What statistics on water damage tell us about commercial waterproofing

Water damage in the living room and a moldy wall

With decades of experience across construction, civil, commercial, strata and government projects, the Danrae Group team has seen every type of waterproofing issue – and there are some we see much more than others.

While water damage statistics aren’t always easy to come by, a few published reports do reflect our experience when it comes to recurring waterproofing issues such as leaks and failing membranes.

Here’s what statistics on water damage tell us – and how the Danrae team works to ensure every one of our waterproofing solutions is permanent.

Stain in wall

Water damage insurance statistics

In 2018, insurance firm Chubb released a major report into property-related claims by Australian homeowners. The Insight Report: Get Smart about Water Leaks stated that average claims due to internal water damage had escalated dramatically over the previous five years – rising from $17,627 in 2014 to $30,361 in 2018.

Additionally, a similar report by Verisk Analytics’ ISO unit in the United States found one in 50 homeowners in the US filed a water damage claim between 2013 and 2017.

It concluded that the total amount of insurance payouts for water damage was US$13 billion, with the average claim costing about US$10,000.

Interestingly, the local findings also indicated that water damage accounted for 34% of all of Chubb’s property-related claims, compared to 16% for fire and just 9% for burglary. While the Chubb Report had a residential focus, we’ve found that waterproofing failure in the commercial, construction, strata and civil sectors is equally problematic.

Water droplets on mirror

Cost versus repair

In 2016, the Australian Institute of Waterproofing revealed that, according to statistics, “waterproofing accounts for just 1% of a building’s costs, yet water leaks and the resultant damage can account for 80% of all building defects.”

This dramatic imbalance in waterproofing spending versus major repair bills – and potential property devaluation – should be a wake-up call for every property manager. When you take shortcuts or opt for a cheap waterproofing solution that sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

We’ve previously discussed the very public issues strata owners have faced in recent years with property defects. For long-term and effective waterproofing, you need a comprehensive and considered solution design. A waterproofing solution needs to take into account not just leak detection, but full site remediation and, ideally, ongoing preventative maintenance.

Closeup view of the exterior of the modern building

Where the problems are

According to the Australian Institute of Waterproofing, insurance statistics also reveal that the highest number of waterproofing failures are balconies, terraces and rooftops in high rise dwellings and commercial buildings.

The common factor across all of these locations is that they are exposed to the elements. A solid waterproofing solution will take into account the most suitable membrane and remediation for the type of property, location and climate.

Generally, we’ve found three key reasons that waterproofing fails. External factors such as storms or extreme climate do play a role. The others are equally critical – the wrong choice of membrane… and poor workmanship.

Man fixing a damaged concrete on the roof

Comprehensive waterproofing solutions

At Danrae Group, our end-to-end project management includes diagnostic, solution design, remediation and preventative maintenance plans.

Crucially, our team is highly skilled and certified to work with every type of membrane and every brand. We also take care of end-to-end project management with both expert waterproofers and trades specialists in-house.

Please contact us if you have a property in need of a first-class and permanent waterproofing solution. Read more about our waterproofing experts.

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