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Waterproof Membranes – How to Deal with Leaks

With the recent wild weather, strong winds and heavy rainfall making its way over parts of Queensland, many residents are left assessing water damage to their properties and preparing for clean-up. It is often in periods of heavy rainfall where the development and observation of leaks become known to the resident and the correct course of action needs to ensue to mitigate risk of further damage occurring. Except where Lot Owners are responsible for maintaining their own dwelling, the Body Corporate is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the waterproof membranes, irrespective of whether it’s on common property or within the boundary of a Lot. If your unit is on the top floor or under a balcony, and you notice moisture coming from the ceiling, this is a sign that there may be a possible leak in the above membrane. It is important to notify your on-site manager or Strata Manager at the first signs of moisture in order to assess repair works as soon as possible. A leak that is left unattended can result in greater widespread damage including, fire hazards from electrical damage, mold growth and resultant damage to contents. It is often difficult to identify the exact cause or location of a leak even once assessment and repairs have occurred after the event. You should always keep an eye out for the reoccurrence of moisture and if noticed, inform your Body Corporate immediately to ensure adequate repairs are completed. Below are some tips on how to address leaks in strata titled living:

  • Take note of the date and time of when the leak was first observed. This information will help the attending contractor identify the source of the water ingress
  • Report the leak to your on-site manager in the first instance, followed by your Body Corporate Manager
  • Keep electrical appliances, their cords and any extension leads away from the leak. Seek safety assessment of the items by an appropriate contractor if already exposed
  • If water is near electrical outlets or light fittings, turn off the electricity at your main switchboard and seek assessment by an electrician before reinstating power
  • If water is leaking from the ceiling, place a bucket under the leak and use towels or mops to soak up as much water as possible to prevent any further damage
  • Allow contractor access to your unit as it will likely be required to determine the exact location of the leak
  • If the building is still within the 6 year 3 month warranty period, the Body Corporate can approach the builder to remedy defects under the warranty
  • If your unit has been damaged by the water leak, depending on the extent of damage and policy terms, you may claim a loss through the Body Corporate Insurer.

This article was contributed by Grant Mifsud – Partner, Archers the Strata Professionals

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