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Finding the source of a water leak in a flat or building

Water leaks are one of the most common causes of damage we encounter in properties.  If left untreated the leak can manifest into a more significant issue very quickly.  But all too often it can be difficult to identify exactly where the leak is coming from and what can be done to remedy it. A key skill of a Chartered Building Surveyor is the understanding of all types of construction and the ability to identify defects within a structure – known as building pathology.  Queue Steve Dickinson, from our Building Surveying team, who came to the rescue in this recent situation.

A persistent water leak in a top floor flat had been causing more than a spot of bother for the leaseholder and their tenants to a top floor flat of a 1960s block of flats in Eastbourne.  Having failed to identify where the leak was coming from, the managing agent instructed our Building Surveying team to investigate and hopefully rectify the problem on behalf of the freeholder.

water damage from water leak

The top floor of the four-story building (including a ground floor retail unit) had been suffering from a persistent water leak for several months.  Steve carried out a detailed visual inspection of the building to determine the construction form of the structure, in particular, above the flat suffering from water ingress. He found that the problem was with the construction form of the stair tower at roof level whereby the reinforced concrete frame to the stair tower had been encased in a single leaf of brickwork. As a consequence, the pointing to brickwork was in poor condition which was allowing water ingress into the cavity to discharge into the flat below via a service penetration through the concrete slab to the roof.  That in turn caused damage to the ceilings and walls within the flat.

water leak building pathology investigations

In order to address the problem the brickwork was repaired and repointed and cavity trays and weep vents inserted through the wall to intercept water that ingressed into the cavity, the weep vents discharging any water that built up in the cavity. Our surveyor specified the required repairs and oversaw the corrective works with a local contractor and following completion there have been no more incidents of water ingress to the relief of the leaseholder and freeholder.

defect analysis property repair

If you require defect analysis or repair to be undertaken on your property, please visit our Building Pathology page for more details of the services we offer.