Storm and flood information
The October 2022 storm and flood event have had a serious impact on communities, and we know that recovery will take time.
People living in low-lying areas, close to creeks or rivers, or near major stormwater are at risk of being affected by floods. For the latest information about emergency incidents and warnings, visit VicEmergency.
For the latest information on keeping safe, travelling, local water and energy supply matters, wildlife welfare, and financial assistance, visit the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's website.
If your home has been flooded
- Do not attempt to re-enter the home or undertake repairs until floodwaters have receded to a safe level and authorities permit access to the area. The relevant authorities will need to assess the building’s structural integrity, electricity (even if power has been turned off by the authorities, solar power systems may still be active in individual homes), gas safety, water and sewerage systems.
- Do not enter the home if floodwaters have reached the ceiling level of your home or the ceiling has become damp due to absorption of water from plaster walls. There is a risk the ceiling may collapse.
- Some building materials in older properties may contain asbestos – if unsure, seek expert advice before cleaning up building materials.
- When carrying out flood repairs to a building, make sure the building has completely dried out and that the ground surrounding the building is also completely dry. Repairs made before the house has dried may fail.
Be careful around electricity, water and debris
- Do not go near fallen power lines and take extra care around all electrical appliances and your switchboard.
- Floodwater and debris may be contaminated with sewage or other dangerous substances. Minimise contact with floodwater and wear protective clothing during clean up.
Advice for residents for what they can do if their property is impacted by flooding
If your property has been impacted by flooding, please contact your insurer as soon as possible to commence the claims process, even if you do not know the full extent of damage.
- You can start cleaning up, but first take pictures or videos of damage to the property and your possessions as evidence for your insurance claim.
- Keep samples of materials and fabrics to show your insurance assessor.
- Remove water damaged goods from your property that might pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings.
- Make a list of each item damaged and include a detailed description, such as brand, model and serial number, if possible.
- If water has entered your property, do not turn on your electricity until an electrician has inspected it.
- Store damaged or destroyed items somewhere safe where they do not pose a health risk.
- Speak to your insurer before you attempt or authorise any building work, including emergency repairs, and ask for the insurer's permission in writing. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy.
- Do not throw away goods that could be salvaged or repaired.
Your health and wellbeing
- Always wear a nose and mouth guard or dust mask when collecting and removing rotting material including spoiled food or vegetation.
- Use personal protection equipment, including gloves, covered shoes or boots and full-length clothing to cover your arms and legs.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after participating in clean-up activities.
- Be careful of wild animals including rodents, snakes or spiders which may be trapped in and around your home. Cuts from broken glass and debris are also a hazard. Always wear sturdy waterproof boots and rubber or leather gloves.
- Drinking water may be contaminated – do not drink any water unless you know it is safe.
Rebuilding after a flood
- You should contact your local council to determine the relevant regulatory requirements, such as whether you need any building or planning permits.
- If you’re planning to rebuild your home after a flood and storm event, you need to decide whether you will hire a building practitioner registered with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) or manage the building process yourself.
- Before you can start as an owner-builder, you must complete construction induction training through a Registered Training Organisation and obtain a Certificate of Consent from the VBA to carry out domestic building work.
- The VBA also requires you to demonstrate your understanding of an owner-builder’s duties and obligations by completing an online knowledge assessment.
- If you contract out part of the building work and the total cost for that work, including materials and labour is more than $10,000, you must enter a major domestic building contract with a registered building practitioners or tradesperson.
- The VBA’s Find a Practitioner portal lists registration details for many industry professionals, including builders, building surveyors and plumbers.
- Before hiring a tradesperson, it is important to check that their qualifications and registration allow them to do the work you require.
- If the contract price is more than $16,000, registered building practitioners, contractors and trades must provide you with a copy of their domestic building insurance to cover you if they die, become insolvent or disappear. This is in addition to their contractual obligations and warranties.
- As an owner-builder, you must maintain occupational health and safety on site and check that all work complies with the building regulations and standards associated with Victoria’s Building Act 1993, Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 and Building Regulations 2018.
- For more information about rebuilding after a flood, visit the VBA’s Rebuilding after a flood article.
For more information
Further resources with helpful information for people impacted by flooding:
- Power safety and emergency contacts – Energy Safe Victoria
- Advice in a disaster – Consumer Affairs Victoria
- Floods: mould and your health – Department of Health
- What to do before, during and after a flood (PDF, 795.6 KB) – Emergency Management Australia
- After a flood – returning home safely – Better Health Channel
- After a flood – animal and insect related hazards – Better Health Channel
- Urban flash floods – FAQs – Better Health Channel
- Flood Recovery Hotline flyer (PDF, 135.86 KB) - Emergency Recovery Victoria
- Beware of hidden hazards in flood clean-up - WorkSafe Victoria
- Energy safety during floods - Energy Safe Victoria
- Retrofitting your home for flood resilience - Melbourne Water
- Flood Resilient Guide to Retrofitting your Home - Melbourne Water
- Flood Resilient Building Guidance for Queensland Homes - Queensland Government
- Design Guidance for Flood Resilient Homes - Queensland Government
- Building Practice Note FH-01: Building in flood hazard areas (PDF, 173.18 KB) – Victorian Building Authority
- Construction of buildings in flood hazard areas (PDF, 919.26 KB) – Australian Building Codes Board Standard