Water Leaks in Flats

We have recently had a number of enquiries relating to leaks from flats into their neighbours flats causing varying degrees of damage.  Water damage can range from a small leak to more substantial floods caused by faulty equipment, burst pipes or misuse.

Whenever water escapes from a flat it will find the route of least resistance and in many buildings this will lead to the flats directly below.  The route that any water takes will depend upon the nature and condition of the buildings construction and service runs.  Modern purpose built flats may offer more protection to leaks than older houses converted into flats.

Flats are often found in converted period buildings and these include masonry or framed structures often with suspended timber floors.  Such floors are often not designed to contain any leaks when they were originally constructed or when the buildings were converted.  This can  allow water to drain quickly through floors and structures onto the ceilings of the flats below.  This might simply create a small area of staining or, if the volume of escaped water is significant, drain though the ceiling saturating the flat below affecting all finishes, furniture and personal effects.  Modern purpose built concrete framed flats typically perform better at containing water within flats if small leaks occur.

Another problem with leaks can be detecting them.  If a leak is small then then it can go unnoticed for a long period of time which in itself can cause other issues including rot and other defects.  Water leaks cannot always be avoided however there are measures that can be implemented to reduce the risk of them occurring and if they do occur, detecting them sooner to minimise damage.

Leaks not only cause a nuisance issue but also have significant cost implications.  Residential blocks often face high insurance premiums and excesses on claims if they make repeated claims for leaks.  Tim Greenwood and Associates have worked with residential blocks and have implemented measures which have reduced the incidents of leaks which have in turn reduced insurance charges.