The Cost of Water Damage at a Construction Site
There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a construction site. General contractors deal with all kinds of problems every day from theft to equipment malfunctions to accidents to personnel problems. These issues can cause delays, work stoppages, loss of money, injury, or worse. One of the leading causes of lost time and money for contractors is water damage.
Water damage on construction sites is the second leading cause of loss. According to AXA Insurance, it accounts for around 13% of all construction insurance claims. These claims are higher than most other types of claims as well, averaging almost $140,000 per claim.
As a general contractor, water damage can cause an incredible amount of problems. It can cause construction delays, lost work time, budget overages, and reduced profits. It can also lead to debris clean-up costs,having to do work twice, and damage to your reputation if the damage was avoidable or if it is not remedied correctly. Because the average cost of water damage is so high, it can also cost you money out of pocket as well if your insurance won’t cover it all.
How Water Damage Happens There are a lot of ways that water damage can occur on a construction site. Whether the project is indoors or out, there will always be ways that water damage can happen and derail the job. While some of the ways might be obvious – a busted pipe or an open window – some are less apparent.According to an Allianz Insurance report, here are the major ways water damage happens on a construction site:
- Unsecured Building Openings
- Water Delivery or Drainage System Failure
- Subsurface Drainage Problems
- Material Storage Problems
- Building Envelope System Deficiencies
- Site Drainage Problems
- Foundation and Structural Element Problems
Five Simple Ways to Avoid Water Damage
1. Put a Water Damage QA/QC Plan in Place
The first step towards stopping water damage form effecting your construction site is to acknowledge what a big problem it is and put a plan in place from the beginning of the job – and every job – to prevent it. To do this, you want to have a water damage-specific quality assurance or control(QA/QC) plan in place to address it. This plan should include a checklist of items to address so you can be as prepared as possible to prevent water damage.Some of the items on the checklist should include:
Create a water damage prevention captain or team
Train workers and subs on water damage quality standards
Create daily and weekly water damage prevention checklists
Mock-up waterproofing systems and discuss concerns prior to the start of the project
Inspect and monitor water issues and work
Test water systems and vulnerable spots frequently
Never finalize work with subcontractors with unresolved water issues
2. Engineer the Site to minimize Water Damage
Before you start a project, making sure you set yourself up for success in preventing water damage is key. There are a number of engineering steps you can take in order to help mitigate the risk of water damage derailing your project.
Before you begin construction, you should be aware of where water lines are and areas where they should be put in. You also need to identify areas, like basements, where water is likely to collect and keep materials and equipment that could be damaged away from those areas. Drainage and sewers should be created before construction begins and the site should be graded so that water flows away from the structure.
As the project is being designed, contractors should also put plans in place that specify the where and what type of drainage, waterproofing,and moisture barrier will be permanently put in place during construction.These design elements will help secure the site from water damage before,during, and after construction.
3. Make Sure Everyone Plays a Part
Just like most things on a construction site, preventing water damage is a team effort. Everyone on site must be trained on water damage-related procedures and understand that this a big part of their job, no matter what their job is. This includes supervisors and workers as well as any subcontractors involved in the project.
This training and assigning responsibilities need to include dedicated people who are responsible for certain aspects of preventing water damage. There should be specific people on site who are responsible for the following issues:
- Monitoring weather forecasts
- Securing and checking the site when weather is expected
- Shutting down the site when weather or water issues occur
- Scheduling and monitoring water systems inspection and testing
4. Be Smart About Delivery and Storage
It is not just the structure that is being built that is susceptible to water damage, raw materials and equipment can be damaged just as easily (if not easier) which can lead to lost time and money. This is why it is important to be smart about your deliveries and storage of materials and equipment and think about protecting them from water damage when doing so.
There is so much going on at a construction site that sometimes deliveries are handled quickly and in a slapdash fashion. Same with packing up and stowing equipment at the end of the day. You need to have a solid plan and procedures in place that protect raw material and equipment from water damage. Storing material and equipment in a covered space or securely tarping them at the end of the day or when bad weather is expected will go a long way to protecting your investment during construction.
5. Inspect and Monitor for Water Damage
Just like site security, monitoring for water damage should be a 27/7 priority on construction sites. There should be a person or multiple people who are responsible for making sure that equipment and materials are protected and that the structure is water-tight at the end of the day and over the weekend.
If you have physical security during off-hours, they should conduct water seepage inspections just like they do for security issues.Whether you have a person on-site at all times or not, you should also employ the latest technology in order to try and avoid water damage. A water leak detection and monitoring system is the best way to do this.
How a Water Leak Detection and Monitoring Systems Can Help
In 2020, there is no excuse to leave the potential for water damage to chance. Technology can help you prevent, monitor, and quickly address water damage on-site before it causes major damage and loss of time and money.
A water leak detection and monitoring system is a battery-powered environmental monitor that can detect humans, temperature,humidity, fire, and water. It does this with the latest computer vision and IoT sensor technology. It runs on a strong combination of WiFi and LTE networks and it allows real-time data capture and alert notifications via email or SMS text message sent directly to your smart phone. It is the best way to harness the power of technology to protect your worksite and your wallet.
Water damage on a construction site is an incredibly scary proposition. The cost of not planning and executing a water damage plan can be very costly in time, money, and ultimately, a company’s reputation. The good news is, if you follow these few simple steps and implement some relatively simple and affordable technology such as a water leak detection and monitoring system, water damage is easily avoidable in most situations.