Residential and Commercial Property Checks – Pressure testing plumbing lines on new buildings.

Residential and Commercial Property Checks – Pressure testing plumbing lines on new buildings.

Pressure Testing Plumbing Lines – Can Your New Plumbing Lines Pass The Pressure Test?

With all areas of construction, whether residential, commercial or industrial, many tests and checks have to be carried out to ensure that the completed buildings are safe for use.  This can range from gas supply leak checks and the testing of electricity supplies, to the certification of properly fitted doors and windows.

However, one important element that has to be thoroughly checked is the pipework and water systems.  Water is a destructive natural force and damage from any water escape can cost thousands of pounds.

Installing a new water system into a property is not just about providing running water from a tap and the ability to flush a toilet; there are various aspects to consider including:-

  • Minimising the sound of water flow, either when running through pipes or from the tank.
  • The material of the fitted pipes should be appropriate for the temperatures of the flowing water and local standards.
  • Pipework needs to be compatible with and properly connected to heating or cooling systems.
  • Line pressure of the water flow in and out of the system is correct, thereby avoiding contamination, backflow, leaks and burst pipes.

A water system is a continuous cycle and the pressure applied is what forces the water around that system.  The flow of the water has to be varied for different uses; you would not want the water from a kitchen tap to gush at the same rate as it would to flush a toilet. Too little pressure would result in a trickle from your tap, not ideal when filling a bathtub.

Therefore, the system has to be set up correctly with the appropriate rate of pressure being applied where necessary.   You need to consider where the water is flowing to, for example if it is being sent up a twenty storey office block; a higher amount of pressure would be needed via a booster pump compared to sending it to the upstairs bathroom in a house.

One common danger is when the pressure that is applied is too much and the force of the water causes a burst pipe.  Incorrect pressure can also cause trapped air pockets, increasing the pressure on the valves and seals.  In most systems, water pumps and pressure valves are used to control the water flow but it is vital to test the property after installation, to ensure the level of pressure is correct and instigating a system of regular monitoring and maintenance to avoid water leaks.

Many websites attempt to advise on how to check the pressure of your water system – filling with water using gravity, taking measurements and making calculations – but do you really have the time and skill to do this and be confident that you pipe-line installations are correctly installed with zero leaks?

A cost effective way to have the entire pipe system checked (both supply and drainage lines), is ensuring pipe integrity via the use of higher pressure testing up to full design pressure instead of that of just gravity.  Also checking that water flow is safe and correct through the use of water detection equipment.  An NDT non-invasive, innovative, affordable technology-based service that can swiftly test all your pipework and provide you with a seal of approval that the property is safe and good to go prior to hand over!

For information on how we can help if you suspect a leak, consult LeakDTech’s professionals now!

Roof Leak Testing – Old and New

Roof Leak Testing – Old and New

Roof Leak Testing – Are You Experiencing Roof Leaks?

 Roofing leaks are commonly experienced with any building structure, whether it is a small residential roof, the top of a skyscraper, or the roof of a large shopping mall.  Detecting a leak is difficult enough, but locating it, when the hole could be the size of a pin can be a time-consuming task. Where do you even start to look with roof leak testing if you know you have leaking water?

Generally, roofs in Dubai and the UAE are a very low sloping roof or are flat in nature and usually takes one of two forms; the most common is known as a ‘gravel and tar’ covering used on flat roofs; and others are membrane based, which are effectively a rubber covering which creates a sealed membrane, used on low sloping roofs.

With the ‘gravel and tar’ type roof, two or more layers of bitumen are laid, overlapping each other.  Bitumen asphalt is a type of tar and comes in solid sheets (the same liquid material used on road surfaces).  As the sheets are laid they are fire sealed, effectively melting them together to create a barrier.  Once cooled, the area is then commonly covered in gravel or screed surface, the idea being that these two sealed layers prevent water leaking through but are also aesthetically pleasing.  However, due to the nature of bitumen, these roof coverings can become damaged easily during periods of maintenance; for example, during the fitting of pipework or extra air conditioning units, workmen needing access to the roof, both on foot and with equipment.   As a result, the sheets can crack and bend, resulting in areas where water can leak through.

The other most common choice of roofing are membranes, otherwise known as either EPDM, Hypalon, PVC or TPO, the idea being to create a sealed roofing cover to prevent the water leaking through.  The membrane is created by using layers of material which is laid like a carpet and sealed to a type of backing material or by way of a hot air iron.  This then provides a membrane casing for the roof.

When either of these two forms of roofing are applied, they have to be tested for leaks.  The classic historical form of testing for roof leaks is the gravity test.  In essence, an area on the roof is sectioned off and filled with water.  It is then left for a few days and the inside of the building is monitored to identify any water leaking through.  However, over time it has become apparent that this type of testing is not wholly conclusive or satisfactory.

