Expert flood recovery tips for sporting and community clubs

Helping Brisbane clubs to recover from flooding and then build back better

The recent severe weather event in Brisbane has impacted many community and sporting clubs who were inundated with floodwater.  

The Resilient Clubs Support Program has been working with our industry experts and stakeholders to compile essential tips and advice for clubs looking to recover from flooding and ensure that they are able to build back better for a more climate-resilient future.

Recovery tips from experts

We recommend carefully reading the below tips to ensure your plumbing, turf and irrigation systems can recover quickly, safely and correctly following flood. If you have any questions, please reach out to your Resilient Clubs Support Program case manager or your club assessment and works supplier.

Irrigation advice from Wayne at Hydro Vision
Check the irrigation controllers are all operational and in the off position to allow the grounds to dry out and avoid creating anaerobic conditions (see more below on this).

Check that all the valve boxes have their lids on to minimise trip hazards and the potential of people hurting themselves.
Irrigation advice from Sean at Irri-Flow
Always turn off power at the mains board, using gloves and rubber based boots. Call your electrical specialist to undertake a full check first.

Then turn off pump panels / irrigation controllers to off whilst testing is being undertaken.

Try to take photos of all irrigation pumps / controls infrastructure before pulling everything out, take double the photos just in case, contact your insurance company to get their requirements first.

Once the electrical side is all deemed safe by an electrician, try to test your pump system / irrigation system, preferably while the electrician is still onsite. If it works, work with a turf specialist / contractor / greenkeeper to work out how the irrigation can assist in getting your turf back up to speed.

Look at your RPZV / Backflow device, see if there’s damage, if there’s leaking or damage, Call your plumber.

Look at your water tank, look for leaks around sheeting or base where it meets the ground.

Always use gloves and boots, long sleeves / pants if hanging around areas affected. A lot of bacteria and other nasties can cause serious issues for the unsuspecting. Also skin complaints.

Always look around before you walk into sheds etc, SNAKES ! could be hiding.
Go for a walk around the site, look for major issues like holes in ground, use irrigation flags as markers, to ensure all can see the issues.

Also, look for valve box lids that have floated away, try and get photos, then contact your irrigation shop / contractor to get some immediately with a stay bolt.
Plumping advice from Jeff at Pure Plumbing
If your building was flooded, many of the internal fittings and fixtures should be ok with a good clean up, but the hot water systems and gas appliances will need to be checked. 
Electrical advice from David at Affinity
Please read the Master Electricians Australia Flood Repair Fact Sheet.

Record and photograph the height of the water level so when appliances, hot water systems and electrical are raised it can be at an appropriate height.
Energy advice from Brett at PhiSaver
For flooded sites with PhiSaver, use existing data to identify high consuming items. Replace them with better units. 

For example, if 40% of energy is used on air-con, instead of repairing damage, replace it with a better unit. 

For example, if coolroom used lots of energy and is damaged, write it off and replace with a better unit (or reconsider usage / size).

If switchboards are to be replaced, consider:

Replacing with new, larger boards with expansion capacity (e.g. “provide 30% spare poles”). This allows better safety, future expansion and monitoring. (Many club boards are a collection of ‘add-ons’).

Add timers to control (for example) hotwater to run during the day if solar is present.

Relocating board (often expensive and hard) inside building – both cooler, safer, and less exposed to flooding.

Include a PhiSaver for new boards (install is cheaper if done as part of new switchboard – PhiSaver can provide hardware to installers).

Permanently label circuits when testing after flood damage.

For new circuits, divide into “general power”,”kitchen”, etc, instead of just “power1”, “power2”.

Existing clients can use their PhiSaver:

To see if their site is back with power online (PhiSaver will automatically restart when power is restored).

Confirm is solar is operating.

PhiSaver data shows that field lights use about 50% of club energy, so…

Replace with LED if damaged, instead of repair.

Add” “training mode” at 50% illumination where possible.

PhiSaver data shows that fridges and freezers use about 30% club energy, so…

Replace with 4+ stars if possible.

