Floodgate: Fixture or Not?

A recent change of ownership of an at risk property in Freuchie has brought up an interesting issue which needed both legal and technical advice: when does a floodgate become a fixture and fitting?

FFAG takes the following stance on this matter:

A floodgate, or indeed any flood protection product, becomes a fixture and fitting when any part has to be permanently fixed to the building structure OR removal of any part would result in damage to the building.

Both our legal counsel and Paul Hendy of the Scottish Flood Forum has indicated this is a grey area of law, but they take a similar stance as to when a floodgate becomes a fixture and fitting.

The floodgate system was custom constructed onsite before being installed on specific door ways, with the guide rails of the system being sealed and screwed onto the door jambs. The fixed guide rails have not been unscrewed and removed, only the floodgate panels that hold back the flood waters have been taken.

It is slightly unbelievable someone, who themselves had been badly flooded, would wilfully remove critical components of the flood protection products to take to a new property where they would be utterly useless. This selfish action has put both this property and the neighbouring property at risk from flooding. Other local residents, with the same floodgate system, found it unbelievable that anyone would take away vital parts of the flood protection, especially when everyone is well aware of how critical they are for the prevention of complete ground floor destruction in a major flood event. 

Needless to say we have advised the new householder to consult with his own solicitor as a top priority. FFAG has also sent an email to the previous owner and Your Move in Cupar, who we believe were the selling agent, stating our position and making a request for the immediate return of the removable parts of the floodgate system.

UPDATE 10TH AUGUST
Confirmed with Your Move that our email had been received and appropriate action has been taken.
Fife Herald contacted FFAG for details and photo opportunity.

UPDATE 11TH AUGUST
SEPA issued Flood Alert.
Met Office issued Yellow then Amber Severe Weather Warning.
The Courier contacted FFAG for details and photo opportunity.
Freuchie Community Council shocked by this story at the regular monthly meeting.
Floodgate parts returned on an evening when flooding is a major concern.

Please feel free to comment with your opinion and thoughts.