Maintenance tips for avoiding strata property water damage
We detail how to take proactive action and avoid unnecessary expenses relating to strata property water damage in the long run
Water has an incredible ability to manoeuvre its way into even the tiniest of nooks and crannies. It can cause significant damage to fittings and fixtures in the process, which may result in strata property water damage.
Strata properties often consist of large structures with a complex network of water pipes, electrical wiring, air conditioning and ventilation systems hidden from sight in either cavity walls, roof spaces or underfloor.
When something goes wrong with such equipment, these faults can go unnoticed for some time, after which considerable damage has occurred. Water damage can result in costly repairs, not to mention inconvenience for residents who may have to vacate for repair work to be carried out.
Keep reading to understand the leading causes of water damage and learn some practical tips for preventing and avoiding strata property water damage.Here are some surefire ways of preventing and avoiding strata property water damage and its costly side effects:
- Correctly identify the source of water damage
- Regularly examine your lot and common property for signs of water damage
- Establish a maintenance plan
1. Correctly identify the source of water damage
There are many reasons strata property water damage can occur. The most common causes of water damage to look out for include:
- Leaking plumbing, taps or pipes
- Ruptured water pipes
- Mould, corrosion, or rot caused by seepage from cracks in the building’s foundations
- Deteriorated roof flashing, cracked tiles/shingles or rusted roof sheets
- Blocked gutters, piping, or weep holes.
In such complex building constructions, it can be challenging to track and inspect the cause of water damage. In some instances, an engineer or leak detection specialist may be required to find the source of the leak and recommend repairs.
Regularly examine your lot and common property for signs of water damage
There are some simple things committees, owners and residents can do to protect themselves from water damage that requires little to no technical know-how.
- If the water pressure is a concern, consider installing a pressure limiting valve to reduce pressure on water pipes and joints and extend their serviceable life
- Connect a water stop flow valve to the main water pipe. This valve detects water pressure changes and automatically shuts off the water when a pre-set value is reached, helping you with avoiding strata property water damage
- Regularly check flexi-hose connections to vanities, toilets, sinks, washing machines and other appliances for rust, corrosion or ruptures. Replacing them every 10 years with help you with avoiding strata property water damage caused by flooding
- Frequently check water and waste lines for signs of leaks, damage or corrosion
- Hot water systems have a typical lifespan of up to 10 years. If you notice puddles around your system, it may be time to replace it
- Know where your water isolation taps are located, so when flooding does occur you can quickly stop the flow of water to the property
- Turn off your water supply if sections of the property are vacant or the occupant is on holiday
- Check your ceilings from time to time. Watermarks or mould may indicate a leak from the floor above, damage to your roof or waterproof membranes or structural fault with a balcony
- Keep an eye out for mould elsewhere in your property. This tell-tale sign indicates you have water intrusion that needs to be addressed
- Ensure your strata committee has a comprehensive maintenance plan in place that identifies any potential risk of strata property water damage caused by equipment failure
- Regularly clean gutters and drains so that water can flow away from the building freely
- Maintain an up-to-date building condition report that lists any faults and helps plan for their repair
- Check that your insurance policy covers you for all types of strata property water damage and that your policy is current.
If your strata property doesn’t have facilities management services or a building manager, the strata committee or owners corporation plays a vital role in staying on top of strata property maintenance.
Consider compiling a handy maintenance guide, with practical and actionable tasks included to check and maintain water systems within their premises. It also makes sense to share a list of reputable and qualified service providers with lot owners so they can engage specialists who are familiar with the property. Not only can they provide a more personalised, comprehensive repair solution, they can also work proactively with the committee and other lot owners to address potential problems and take steps towards avoiding strat property water damage.
Establish a maintenance plan
An annual maintenance plan is a preventative maintenance schedule and record of compliance for strata property plant and equipment. An annual operational schedule identifies:
- Major capital plant and equipment for repair and replacement for that year that is part of the 10-year capital works plan (also known as the sinking fund plan)
- Current condition of plant and equipment
- When plant and equipment is due to be repaired or replaced
- The estimated cost of the repair and replacement of plant and equipment
- The expected life of plant and equipment once repaired or replaced.
When it comes to managing a strata property, there are various compliance or legislative requirements that are needed to protect owners and residents. When the situation allows, you don’t want to miss out on the chance of an insurance claim. Click here to learn more about Community Health & Safety and related services to ensure your protection. You can also click here to download our FREE Community Living guide series on defects. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, click here for a free assessment.