Flash flooding often causes extensive damage to property and many people also lose their lives as a result of flooding. An example of such floods is the worst one that occurred in India on June 2013 in the state of Uttarakhand that caused landslides killing many people [Ref]. The Uttarakhand government provided figures that showed more than 5,700 people had died from the flooding. The floods caused extensive damage to buildings, bridges and roads trapping about 1000 pilgrims that had visited the Hindu Chota Char Dam pilgrimage sites. Floods are natural disasters that can occur anywhere and therefore it is advisable as an individual to take precautionary measures that will help prevent your building from being damaged by flooding.
It is wise for all homeowners to check all the key areas to the exterior of their buildings on a regular basis after flooding has occurred. This way one may be able to see the structural damage that the flood could have caused to the building such as widened cracks which if left unrepaired could bring the whole building down. Flood water often enters buildings through cracks on the walls thereby damaging such buildings. Buildings with cracks on the walls pose a risk of structural damage and even collapse during flooding. It is for this reason that it is important that regular checks be conducted on buildings and if cracks are seen then they should be repaired at once. These in one way or another will limit potential damage to such buildings in times of flooding.
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In order to prevent damage to buildings caused flooding there are steps that can be followed which include the following;
- Conducting good exterior maintenance will help limit the amount of water that can seep through masonry walls in times of flooding. Regular checking of changes in the line or appearance of a roof ridge done from a distance may help you notice any abnormality.
- Buckled walls identified by appearance of horizontal cracking or areas appearing to have moved out of vertical alignment should be repaired before flooding to minimize their total collapse in the event that flooding occurs.
- Vertical to diagonal cracks on walls should also be repaired in time before it is too late. These if left unattended often make the wall weak and also allow flood water to easily get into the building.
- If you notice deep scouring that lead to exposed foundations it wise to repair them to make the building strong.
- Cracks bigger than 2 mm should also be repaired to avoid any further cracking.
If you notice any of the above changes on the building then it is time for you to contact building experts to come and do repairs on the building.