The more modern form of leak testing is to use new innovative technology that scans the roofing area to locate leaks. By using ultra-violet rays and infrared technology, the smallest of pin-hole leaks can be identified in a roofing structure allowing a swift repair to take place; no need to wait days to see if water seeps through and no invasive equipment, just a simple scan.    With the extensive costs that can be involved with rectifying damage to buildings caused by leaking roofs, companies need to move with the times.

Malls, Schools, Hospitals, Hotels or any large building now need to take advantage of this cost-effective technology, using a preventative approach to maintaining their roofs rather than a reactive measure.  A scan of a newly fitted roof or a periodical scan of an existing roof can give you piece of mind that water is not quietly drowning your business.

For information on how we can help if you suspect a leak, consult LeakDTech’s professionals now!

Interstitial Condensation – Why should we worry?

Interstitial Condensation – Why should we worry?

Interstitial Condensation you say? Why should we worry?

When it comes to the safety of buildings and their ongoing maintenance, sometimes it just feels like an endless list of worries, especially for the bigger property owners with their hotels, malls and office blocks. Where is the time to sit and research all of the problems that you might experience when some of them you have never heard of or have no way of identifying?

So one to add to the list is…..yes you guessed it…..Interstitial Condensation…..not just good old fashioned condensation.

So why is the ‘interstitial’ bit important? Okay, we all know and understand normal condensation……you have a steamy situation combined with a cold front and the windows in your building may become moist with water which we all know and term as condensation. It can easily be cleaned away.

However, the problem with interstitial condensation (interstitial meaning forming or occupying), is it cannot be seen. It occurs when warm moist air penetrates inside a wall floor or ceiling structure and when it reaches its ‘dew point’ (the temperature when vapour becomes water), it turns into liquid and pools, soaking into and rotting timbers and other materials. As it is not visible and not cleaned away, overtime the condensation simply lingers (occupies) which can result in mould as well as long term structural damage.

With large buildings such as hotels, there is every chance that interstitial condensation is happening somewhere inside, the question is where. Any hotel owner for example, certainly does not want damp and mould issues causing maintenance expenses, as well as the associated health risks to the their visitors. A few bad reports of guests smelling damp or becoming ill from mould-spore based infections, is not good for business.

So what can be done to help detect and remedy this potential problem, which is hidden from the naked eye? Reassuringly, new innovative technology has been created to assist with all types of water and leak problems within building structures. As well as sensors that can be fitted to an internal water system to alarm you to the presence of water leaks, as well as newer technologies, an infrared system or similar alternatives can now be used to scan walls, ceilings and floors and identify damp patches indicating the potential presence of internal condensation.

Once the internal location has been identified, further technology such as smoke or ultrasonics can be used to locate the external leak.  This allows the opportunity to carry out a small area of maintenance to rectify the issue before it becomes a large scale problem.

A key warning to look out for is damp paint work, peeling walls or a musty smell. If you identify one of these problems or you simply want some piece of mind, arrange to have your building scanned providing you with the knowledge that you are not infected with……oh what’s that word again….Interstitial condensation!

For information on how we can help if you suspect a leak, consult LeakDTech’s professionals now!

Malls, Schools & Hotels – Is Your Atrium Leaking?

Malls, Schools & Hotels – Is Your Atrium Leaking?

Is Your Atrium Leaking?

When we envisage water leaks the images that spring to mind are burst pipes, leaking taps, and holes in roofs. Maintenance programmes are designed for large buildings, particularly hotels, to try and ensure that all areas are regularly inspected, maintained and repaired.

However, with our hotels becoming more and more glamorous given the fierce level of competition in today’s tourist industry, the fight is on to try and become the most eye catching, awe-inspiring place to stay, particularly in the favourites such as America, Paris, Australia and the hotter climates such as Dubai. What we are seeing more of, to a lavish extent, is the designs of hotel atriums and reception halls. The entranceways to some of the larger hotels can actually take your breath away as you enter them. They can be huge, many of which are made of glass in all types of colours and fashions with beautiful sofas, reception halls, meeting areas, cafes and bars and, let’s not forget, the greenery. Some atriums can make you feel like you’re walking through a rain forest with plants and small trees all around, creating an atmosphere of relaxation.

Hotel atriums can be low, just covering the ground floor, or can be as high as the hotel itself, a glass corridor leading up to the sky, a window to the stars.

So, back down to earth, the leading question here…… what are the implications for creating such beauty? What do you do if you find you have wet floors meaning the atrium is leaking? Somewhere in that huge, complex elevated structure made of beautiful glass panes, you have a leak. Not a pipe that just needs a new valve or some sealant that needs to be replaced; you’re looking at a puzzle of huge interlinked panes of glass. The maintenance man cannot simply just walk up to the top floor and identify the culprit. The more realistic likelihood would be towers of scaffolding erected throughout your reception area in order to allow for a thorough investigation of the roof.

