Repairing Flood Damaged Buildings

The following guide has been put together by the Tasman District Council Building Control Team to help people and businesses affected by flooding to repair buildings and structures on their properties.

Before you commence repairs to your property, it is important to consider the following information.

Contact Your Insurance Company 

Following a flood, contact your insurancecompany as soon as possible to begin your claim. You should check with your insurance company what is covered by your insurance policy and enquire whether it covers "extra" costs, such as costs of temporary accommodation, drying apparatus, and special inspections. 

  • Do not throw anything away or undertake work until you have made contact with your insurer as it may prejudice any claim.
  • Before moving/repairing anything, take photographs or a video of all damage if possible, and mark the water levels on the walls for the reference of the insurers.

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Use Reputable Tradespeople for Repair Work 

Damage caused by flooding will generally be beyond the capability of the individual householder or small businessperson to clear up and repair on their own. Do not attempt work that is beyond your capabilities - call in professionals where required.

Your insurance company may appoint a builder to help you. Alternatively, you may be asked to contact several builders yourself and obtain competitive quotes for work required and seek approval from the insurance company before building work can begin. If you are not insured, then you will need to choose a builder yourself.

Ensure you select a reputable builder, such as a licensed building practitioner, a  member of Master Builders or Certified Builders or other specialist trade bodies. Beware of builders touting door-to-door. Do not pay cash in advance and get signed receipts for all work done.

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Repair Work and Building Consents 

Any new or replacement building work must comply with the New Zealand Building Code. Once flooring or wall linings have been removed, complete drying out of these areas should occur, before replacement building work is started.  Cleaning and decontamination are important but so too is drying to avoid dampness and mould.

Most building and renovation work is Restricted Building Work and must be completed by Licensed Building Practitioners. More details are available on the Department of Building and Housing website.

Repair Work Not Requiring Building Consent

Not all building work may require a building consent. Lawful repair and maintenance is provided for (and expected of owners), and in dealing with flood damage this could include:

  • Replacement of flooring material, i.e. chipboard or timber, with similar material
  • Replacement of non-bracing wall linings using comparable materials
  • Replacement of doors and windows of the same sizing
  • Repair or replacement of outbuildings not used for human habitation, provided the same area is occupied. Outbuildings would include a carport, garage, farm building, greenhouse, machinery room, shed, provided no provision is made for human habitation.

Guidance documents on building work exempt from Building Consent can be obtained from the Department of Building and Housing: 

Provision also exists in some situations for Council to authorise emergency repairs for the purpose of saving or protecting life or health or preventing serious damage to property. The owner would still be required in those situations where a building consent would have been required, to apply for a Certificate of Acceptance as soon as practicable after completing the building work.

Repair Work Requiring Building Consent

  • Replacement of bracing sheets (you should check the building plans, copies of which are normally held by Council)
  • Structural repairs - this may need the assistance of a chartered professional engineer.

In all cases it is worth remembering that if you have been flooded once, it may happen again. It is therefore well worth considering the use of materials that are less vulnerable to damage when you repair your building if flooding is likely to re-occur in the future.

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Further Information 

If you have any questions on repairs, safety or whether your building is insanitary, or need further information, contact the Tasman District Council Building Assurance Team.