A firm designing flood mitigation products is looking to target more commercial work as businesses look to protect their factories, offices and warehouses.
The Flood Company, based in Elland, says it has seen growth spike in recent years due to the end-to-end services it provides from conducting flood risk surveys to bespoke barriers.
The Boxing Day floods of 2015 have led to Yorkshire businesses being more aware of risks, says James Ruddiman, sales director at the family-run company.
Floods are also becoming more frequent due to climate change and towns and cities getting bigger – leading to more building on flood plains, Mr Ruddiman said.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “We see us moving more towards the commercial side of the market. We were traditionally residential but we see growth in the commercial side of our product range.”
The firm, which was only established six years ago, has added a range of new innovative products such as steel gates to cater for the commercial market.
Manufacturers are quite receptive to the idea of flood proofing their premises, according to Mr Ruddiman, as they usually have high value assets.
Firms carrying perishable goods are also increasingly looking to mitigate against extreme weather events as are businesses who normally rely on a constant flow of customer traffic such as pubs.
Mr Ruddiman said: “Pubs are quite common for us because flooding prevents them from having punters for a significant period of time.
“Most businesses need to get up and running pretty quick but companies that rely on that constant flow of customers is quite a strong area for demand.”
The Flood Company was started out of the Ruddiman family home. The idea for the business came while Mr Ruddiman’s brother and father were running a dehumidifying service.
Mr Ruddiman said: “The Flood Company was started by my dad Tony Ruddiman and my brother Luke Ruddiman.
“They started off a business drying out properties after they’d been flooded. What they found was that they were constantly asked by customers if they could help prevent this happening again. My brother is the innovator behind these products. He went away and started innovating flood mitigation products.
“We found that there was more demand for the flood mitigation than for drying properties out.”
The Flood Company moved into a premises in Elland last year, right next to the river and a stone’s throw from Elland Bridge which was destroyed in the Boxing Day flood in 2015. When the firm first moved in it was unable to obtain flood insurance. However, it decided to put its money where its mouth is by putting in its own flood mitigation systems.
Mr Ruddiman said: “The property is right next to the river in a high flood risk zone but what we did was we installed our flood mitigation products around the building.
“We were not able to get flood insurance when we first took on the property but once we’d installed all of these flood mitigation products we did a survey of the building which we entered to our insurer.
“They were then able to get us flood insurance with an excess of only £350, which is very good for something that was previously not insurable.”
Wealth of expertise
James Ruddiman previously worked as a foreign exchange trader for the Bank of Tokyo in London.
He recently returned to Yorkshire to bring his finance expertise to the family firm.
His brother Luke previously worked as a plumber for a local company. James Ruddiman said: “He was a commercial plumber working with kitchens and ovens across the country. My dad Tony Ruddiman has had a number of businesses in the Huddersfield area from furniture to mobile phones.”
The Flood Company designs its own products. They are then manufactured in the UK.
“We install the products and then maintain them so we provide a full service,” says Mr Ruddiman.