Risk of Water Damage

Date: 19th December 2019

Every day in the UK, £1.8m is paid out in claims relating to the escape of water.  These water leaks can cause untold damage and disruption commercially – accounting for approximately a third of all claims by value.

The impact of water leaks extends beyond physical assets such as buildings, fixtures, furnishing, equipment and IT systems.  From a commercial perspective, the effects are also likely to lead to further costs such as interruption to business, supply chain and profitability, as well as increased future insurance costs.

In recent years, there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of water damage incidents on construction sites.  A water or fluid leak near to completion of a construction or fit-out project can be catastrophic, resulting in significant disruption, delays and spiralling costs.

Water damage on construction sites

There has been an increase in the frequency and severity of water damage incidents in recent years, to the point at which they are now the most likely cause of a loss on construction sites.  A water or fluid leak near to completion of a construction or fit-out project can be catastrophic, resulting in significant disruption and delays, and spiralling costs.

To guard against this, the Principal Contractor should take ultimate responsibility for managing the exposure to water damage from the outset of a project, having control over many of the factors that could prevent a water loss incident, such as:

• selection of sub-contractors
• design and installation of a risk-assessed plumbing system
• using contract terms that specify the standards for installation works
• emergency response plan
• commissioning procedures and controls for mitigating risks, system testing and quality controls throughout the project
• consideration of appropriate leak detection systems at design stage.

By implementing robust control measures, delays and associated costs could be minimised.

Installation of automatic shutoff flow monitors can provide an effective low-cost solution during construction. These can remain installed in the occupied property to assist in flow monitoring, benefiting owners, operators, contractors and tenants in the long term.