situated to avoid flooding, whereas newer developments aren’t positioned in the same way. However, historic buildings can still be affected by flooding and it’s beneficial to identify the main causes and risk factors so that cost effective measures can be taken.

Managing Risks

Major risks can be identified early during site investigations of properties. While some risks can be reduced, including detailing drainage, many risks are not in the direct control of the property owner(s). It’s important to check that the historic property in question is not under insured and that all the requirements of any kind of insurance policy are met in full. It’s the responsibility of the building owner(s) to maintain their property and take reasonable measures to limit losses and reduce risks.

Prepping Buildings

One way that flood risk can be cut down is to reinstate the drainage systems so to keep water away from the structure and foundations. Ground drainage, surface drainage, soakways, and sumps should all be included.

Another way to keep liabilities low when it comes to flooding is to consider landscaping. If incoming water has been a problem at a historic site for previous years, consider flood-proofing your property altogether.

Flood-proofing can protect a site from water damage by conducting roof, gutter, and foundation repair. It also helps to be sure the ground is level or sloping up or down from the building. Elevation can be helpful as rain begins to fall and drain the water away from a property. While the location of a building may not be able to be changed, landscaping can allow water to run down and away from the foundation as much as possible.

Lastly, make sure to relocate downspouts, if applicable, so that water from the roof moves away from the property.