Construction of the Wise Man: Protect Your Church from Flooding
Water can be terribly destructive. While it can provide life, it can also warp wood, damage books beyond repair, and hide away to foster mildew and mold. A flood doesn’t have to be worthy of Noah’s ark to wreak havoc on a church’s structure, so it is important to protect your church from flooding during construction and after.
Water property damage can come in a number of ways, including flash flooding due to rain or a burst pipe. However it comes, the damage can be off-putting at best and devastating at its worst, which is why it is crucial to protect your church from flooding of any kind.
Preventative Measures During Construction
While completely flood-proofing your property is unrealistic, there are many precautions you can take during the construction process to protect your church from flooding’s worst effects. Starting at the bottom, the foundation should be the sturdiest part of a building, framed fitly together with quality materials. Your building committee should be very aware of nearby bodies of water and where the foundation sits relative to the water table.
Consider flooring that will hold up well against water, especially in large meeting halls. Concrete or tile fares better when wet than carpet does. Install electrical sockets, fuse boxes, and other electrical controls and wiring above probable flood levels. If your church construction project is a remodel and you must rewire, run cables down the walls instead of through the floor to meet raised sockets.
As you can, opt for flood-proof materials in your construction. These may include plaster, stainless steel, or plastic. Consider removable fixtures and fittings, especially on vulnerable levels. These as well as other items that are especially susceptible to water damage should be relocated to higher ground or out of the building as possible in the event of a flood or leak.
That being said, water damage doesn’t only come from below. Leaking is a serious problem for churches, and you can protect your church from flooding from above by making roof durability a high priority. Do not cut corners on quality materials or when installing roof paneling securely and tightly.
Protect Your Church from Flooding with Routine Care
Once your church is built, there are still checks and balances to establish to protect it from water damage. Have a regular general safety inspection which includes a checklist with flood precautions. Use this opportunity to look over the pipes and make sure everything is in ship shape.
Have a plan in place for if the building springs leak or a flood is imminent. This should include a chain of command that is well-known to congregants. You might consider holding flood drills so members of the congregation are familiar with what needs to be done in the event of a flood.
Make sure your church has the proper insurance coverage against flood damage, especially if your building is near a river or in an area with heavy rainfall. If your property has extensive grounds, include them in the insurance policy, as well as any church-specific vehicles.
Temporary Measures in the Event of a Flood
You can protect your church from flooding, but sometimes the tumultuous waves arise unexpectedly from an outside source. If a leak or flood does threaten without Moses there to part the waters, there are immediate precautions you can take. You should consider having sandbags or other temporary flood barriers on hand to stem the tide, especially during rainy seasons.
Your plumbing can work in your favor in the event of a flood. Fit non-return valves on drainage systems to prevent water from backing up into the property, and utilize pump and sump systems to mitigate damage. If you discuss these during the construction phase, you will not be caught off-guard.
After a Flood
If your best efforts to protect your church from flooding aren’t enough to keep the water at bay, hope is not lost. Be very cautious as you move about the building since, depending on the source of the water, it may be contaminated. It is wise to wear proper protective gear around potentially contaminated water, and it is even more wise to seek the help of professionals. They will have the correct tools and safety equipment to handle the mess.
If your church floods, open the doors when personnel are there on cleanup duty to minimize humidity levels. When no one is in the building, be sure to secure it properly to discourage vandals. The insurance company will need a detailed report of the flood and the damage accrued, so take pictures of all the areas or items affected by flood water. Don’t throw away any damaged items until the claims team gives the go-ahead to do so.