Common causes of escape of water in property
In 2022 escape of water continued to be a significant issue for both residential and commercial buildings with a total of £987 million worth of claims made across the year, a 15% increase over 2021.
As an issue, escape of water is significant both in terms of regularity and severity of claims, which means that they happen often and cost a lot to repair when they do. The cost of repair is something that has risen in the past few years, largely due to the cost-of-living crisis which has seen an increase in the cost of labour and parts, but also due to the increased time needed for drying out where modern methods of construction materials have been used.
Leaks can vary from major bursts, which can result in flows of up to 60 litres of water per minute, to minor leaks, which may remain undiscovered for several months if the leak is in a concealed area not visible to the building resident, or where the building is unoccupied for long periods.
Here are the most common causes of escape of water in a property:
- Kitchen appliances
- Toilet cisterns & tanks
- Waste pipes & joints
- Immersion heaters & boilers
- Supply pipes & joints
There are also many other external factors which may cause escape of water in a property which could include the weather such as excessive rain causing flooding or extremes of temperature causing pipes to freeze and then burst.
Failure of materials in pipework are a common cause of water leaks, using the right materials for piping is essential (some plastics react to the likes of mastics and solvents) and should be well thought out ahead of any work being done. There can also be a risk of flooding from escape of water that can damage more than just one property, for example in a high rise living due to a pressurised system.
Poor workmanship will always be a hazard that could result in water damage to properties due to a lack of skilled labour. It is not surprising that a high proportion of escape of water claims relate to problems with the original plumbing installation. If your property is large, contractor error can have significant financial implications. An escape of water permit should be used to record contractor insurance details and competency of contractors before you allow them to work on your property.
If you would like further information on what property managers need to do to safeguard against escape of water, please contact our experienced team on 01905 21681 or alternatively email Enquiries@sutcliffeinsurance.co.uk.