Easing the impact of water damage on real estate and business

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Water damage can be costly for property owners and businesses.

Water damage can be costly for property owners and businesses.

Contributed by Jennifer McKinn

Malaysia is prone to floods, a natural-occurring disaster in the country causing heavy losses to real estate and businesses. But that is not the only water-related misfortune as water leakage from piping can also create undesirable effects as well as waste a precious natural resource. Without preventive measures, water damage and leaks can destroy an enterprise leading to direct and indirect economic losses.

Physical damage to facilities

Floods immediately affect the physical infrastructure of a business although the magnitude of the consequences will depend greatly on the location, duration, speed and depth of the flood. Water damages the equipment of the company including its furniture and electronics. It will cost a fortune to replace these items. 

Furthermore, the disaster also causes disruptions within the system including water and energy supply. People can get hurt, too if infrastructure and equipment are damaged. For example, electrical wiring may electrocute people if submerged in water. Hence, it is vital that the company shuts down the electrical system and evacuates employees when a flood occurs.

In the case of water leaks, a company can operate for years without ever detecting that there are outflows of water. Sadly, leaks can cost quite a lot of money. Moreover, drips can quickly turn into burst pipes that will create devastating damage to the business premises as well as its inventory. That said, water damage will also cause the company to lose valuable business and its customers because it must halt its operations or shut down temporarily to address the problem.

Mitigating measures 

That is not to say that companies cannot do anything to prevent flooding or reduce the impact of water damage. For example, if an enterprise is in a flood zone, the owner can look at a different type of landscape, consider better water retention tactics and if possible, use water diversion methods. 

Planting water-retaining plants is not only a wise move to save water, but also to create a sustainable landscape that protects the ecosystem. Putting trees and vegetation around the business property helps during floods or heavy precipitation because water is absorbed by the plants' roots. Xeriscaping not only focuses on water conservation but also prevents water run off minimising the impact of flooding. 

A water diversion can take the form of a ridge, excavated channel or a ridge and channel combination constructed to divert concentrated and sheet surface water, and possibly subsurface water, from or around areas under construction or development, to sites where it can be used or disposed of.

For water leakages, one way is to periodically check the plumbing systems and look for signs of water leaks. Puddles that appear on the property even if there is no rain can be an indication that there is a leak on the ground. Mould, mildew, and water stains on ceilings and walls also suggest that there might be water escaping from the pipes. 

Reduced water pressure, sagging ceilings, and blistering paint are other indicators that there is something wrong with the pipes and distribution system. Likewise, if the business gets higher than usual water bills, it is a clue that there is a leak somewhere. Happily, water distribution companies in Malaysia are taking a proactive approach by monitoring water pressure in real-time to find out if there are leaks and bursts. However, it is in the interest of the company to ensure that its own plumbing systems are in good condition to avoid water loss and burst pipes.

Businesses in Malaysia play a crucial role in the economic growth of the country. Reducing the risks of floods and water damage ensure that their output is maximised and losses are reduced so that they remain profitable.


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