Water leakages in high-rise buildings: avoid costly damage repairs

We know from experience that nothing is more detrimental to the condition of a high-rise building than water leakages. Even a relatively minor water leak can result in significant water damage and can be a very costly affair. It is either the primary source or a contributing factor for the majority of issues and defects requiring repairs on a building.

Water and moisture ingress are often the source of defects and damage. Once an opening has occurred to the exterior, either through cracks or building movement, water will find its way in and further exacerbate the problem and cause it to spread down through a building causing greater damage both internally and externally.

If the source of the water ingress is left too long it can cause significant damage. This often requires, very costly, rectification to structural elements

This article explains about water leakages and waterproofing methods. It should assist you in taking the right course of action to rectify issues quickly and prevent them from occurring in the future.

How to recognise water leakage problems

The best way to prevent serious water problems is by conducting regular inspections.

Here are some practical things to look out for to help you spot the symptoms or indications that there is a problem that requires attention:

  • Blistering paint
  • Patches of changing colour to building surface finishes (usually darker)
  • White calcium staining leaching through facade coatings
  • Mould and algae growth
  • Musty smells inside the building
  • Large amounts of condensation on the inside of windows

What can you do to prevent water leakage problems?

Never leave it too long or unattended. We’ve found periodic facade inspections are the best way to monitor the condition of key building components and membranes and to take the necessary action if required.

Regular monitoring helps to determine the predicted end of the service life of building components and plan for their replacement before they fail and cause damage.

Don’t leave it too long and always engage competent and knowledgeable service providers to avoid costly repairs.

That said, the best way to avoid water issues is to avoid them from the start by using quality-waterproofing methods and high quality construction materials.

“Expert waterproofing requires that building construction materials are installed in the correct manner. Compatible materials must be used and to ensure uniform and continuous profiles. This will ensure that water is inevitably directed away from the building structure and that waterproofing systems will function correctly.” Alex Cope, Owner Magellan Company

Which parts of a building are most prone to leakage problems?

Some building parts are more at risks than others. They include:

  • Roof tops with low pitch and flat concrete roof tops
  • Penetrations and services that run through roof tops. They can allow water to track through the joint openings and faulty seals
  • Box gutters and downpipes
  • Window and door surround flashings and sealants
  • Brick cavity walls where flashings are not installed correctly and weep holes are blocked
  • Old and failing paint systems and membrane coatings
  • Waterproofing membranes under tiled balconies
  • Ground floor areas where ground level does not allow for water to run away from the building and basement areas
  • Incompatible materials and sealants being used to join and or seal building elements

How often should a building or roof be checked for leakages?

In order to prevent leakages we usually recommend our customers to check the key areas annually. We can help to set up a plan for regular building inspections. This may cost you time but we know from experience it’s worth the investment.

At Magellan we use a range of methods to help you detect leakages. They include:

  • Visual inspections: a thorough visual inspection of the building by our qualified team to pinpoint any issues of concern
  • Use of moisture reading devices: to detect higher than normal levels of moisture within the building materials
  • Use of pin hole cameras our team uses pin hole cameras to inspect internal voids
  • Flood tests and water testing is conducted under controlled conditions to actively track the leak source

What can Magellan do to prevent leaks?

We can help you to conduct regular inspections to identify the water vulnerability of the building and the roof and assess their current condition. We can then determine if there are any immediate issues that need to be addressed.

To keep the building and the roof in good condition we will work with you to develop a short and long-term maintenance plan that is specific for your property. Using our specialised height safety equipment, we can reach areas that normally stay out of sight. Read more about our programmed maintenance services.

If you have any further questions about water leakage issues, please get in touch with us.