Escape of water incidents may not seem overly dramatic, but they can wreak havoc in an apartment building. What starts as a small leak can turn into a major restoration project and months of disruption for residents. Managing Agents need to help residents understand escapes of water and how to minimise damage when leaks happen.
What Exactly is an Escape of Water?
In insurance terms, an escape of water occurs when water comes from inside the building – usually due to a burst pipe, overflowing sink or toilet. This differs from external flooding from weather events. These incidents can either be sudden gushes from a rupture or gradual leaks that go unnoticed until stains appear on ceilings below.
According to the Association of British Insurers, insurers pay out £1.8 million daily for escape of water claims. It’s one of the most common and costly domestic property damage claims. Buildings with frequent leaks may face increased policy excess fees or even refusal of escape of water coverage in extreme cases.
Preventing Escapes of Water
Much preventative action comes down to common sense maintenance. Managing Agents should educate residents on simple steps to lower risks:
Check bath and shower seals regularly for wear
Inspect dishwasher/washing machine hoses and connections
Monitor walls and ceilings for signs of moisture or mold
We can also encourage residents to report any drips or damp patches early to their Managing Agents, so a plumber can fix minor issues before major damage occurs.
Responding to Escape of Water Emergencies
When leaks do happen, a rapid response is critical to minimise harm. Residents should know where their unit’s water stopcock is located so they can shut off the water immediately if pipes burst. Checking that stopcocks aren’t stuck closed should happen periodically.
Isolator valves around sinks and toilets can also quickly contain floods if residents know where they are. Ongoing communication and vigilance are crucial for avoiding the headaches that come with escape of water incidents in multi-unit and multiple-occupancy buildings.