So what are you left with……. leaking water onto a beautifully smooth marble floor equalling slipping hazards for guests; having to section off areas of your beautiful indoor rainforest to allow for works reducing social space; the noise and disruption associated with workmen using tools and machinery all around you, putting a dampener on that tasty gin and tonic and, in essence, ruining that tranquil atmosphere and creating an ugly, unsafe, unwelcoming environment for new and existing visitors.

The answer to avoid all of that…… have the roof immediately scanned by experts utilising new innovative technology that uses either smoke, ultrasonics or smoke from the ground to scan the atrium and pinpoint that leak. This provides the opportunity, on a small scale basis, to reach the specific area of the atrium for repair. Get your atrium scanned now. Don’t let your panes become a pain!

For information on how we can help if you suspect a leak, consult LeakDTech’s professionals now!

Ground Water Levels and Risks to Underground Car Parks

Ground Water Levels and Risks to Underground Car Parks

Groundwater Levels And Risks To Underground Car Parks

With the well-known heat experienced in Dubai, more and more structures are being built inside away from the sun.  It is far more common now for city centre facilities such as carparks, to be built underground, particularly underneath new hotels and shopping complexes.

An important factor with underground facilities is the surrounding ground’s water table.  In essence, this is the amount of water in the ground which mixes with the soil and fractured rock and creates the stable surface which we walk and build on every day.   The water either comes from underground sources nearby, such as rivers and streams or, alternatively, from rain or installed irrigation systems.

If the subterranean water levels increase, due to leaks or heavy rainfall, the water table rises, effectively causing flooding and the groundwater will look for drier areas or a point of entry through which to drain.  This can cause issues for underground structures, particularly if the waterproofing to boundary walls is poorly installed or experiences leaks, a common problem for old and new buildings alike.

Whilst there are many ways that an underground structure can be waterproofed, including proofing applied to the exterior of the boundary walls, or a concrete structure with an integrated waterproofing system; there is always the risk of small cracks or gaps that can appear, allowing groundwater to seep through the boundary walls.  It would be difficult to detect if water was seeping through, but the most common indicators would be cracked and damaged concrete to the interior floors and walls.

Car park owners will want to ensure their facilities remain in a good, clean and tidy state, encouraging customers to return.  If water leaks create ugly and hazardous looking cracks and damage, the car park will lose business.  In addition, leaking water can cause slippery floors, posing risks to pedestrians and, alkaline salt drips onto car paintwork, all of which could result in expensive damage claims on top of the building’s repair bills!

Luckily there are now ways in which leaks can be accurately located from either above ground, or inside the structure.  The creation of a new innovative technology using a combination of damp-testing, ground penetrating radars and thermal imaging, allows problems to be swiftly and economically resolved, keeping your car park, clean and safe for busy city life.

For information on how we can help if you suspect a leak, consult LeakDTech’s professionals now!

Fireline leak detection: what to look for

Fireline leak detection: what to look for

Identifying fire line leaks are easier than you think with these simple tips

Fire line leaks are dangerous, and can pose a potential disaster if left unattended (or worse, undetected). Fire line leak detection is a complex and costly process which is not always successful, as fireline leaks are often very difficult to identify. Underground leaks are often the main culprit, yet there can be plenty of other less apparent causes.

Here are six hidden causes to explore in order to facilitate accurate fire line detection:

  1. Jockey pump running every 30 seconds or less
  2. An overactive duty pump
  3. Subsidence cracks
  4. Junction leaks
  5. Seam leakage on the pipes
  6. Faulty hydrant connections

How do I Identify if there is a Fire Line Leak?

Fire lines tend to leak more than domestic pipes dueto the fact that, whereas domestic pipes can have 8-bar pressure, fire lines have a slightly higher pressure which can fluctuate anywhere between 8 – 16 bar. Water leaks in underground, pressurised pipes may make many different sounds: a Hissing or Whooshing sound is often detected from pipe vibration and orifice pressure reduction, splashing sounds from water flowing around the pipe, rapid beating or thumping sounds from water spray striking the wall of the soil cavity, or alternatively, small clinking sounds of stones and pebbles bouncing off the pipe. Since the sounds travel on the pipe walls better than through the soil, LeakDtech advise customers to listen at the hydrants, valves, and meters first to detect a leak.

Fire line leaks can be caused by other factors as well, including premature rusting of pipes caused by misdirected electric currents, driving over piping with heavy trucks or equipment, poor initial installation, leaking joints or valves, or high pressure from open and closing valves.

Visit LeakDTech for expert consultancy on fire line leaks and more.