Summer is here, which may mean heavy rainfall in your area. If you’re working in the construction or home building industry most of the time rain isn’t a big deal. However, when really heavy downpours occur you may be showing up to work to flooding or water damage on your job site. Water damage can also occur from failures in materials storage or equipment failure. Sometimes water damage is inevitable, but there are some steps that you can take to help minimize the chances of flooding. Below are some steps that you can take to prevent water damage on your construction site, and also a quick overview of what to do if it does happen.
Common Causes of Water Damage for Construction Sites and How to Prevent Them
So you’re going to be starting a home renovation, home building or construction project, and you’re trying to take precautions to prevent water damage in the future. While there are a variety of ways you could get water damage on your site, here is a list of the most common causes of water damage according to Allianz Insurance.
- The Issue: Faulty Installation of Pipe Fittings
Faulty pipe connections or drain fittings that are incomplete can be where some water problems can occur. One main problem is that pipe joints are made using crimping techniques instead of being soldered. Most of the time the crimping technique is just fine, but since its difficult to see any connection issues with a quick visual inspection with these types of pipes, there is an increased chance that issues may not be caught early enough.
Before you decide to run water through your pipe system, you should think about having your on-site manager sign off. Although local building inspectors may not require this extra step, it could save you from water damage and headaches in the future. You could also be sure to activate flow alarms to help keep you aware of any water flow issues caused by system leaks. Leaks can start after hours or when you’re not paying attention.
- The Issue: Unsecured Building Openings During Construction
Even if you take all precautions in your operating systems, weather related water damage can also be a threat on your construction site. Common places that water can enter your job site include: elevator shafts, stairwells, tower-crane openings, mechanical openings, non-water tight roofs, and open or un-secured windows and doors.
One of the first things you should do to help prevent water from getting in through unsecured openings is to have a checklist plan in place before starting your construction project. This checklist can include items such as: making sure temporary roofs are created and maintained for all elevator shafts, stairwells, tower crane openings
- Mock-Up Critical Waterproofing Systems in Advance
You can create a mock-up in advance of areas of your site that have the most potential for water damage in the future. Test these areas regularly and ensure that all project personnel are aware of potential issues that may occur. Schedule meetings throughout the construction project to discuss potential issues that may arise at different stages of construction. Also be sure to reiterate the areas that need particular focus. Remember that if anything goes wrong, your company will bear the responsibility for the damage and will have to perform any and all repairs.
- The Issue: Water Delivery and Drainage System Failure
There are many systems on the construction site that may cause water damage. Plumbing systems, fire protection systems, mechanical systems and drainage systems can fail or malfunction causing water damage throughout your construction site.
- Only Allow Authorized Fire Protection Contractors to Place Fire Protection Systems into Service
Even though the fire protection system on the site may have previously passed a hydrostatic test and were drained, have a fire protection contractor recharge the system when it is time to do so. This will help to ensure that the system is working properly, is up to code and won’t malfunction after the system is recharged.
- Charge Piping Zone-by-Zone, Never with all Valves Open
- Monitor System Continually 24hrs After Charging
Don’t simply vacate the property after charging and make sure that the system is working correctly. If you need to, provide onsite-security personnel with a list of emergency contacts in case anything goes wrong.
- Verify that the Piping installed on the Project is as Specified in Construction Documents
Make sure that the structural tubing or piping that is used doesn’t have a thinner wall than what was specified by an engineer.
If freezing conditions happen, prevent the piping from failing by draining water to maintain heat on the piping.
- The Issue: Material Storage Problems
The interior of a building may not be the only place that water damage can occur. By improperly installing and storing your equipment and materials, you can have losses on construction sites.
To help prevent loss of water sensitive material, produce a backup storage plan for any and all water sensitive materials. Even if you use just-in-time delivery systems, these can fail. In case you get a delivery early or can’t use the materials as quickly as you may have thought, have a plan in place for a dry and secure place to store this equipment or materials to prevent water damage. These materials should be stored inside of buildings on pallets and covered with tarps or plastic coverings.
- The Issue: Site Drainage Problems
Pooling water around the job site can be another possible water damage problem. These problems can arise when proper drainage isn’t provided, or when the drainage provided is either inefficient or blocked by debris.
- Grading the surrounding soils
- Placing sandbags around the perimeters
- Providing proper drainage around the job site
- Backfilling exposed areas as quickly as possible
Also make sure to install drain screens on drainpipes to keep them clear of any debris that may gather throughout the construction process. This debris can become stuck at angled joints and cause extensive water damage.
So you have Water Damage on you Construction Site. Now What?
Even if you take all of the precautions that were stated above, large weather events or unforeseen issues may still cause water damage on your construction site. If this is the case on your site, you can use water pumps and dehumidification to remove the moisture from your job site so you can get back to work.
The first step is to remove all standing water from inside of your structure. Depending on the size of your structure and the amount of water, this could mean using shopvacs or commercial water removal systems.
Once all of the water is removed from the site, you can use a combination of dehumidifiers, air scrubbers and fans to remove all remaining moisture from the air and structure. With this equipment working together, you can quickly remove moisture and harmful particles and smells from your job site.
Water damage on the construction site is a huge issue that can cost you time, money and productivity. There are several reasons that you could get water damage on your construction site and many different ways to prevent them. By planning for water damage from the beginning of your construction process, you will have a far less chance of dealing with water damage during the construction process.
On Site Companies of Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska can provide you with dehumidification, air mover and air scrubber rentals if you happen to have water damage on your construction site. For more information you can call us at 1-800-210-8407 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.