Many of us automatically think of the devastation left by fire or catastrophe event when we think of material damage claims. Every day, approx. TT$22 million is paid out for claims globally involving damage caused by burst pipes and water leaks.
Now, many of these claims will involve homes but large water damage claims from commercial properties and construction sites occur on a regular basis. The average claim for a burst pipe incident is TT$50,000.00 and when water sensitive equipment and fittings have been damaged as well as mold damage follows, the claim can escalate quickly.
So what are the causes of these water damage incidents?
Failure of pipes, valves and fittings used in the water system.
Poor workmanship by those who have installed the water system
Accidental damage, bursting or overflowing of apparatus or pipes
Overflow of water from within a plumbing, air conditioning or sprinkler system or from within a household appliance
If your business or home is unfortunate enough to have a water leak, find the source quickly and don’t assume that there is only one source. Isolate the part of the system that is leaking and follow these investigatory steps:
Take photographs of the damage.
Gather detailed information about the work of contractors on site, contract specifications, method statements, competency and training of those installing the system etc.
Make records of the type and depth of tank and pipe insulation
Make a record of the thermostat settings and heating timer settings at the time of the water leak.
Call us to assist with any questions
Clearly prevention is the best option and these incidents can be avoided with some thought and planning. Some steps to consider in your business or home include:
Get protected. Ensure you have an adequate Fire & Perils Insurance Policy for your business, or Homeowner's Insurance Policy for your residence.
Identify a responsible person for the prevention of water leaks and identify key actions for people to take in the event of a water leak.
Ensure that person is trained on how to isolate the water supply.
Carry out a risk assessment that covers issues such as the building construction, occupation, items susceptible to water damage, access to isolation points etc. Contact BELL to assist with this. Rule of thumb, this should be done every 10 years.
Though this can be pricey but so helpful, consider fitting leak detection units to the water system.
Don't use "Fly by day contractors" when constructing or installing - check their quality standards and adequacy of training and competency.
Require a full test and commissioning process for work on water systems and do not pay for work if a query on waterproofing is outstanding.
Keep an eye on gutter, down pipe and drainage maintenance to ensure that water can run away from the building efficiently. This is extremely important.
Keep an eye on wear and tear, gradual deterioration, rot and/or corrosion on pipes and other apparatus.
The prevention of water leaks in the building should be treated in the same way as preventing fires, accidents and other unwanted incidents. There needs to be planning, training provision, systems and monitoring to ensure the system is being implemented. With some thought and proactive action the risk of water damage incident can be reduced dramatically in a cost effective manner.