Sandbags for Flooding - A False Security


Are sandbags suitable for building level flood protection?

Most photographs in the press in recent years following a flood event depict hessian sandbags against flooded property – clearly having failed in their intended purpose.

The Environment Agency Document 'Sandbags and how to use them properly for flood protection' concludes that sandbags are relatively ineffective when compared to purpose designed flood protection products.

Some of the pitfalls identified in the document are:

  • It takes two people to fill sandbags for flood protection
  • It takes approximately 1 hour to fill 12 sandbags
  • Laying sandbags can be very time consuming
  • Sacking material is biodegradable and will perish if left in place for a long time.
  • Sandbags do seep water even if well-stacked and trodden into place.
  • The conclusion in the Environment Agency document is "we strongly encourage people to use purpose made flood protection products, such as flood boards and non return valves.."


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