Navigating Water Ingress in Strata Properties

Navigating Water Ingress in Strata Properties

Table of Contents

Water ingress, or penetrating damp is an insidious problem that can infiltrate buildings through various pathways, including faulty waterproofing, plumbing leaks, and external breaches.

Known as the ‘silent intruder’ it is a pervasive issue, often going unnoticed until damage has occurred. The immediate and long-term damages of water ingress are diverse, ranging from structural compromise to health issues arising from mould and fungal decay. In our experience, the silent nature of water ingress exacerbates these issues, as prolonged exposure often leads to more severe damage.

Strata communities face unique financial and logistical challenges in addressing water ingress. Legislation varies across Australia.
For example, the Design and Building Practitioners Act (DBPA) which was introduced into NSW in 2021 mandates that waterproofing consultants be DBPA approved, adding a layer of complexity and protection to the management and rectification of water ingress issues. In other states water proofers must be certified by the relevant building authority and sign-off by a licenced plumber may be required.

Further adding to the complications, you already face, the recent La Niña events have caused a backlog and delays in addressing water ingress. With weather experts such as Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicting that Australia is heading for another La Niña weather event, we can expect these existing water ingress issues to be exacerbated as well as increasing the rectification backlog.

The tendency for Owner Corporations to procrastinate over carrying out remediation works can play out particularly badly in cases of water ingress, where delay often leads to increased damages and higher eventual costs. This emphasises the importance of informed financial planning in managing an Owner Corporation’s obligation to repair and maintain the property.

Identifying and Addressing Water Ingress

Identifying signs of water ingress early is crucial. As is acting quickly to address the issues. Delays inevitably result in increased costs. Look for damp patches, staining or damage to exterior façades and concrete, mould growth, peeling paintwork and musty smells. Preventive measures and treatments are available, but expert advice should be sought.

Sydney Water’s WaterFix program, a free service, aids Sydney residents in water conservation and leak detection. Our NSW Business Development team are well-versed and experienced in this program.

Waterproofing Issues – Quick Fixes vs a Whole Building Permanent Fix Approach

Waterproofing issues are not uncommon and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, even in smaller strata schemes. Quick fixes versus permanent repairs are a critical consideration. Taking a whole-building view is essential for long-term solutions, as discussed in Lannock Strata Finance’s recent webinar with LookUp Strata on ‘Bang for your buck in capital works’.

What do Owner Corporations Need to Consider?

Lannock Strata Finance has also prepared a list below that will help you. It is not definitive, but we hope it will help shape your approach to this insidious issue and assist your ultimate decision-making.

Leak Detection Tests

Waterproofing consultants perform leak detection tests to replicate water travelling from external sources to the interior of the building. This allows them to identify the source and extent of the issue and determine the necessary repairs. Understandably, owners often do not grasp the scope and impact of water ingress until they see the results of these tests or photo and video reports.

The Unseen Damage

The ‘silent intruder’ often leaves behind damaged, aging, or insufficiently tarped areas that are typically revealed through photo reports. Owners may be unaware of these issues until they are visually presented with the evidence.

Certification and Legislation

The introduction of the DBPA has significantly impacted the management and rectification of water ingress issues in strata in NSW. Waterproofing consultants now need to be licenced for works over $5,000, ensuring a higher standard of accountability and quality in waterproofing services.

La Niña’s Impact

The recurring La Niña weather events have led to a backlog in addressing water ingress issues. The potential recurrence of La Niña, as predicted by weather experts, could lead to persistent wet conditions, further exacerbating existing water ingress issues.

Selecting Contractors and Consultants

The importance of moving quickly, conducting inspections and understanding how they support you throughout the project are key to selecting the right contractor or consultant for water ingress rectification.

We have found it beneficial to select a contractor or expert who can provide support at your general meetings. Having an ‘expert in the room’ can help owners better understand what the risks are, and what options are available to them. At a practical level it will also relieve pressure on any individual owner, by enabling a fuller discussion at an OC’s general meeting – rather than having messages and questions being passed between consultants, contractors, and committee members to be fed through to owners.

Your state-based strata body or Owners Corporations organisation is always a good starting point if you need advice as to whom to turn.

Financial Solutions for Rectification Works

Lannock Strata Finance provides flexible funding solutions to alleviate the financial burden on strata communities facing water ingress issues. These options allow for rectification works to be carried out immediately, avoiding the risk of further damage caused by delay, whilst smoothing the cost impost on owners of having to fund the full costs of repair upfront.

Understanding water ingress and the financial solutions offered by Lannock is essential for strata communities. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Lannock for consultation on funding options for their water ingress issues.

Speak with our strata finance specialists today to see how Lannock’s funding facilities can provide peace of mind.

P 1300 851 585

To learn more about Navigating Water Ingress in Strata Properties contact Lannock. To discuss your property’s strata management needs or receive a FREE management proposal contact our friendly team. We also offer more helpful resources and community living news in our FREE newsletter.

The information provided is a general guide only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company disclaims all responsibility and liability for any expenses, losses, damages, and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided by the company. This content is published in partnership with Lannock Strata Finance.

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