Expert Comment | Water calamity

Expert Comment | Water calamity

Claire Mason, general manager at leak detection specialist, Waterguard, takes a look at water monitoring and explains why even small sites can benefit from pre-emptive action. 

According to some of the UK’s leading Contractors All Risks insurance underwriters, water is the new fire. Having seen the impact unexpected egress can have on the best laid plans, the industry is slowly waking up to the importance of protecting sites from the damage caused by burst pipes and leaks. 

While fire and intruder systems are installed without a second thought, a leak detection system is often the first thing to be cut from project budgets, in spite of the massive knock-on effect when things go wrong. 

Water leak detection solutions can effectively monitor and track the flow of water through any pipeline. If at any point an abnormal flow is spotted, the system will immediately cut off the water stream to the building by closing a valve within the leak detector.

Although such installations aren’t yet compulsory, the best-practice guidance issued by Construction Insurance Risk Engineers Group advises UK developers to consider investing in a leak detection system if they operate within the specialist field of CAR insurance.

Of course, when not stipulated as a requirement of cover, the prohibiting factor to the installation of such devices is often the cost. However, for an average investment of £3,000 at the start of the project, developers could save thousands of pounds on the cost of their premiums. 

There’s an added bonus too. As well as mitigating risk in terms of building protection, the installation of a leak detection system also ticks a vital sustainability ‘box’ – counting towards BREEAM sustainability points and allowing developers to market properties as ‘sustainable builds’.

While contractors that have previously fallen foul to the devastation a leak can cause will often include such a solution as standard, there is still work to be done in terms of educating the industry as a whole as to the benefits of such a precaution.

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