Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) – Independent Professional Review

We provide site specific professional Flood Risk Assessments for a wide range of clients; small domestic residential; elderly care facilities; commercial developments; schools and even Cathedrals.

We help advise clients right across the UK, from Newcastle to Dover

We also provide flood risk assessments in relation to existing sites which have flooded, or where a client wishes to understand the risk and mitigation better. Our Director Stephen Gibson has 25 years experience. He personally writes all reports and often visits to discuss proposals and flooding experiences directly with clients.

flood risk assessment reports

So what is a flood risk assessment?

A Professional Flood Risk Assessment (or a FRA for short) is a comprehensive professional engineering assessment in relation to all flooding mechanisms. It is produced by a Civil Engineering Consultant, approved and insured for such advice, by a specialist Lloyds of London insurance underwriter. It should include:

  • the various sources of flooding
  • the implications of flooding
  • options and mitigating measures
  • emergency risk and response

What are the sources of water which produce floods and need to be considered in a flood risk assessment?

  • Groundwater (saturated groundwater)
  • Surface water, sewers and drains
  • Vadose (water flowing the ground in an unsaturated state)
  • Artificial water (burst water mains, canals or reservoirs)
  • Rivers, streams or watercourses

flood risk hydrogeology

What else needs to be considered in a flood risk assessment?

For each of the sources of water, different hydraulic intensities occur. Floods can occur because of a combination of sources of flooding, such as high groundwater and an inadequate surface water drainage system. The topography, hydrogeology and physical attributes of the existing or proposed development need to be considered. A flood risk assessment should be an evaluation of the flood risk and the consequences, impact and vulnerability.

Consideration needs to be given in a flood risk assessment to the onsite and off-site implications of flooding. It requires considerable hydraulic knowledge, combined with practical civil engineering experience. Someone who spends all day producing flood risk assessment reports may be quick and efficient. However – do they actually design drainage works? Do they see sites that have flooded? Do they understand the practical problems contractors need to deal with?

Are they going to recommend the best solutions for you, or the quickest for them?

Can members of the public, or my Architect write a flood risk assessment?

Non-professional flood risk assessments can be produced by members of the public, Architects, environment assessors, or others who are not specifically professionally qualified in this field. However, it is a complex evaluation and such assessments can be rejected by the Authorities as inadequate. The Association of British Insurers advises that that the public use professional civil engineers with specialist expertise in hydraulics. The aim is to minimise the risk of the advice being considered negligent in the event of a flooding event and a claim to insurers being made. Many banks lending on a property will require a statement from an independent civil engineering consultancy where a basic flood risk is identified..

Can I have a free flood risk assessment report?

No. You may have read various flood product manufacturers literature saying they will visit and provide advice on flood mitigation advice for free. Are they providing professional advice, or is it a sales visit without any actual professional advice? Really valuable advice is entirely independent to flood product manufacturers. Is the product actually appropriate, or are they just trying to make a sale?

In the UK it is not the responsibility of the EA or local councils to provide flooding advice to members of the public or businesses. So if you live in the UK and want independent professional flood risk reports and advice you have to pay, similar to paying for a solicitor to advise you on legal matters.

Google “Flood Risk Assessment Company” and you can find some offering “professional flood risk assessments” when in reality all they are providing are computer generated printouts of freely available public flood data to the nearest post code. At best, they are no more than basic screening reports. At worst these can be inaccurate and misleading clients as to the actual risk. They are not professional, as a competent engineering professional has not written or approved them directly relevant to your site.

flood risk review details


Would you need to visit my site to produce a flood risk assessment?

This depend on the specific situation. We will advise you on the most suitable strategy. Sometimes a flood risk report (FRA) is a supporting document where the risk is relatively clear and levels known and a single price for a full flood risk report can be provided.

Are their standard fee stages for a flood risk assessment?

Every project is unique. The development itself is an element to consider – some have basement, other may be in listed properties. Some  may be amending an existing arrangement, some are entirely new. Some are in a rural areas, some urban. Some in an area of higher risk in relation to rivers, others to surface water, etc. So for example a listed building, with a new basement, in central London, in a functional flood plain, would be likely to involve considerable work for an acceptable solution to be reached, if at all.

Frequently the following states are applicable:

  • Initial FRA overview – An overview review of the flooding evidence to determine viability of proposal or suitable approach. Basic hydrogeological research. The aim would be to provide the client with informed advice as to the options/viability/risks of the proposed projects as regards the hydraulic elements. Modelling data would not be obtained from the EA. Level data would not be obtained. This would not be circulated to the EA/LPA or other organisations outside the client team.
  • Full professional flood risk assessment report – A more detailed assessment involving survey data, EA modelling data and a site visit by our Director to discuss and potentially survey key levels. All of the evidence and advise would then be set out in a professional report, with recommendations. It builds on the work undertaken during the initial FRA overview. It is frequently likely to need a sustainable drainage design, at least to the level where the proposal is proven to be viable in principle.
  • Further more detailed hydraulic review and modelling  – It is common for FRA’s to be largely accepted but for reservations to be raised by the EA/LPA about certain elements. Frequently, amendment and/or further data is requested and further changes made to the report, potentially expanding on certain areas. This is done at time charge rate.

What we don’t do…

  • Produce a thick generic flood risk assessment template reports with the clients address and post code mail merged.
  • Attempt to exempt our professional responsibility for the FRAs quality in the small print.
  • Make claims about 99% or 100% success. We don’t shy from complex cases but are upfront and honest in advising you of your chance of success.
  • Suggest reports can be “turned around” in hours. Many take weeks, some take months.
  • Write the FRA report to try and “tick boxes” with Local Authorities or the Environment Agency. Reports have to be professional and independent.
  • Suggest we have any kind of “special relationship” with any staff in the Environment Agency. We have worked through schemes and risks with many EA and local authority engineers over the last 25 years. However our professional advice in given entirely independent within the strict ethical code of the Institution of Civil Engineers members rules.
  • Suggest our company is approved by the Environment Agency for flood risk assessment work. There is no approved list.
  • Charge clients extra to pay for advertising in trade sales catalogues like the Blue Pages

flood risk sewerage mitigation


….and what we do

We provide a professional flood risk assessment report which really helps a Client understand the risk and solutions available. This is based on our 25 years of solid practical experience of the design and supervision of cost effective drainage/civil work.

We use our extensive experience of designing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDs) and flood mitigation works to produce solutions which maximise performance and minimise cost. Our Director – Stephen Gibson who will be responsible for writing your report presents at International conferences on cost effective flood mitigation and sustainable drainage. He provides lectures to the Royal Institute of British Architects, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He was a former Lead Design Engineer for the largest water company in the UK.

How we can help you?

We are happy to provide competitive flood risk assessment quotes for professional advice or design in relation to any flooding problem, for single householders, developers, local flood resident flood groups or local authorities. However, as the quality, time and care taken in writing flood risk reports is so variable in the industry, with many of the large consultants using inexperienced graduates and standard flood risk assessment templates, we don’t get involved in price / cost matching. We will determine the cost of a flood risk assessment in a fair and open way.

Please email as many of the following as possible:

  1. Your client full address details.
  2. Your full site details (if different)
  3. The response of consultation with the Local Planning Authority and EA
  4. Any hydraulic information you have obtained.
  5. Plans showing your proposal.
  6. Photo of the site.
  7. Any experience of flooding at the site

To Stephen Gibson at stephen@wilsham.co.uk

Realistically even the most basic situation is will not cost less than £1000. Most cost between £2000 and £5500. Complex FRAs can cost over £25,000.