WATERLOO, ONT. — A new report titled Ahead of the Storm from the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo outlines 20 measures that can be taken by commercial real estate owners and managers to enhance flood resilience.
From 2009 to 2018, insured losses in Canada averaged $1.8 billion annually, compared to $405 million annually from 1983 to 2008, an Oct. 29 release from the Intact Centre stated.
“The commercial real estate sector has fallen victim to the ravages of flooding across much of Canada in recent years,” said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre, in the release. “Such extreme weather, driven by irreversible climate change, will only get worse. Fortunately, direction outlined in Ahead of the Storm offers a timely reprieve to stewards of commercial real estate that will help to ensure business continuity despite a changing climate.”
The release noted that following the 2013 floods in Alberta, between 150,000 to 180,000 people could not access office buildings located in downtown Calgary for approximately two weeks. This resulted in 5.1 million lost work hours, equivalent to half a billion dollars in GDP loss to the province.
Examples of the flood resilience measures include:
Plans and Procedures: ensuring that emergency preparedness and response plans include flood event procedures and that building operations staff and tenants are annually trained on these procedures.
Equipment and Supplies: ensuring that critical equipment and supplies are available on-site to respond to flood emergencies, such as reusable sandbags, submersible sump pumps, portable generators, fuel, portable lights, extension cords, air dryers, air moisture sensors, dehumidifiers, protective clothing, two-way radios, batteries and medical supplies. As well, retrofitting elevators with water sensors that prevent them from proceeding to flood-inundated levels.
Major Retrofits: elevating heating, cooling, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, electrical transformers, switchgear and service panels, as well as communication systems above expected flood levels.
The report was supported by Intact Financial Corporation, the Real Property Association of Canada and the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada and on input from commercial real estate owners, managers, institutional investors, asset management consultants, insurance industry representatives and others, the statement said.