Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Property Managers Need To Be On Lookout for Potential Water Intrusion Issues

During winter and rainy months property manager and professional property management companies need to be mindful of potential water intrusion problems with each and every property in their portfolio.  Many buildings start leaking right after construction, but do not manifest the water intrusion and building damage until years after the leakage has started.  Water intrusion can lead to structural damage, rot, mold, termite, sick building syndrome and eventually significant mitigation repair costs.  A prudent property manager will spend time during periodic inspections of the property to help prevent these issues from occurring and also ferreting out any existing and ongoing issues.  A property owner should expect nothing less from their property manager.

How Serious is Water Intrusion in Buildings?
Every year hundreds of millions of dollars are spent investigation, diagnosing, repairing, and mitigating water intrusion problems in all types of buildings.  Interior environmental problems such as mold can occur if the conditions are ripe, water intrusion occurs, and the interior mechanical systems do not mitigate the moisture creating a potentially toxic concoction and subsequent mold production.  The mitigation efforts required after a mold infestation are significant including usually displacing any occupants of the building.  The environmental companies must scrub down the interior, must prevent mold spores from moving from room to room, and must remove and clean interior components which have become contaminated.  This is not a small effort, nor an inexpensive one.

Water intrusion also can cause significant damage by rotting of structural members and interior components concealed by floor or wall coverings which can go undetected for many years.  Other areas consistently exposed are the window and door openings where framing and window/door flanges intersect.  These intersection, if not properly flashed and sealed, are water entry points that also are sometimes difficult to detect.

Why do Buildings Leak?
There are many areas of potential water intrusion points of entry into buildings including the roofing systems and appurtenances, the angled intersections of the building systems including wall to roof intersections, the building openings like doors and windows, and the sub areas, foundations, and downspout discharge locations.  Gravity, building intersections, kinetic forces, wind, rain, air currents, pressure differentials and lack of maintenance all play a part in water intruding into buildings.  Property managers need to be familiar with the tell-tale signs of potential water intrusion points, specifically they should be mindful of all of these areas during their periodic inspections of their portfolio of properties.

What is the Best Way to Diagnose a Leaking Building?
The best way to diagnose a leak is to identify the area which is affected and single out each and every component that is attached to the area which has manifested the leakage.  If the property manager can not specifically identify the precise cause of the leak they should immediately contact a competent licensed contractor to evaluate and correct with expediency.  Any delay in repair can result in increased costs, and possible loss of rent due to a tenant being displaced.

Speed is Critical in Mitigating a Leaking Building?

Even though a property manager cannot prevent all of the possible water intrusion problems with a property they can be mindful of the potential areas which are susceptible to leakage and monitor those areas during their periodic inspections.  The old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is never as true as in preventable water intrusion problems.  Prudent property managers spend significant time during their periodic inspections of their properties to help their owners from having to deal with water intrusion issues.  Ultimately this leads to a greater return on investment for the property owner which is the ultimate goal for the property management company.