Water Damage Control in Hotels

What appears to be a common water seepage problem can also structurally damage and weaken the property and the best damage control solution is to have the establishment in good repair at all times through a meticulous water damage mitigation programme

The sight of water damage is so ubiquitous that many assume it to be insignificant. However, the reality is completely different. Left unrepaired, even water seepage and leakage could spell major damage to a property, causing financial loss to owners not only in terms of incurring unnecessary maintenance cost but also by robbing them of their most valued customers. 

What appears to be common water damage can also structurally damage and weaken the property — wood rot, peeling paint, and facilitating mould growth — significantly lowering its value in the real-estate market, damaging its reputation as a comfortable destination, and interrupting regular operations.

An unrepaired leak originating on the hotel’s roof can put at stake the life of ceilings, walls and flooring underneath, besides electronics and the personal belongings of hotel guests. It can affect electrical wiring, creating a potential fire hazard. 

In fact, as is the nature of water, a small undetected leak can quickly slide down through a building, charting its own routes in the course and travelling a great distance f r o m the original source, making it difficult, if not impossible, for repairing personnel to detect.

The loss that such a leak may cause is humungous. For example, if a corroded pipe on top floor of a multi-storey building goes undetected, the damage can extend to several floors and make a hole in the pocket of the owners.

Moreover, people are today aware that a damp room poses serious health risk and therefore not worth their money. It is likely that they would prefer a small neat accommodation with good indoor air quality than a damp luxurious suit with visible mould growth and invisible colonies of dust mites. 

Sources of Hotel Water Damage

Sources of water damage are hardly any different for hotels f r o m residential or even office building. However, certain buildings that are located in areas that receive high rainfall and flood are more vulnerable to water damage. The roof on a building collects a lot of water, and inferior designs and downpipes can result in leaks. Moreover, to prevent blockages and overflows, which can escape back into the building, adequate maintenance of roof rainwater services is considered a necessity.

Severe storms and flooding are powerful sources of water damage even in most well-designed and well-maintained roofs and buildings.

Secondly, the sophisticated plumbing hook-ups that are required today in view of the multiple high-tech appliances such as washing machines, coffee machines, refrigerators, ice machines, etc., can also be a potential source of water damage as they can cause leaks when installed improperly.

According to leading global multi-line insurer Zurich Insurance Group, grey/foul waters tend to present intermittent leaks, which can slowly build up over time, as these types of appliances are not in constant use.

“Sprinkler piping and pump sets operate at high pressures, so any break in a line can give rise to rapid loss of large volumes of water,” it said.

Sewage backup can also cause hotel water damage, contamination and potential health hazards.

Thirdly, facility systems in a hotel can also be major source of water damage.

Plant rooms, boiler rooms and HVAC installations bring additional large volumes of water into a building and any leak in these systems can result in extensive water flow throughout multiple floors, especially if these systems are located on the top floor or roof.

The water supplies in some areas contain certain minerals, which can increase the corrosion rate of the water and make pipes and appliances vulnerable to damage.

Fourthly, the basement can be major cause of concern because if equipment is stored in a humid hotel basement or the hotel has a damp crawl space; moisture problems may cause water damages throughout the facility. 

In such cases, suggestions of professional basement waterproofing contractors can be sought.

How to Control Water Damage

At times, hotel water damage restoration can be very expensive and therefore the best damage control solution is to have the establishment in good repair at all times though a meticulous water damage mitigation programme.

Check Expensive Equipment: Such a programme can start with the check of critical and expensive equipment in the hotel as even spillage of water can damage that equipment. The next step is to identify the source of this leakage and fix it.

Roof Inspection: As already mentioned, a well-maintained roof plays a very important role in arresting water damage. Besides regular maintenance, roofs must be inspected after rains and windstorms for any damage and if identified get it promptly repaired. But make sure that the roof is closely inspected -- the flashing, drains, downspouts and roof-mounted equipment such as antennas or satellite dishes.

Strict Maintenance: Excessive wear and tear can cause water damages and the key to avoid it is to have a strict maintenance schedule for the building and equipment and also follow it.

Eye on Nearby Construction: Besides your own building, preventing water damage also requires one to keep an eye on the new constructions and renovation projects nearby as debris f r o m construction projects and landscaping can also clog drains during heavy rains. 

Emergency Response Plan: Having an emergency response plan can help deal with a real situation of water damage better, by limiting response time and also the extent of damage. According to Zurich, “This written plan should include details on what to do in the event of a leak or liquid damage, a repair vendor phone list and the designation of one person in authority to oversee the process.” Besides these, a more comprehensive plan may include determining an evacuation and shelter plan; training staff for emergency situations; investing in backup power and communication systems; protecting business data and carrying adequate business interruption insurance.

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