THE HIGH COST OF WATER DAMAGE
Few construction site hazards wreak havoc the way water can; it seeps, drips, drains and washes away both productivity and material integrity until your team is left with a mess and a headache. When you’re creating enclosures designed to protect and support a building for years after your project wraps up, even a little bit of water where it shouldn’t be is unacceptable. The high cost of water damage is a definite budget-buster, so taking reasonable safety measures is a bargain by comparison. Here are a few important questions to consider:
ARE ALL OF MY EXTERNAL FRAME OPENINGS – E.G. WINDOWS, DOORWAYS AND UNCOVERED VENTS – SECURED?
Even the sunniest day can turn into an impressive thunderstorm in mere minutes, leaving your crew scrambling for tarps and towels. Always have a plan to combat sudden bouts of Mother Nature, and make it a habit to double-check waterproofing measures before leaving the site each day.
DO I KNOW THE LOCATIONS OF ALL WATER SHUTOFFS?
Plumbing experts may only be at a job site temporarily or sporadically, and by the time you reach them in a flooding emergency, significant accumulation damage can occur. Make sure either you or your team leaders know exactly how to stop any man-made flows of water as quickly as possible.
CAN I SAFELY ASSESS THE DAMAGE?
Once the offending opening is secured or water main turned off, consider temporarily shutting down the electricity to your site if it poses a safety risk.
WHAT IS MY PLAN OF ACTION IF I DISCOVER A FLOODING OR WATER DAMAGE SITUATION?
Your team should be trained to keep constant watch for the warning signs of water damage – bubbling paint or paper, buckling of drywall, “give” spots in flooring and so on. Discuss standard operating procedures when water damage is found – alerting the appropriate site lead, applying absorbent materials to any standing water and following up with mold and mildew remediation measures.
REMEMBER: IT TAKES TEAMWORK TO DRY UP WATER DAMAGE PROBLEMS
In addition to active construction crews, building and facility managers have a responsibility to provide the authority and support needed to counteract water damage as soon as possible. Shrugging off water damage in the short term can lead to major problems of occupant health and building stability later. If rental dehumidifiers, temporary HVAC and industrial dryers aren’t deployed quickly, mold and mildew will become entrenched in the walls and flooring and make a building unfit for habitation. While ignoring water damage prevention and opting not to address the cost of water damage upfront is tempting on a tight budget, the cost of a professional remediation visit is far higher.
It’s also worth noting that failing to act on water damage as it happens could open a management company to liability. Disgruntled tenants are likely to complain about musty odors and health concerns, and building inspectors may fail to issue required permits if a building fails an environmental test.