How to protect your home against the impact of floods

Having a flood impact your home can be emotionally and financially draining; however, there are steps to improve the resilience of your property, allowing a smoother, faster and less expensive clean-up

Brisbane Sustainability Agency Flood Resilience

To help Brisbane residents adapt to our changing climate and remain safe during future flood events, Brisbane City Council has developed the Flood Resilient Homes Program in partnership with Brisbane Sustainability Agency, working with researchers, builders, and climate experts to identify flood-resilience strategies for Queensland homes. 

While these strategies won’t stop the flooding, they will ensure impacted households are less affected and spend less time involved in expensive clean-ups.

As a Queensland homeowner, you can implement these proven flood resilient strategies into your home to improve its resilience. Some improvements are low-cost and straightforward, while others are more complex, and implementation is best when you have renovations planned. Regardless, the upgrades will offer peace of mind, improved protection, fewer disruptions during flooding, and may even lower your insurance premiums.

Brisbane Sustainability Agency Flood Resilience

Step 1: Where to begin?

Identify whether your property is at risk and the type of flooding most likely to impact your house by searching Brisbane City Council’s Flood Awareness Map online. This interactive map allows you to search your address and download a FloodWise Property report that will identify the type of flooding that may impact your property and what water levels you need to prepare for. A professional surveyor can provide further clarity if a risk is identified by assessing your property and compiling a Property Level Survey, which can then be compared to the FloodWise property report to better understand what parts of your property are likely to be affected by flooding, and how often it might occur.

Step two: Simple ways to build your home’s resilience

If your property is at risk of flooding, you can now use that knowledge to identify your best flood resilience strategies, and implement some simple yet highly effective changes.

Consider raising electrical outlets, air conditioners, appliances, and hot water units to be higher than potential floodwater levels. 

For multi-storey households, you can also talk to an electrician about setting up separate circuits for the lower and upper floors to reduce the chance of disruption to your household during flood events. 

If you’re thinking of renovating, discussing flood-resilience strategies with your builder or architect can be worthwhile.

Brisbane Sustainability Agency Flood Resilience

Step three: Advanced steps to creating a flood resilient home

For homeowners planning renovations, this is a prime opportunity to improve your household flood resilience. Take this opportunity to talk with your builder about flood resilience strategies, and take steps to ensure the materials used during your renovations are suitable for possible flooding.

During flood events, the floors, walls and cabinetry are the areas that are most commonly affected. By choosing to use flood resilient materials in these areas, your household recovery will be faster and so much easier.

For example, replace porous flooring or carpet with tiles, hardwood or polished concrete, and use tiles for skirtings, as appropriate for your home.

If you’re replacing walls, instead of using standard plasterboard wall linings in your home, Fibre Cement (FC) sheets are a flood-resilient option. Typically FC sheets are used only in wet areas; however, for households within flood areas, they can be used to improve your home’s resilience.

When replacing cabinetry, you should also look for flood resilient material choices. Cabinetry carcasses can be replaced with materials that won’t swell and warp when impacted by floodwaters. Similarly, doors can be replaced with solid timber options that won’t swell.

Stairs can typically trap water during flooding, so replacing closed stairs with open stairs is a simple and effective way to minimise flood damage and allow for easy cleaning and drying out after a flood event. Or, if your stairs are carpeted, removing the carpet can allow for improved resilience.

Brisbane Sustainability Agency Flood Resilience

Step four: Maintain your home

Regular maintenance and house inspections can identify cracked roof tiles or broken sealants that may allow water to enter your property. Ensure an annual schedule of maintenance to keep your home safeguarded against future flood events.

Step five: Talk to your insurer

To avoid nasty surprises, be sure to check your insurance adequately covers your home and possessions. You can also take the opportunity to talk to your insurer about any flood resilient strategies you are implementing at home and check if they qualify you for a reduced insurance premium.

For video resources and information about flood resilient strategies, visit Brisbane Sustainability Agency at sustainablebrisbane.com.au/flood-resilience