Trade body concerns over flood assurance standard
The Property Care Association (PCA), the trade association for property level protection measures, along with a wide range of organisations, including the National Flood Forum, has raised concerns that householders could be misled over the capability of flood protection products being fitted to their properties.
A new British Standards Institution (BSI) Kite Mark Installation Scheme ‘fails to provide the necessary assurance to homeowners’ says Steve Hodgson, chief executive of the PCA.
He went on: “The scheme has been written in such a way that it can be interpreted to mean that the installation of a flood protection product can then make the whole property protected with the Kite Mark standard.
“But in truth the scheme can only assure homeowners that a product tested and approved under the Kite Mark scheme has been fitted properly. The scheme cannot reassure homeowners that their homes are protected from flooding.
“As a result, we believe the scheme and the promotional material supplied by BSI is misdirecting consumers who are using government money to buy flood protection that may not work.”
Many manufacturers and installers of flood protection products have their own accreditation systems for the work that they do. This is to ensure that the people installing their products do so properly.
The BSI Kite Mark Installation scheme implies that it is an industry wide scheme, but in fact it has been designed with just one manufacturer, rather than the whole industry. It also implies that a property that has been fitted with these products everywhere is fully protected.
However, it is simply not possible to make these assertions. In the last few months we have seen perfectly good schemes and products overtopped. Where flooding has lasted several hours water has found its way in to a building. One supplier’s products will never be suitable for all eventualities and it is important that people choose measures that best deal with the flood risk, the building construction and the lifestyle of the occupants.
It is also likely that other measures will be required, such as ensuring that water can’t get in to the building through cable entry points or poor pointing.
Like flood defence schemes, flood protection products can never guarantee that a property will not flood, however good the scheme.
So what next?
The PCA says its approach to BSI to address the situation has so far drawn a blank. Mr Hodgson said: “We have made BSI aware of these issues, including the safety risks associated with families thinking they are safe from flooding when they are not, yet nothing has been done to remove the potential for confusion. For the sake of consumer confidence, we call on BSI to clarify the situation.”
Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum said: “BSI standards are meant to provide people with the assurance that they are getting what they think they are paying for. Unfortunately, in this instance the wording is inappropriate; it’s all too easy for people to think that they will be fully protected from flooding, when in reality they are not.