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Flood risk to commercial property: Training and education needs of built environment professionals

Namrata Bhattacharya-Mis (Department of Geography and International Development, University of Chester, Chester, UK)
Jessica Lamond (Department of Architecture and Built Environment, University of West of England, Bristol, UK)
Burrell Montz (Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)
Heidi Kreibich (German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany)
Sara Wilkinson (School of Built Environment, University of Technology, Sydney, Ultimo, Australia)
Faith Chan (School of Geographical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China)
David Proverbs (Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)

International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment

ISSN: 1759-5908

Article publication date: 12 October 2018

Issue publication date: 27 November 2018




Improved management of commercial property at risk from flooding may result from well-targeted advice from built environment (BE) professionals, such as surveyors, valuers and project managers. However, research indicates that the role of these professionals in providing such advice is currently limited for a variety of reasons. This paper aims to investigate the (perceived and real) barriers and opportunities for providing such advice in a number of international locations. In particular, the research sought greater understanding of the link between regulation and guidance; perceived roles and capacity; and training and education needs.


To cover different international settings, an illustrative case study approach was adopted within the selected countries (Australia, UK, USA, China and Germany). This involved a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews of BE professionals with experience of advising on commercial properties at risk of flooding. Due to the specific nature of these interviews, a purposive sampling approach was implemented, leading to a sample of 72 interviews across the five international locations.


Perceived barriers were linked to regulatory issues, a shortage of suitably experienced professionals, a lack of formal guidance and insurance requirements. BE professionals defined their roles differently in each case study in relation to these factors and stressed the need for closer collaboration among the various disciplines and indeed the other key stakeholders (i.e. insurers, loss adjusters and contractors). A shortage of knowledgeable experts caused by a lack of formal training, and education was a common challenge highlighted in all locations.


The research is unique in providing an international perspective on issues affecting BE professionals in providing robust and impartial advice on commercial property at risk of flooding. While acknowledging the existence of local flood conditions, regulatory frameworks and insurance regimes, the results indicate some recurring themes, indicating a lack of general flood risk education and training across all five case study countries. Learning across case studies coupled with appropriate policy development could contribute toward improved skills development and more consistent integration of BE professionals within future flood risk management practice, policy and strategy.



The authors wish to thank RICS Research Trust for providing part of the funding for the research work (Project no 489). Additional funding was supplied by the University of the West of England. The authors would like to thank all the anonymous interviewees for their time as the research would not have been possible without them. The authors are also grateful to the following researchers for their assistance in data collection and coding: Glyn Everett (University of West of England, UK); Kristina Steinmar (German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Germany) and Jeffry Edwards (East Carolina University, USA).


Bhattacharya-Mis, N., Lamond, J., Montz, B., Kreibich, H., Wilkinson, S., Chan, F. and Proverbs, D. (2020), "Flood risk to commercial property: Training and education needs of built environment professionals", International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 9 No. 4/5, pp. 385-401.



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