Recently Melbourne was hit by a severe storm. This storm delivered 18 mm of rainfall in 10 minutes in some areas. Such a deluge puts enormous strain on any building. Roof design is tested, as well as storm water drains and council infrastructure.

Plumbfast attended many emergencies relating to the event. We saw collapsed ceilings, soaked stock (flooded shops) and collapsing walls, as well as less significant leaks. Some of these issues were avoidable and some weren`t. Here is a breakdown of the issue and possible solutions:

Flooded and/or leaking ceilings. Cause: debris and rubbish in gutters restricting or covering outlets. Solution: keep gutters and roof`s clean, cut back trees, ensure adequate overflow provisions are made in the gutters and roof, check gutters are correctly sized.

Flooded floors and foundations. Cause: debris and rubbish blocking drains or drains too small, Council drains unable to cope with volume of water, Council drains blocked or partially blocked. Solution: check drains are clear of debris and are adequately sized, report when Council drains aren`t flowing freely.

Roof care and maintenance would have helped a lot of Melbourne`s buildings, although a lot of extra tree debris was actually generated during the storm as it pounded local vegetation. Regular cleaning is essential. In many cases roofs have no overflow provision (as required by Australian Standards), and overflows would have kept the water out of the buildings and on surrounding grounds. Note: Some older buildings just aren`t able to cope with the sheer volume of water dumped on them by such an extreme storm.

Flooded grounds can also be addressed in some cases. Barriers or below ground drains can be installed (eg. agi pipes or soak pits) to help hold back the water whilst the surrounding drains catch up with extreme volumes of water. Non return valves can also be installed to help limit damage caused by Council drains unable to cope. In some areas water retention systems may also help.

As our weather gets more extreme it is important to think ahead and do what you can to flood proof your building.