As a condo or HOA property manager, your life is full of responsibilities. In some cases, there are thousands of people living in your properties and they are all relying on you for the building maintenance and their safety while in their homes. What about flood risk assessment?
With all you have to do each day, maybe you are forgetting about your property’s flooding risks. Don’t wait until it’s too late to think about flooding. This article offers simple solutions to get you prepared today.
Our Condos Aren’t Located Near the Coast. Should I Still Worry About Flooding?
All condo and HOA property managers know that buildings located near the coast are at risk of flooding due to tropical events and the effects of climate change. But what often gets forgotten is that condos located in places that aren’t near the ocean are also at risk of flooding.
Condos built near rivers, lakes, dams, and levees also hold considerable flooding risks do to their proximity to large bodies of water. Heavy rainfall can easily force water over the banks and inundate your HOA properties.
Furthermore, anywhere it rains means there is a possibility of flooding, even if the condo you manage isn’t located next to a large body of water. Flash floods are some of the most dangerous types of flooding as they cause a torrent of water powerful enough to sweep away cars and can occur in a matter of minutes without warning.
I Manage a High-rise Condo. Is there a Flood Risk for the Higher Floors?
As a condo or HOA manager, it’s important to understand that even high-rise condos are prone to flooding disasters. Many managers acknowledge the flooding risks on the lower floors or basement levels, but forget that the upper levels can flood as well due to roof leaks and water intrusion from wind-driven rain coming in windows and sliding balcony doors.
Furthermore, most condos keep their critical equipment on the lowest or basement level of the building. This makes your high-rise condo’s electrical systems, elevators, and other critical equipment at high risk whenever there is heavy rainfall. Underground parking garages are also particularly vulnerable to flooding and may need to be protected by removable flood barriers.
Understand Your Land and Property
As the manager of a condo or an HOA, you understand your property better than anyone. Start paying extra attention to what happens after a hard rainfall. Are there places where standing water occurs? Is water pooling in the parking lots? Is water finding its way into your buildings? Are the sewer lines in the basement backing up? If you are noticing any of these problems, mark them down as trouble areas that need flooding risk solutions.
Following Building Codes Isn’t Enough for Flood Risk Assessment
It’s common for condo managers and HOA leaders to get complacent. For example, each municipality and state has codes that all construction crews must follow, right? It turns out that most building codes aren’t keeping up with the ever-increasing flooding risks and the devastating impacts of climate change.
Just take a look at what is happening in Miami Beach. The City amended its building code to require that the finished floor of all new buildings be elevated at least one foot above the FEMA Base Flood Elevation (BFE). But, another federal agency, NOAA, has storm surge models that show higher inundations than the FEMA and demonstrate that a Building Code standard of one-foot above the BFE may not be adequate. And, now, scientists believe that because of rising sea levels and increased tropical events due to climate change, the new building codes may not be protective enough.
With more people than ever continuing to move to coastal areas, condo managers need to do their due diligence to make sure their buildings are protected against flooding.
What can Condo Managers Do to Protect Their Properties From Flooding?
One of the most important steps is to learn your property’s real flooding risk. You’re first thought is probably to take a look at the FEMA flood maps. Because FEMA is a government agency, they probably hold the best and most up to date flooding risk information, right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t correct. Though the FEMA flood maps are a good place to start, they are notoriously out of date. In fact, areas deemed relatively safe from flooding often flood multiple times before FEMA gets around to updating their maps.
So where can you turn for the most up to date flooding risk information? Try a Flood and Climate Risk Assessment from the team at Coastal Risk. Their models are so precise, that they can determine flood risks to the scale of one square meter. All you need for a detailed report is your address and zip code. Furthermore, this flooding risk assessment takes into account the effects of climate change, something that the FEMA maps lack. Not only do they use the latest technology to determine your properties real risk of flooding, but this assessment offers several other benefits, including:
- Complimentary consultation with a risk management expert (commercial)
- Risk assessments include natural hazards such as wind, wildfires and earthquakes
- Risk mitigation consulting services
- Help with implementing flood risk solutions
When you choose Coastal Risk for your flood prevention solutions, the expert team is with you throughout the entire process.