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!

Asbestos Plus Water – A Lethal Duo

Asbestos Plus Water – A Lethal Duo

Asbestos Plus Water – A Lethal Duo!

As with Dubai, a lot of Middle East buildings are new compared with the rest of the world, being less than 20 years old Asbestos is not considered a problem as much as in other regions of the globe, where thankfully asbestos awareness has changed globally over recent years. However, contractors still come across a few legacy buildings that contain asbestos, naturally occurring fibrous materials, extremely hazardous to health. Asbestos is not only a strong material but also heat resistant and, over many decades, was a material of choice in building products used in the erection of many commercial and residential properties, schools and office blocks being a common example. Asbestos fibres can commonly be found in ceiling tiles, textile products and cements.

Following decades of doubt, it became confirmed around the 1960s how poisonous and harmful asbestos was to people, with the inhalation of fibres over a long period of time causing serious illness and cancers, in particular mesothelioma. As such, the costly and consuming eradication process to try to remove asbestos from buildings by renovation or demolition began. However, a further risk which was not so obvious was the combination of asbestos fibres with water leaks.

Schools, in particular older schools, are more likely to have asbestos fibres in the building foundations, particularly in the roofs, ceilings and walls where asbestos lagging may have been utilised, as well as the asbestos based cements which are also water resistant.

If you have a water leak within the building’s framework that is seeping through the ceiling and walls, the water will contain these long hidden asbestos fibres, contaminating the walls and floors. Once the water dries, the fibres will become loose and create an airborne health hazard to be inhaled by all. This could have been happening in buildings for years and previously there was no way to identify the risk. Even now, the presence of asbestos can only be confirmed by way of laboratory testing. However, if the leak is identified and repaired, the process may more than likely identify the presence of asbestos and allow renovation works to take place.

The problem faced with buildings as large as schools is how to identify a leak. The pipes will run throughout the entire complex and many will be invisible to the human eye. Fortunately, new innovative technology has now been produced which can detect damp patches and water leaks through physical inspection or by installing sensors into your pipework system, alerting you to the presence of escaping or leaking water. By using this system to help you manage water issues, you will be splitting this lethal duo and affording you an opportunity to identify and remove the problem for good.

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

Health Issues for School Children following School Flooding

Health Issues for School Children following School Flooding

School Leaks and Floods – What About the Children’s Health?

Around the world our younger generation spend on average, between 500 and 700 hours per year in school. If the environment they’re in is hazardous and unsafe, that’s a long time for a child to spend exposed to the risk of illness.

While steps can be taken to reduce the amount of germs that spread through schools, sometimes the cause may not be realised or expected.

Schools premises are at a constant threat of leaks and floods, whether it’s due to adverse weather, a burst pipe or a leaking roof. It may affect one classroom or the whole site and if the reason is flooding, the water could be dirty and dangerous, ‘black water’ that may contain faeces, animal remains or chemicals.

Immediate steps should be taken including:-

  • Keeping children away from affected areas and if required evacuate the school.
  • Be aware of resultant damage to buildings and classrooms such as broken floorboards, cracked tiles and protruding nails.
  • Toys and school equipment should be cleaned thoroughly and, if you’re not sure it’s safe, bin it and replace it!
  • Prevent access to any exposed areas such as playgrounds or fields until everything has been thoroughly cleaned down.
  • Consider the facilities at the school – is the water supply safe if you’ve been flooded, can the children drink from the tap or use the toilets.

A child’s health can be at risk following a flood at their school and not just during the event and immediate aftermath. Germs and bacteria from dirty water can seep into wood, furniture, equipment and walls; in fact anywhere it can gain access and can remain there unnoticed for long periods. Any damp or wet patches not properly resolved and dried out can subsequently cause mould to grow, which gives off harmful airborne pathogens known as spores. Children in particular are at risk of infection and breathing related problems from spores and some species can be particularly harmful.

Less serious than floods, water leaks from any pipework can contaminate walls, floors or furniture, and while it may seem a small scale problem, the resulting damp and possible mould is still exposing children to risk of illness and infection.

Whilst flood water cannot always be detected, you can put in place systems that will assist in detecting leaking water within the school’s framework before it becomes a serious problem. Take every step to keep your school and the children in it as safe as possible.

Performing annual building leak inspections or by installing a leak detection system which uses modern innovative new technology can be easily monitored by your maintenance team can create a safer learning environment!

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

Managing Leaks in a Commercial Pool

Managing Leaks in a Commercial Pool

Managing Leaks In A Commercial Pool Environment

In Dubai’s summer months, temperatures can soar to in excess of 50°c, so as well as the need for air conditioning systems, another cool down option is to have a quick dip.  Most Dubai hotels now have swimming pools to assist with their guest’s enjoyment and comfort during their stay.

Hotels have ground level swimming pools, as would be standard, but are also famous for their rooftop bars and swimming pools, not only to complement the hotels’ ostentatious and grandiose designs, but to allow a chance for guests to take in the breathless views of Dubai city and the amazing coastline.

However, a risk that has to be catered for as with all water resources is a leak, which can cause costly damage along with associated losses during the repair process.  If a pool were to leak at ground level, the damage would be confined to that area, but if a water leak were to occur in a rooftop pool facility, the damage to the floors and rooms below, along with the expense could be immeasurable.

A related risk with managing pool facilities is not just leaking water pipes.  Swimming pools are usually kept clean with chlorine, a poisonous chemical and, while small amounts are used for water cleanliness, if a leak were to occur from any source of chlorine this could cause serious harm to pool users.

Pools are built to be waterproof, but sealants can deteriorate, or the pool can slightly move with the surrounding ground changes causing leaks in pipes or cracks to the pool’s exterior.  Indicators of leaks would be wet patches of ground in the pool’s vicinity and the need to replenish the water levels more often. With a chlorine leak there would be a potent smell and people may complain of irritation to their skin or eyes.

But, the problem is that with all of the pipework and pool casing being buried deep in the ground or within the floor structure of the rooftop area, finding any leak is an almost impossible task without digging it all out.

Thankfully, there are now ways in which leaks can be accurately located either within the structure itself or the surrounding pipework by using a new innovative technology.  Combining the use of damp-testing, ground penetrating radars and thermal imaging, problems can be resolved swiftly and cost-effectively, ensuring your swimming pool stays safe and provides an enjoyable experience to cool down on those hot summer days!

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