April showers bring May flowers -- and a lot of maintenance for HOA communities and residents. If maintenance isn’t performed, floods can cause serious damage to amenity buildings, concrete areas, and the landscape.
Here’s how to take precautionary measures for the rainy spring season, according to the property managers at IKO Community Management:
- Know the flood risk of your HOA community. Call your local emergency management office, building department, or floodplain management office for information about flooding in your area. A flood map of your neighborhood shows a projected flood elevation, which helps determine the required preparation.
- Look for lawn damage. Fill in and reseed bare patches in low areas next to the foundation of any amenity building, including the clubhouse, fitness center, pool house, and locker rooms. This helps water drain away from the foundation.
- Install sump pumps. A sump pump is “a small pump installed in the lowest part of a basement or crawlspace,” according to HowStuffWorks. “Its job is to help keep the area under the building dry and to prevent it from flooding.”
The plumbing appliance lasts about a decade, depending on the acidity and dirtiness of the water that surrounds your neighborhood.
- Check for loose and leaky gutters, which can lead to leaks in the roof and damage to the foundation. Clear any natural debris, such as leaves and skinny branches, out of the gutter.
- Inspect the roof of any amenity building. Hire a professional to look for and fix loose shingles, broken flashing around vents, and damage to the chimney.
- Put up flood barriers, if your community is in a high-risk area. These temporary defense barriers are removed when waters recede and can be added to permanent flood measures, such as raised embankments.
- Fix cracks in the concrete. Look for cracks in concrete slabs, and hire a professional to fill each with a concrete crack filler, if necessary. Ensure all sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, and other concrete surfaces drain away from the foundation of amenity buildings.
- Move valuables to a safer location. HOA meeting minutes, CC&Rs, financial records, and other important documents should be transported to a safer location in the event of a flood risk. If you don’t have time to do this, make copies of this irreplaceable paperwork and put them in a safe.
- Minimize flooding by investing in floor resilience instead of flood defense. A huge concern during the rainy season is flash flooding in amenity buildings, which can be combated by moving electric sockets higher up the walls and waterproofing.
- Introduce plants strategically. “The creation of more wetlands – which...act as sponges, soaking up moisture – and wooded areas...slow down waters when rivers overflow. Halting deforestation and wetland drainage, reforesting upstream areas, and restoring damaged wetlands could significantly reduce the impact of climate change on flooding, according to the [World Wildlife Fund],” as cited by an article by The Independent.
This suggestion on a smaller scale for HOA communities translates to strategically placing moisture-loving plants throughout the neighborhood to redirect flooding away from amenity buildings and homes. Suggested greenery includes water hyssop, pickerelweed, cattail, iris, canna, elephant's ear, swamp sunflower, and scarlet swamp hibiscus.
If your neighborhood experiences a flood, call a disaster recovery organization to assist in clean-up and safety. This quick and appropriate action saves your community, residents, and board members stress, time, and money.
Nearby disaster recovery organizations include the Maryland Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
To continue precautionary measures for April showers, download IKO Community Management’s Post-Winter Property Inspection Checklist by clicking on the button below: