As a property manager, out of sight, out of mind always leads to big problems. Worn carpeting, broken glass, and lighting issues are easily noticeable and taken care of but plumbing problems in your building, however, are another story.
Many managers will take the approach that if it is not broken, don't worry about it. This kind of thinking can result in big problems, especially if your building was built before 2000. If the building you manage was constructed before then, it probably has water pipes that are either made of galvanised steel or copper. While both have long lifespans, they are far from indestructible.
Galvanised steel pipes
Galvanised steel pipes were commonly used in building construction in the 1950s and 1960s.
These type of pipes are heavy and identifiable by their grey colour. While durable, they have a lifespan that is limited and will eventually break down. Water contains minerals which react with these pipes, causing internal corrosion. Pipe problems may not manifest with a major failure initially: corrosion may first be seen in reduced water pressure. By the time you notice the reduced water pressure, the pipes may be close to being entirely clogged.
Copper pipes are the most common kind of water pipes used in building construction from the 1970s up until recent years. They've been widely used due to their light weight and strength. They absorb heat well and have a relatively long lifespan.
Many copper pipe systems still in use will be now showing signs of wear. If your copper pipes have turned dark brown and/or green, they are at risk. They'll not only develop pin holes and start to clog, they're known to have a number of problems relating to the lead solder that was formerly used in their installation process.
Poor repairs lead to pipe failure
Along with normal wear due to age, your building can develop pipe problems as a result of previous repairs that were not carried out well. By this we mean that pipes that were not properly secured rattle with each use, and that movement will eventually lead to failure.
Paying attention to your building's pipes
Some building managers will completely ignore potential plumbing problems unless they see a leak, signs of a leak, or get a complaint about water pressure. This 'wait and see' attitude creates multiple future problems, including:
- inconvenience to tenants when repair becomes a large scale project
- costly pipe replacement
- costly excavation - including tearing into walls and ceilings of residents to replace piping
- water damage to other areas of the property
- managing from a crisis standpoint.
Be proactive about pipe maintenance
If your building has been experiencing an increasing number of plumbing problems or is older than 20 years, it's time to be proactive. Pipes should be inspected and problems anticipated not just reacted to.
The good news is that pipe relining provides a solution to pipe replacement with epoxy-based products that are safe for drinking water. Pipe relining restores corroded or eroded pipes without costly and disruptive pipe replacement. The process will add decades to the lifespan of your building's water pipes and serve to prevent problems in the future.
Don't be reactive, be proactive with your building's aging and corroded plumbing pipes by paying attention to what is behind your building walls. Book a pipe inspection and get a clear picture of what you need to do – visit our booking page or call 1800 683 569 within Australia or 0800 168 356 in New Zealand.