During visits some fridges and freezers were on and empty. Consider not replacing.

Glass fronted drinks fridges are sometimes not required – put soft drinks in normal fridge. I think these fridges are supplied by vendors – but cost the clubs.
Turf advice from Keith at LaboSport
Water sitting over the grass risks cutting off the roots from oxygen (anaerobic conditions), which can kill grass. If possible, aerate the turf as soon as possible with a tractor or manually aerate if the field is too sodden to ride on.

Silt deposits (such as mud) can introduce a non-permeable layer to the fields which can stunt growth. This needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but removal of silt may be required in the coming days or weeks.
Turf advice from Brisbane City Council
If the field is dry enough and conditions are conducive to mow then continue to mow the field/s when possible. Care to be taken not to further damage the field. The shorter turf height helps to dry out the surface quicker rather than letting it grow long and reduce the potential grass clippings on the surface which will only add to the problem.

Clubs who are eligible as part of the Brisbane City Council funded Sports Field Improvement Program should contact Kurt Irvine (0423782007 – Kurt.irvine@technigro.com.au) or Karla Hastings (0755 155 147 – Karla.hastings@technigro.com.au) from Technigro to book in an aeration when possible.
Health and safety advice from Brisbane City Council
Please, do not attempt to begin any clean-up activities until your organisation is confident that the flood water has receded and will not come back again in the coming days.

Before conducting any activities, please perform a quick inspection of your facility to identify any potential structural, asbestos or electrical issues, such as building movement, damaged asbestos material or water leaking from electrical components. If this is observed, please keep people out of the facility and notify Council immediately on 3403 8888.

Volunteers from within your organisation and the broader community will be essential to your recovery, however, it is critical your organisation engages qualified tradespeople to undertake appropriate work. Where you do have volunteers working, please ensure they are provided with appropriate safety equipment and tools to undertake the work safely. Please also ensure that fatigue and hydration is well managed.

Contact with flood waters and the resulting deposits can contain harmful chemicals and bacteria which pose a serious risk to human health. Use the Queensland Health resources for further information on staying safe and healthy after floods and also general public health advice and guidelines for disaster management.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact Council’s Community Facilities Operations Team by phoning 3403 8888 or via communityFacilities@brisbane.qld.gov.au

Financial assistance and grants available

Community facility disaster relief – Brisbane City Council’s disaster recovery cash payments of up to $5,000 for flood-affected community and sporting clubs. It is strongly recommended that eligible clubs apply for this payment as it does not require an application or assessment process.

To apply, simply contact your Sports and Recreation Officer on 3403 8888 (or via communityFacilities@brisbane.qld.gov.au) or complete the survey sent to Council community tenants on 1 March to be identified as a flood-affected club.

Sport and Recreation Disaster Recovery Program – Queensland Government’s disaster recovery payments of up to $20,000 for community and sporting clubs that have been affected by flooding.

GCBF Disaster Recovery ‘Super Round’ – A Queensland Government, Gambling Community Benefit Fund grant of up to $100,000 for Clubs that have been affected by natural disaster in the last 2 years.

South East Queensland flood relief – A summary of Queensland Government’s flood support for businesses, farmers and community groups, including financial, mental and family support.

RACQ Foundation Community Grant Program – This program offers funds to Queensland sporting clubs, community groups, or charities that have been affected by disasters such as the recent extreme weather and flooding. Grants are up to $50,000 with some groups receiving up to $100,000 in exceptional cases.

Flood rates relief – Details on Brisbane City Council’s rates relief and rebates for flood-affected residents.

Other flood recovery support available

Disaster recovery services and support – Australian Government online search engine to find how to claim disaster support payments and other services in your area.

Recovering from a disaster – Brisbane City Council information on recovery, health, pets and tools to help following a disaster event.

Disasters and emergency – Brisbane City Council’s dashboard for disaster and emergency information.

Givit – The official Government partner for donations towards the 2022 Flood Recovery. If you are in need of items that have been damaged or destroyed from flooding, you can request support one this site and have fellow community members donate items in need.

