Why is water leak detection important?
Regardless of the type of property involved, falling foul of water damage from a leak or burst pipe can have a significant impact on an owner or occupier.
Firstly, there is the financial cost:
- Refurbishment and replacement of contents
- Potential structural restoration
- Loss of revenue, whether from business interruption or rental income
- Knock-on costs from the impact on surrounding residential and commercial property
- Increased insurance premiums
Then there are the intangible costs:
- Finding and moving to alternative premises, along with the length of time you are displaced from your property
- Reputational damage from business interruption
- Loss of irreplaceable or sentimental items
- Loss of data
Furthermore, the risks coming from escape of water is growing. In 2018, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) made tackling the rising cost of escape of water claims one of its top priorities. Here are some facts and figures:
- In 2016, escape of water accounted for 28% of all domestic insurance claims in the UK
- Between 2014 and 2016, the total cost of escape of water claims rose by 24%
- In the first nine months of 2017, escape of water claims cost insurers £483 million
- It is estimated that a burst pipe can release enough water to fill 48 bathtubs
And while the data is largely residential-focused, this is also a major issue for those involved with commercial property as well.
So, what is driving this increase in the risk of water damage? There are a number of factors across the residential and commercial markets:
- An increase in the complexity of modern plumbing systems; integrated or hidden pipework; high spec kitchens and more bathrooms, including en suites
- An increase in integrated plumbed in appliances and fixtures
- The use of less resilient materials in construction
- The growing popularity of push-fit pipes and the impact of worn tooling in its manufacture
- Poor pipe installation workmanship
- A growing reliance on cooling systems to protect computer equipment in the age of 'big data'
Even the most high-quality pipework is potentially susceptible to leaks – there will always be weak points in a system, whether it be where pipes are plumbed into an appliance or fixture or even the potential for user error.
Historically, water leak detection has been seen as the 'cure' - recognising the need for it after you have been seriously affected by water damage. However, water leak detection should be the 'prevention', not the 'cure'. Early warning measures can help avoid all of the major inconveniences listed above.
There are also the environmental and sustainability benefits of effective water leak detection. A combination of climate change, increased demand and wastage means that an estimated five billion people are expected to experience water shortages by 2050. Any measures that can be taken to reduce unnecessary water wastage is positive, as well as leading to cost savings for those with water meters.
As with smoke detection Increasingly, water leak detection is being seen as a 'must have' rather than a 'nice to have'. With the growing impact of escape of water showing no signs of letting up, why wait? Contact us today.
For more expert advice and in sights on designing and implementing water leak detection, please visit our Blog page.