Fire damage to commercial buildings might get headlines, but water damage, whether to projects under construction or completed buildings, delivers massive financial blows to owners, developers and contractors. The impact is massive, reaching many billions of dollars per year. One water leak on the 19th floor at a construction site of a high-end apartment building in New York City resulted in $30 million in property damage and millions in delayed delivery penalties.
Imagine this all-too-typical scenario: A 20-story building has thousands of pipe connections and many tens of thousands throughout the entire building. It only takes one of those joints failing, perhaps due to human oversight. Early on a Saturday morning when no one is onsite, one of the connections inside a wall begins to leak, slowly at first. In a couple hours the connection fails completely, sending a cascade of water into the building. The site is located next to a highway, so the security guards don’t hear the water flowing.
The leak goes undetected until crews come back onsite on Monday morning. By that point, lower levels of the building have been inundated with thousands of gallons of water that has destroyed construction material, carpeting and electrical switchgear. It’s flowed into the elevator pits and mechanical room.
Reprinted courtesy of Yaron Dycian, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.