How to Use Internet of Things Technology to Prevent Water Damage
The proper deployment and monitoring of IoT devices and technologies can help mitigate risk and prevent millions of dollars in damage to business facilities.
Water damage is one of the most frequent and costly property loss claims filed each year for commercial properties, including office buildings, industrial complexes, retail stores, purpose-built developments. mixed and hotel properties. Unfortunately, in recent years, water damage claims have increased in both frequency and severity. Water damage causes billions of dollars in financial losses across the real estate industry, and these claims can become extremely costly for businesses. Direct costs for cleaning, repairs, replacements and mold removal, as well as indirect costs, such as legal fees, delayed projects or business disruptions, can wreak havoc on the income statement of an organization.
The number of floors in a building is a major factor in the severity of water damage. As the number of stories increases, the severity increases. A water leak from an upper story of a high-rise building can flow over several floors undetected and cause significant damage. This happens more frequently and with significant damage, and furthermore, older, less maintained buildings can be prone to sudden and accidental water leaks due to exposure conditions that went unnoticed.
In a recent disaster caused by water damage, a line of fire sprinklers erupted in the ceiling cavity on the 28th floor of a high-rise office building. Water flowed over six floors, entering three elevator shafts, as well as hallways and hallways. This resulted in over $ 1.5 million in damage to the owner’s buildings and personal property.
While water damage can be costly, there are several strategies that property owners and property managers can use to help prevent and mitigate it. This includes creating a written water damage prevention plan and using technology, which can be implemented to help reduce the risks and costs of water damage.
Proactive prevention of water damage
Despite the frequency of water damage in the real estate industry, only a small percentage of businesses have a written water damage prevention plan. However, building owners and managers should create a plan as it is essential to prevent and mitigate losses from water damage. Several things to keep in mind when designing a water damage prevention plan include team building and training, describing job responsibilities before and after the event, identifying location and proper labeling of shutoff valves.
Real estate companies should also improve site inspection activities to include areas at high risk of potential water intrusion, identify water intrusion prevention and control measures, as well as establish remediation strategies. and recovery after the event. In addition, they should identify and establish pre-event contracts with repair and remediation contractors and transfer the risk by contract to the responsible parties.
Areas at high risk of water damage to property
Finding areas at high risk for water intrusion is one way to protect a business. Based on claims data from 2014 to 2020, around 75% of all property losses in the real estate industry are due to accidental discharges related to plumbing, HVAC systems and household appliances. Some areas that may be more prone to water intrusion include interior systems such as plumbing, sprinklers, equipment, and fixtures. However, the building envelope, or roof, walls and floors, as well as exterior exposures like landscaping, gutters and downspouts can also impact water damage losses.
Some advice for owners and property managers is to be careful of frozen or eroded pipes when maintaining the building and keep in mind that if the building is newly constructed, leaks and intrusions can occur due to the building. ” poor quality plumbing. Also, don’t forget to regularly check the exterior of the building and make sure there is no damage or deterioration that could cause water to enter the building.
Using technology to help prevent water damage
The technology can monitor and alert business owners to water leaks or intrusions. Property managers can install these detection systems in a part of the facility that has had a history of water damage. If the system detects a leak, it can send an alert to a maintenance employee’s phone or computer to give them the opportunity to make the necessary changes before the event turns into a costly complaint. The water sensing technology can also connect to the control valves, so if there is a leak, the system can automatically shut off the water to prevent further damage.
A new strategy that is gaining momentum is to use Internet of Things (IoT) technology to help reduce potential losses at commercial properties nationwide. Using state-of-the-art devices connected to a network, property managers and maintenance personnel can collect, share and leverage real-time information before a water-related event creates a costly problem. Examples of devices that can help prevent water damage include water sensors to detect the presence of water and send an alert via email or SMS, as well as flow monitoring systems placed at near a water meter to detect unexpected or unusual flows.
There are also automatic shut-off switches, which are triggered by a water sensor or flow controller to inadvertently stop the water flow, and temperature and humidity monitoring to detect potential conditions. mold or identify potential freezing conditions before a pipe bursts. For example, if a company has installed water sensors and automatic shut-off valves and a pipe starts to leak, it will activate a water sensor, which can then trigger the automatic valve to close to prevent further of water to flee. At the same time, maintenance personnel or the owner may receive an alert via email or telephone notifying them of the leak. The key is that with IoT devices, technology is always at work to help protect business owners from water damage and intrusion.
Robert Sullivan is the real estate industry practice leader for Hartford’s mid-to-large business segment. With over 30 years of underwriting experience, Rob specializes in the real estate, retail, restaurant and hospitality industries. He leads a dedicated team of subject matter experts passionate about understanding industry trends and rapidly changing customer needs.