When considering property risks, fire is usually the first that comes to mind due to its common occurrence and potentially large consequences. However, from a frequency perspective, water/liquid leakage losses are more frequent with many potential sources for liquid leakage, such as:
- Leaky roofs and windows
- Toilets and other domestic water sources
- Fire sprinkler heads and piping
- Process water piping and equipment
- Water Heaters
- HVAC – Cooling and heating piping and radiators
- Drains and drain lines
- Boiler & Machinery
- Sewer and Sewage Backup
- Water Tanks
- Water Mains
- Flooding (e.g., bodies of water or surface water from rain, snow melt, etc.)
Water/liquid damage susceptibility can vary widely depending on the occupancy of a facility. At facilities with severe exposures (E.g., hospitals with critical areas including emergency rooms, operating rooms, surgical suites, imaging/diagnostic areas, pharmacy, implant, consignment and other high valued storage areas, etc.), a liquid/water damage vulnerability assessment should be completed.
The following table, which can be customized and used as a checklist, provides information about the location, construction, protection, and maintenance of water/liquid damage risks and the associated mitigation solutions.
Water/Liquid Damage Prevention/Control Checklist
|#||Checklist Location, Construction, Protection & Maintenance||Details (As Needed)||Checklist Assessment Comments|
|1||Avoid placing important occupancies and equipment below grade or in basements.||· If applicable, assess the vulnerability of equipment, processes, or infrastructure located below grade (basements, sub-basements).|
· Move key processes and equipment to above-grade locations.
|2||Locate electrical equipment and emergency power equipment||Outside areas susceptible to liquid damage|
|3||Basement storage||Raise stock above the anticipated water level.|
|4||Geographic areas subject to freezing temperatures||· Inspect the building envelope (door and window seals, broken windows, open louvers, cold air intakes) to identify cold weather vulnerabilities. |
· Temperature monitoring of spaces subject to freezing temperatures which contain water or liquid lines If it falls 40oF (4oC), alarm the constantly attended location.
· Adequate heat and weather sealing
|5||Earthquake protection||Provide bracing for chilled water, liquid, and sprinkler system piping|
|6||Site Layout||· Identify exterior drainage, water diversion, and flood control systems (downspouts, scuppers, storm drains, culverts, levees).|
· Direct rainwater, roof drainage, and stormwater drainage away from buildings. Inadequate or improperly designed drainage systems can cause water buildup and leaks.
|7||Use FM Approved roofing systems.||· Designed for local wind speeds and hail exposure. |
· Water and liquid leakage can occur if the roof is damaged or improperly installed.
· Wind uplift tests for newly adhered roofing systems
|8||Seal perimeter walls and ceiling.||Will prevent water/liquid leakage from spreading to multiple floors|
|9||Roof drains||· Size for maximum rainfall intensity |
· Locate roof drain piping around important rooms
|10||Seals or weather stripping on exterior doors and windows||Prevent water from entering the building|
|11||Backflow prevention||· The potential for backflow flooding into buildings exists via sewer lines where urban street flooding occurs, and street runoff is routed to combined sanitary sewers.|
· Install automatic backflow or backwater valves to reduce the risk of backup in combined storm water/sewer systems.
|12||Chilled Water Lines||· Use welded, brazed, or soldered piping|
· Shutoff valves are well-marked and accessible
· No connections between dissimilar metals
· Locate around important rooms
|13||Steam lines||Locate around important rooms (e.g., high-value equipment, electrical switchgear, elevator equipment, chillers, key production equipment, sensitive records, and IT equipment)|
|14||Air test new sprinkler system piping before hydrostatic testing.||Will find leaks before filling the system with water|
|15||Label all water and liquid piping.||Indicate the direction of water flow for chilled water services.|
|16||Leak Detection & Alarm||· Data Centers and high-value equipment areas.|
· Monitoring alarms at a constantly attended location
|17||Sump Pumps||· Power supply provided with emergency power|
· Redundant pumps to eliminate the single point of failure
· High water-level alarms monitored at a constantly attended location
|18||Emergency Power||Power for active and passive water and freeze detection devices and other key equipment|
|19||Liquid Damage Control Cart||Emergency pipe repair supplies, etc.|
|20||Secondary containment of domestic and chilled water lines||· When directly above high-value equipment |
· Drain to a safe location and provide leak detection with monitoring at the draining point.
|21||Braided stainless steel hoses and collection pans||Dishwashing and clothes washing machines|
|22||Water heaters||Water collection pans that drain to a safe location|
|23||Warning to avoid contact with sprinklers||Locations where occupants are not familiar with sprinklers|
|24||Emergency Response Team (ERT)||· Safely respond to water/liquid damage incident · Properly trained in installing flood mitigation equipment (i.e., barriers, gates, etc.|
|25||Emergency Response Plan||Water damage incident response procedures|
|26||Contractors (e.g., construction, housekeeping/janitorial, and security)||Implement water damage incident response procedures before the start of work|
|27||Roof inspections & after severe weather events||Conduct Quarterly. Regular inspections and maintenance can help detect and prevent roof damage or deterioration.|
|28||Inspect HVAC condensate drains monthly.||Conduct Monthly|
|29||Inspection of exterior seals of window frames, sliding doors, and HVAC units||Conduct Quarterly|
|30||Inspect liquid damage control cart||Conduct Quarterly|
|31||Test sump pumps||Conduct Quarterly|
|32||Check water pumps for excessive vibration||Conduct Quarterly|
|33||Test leak detection, flow alarms, and monitoring||Conduct Quarterly|
|34||Winterize the facility.||Ahead of freezing temperatures|
|35||If storm drains are present, visually inspect and clear inlets and catch basins||The frequency of inspection is site specific.|
|36||Check the condition of water heaters||Conduct Quarterly|
|37||Clean main sewer lines using a pressurized water system||Conduct quarterly if there is a history of clogged main sewer lines|
|38||Inspect and exercise domestic and chilled water control valves to verify the good working order of the valves.||Conduct Annually|
|39||Internal inspection of fire protection system piping to look for signs of corrosion or other problems||· Conduct every 5 years. |
· Pinhole leaks or similar problems have been identified, implement corrosion mitigation solutions.
|40||Dry sprinkler systems||Check low-point auxiliary drains|
As noted above, this checklist should be customized for the given occupancy/location. Some facilities (E.g., hospitals, cleanrooms, data centers, food manufacturing plants, etc.) may require more diligence and pre-planning than others. Periodic inspections are recommended by in-house personnel and outside consultants such as Risk Logic engineers. Contact Risk Logic today if you would like to schedule a property risk survey at your facility and have one our trained engineers perform a water/liquid damage vulnerability assessment.
- FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1-24, Protection Against Liquid Damage, July 2022 Edition
- Chubb Risk Engineering, Preventing Water Damage, January 2020
- Hanover Insurance Group, Water Damage: Developing an organizational plan for prevention and mitigation of water losses, May 2022
- CNA Risk Control, Water Damage: Prepare, Respond, Improve, 2021