What if the plumbing fixture broke in the apartment above and started flooding your apartment? Then it started flooding the apartment below. What if the owner of the apartment above was mid-flight to a friend’s wedding and completely uncontactable for hours during the event?
This was one of two cases Dee Gow encountered last month, when metal braided flexible hoses broke in apartments above her client.
In the first instance Dee was able to invoke a section of the Strata Titles Act which said they can enter in an emergency, called a locksmith and a Gow Property contracted plumber turned off the water.

Skirtings had to be replaced, carpet driers were called in and the insurance process began.

In the second instance, the resident of the apartment called Dee at 10.30pm on a Friday night and reported that water was pouring into her apartment from the one above. Dee was then able to retrieve the upstairs owner’s contact details from Gow Property’s database, called the owner and she returned home to turn on the isolation tap and stop the flood. This apartment building was ten years old.

Gow Property’s assessor was called and all three apartments that were affected were taken care of.
Owners can claim some of these repair costs from their contents insurance and a considerable amount of common area damage was covered by the strata insurance.

The moral of this story; as Strata Managers, Gow Property responded immediately (even in the middle of the night) and the damage was minimised and adequate insurance provisions covered the event.

 


METAL BRAIDED FLEXIBLE HOSES:

Following Dee’s tale of flooded apartments, let’s talk a little more about metal braided flexible hoses. Unknown to many, they’re the cause of around 20% of water damage claims (source; Sydney Morning Herald, 2017).

What are they? They’re hydraulic hoses, covered in braided metal skin, that are generally used to connect sinks, basins and toilets to a water supply, rather than the more expensive hard piping connections.

Why are they of a concern? These hoses have a limited lifespan of approximately five years and when they fail, they release a stream of water until the upstream supply can be isolated.

Why do they fail?

–  the hose is subjected to elevated temperatures and pressures (greater than 50 °C – common in many hot water systems)
–  the use of inferior (cheap) materials
–  product selection and installation guidelines not being followed
–  a lack of maintenance
–  old age.

What can be done?

– Ideally, replace all metal braided flexible hoses with hard piping.

– If replacement isn’t practical:

– ensure product selection and installation guidelines are correctly followed

– a regular inspection & maintenance program

– all hoses should be replaced before they reach five years of age.

Even with the above risk management controls in place, hose failure may still occur. To help with swift isolation of the water supply a manual water supply closure valve that incorporates an auto reset flood stop mechanism can be installed on the upstream supply.