CILA Escapes of Water in Luxury Properties Event

Hawkins’ first CILA event of the year took place in the middle of January at the Reigate Office, and focused on both escapes and ingresses of water in luxury properties. Participants were treated to four CPD presentations from two of Hawkins’ investigators, Dr Andrew Prickett and Mr Andrew Reeves, as well as two of CILA’s chartered adjusters, Helena Evans and Simon Burley.

Dr Andrew Prickett

Dr Prickett started the afternoon with a talk on water leaks in luxury properties. From footballers’ mansions to high-end apartment buildings, Hawkins is able to investigate failures in materials, whether that failure is in an accessible swimming pool plant room, or hidden away behind bespoke marble bathroom walls.

With luxury buildings also come custom-fit luxury items. Not all escapes of water are caused by pipework; Dr Prickett has investigated many types of materials failures, from cracks in aquarium glass, to shower walls which were improperly sealed around flatscreen televisions in millionaires’ bathrooms. Novelty swimming pools are a trend Hawkins has seen in luxury homes, hotels and gyms. These include infinity pools with glass sides, swimming pools that cover themselves with the press of a button (and some engineered water displacement), and pools constructed in non-standard shapes. Pools made of concrete are more expensive, but prone to subsidence and cracking if they are not maintained well, while pools constructed using liners experience problems if the liner tears. In novelty infinity pools and aquariums, materials like glass and silicone often expand and contract due to temperature and wear overtime, which also shortens their lifespan.

Dr Prickett described how compression joints in pipework are properly made, fitted and tightened. He also brought in his very own ‘favourite piece of pipework’ from his own house’s bathroom, which was renovated recently and illustrated the problems he experienced with show-and-tell photos.

Mr Andrew Reeves

Civil Engineer Andrew Reeves presented on the forensic investigation of basement waterproofing failures. As well as material failures in pipework, liners or waterproofing systems, civil engineers look for causes of water ingress related to the structure of neighbouring buildings, sewers and tanking systems. Mr Reeves cited a case where a homeowner bought the property next door and joined them to create a mega basement.

But what do the Building Regulations have to say about that? Mr Reeves pointed out that the only requirements for basements in the Regulations state: “The walls, floors and roof of the building shall adequately protect the building and people who use the building from harmful effects caused by: (a) Ground moisture and (b) Precipitation including wind-driven spray.

Types of Waterproofing

However, in Approved Document C: Site Preparation and Resistance to Contaminates and Moisture there is no official guidance on basements. Whether you are building a mega basement or waterproofing a more standard-sized area, there are, thankfully, three types of barriers that can be used. For best (and driest!) results, Andrew suggests combining Type A with type B, Type B with Type C, or Type A with Type C, to ensure that your basement is less at risk of water ingress.

There are also three grades of waterproofing, which give a helpful guide to what your basement needs might be:

Grade 1: Some seepage and damp tolerable (e.g. an outdoor, underground car park)

Grade 2: Damp areas tolerable (e.g. a swimming pool plant room)

Grade 3: No water penetration tolerable. Ventilation or dehumidification necessary. (e.g. a basement home entertainment room)

Following the morning’s presentations, CILA members were treated to some more practical CPD, led by Dr. Prickett and Dr. Christabel Fitzpatrick in Hawkins’ water lab. They put their joint-making knowledge to work to see which group could make the loosest joint and get their metal hosing to fail at the lowest water pressure. This proves that although some joints look tight enough, it is very easy to think that a poor joint is water-tight, and only realise it is not when you get splashed…

The afternoon concluded with presentations from CILA members Helena Evans on cause and recovery and Simon Burley on mitigation and policy cover.

Helena Evans & Simon Burley

Hawkins would like to thank everyone who attended. If you would like to attend a regional CPD event at a Hawkins Office, please contact us

Latest News

Chris & Mel Celebrate 10 Years with Hawkins

17th Jul 2020

Hawkins would like to congratulate both Melanie Cole and Chris Dennis on celebrating their ten year anniversaries with our company.Chris joined Hawkins’ Birmingham Office in 2010, while Mel joined the Bristol Office in the same year. They have both ...

Read More

H2Doh! When Plumbing Goes Wrong: Featuring Water Hammer

1st Jul 2020

Wayne Manton of Hawkins’ Bristol Office recently gave a webinar for the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA) on escapes of water. His presentation included what the common causes of plumbing failures are and why water hammer, in particular, ...

Read More

Hawkins Wishes a Happy Retirement to Mike Charlton

26th Jun 2020

After more than 28 years of service, Hawkins would like to thank Mike Charlton of our Manchester Office for all his hard work, and wish him a very happy retirement.Mike says he has been fortunate to work with some great people while working for Hawkins ...

Read More

COVID-19 Business Update #3

16th Jun 2020

As lockdown is gradually lifted (in England) and life slowly adjusts to the new socially distanced normal, Hawkins continues to support our insurance, legal and corporate customers.We would sincerely like to thank everyone who had faith in Hawkins' ability ...

Read More

High Water and the High Court: Hawkins Evidence Helps With Flood Claim

10th Jun 2020

In the case of Tayton and Tayton -v- (1) Warwickshire County Council and (2) Rugby Borough Council, the Taytons (the Claimants) purchased Brookside Cottage and a neighbouring field in 2013, with the intention of building a small housing development on ...

Read More

Contact Us

Submitting this contact form will enter your details into our contacts database and we will reply to your request as soon as possible. We will also retain your details so we may contact you from time to time. You can ask us to remove your details at any time. For details, see our Privacy Notice.