How to improve flood resilience for businesses

A guide to help business owners and business property owners prepare their premises for flooding events.

Is your business property at risk of flooding?

If you are a business owner or business property owner, you may be eligible to participate in the free Flood Resilient Suburbs – Business Resilience Program. Click the button to find out more information. 

Getting started

Even if you are not eligible for the Flood Resilient Suburbs Program – Business Resilience Program, it’s strongly recommended that you consider building flood resilience for your business. This can reduce the cost and stress of flood recovery and may even lower your insurance premiums. To start, consider the steps outlined on this webpage:

  • What is flood resilience – To start your journey, it’s important to understand the principles and definitions of flood resilience.
  • Understanding your flood risk – In order to prepare a business property for flooding, you first need to know what type of effect flooding will have on the property.
  • Prepare for severe weather – There are simple tasks to do now that can save you time, stress and money in the future.
  • Different flood resilience strategies available – Preparing your property to reduce the impact of flooding will allow you to get through a flood event with less damage and expense.

What is flood resilience?

Investing in resilience measures and retrofitting existing building features can significantly reduce the effort, cost and time to recover from future flood events.

Flood-resilient design incorporates the use of building and design techniques and materials choices that are resistant to inundations of water. By making informed design and construction decisions before a flood event, business owners can reduce the damage to their business caused by flooding and ensure the clean-up and recovery process requires as little cost, stress and time as possible. Business flood resilience is also ensuring that your business is prepared for a flood event – knowing your flood risk, what to do in a flood, and what actions and support are needed following a flood. Ultimately, flood resilience will help your business bounce back to normal operations as quickly as possible after a flood.

Understand your flood risk

To understand the risk of flooding on the land and building of your business, follow the two steps below.

Understand the flood risk of your business’s land
First, check Brisbane City Council’s Flood Awareness Maps to understand the likelihood of flooding in your local area and the land your business is on. When using the Flood Awareness Maps, you can download a FloodWise Property Report for your business’s address to see if your property is at risk of flooding.

The FloodWise Property Report will show you what type of flooding may affect your property and what water levels you need to prepare for. Remember, the FloodWise Property Report will provide you with an estimated flood level based on previous floods and modelling data, however, every flood is unique and water levels may rise higher than previous floods. Use this data to implement flood-resilient strategies with a suitably qualified builder.
Understand the flood risks of your business’s building
A property-level survey will show you the exact height of your business’s building floor compared to the ground level. You can obtain one from a professional surveyor.

Once you’ve received the height of your business property’s habitable floor above ground level, compare this to the flood levels in your FloodWise Property Report to understand what height you need to consider when implementing flood-resilient building and design strategies.

Prepare your business for severe weather

Brisbane City Council have a range of resources available that are essential to helping your business prepare for flooding and severe weather. Taking the time now to work through the four below steps, can save you time, stress and money in the future.

Sign up to be alerted to severe weather events
Did you know you can receive email and text alerts when a severe storm, flooding or other event is likely to impact your area? Sign up to the Brisbane Severe Weather Alert Service.
Prepare you business, staff, stock, infrastructure and records
Work through the list of actions on Brisbane City Council’s Business Severe Weather Preparation Checklist to help prepare your business for the next severe weather event.
Create an emergency kit
Use this emergency kit checklist to prepare an essential kit of supplies to use in an emergency.
Prepare a Flood Continuity Plan
Register for the Flood Resilient Suburbs – Business Resilience Program and receive support for flood continuity planning to identify and plan how your business will continue through severe weather events.

Flood resilience strategies for businesses

Now that you know how high your business’ building may be inundated with flood waters and you’ve prepared your business for severe weather, you can then choose which design strategies to implement, to suit your budget, business requirements and flood risk.

Choosing flood resilient strategies

There are many practical flood resilience techniques that range in price and are suitable for many dwelling and building types. It is recommended that business owners and business property owners work with builders and appropriately skilled tradesmen to use flood-resilient techniques that can help prepare the building and reduce stress, expense and time taken to recover from a flood event.

Flood resilience tips for businesses
Perform regular property maintenance
Regularly inspect and maintain your property, looking out for any broken storm drainpipes and trim overhanging branches and clear any loose items.
Raise expensive equipment and services
If it is safe and practical to do so, raise expensive equipment and services (hot water systems, switchboard) to above the estimated flood level.
Use water-resistant flooring materials
Replace any absorbent or porous floor materials (such as carpet, soft-wood) with water resistant materials such as polished concrete or tiles. 
Remove cavities
Open up any cavities that can trap water, such as closed stairs. 
Prepare your stock
Identify, move and secure any vehicles and equipment that may need relocating or protecting during a flood event. 
More flood resilience strategies

View the interactive window below to see how a variety of flood-resilient design strategies are used in a Brisbane house where many of these strategies are relevant for businesses:

Click the links below for more flood resilience design strategies that can also be applied to many businesses:

More information for businesses

Before starting works to help your business become flood resilient, seek professional advice about the most suitable approach to improving your flood resilience, as each circumstance will be different. 

Find a builder, plumber and building certifier

Queensland Building and Construction Commission: 

For all water and sewer-related enquiries, contact Urban Utilities on 07 3432 2200 or email

Find an engineer

Board of Professional Engineers Queensland:

For more information on flood resilience for business owners, refer to the frequently asked questions below. Otherwise, you can contact Brisbane Sustainability Agency at

What types of resilient materials are available?
Using water-resistant materials is essential for improving flood resilience. View the advanced solutions for homeowners video and list of all flood resilient design strategies which has information about flood resilient construction materials that is highly relevant to businesses.  
Will using flood-resilient strategies reduce my insurance premiums?
Incorporating these strategies into your business may also have insurance benefits. Read how using flood-resilient strategies in a Graceville renovation resulted in reduced insurance premiums for a house: Improving the Flood Resilience of Queensland Homes.

This is not guaranteed and it is recommended to contact your insurance broker directly to discuss the benefits of flood-resilient strategies to your insurance premiums.
My property is already flood-affected. What do I need to know?
If you are affected by a flood, short-term strategies will keep you safe and help you get back on your feet while long-term solutions are being prepared. See what options are available for your business in our flood recovery and resilience resources.

It is important to understand the risks that may exist in your business and surroundings after a flood so that you can stay safe while these strategies are being put into place. To do this, read the Flood Safety Fact Sheet.

Not a business property owner?

View tips on how to build flood resilience if you own a house, live in an apartment complex or work in the building, construction and architecture industry.

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