Building work and repairs for flood damage

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Assessing the damage

If you have home insurance, your insurer might appoint a loss adjuster to inspect the property and assess the level of damage. You might also want to employ a loss assessor to do an independent assessment and represent your interests.

Some structural damage might not be visible immediately after the flood. You should tell your insurer about any developing damage, and you could request another assessment.

Organising repairs

You might need to organise repairs under your insurance policy to a set budget. Or, if you're not insured, you might need to choose and pay for the repairs yourself.

Read our advice on making a claim for flood damage and what to do if you've been flooded but don't have insurance.

There are some things to consider when you're organising repairs:

  • get quotes from several potential builders. You can find builders online, in the Yellow Pages or by contacting the Scottish Flood Forum on 01698 839021

  • choose a reputable builder who's been recommended by your insurer, the local council, the Scottish Flood Forum or a friend. Beware of rogue traders and scams

  • ensure the builders are certified to do flood restoration work and are experienced in dealing with flood damage. You can ask to check their credentials or ask for references

  • agree realistic deadlines for the work to be completed. You might be able to add penalties into the contract if the deadline is not met

  • get a written contract and read it carefully before you sign

  • if you're paying for repairs yourself, prioritise repairs to making your home habitable so you can save money on temporary accommodation

  • can you oversee and manage the project yourself, or do you need to employ someone to do this?

  • if you own a property that shares common parts such as stairwells with other owners, you might need their permission or cooperation for repairs

  • keep any receipts and contracts.

Overseeing cleaning, building work and repairs

Your insurance company will probably organise for specialist cleaners to clean the property and throw out contaminated items.

Soft furnishings and other items that cannot be disinfected will be disposed of. You might want to oversee this process to make sure that salvageable items that can be disinfected, such as hardwood furniture, are not thrown away.

You should try to oversee the repairs as much as possible to make sure that repairs are completed to a high standard. If you can't oversee the repairs, ask someone you trust to spend time at the property to oversee things.

Installing flood-resilient fixtures and fittings

If you're insured on a 'new for old' basis, the fixtures and fittings used should be the same quality as those that were originally installed.

However, you could negotiate with your insurer about the installation of flood-resistant fixtures and fittings such as:

  • waterproof plasterboard

  • raised electrical sockets

  • non-return valves in sewerage pipes.

You can read the fact sheet 'Making your property more flood resilient' on the Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) website.

There's also a guide to resistant and resilient repairs after a flood on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) website.

If you're not happy with building work and repairs

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that tradespeople should take reasonable care and skill while working. If you don't think reasonable care and skill has been taken with the work, you have some legal remedies under the law. For example, you could take the trader to court for compensation.

Read more about problems with building work, decorating or home improvements.

Rogue traders and scams

Rogue traders might try to exploit a flood and cold-call homeowners. They're unlikely to be appropriately trained and qualified in flood repairs, and it might complicate your insurance claim.

In general, do not pay cash in advance, and get signed receipts for all work done.

Find out more about checking if something might be a scam.