Situation

Sprinkler pipe burst in a bathroom ceiling on level 3 in unit 7 causing it to flood the unit, leaking down into level 2 of unit below (bathroom only) and the ceiling in the lobby area.

Apartment where pipe burst

Water damage affected the majority of the apartment including entry, kitchen, lounge/dining room, bathroom and two bedrooms with carpet floor coverings (ensuite/laundry only dry area due to slightly elevated floor).

Electrician turned off the power for safety measures due to pooled water in ceiling of bathroom and power board was located on the opposite wall. Protect furniture from further damage by moving aside. Set up portable extraction equipment. Remove excess water from all affected areas (used common area power point). Carpets were in very good condition; wool fabric in level loop-pile design on yellow rubber underlay. Disengage carpets to all affected areas. Uplifted and removed 24sqm carpets to prevent damage to the fixed cabinetry in the bedrooms. Bathroom ceiling was tested with a tramex encounter plus moisture meter which confirmed affected area was off scale (this means too much moisture existed in order to calculate the readings). Timber boards below the glass sliding doors in bedroom 2 had started to split away from the frame. Walls of both bedrooms occurred elevated moisture ranging between 20 to off scale using Tramex moisture meter including entry to main bedroom in the kitchen.

Wall behind the front door was off scale and lower skirting board of lounge displayed moisture using thermal camera. Kitchen bench was well sealed and no signs of water damage exists at that point in time. Tiled area in the kitchen, hallway, and lounge room area was flooded. Curtains in the 2 x bedrooms and lounge room were removed and taken for dry cleaning. Walls in the hallway outside the bathroom were off scale. Skirting boards are starting to split off the wall in various places due to swelling. A combination of tradesman cut holes in the wall and ceiling to allow access for repairs. Set up specialised drying equipment to focus solely on the bathroom ceiling due to very limited power from common area. Next morning, the ceiling was sufficiently dry so as the power could be re-connected to the unit. Installed 2 x dehumidifiers and 8 turbo dryers to dry the affected structure. Everything was dry after four days.

Other affected areas

Unit one level below – Power was disconnected to bathroom only and the light fittings were removed by the electrician. Ceiling was wet from the unit above. Set up dehumidifier and a dryer in the bathroom to dry the bathroom ceiling and closed the door to aid drying. Dried after 3 days.

Lobby – Main foyer, back left hand side corner was affected by water damage where the ceiling height was 3.7 metres. Location was from the second last air conditioner grill, out to the light in the left hand side corner. Upper wall above the switch to open back door was affected. Electrician took out the light and isolated the area as water was coming through this light fitting.  MCS opened the man hole in the ceiling but could not gain access nor see any water affected areas due to narrow ceiling cavity which was full with air conditioning system and ducting. Using thermal camera, the area affected was identified and confirmed with Tramex moisture meter which was off scale (too much moisture in order to determine a reading). Installed 2 x Dehumidifiers with air movement (axial fans) in place to push dry air to the upper walls and ceiling. Air conditioning in the foyer was turned off to aid drying. Affected area was dried in six days due to height and open area.