Are you interested in designing a water leak detection system for a commercial property? Here is how to go about it …

The risk of disastrous water damage and costly repairs in commercial properties increases every day. The consequences are quite severe – high costs of repair and relocation, serious damage to the reputation of a brand, interruption of normal operations, potential loss of crucial information and data, higher insurance premiums – and many more. More IT equipment that needs around the clock cooling, an increase in appliances that rely on water (such as those in kitchens and cafeterias), and the growing complexity of modern plumbing infrastructure, are all contributing to the increased number of water damage cases among commercial properties. Luckily, all hope is not lost as there are ways to minimize the risk posed by water damage in these establishment. Water leak detection systems are now being installed in nearly all new commercial buildings, as opposed to being installed after disaster has already struck. In order to keep up this momentum, there are certain things that water damage experts need to consider when designing and installing water leak detection systems in commercial properties.

Collect as much data as you can – From our observation, most designs for new buildings simply state that water leak detection is needed in specific areas such as kitchens and tea points. However, such brief descriptions are usually very ambiguous and can lead to poor design and installation jobs. Many installers who are given such vague information end up doing shoddy work leading to future problems that inconveniences both the owners of the buildings as well as tenants. Some of the most common inconveniences include false alarms that are caused by sensors that were wrongly installed. Such mistakes have led to water leak detection systems being deemed inefficient and unnecessary. However, if these systems were installed correctly using the right information from the start, and throughout the installation process, the results would be much better and everyone would benefit at the end of the day.

Be very careful about which sensors you use and where you use them – There are many different kinds of sensors used to detect water leaks in commercial properties. They include cable sensors, sport sensors, probes and many others. In our perspective, new commercial buildings should have tanking and bunding sections on slabs under the completed floor levels. Probes can be incorporated into the bund, and under kitchen units, to offer more resilience and isolation. Probes can also be put beneath crucial wet surfaces such as under dishwashers, zip-taps and waste pumps. If you choose to go with sensor cables, then you should go for the braided kind. Always cut the cables appropriately to sufficient length.

Sensors need to be easily accessible even after the project is completed – Most people assume that once water leak detection sensors are installed, the work is done. Because of this, some installers like Eek a leak detection usually fit sensors beneath floors in such a way that they are completely concealed and cannot be accessed from then on. However, for any system to be effective, its components (in this case the sensors) need to be regularly maintained, and repaired where necessary. Some commercial water leak detection systems are capable of alerting you when specific components are not working as they should, and therefore it’s necessary that you have access to all relevant components in these systems. Standard industry practices requires that access/inspection hatches be installed in the relevant floor section such as behind a kitchen plinth, in order to facilitate maintenance and servicing of system components. Removable hatches should be cut out appropriately in any kind of floor surface.

Put water leak detection at the top of your list of priorities – We often let water leak detection slip our minds when developing a new commercial property or building. This solution has always been seen as part of the disaster management industry which means that water leak detection is often required after disaster has struck. However, this should not be the case as this solution should be taken up as a prevention measure, rather than a cure. It’s not uncommon to hear of commercial properties that were about to commissioned suffering from a massive water damage incident. If water leak detection systems are planned for from the onset of commercial projects, such incidents would not occur. So, what’s the main lesson to be learnt here? Don’t let water leak detection escape your mind.

Earn yourself some extra points through accreditation by environmental organizations – Water leak detections can help both you and your clients earn accreditation from the British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). This is definitely an added bonus if you ask us.