Managing Escape of Water Risk in Residential Premises
What do property owners and managers need to do?
Within the residential setting, there is no one thing that will prevent an EoW loss. A loss is usually a culmination of several adverse actions / factors.
Therefore, in order to reduce the likelihood and severity of an EoW incident, property owners and managers are encouraged to develop a ‘water risk management strategy’ for each individual property, encompassing the following key areas:
Assessing the damage and trauma suffered from the effects of a water damage loss cannot be underestimated. There is an inexhaustible supply of water following a leak from a cold-water pipe, resulting in approximately 60 litres of water per minute, and leading to significant damage and disruption to homes.
While there cannot be any guarantees against an escape of water, undertaking a thorough risk assessment for each property will help identify the key risks, so that you can take action to prevent losses and mitigate damage. This assessment should consider the location of any water installation, such as emersion heaters, toilet cisterns, water pumps, joints, seals, appliances, soil stacks etc., and establish the mechanism of failure for each, the likelihood and impact of the failure occurring and the mitigation measures required to reduce the risk of failure.
Take the opportunity to educate the resident about EoW risk when they take occupancy, and also periodically throughout their tenancy. Provide them with a best practice ‘do’s and don’ts’ list, show them the location of the stopcock and how to operate it, and keep them regularly updated with risk mitigation advice and legislative changes.
An example do’s and don’ts checklist:
Use an approved plumber to install appliances Check for leaks annually
Call the property manager to alert of any water ingress, slow leak or plumbing problem
Contact the property manager for repair or installation assistance
Maintain all heating and plumbing in accordance with manufactures guidelines
Maintain heating at 10o when leaving property unoccupied for long periods
Know where your stopcock is, how to turn it off, and test it works at least twice annually
Forget to isolate your water supply if you’re away for a holiday or long period
Forget to check pipes and tanks are insulated or heated to prevent them freezing
Discard nappies, wet wipes or cotton buds down the toilet, or cooking fat down the sink
Stand on sanitaryware
Wash outside the confines of a bath or shower
Undertake bathroom or kitchen renovation without informing the property manager
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