Water Damage Restoration in High Rise Buildings: 5 Critical Tips

High-rise properties, whether commercial or residential, present special challenges when it comes to maintenance and safety. One of those challenges is preventing and responding to water damage. 

What Does Water Damage Do to a High-Rise Property?

Water damage is one of the biggest threats to any kind of building, but the damage water can do to a high rise is especially threatening. That’s because water can cause structural damage that makes a high rise uninhabitable, affecting countless individuals and businesses.

High-rise buildings typically use larger amounts of water than smaller facilities. With numerous residential or commercial residents, there are simply more people using the space. With that much traffic, water usage increases significantly. When large amounts of water are used, the potential for leaks is tremendous. 

Water leaks, when unaddressed, cause severe damage requiring extensive and expensive repairs. When the repairs are significant, they can lead  to days (or weeks!) of business closures or the need to provide temporary housing solutions for tenants.

The good news is that most leaks and water damage in high rises are preventable. Others can be addressed quickly and efficiently if your plumbing and maintenance teams know what to look for. 

Some of the common water-related problems in high-rise buildings include frequent plumbing clogs, leaks, appliances that use a ton of water, poor implementation of safety valves, bad plumbing habits, and natural disasters like storms and floods. 

When leaks, floods, and plumbing back-ups occur, you may be left dealing with contaminated carpets and walls, mold growth, and structural damage. 

5 Ways to Deal with Water Damage in Your High Rise

As a manager or owner of a high-rise facility, you can avoid the expense of long-term water damage by watching out for and responding to the following issues. 

1. Prevention Is the Best Strategy.

Train your maintenance and plumbing teams to watch for water issues before they get worse. Establish a great routine of consistent maintenance on all plumbing systems in the building, and don’t forget to implement policies to inform your tenants of their responsibilities when it comes to water management in the building. For example, they should know that it’s appropriate to reach out to maintenance when they experience slow drains or gurgling toilets. They should also have clear instructions about what can and can’t be put down the drains in the building. 

High-efficiency appliances will reduce your energy use while also putting less stress on your plumbing system. Consider implementing them during upgrades or replacements.

Avoid putting plumbing and water management tasks on any deferred maintenance lists. The more you can do before a flooding situation, the better off you will be in the long run.

2. Implement a Floodproofing Strategy. 

There are three different kinds of floodproofing: dry floodproofing, wet floodproofing, and integrated floodproofing. 

Dry floodproofing is a process designed to protect an area of a building so that water can’t accumulate. The limit is 4 inches in a 24-hour period. This is done by adding waterproof coatings to floors and walls, as well as installing backflow prevention valves. You can also add flood shields to windows and doors. 

Wet floodproofing is needed in underground parking spaces, as well as storage areas. Installing drains in the floor allows water to efficiently exit the space before it can cause any serious damage. 

Finally, integrated floodproofing combines dry and wet floodproofing strategies to do the most damage minimization. You can build waterproof enclosures for relevant equipment, drains in main underground corridors, and effective sump pump systems to clear entire areas of water in the event of a flood.

3. Use Technology to Your Advantage.

Installing sensors that will automatically detect water leaks will have a great impact on your ability to prevent large-scale flooding and damage. You will also want to consistently check on your water safety valves. Are they in good working order? Is there any corrosion or sediment that is blocking the valves? 

Safety valves should effectively shut off water flow to every single appliance in the building, as well as fountains, sprinkler systems, and any other external water features. 

4. Don’t Use Caustic Chemicals to Clear Drains. 

Clearing a drainage clog with caustic chemicals may be a fast fix, but it’s usually one that is just pushing the problem further down the line. Caustic chemicals, drain cleaners, and acids will eat through clogs, but they will also eat through pipes. It may also dissolve just enough to push the clog further down the plumbing system, making it harder to reach the next time it clogs the water flow. 

5. Know When to Bring in the Professionals.

When water damage happens, it can be outside the scope of your maintenance staff to manage it. Bringing in disaster restoration specialists provides you with the fastest response possible from an experienced team with the scale and knowledge to handle these types of properties. 

Water and flood damage restoration requires specialized knowledge. Property owners and managers don’t always have the contacts or resources they need to respond quickly to water damage, and when it comes to water, acting fast is of the utmost importance. 

Connect with First Onsite today to establish a relationship before you end up with a disaster on your hands. And if you need help right now, we’re ready. Water damage is a factor in 85% of the events we respond to, from hurricanes and floods to tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires. When water disasters affect a high-rise building, we step in to help our clients restore, rebuild, and rise.

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