There has been a considerable increase in insurance claims for escape of water over the past six years, according to the Construction Insurance Risk Engineers Group (CIREG). The organisation also says escape of water-related losses are now more common than losses linked to fire. However, the Managing Escape of Water Risk on Construction Sites guidance from the CIREG has demonstrated a series of steps organisations and individuals can take to mitigate the effects of water damage.
Reasons for increases
The CIREG says there is a substantial risk of water damage in the closing weeks of renovation and construction projects. In most cases, engineers lack a formal management plan to help them deal with the escape of water. The organisation identified a range of reasons for water leaks. These included insufficient awareness and risk management at various stages, including the initial design processes right through to operation. On-site management and responsibility assignment also required substantial improvements.
Key findings from CIREG
The organisation found that there were insufficiencies in permit and other types of management systems. Contractors were accused of taking water risks less seriously that fire risks and other types of hazards. Poor quality workmanship was also an issue, with many employees and contractors lacking the experience required to carry out the work to a high standard. Individual plumber installations were not being verified sufficiently, and there was also an insufficient understanding of the wealth of plumbing systems now on the market.
The CIREG says insurers are now clamping down on escape of water claims due to the recent rise in them. Higher insurance costs are now being predicted, and there is more pressure on contractors to create greater controls during the period of construction. Higher insurance excesses are also predicted. More and more insurers now expect automatic flow monitoring and shutoff valves to be installed during construction projects.
Is the trend likely to slow down?
Experts say the rise in escape of water claims is unlikely to slow down unless professionally registered individuals get the training that they require. Construction companies are being urged to place water management at the top of their risk registers when working on projects.
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