Flooding in Brisbane – Brisbane City Council’s information on flooding in Brisbane.

Advice for cleaning up

What to do before, during and after a flood – Emergency Management Australia’s guide to help Australia’s prepare for, live through and recover from flooding.

Rebuilding and clean up – Queensland Government resources on rebuilding after a flood, including information on returning home after a storm, reconnecting electricity and water and replacing lost or destroyed documents.

Brisbane waste services during flood and clean up – Brisbane City Council’s information on the City’s waste services included flood-affected kerbside collection services, free resource recovery centres, food waste drop off zones and other resources.

Public health advice for disaster management – Queensland Health’s factsheets, posters and advice regarding health and safety when responding to and recovering from disaster events such as fire, storms, cyclones and floods.

Asbestos safety – Asbestos is common in houses built before 1990. Material containing asbestos can be damaged during severe weather and recovery efforts can be dangerous if this material is not handled safely. Read this resource on how to identify and manage asbestos materials after a flood event.

Infection risk from flood recovery and response work – Flooding can release all kinds of toxic substances – this guide shows you how to keep safe while helping with recovery efforts.

Preparing for severe weather

Early Warning Weather Alerts – Register to receive early warning alerts for severe weather events.

BOM Queensland rainfall and river conditions – Find out what weather issues are near you.

Road conditions map – Find out where your current road hazards are, and avoid accidents, closed roads and other hazards.

Building climate resilience

Choosing resilient and efficient products
As you recover from flood-related damage, we recommend considering flood-resilient building and construction techniques to ensure that you can build back better following extreme weather events and not replace perishable materials like-for-like.

There are many things you can do when lodging insurance claims and replacing your damaged goods to ensure that your assets are more flood resilient as well as being more energy and water-efficient. Procuring resilient and efficient products can lower your bills, save you on future flood damage costs and lower your environmental footprint. The below resources are designed to help you decide how to replace damaged goods to build back better.

Choice – A reliable resource to review and compare different products’ quality, price and water and energy efficiency.

GECA and EcoSpecifier – Websites that list and compare environmentally friendly products and items.
Water efficiency resources
Water rating and comparison – Australian Government water efficiency guide and comparison for appliances, fixtures and products.

YourHome Water – Information on reducing water use and increasing efficiency at home.
Energy efficiency resources
Energy rating calculator – Calculator and comparison of appliance energy rating scores.

YourHome hot water systems – Australian Government energy efficiency information on different hot water systems.

YourHome lighting – Australian Government energy efficiency information on different lighting solutions.

YourHome appliances and technology – Australian Government energy efficiency information on different appliances and technology.
Resources from the Flood Resilient Homes Program
See below for resources from our Flood Resilient Homes Program, to help you prepare for, live through and recover from the next flooding event with minimal disruption. These resources have been developed for households but can also be used by businesses and community groups with approval from flood-resilient design and construction experts.

How to build flood resilience – A guide to help homeowners and businesses assess and build flood-resilient buildings.

Flood resilient design strategies – Different construction and design strategies to make buildings more flood resilient.
Other flood resilient building guides and techniques
A homeowners guide to rebuilding after a flood – Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s guide for residents to rebuilding homes, fixtures and buildings after a flood event.

A contractor’s guide to rebuilding after a flood – Queensland Building and Construction Commission’s guide for the building industry to rebuilding homes, fixtures and buildings after a flood event.

Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes – Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s guide for building flood resilient homes.

Storm Resilience Guide – While your floors are important for flood resilience, storm resilience is all about your roof. We’ve worked with NRMA Insurance to develop a handbook that can help residents understand how to make their home more resilient to severe storms.

CCIQ Climate Risk Assessments – A free climate resilience assessment and recommendation service, funded by Department of Environment and Science

Find out more

If you have any questions about the program, or if you are a Brisbane club that leases a facility from Brisbane City Council and you wish to express your interest in taking part in the program, get in touch.

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