Thursday, 25 July 2013

Impact of Law Society Practice Note on Flooding upon consultants & engineers advising property professionals

Law Society Practice Note on Flooding makes reference to Specialist Flood Surveys for land and property transactions helping to drive opportunities for Consultants and Engineers providing advice in Commercial Transactions, says David Mole of Landmark Information Group  

  • Law Society Practice Note instructs  property professionals to ‘mention’ the issue of flooding and if appropriate make further investigations
  • For commercial properties, the Commercial Property Standard Enquiries Form (CPSE 1) requires the seller to provide details of any flooding of which it is aware and asks whether the seller has had any difficulty in obtaining insurance at normal rates, excesses and exclusions
  • David Mole, Business Development Director at Landmark Information Group says the Practice Note is a useful driver for  environmental consultants and engineers advising property professionals with regard to flood risk appraisals for commercial transactions and new developments
  • 5.2 million properties, including 185,000 commercial properties, in England and Wales are at risk of flooding[1]
  • Landmark’s Envirocheck Flood Screening Report and digital flood data, part of the Envirocheck range, contain flooding information from several sources, including the British Geological Survey and the Environment Agency, enabling consultants and engineers to  evaluate flood risk

Following the publication of The Law Society’s Practice Note on Flood Risk, David Mole Business Development Director at Landmark Information Group said this should help drive business for consultants & engineers advising property professionals on flood risk associated with commercial property transactions and new developments.

The Practice Note advises that in all residential and conveyancing transactions, lawyers should mention the issue of flood risk to the client, and when appropriate, make further enquiries.  Lawyers now need to routinely seek flood risk advice from their professional advisors and this is an ideal opportunity for consultants & engineers to extend their services as part of property due diligence.

David Mole, , said: “The Practice Note has been a long time coming and,  it is a step in the right direction, which should drive lawyers to seek advice from environmental consultants and engineers who need to obtain comprehensive flood risk information when undertaking flood risk appraisals for  commercial transactions and new developments.

“The Practice Note states that solicitors only need ‘mention’ the issue of flood risk to clients. As we have seen in recent years, however, flooding is becoming ever more prevalent and widespread throughout the UK and is striking in areas that have never flooded before. 2012, for example, started with warnings of drought but ended as the wettest year in England since records began. Despite this however, the vast majority of Britons may be unaware of the risks they face.

“Whilst it is vital that legal professionals provide the most comprehensive information possible, covering all types of flood risk, including pluvial (ground water) flooding, environmental consultants and engineers need to also ensure that they make appropriate enquiries relating to the flood risk on and adjacent to sites. This needn’t however, be a difficult and arduous task. Landmark has worked closely with the industry in developing its Envirocheck flood screening report and digital flood data services.

“Our Envirocheck Flood Screening Report and digital flood data, which utilises information from several sources including the Environment Agency, the British Geological Survey and flood modelling specialists, provides environmental consultants and engineers with information on flood risks from surface water, groundwater, rivers and seas.”

The Envirocheck Flood Screening Report and digital flood data, enables environmental consultants and engineers to carry out flood risk assessments and advise their clients of the impact of flooding to their site.  At a time when surface water flooding (pluvial flooding) is increasing and 1.9 million residential and commercial properties are at risk from surface water flooding, [2] it is important to note that the Flood Practice Note is a useful market driver for environmental consultants and engineers providing flood risk appraisal advice and signals the increased importance of carrying our flood risk assessments.

David Mole concludes: “The Statement of Principles, which commits insurers to continue to provide flood insurance for most homes and small business premises, comes to an end in July this year. The announcement at the end of June that there will be a new agreement that will cap flood insurance premiums, linking them to council tax bands so that people will know the maximum they will have to pay is good news for homeowners in flood risk areas.  For business it’s critical to be able to obtain flood insurance at competitive rates to maintain continuity & sustainability for their operations. 
It is, therefore, absolutely vital that conveyancers are taking all necessary steps to ensure that clients are fully apprised of any all types of flood risk affecting a property transaction by seeking advice from their consulting & engineering professional advisors in all instances.”

[1] Environment Agency
[2] Environment Agency

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