In our last blog post, we looked at ways that landlords can reduce water expenses; but how can high rise buildings conserve water overall?
Let’s look at a few methods of water management that high-rise buildings can use as part of their water conservation strategy in conjunction with investing in more water efficient infrastructure.
On average, leaks account for approximately 13% of all water usage, and 1 in 5 toilets leak. Locating and repairing these leaks plays an important role in water conservation.
Once the initial leaks have been addressed, it’s important to continue to monitor your building for leaks. Tenants do not tend to report these leaks and can’t be held accountable. The cost of repairing these leaks & losing water due to unaddressed leaks has a huge impact on a multi-unit residential building’s bottom line.
Invest in Greywater or Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting utilizes water that’s naturally provided to us for certain building applications, such as irrigation, toilet flushing, storm water control, and more, depending on how advanced the system is.
Greywater harvesting systems are less glamorous – they capture, filter, and store the water tenants use from systems such as showers and sinks. It is estimated that the usable domestic greywater resource can account for 35-39% of non-potable water demand, such as garden irrigation. However, the complexity of the system must be considered as part of implementation, since the water will require treatment if contact with a human is possible.
Encourage Tenants to Conserve Water
In multi-unit residential buildings, tenant accountability is a major issue when it comes to conserving water. Simply put, if they are not charged for their water, tenants are less likely to monitor and conserve their water usage.
There are a few ways that you can encourage tenants to become more involved with monitoring their water usage.
-Involve tenants in the discussion of the impact of water conservation on the planet through video chats, meetings, flyers, etc.
-Implement submetering so tenants become responsible for their own water bills. By transferring costs directly to the tenant, they become more aware of their individual water usage and are more likely to work towards conserving water. Furthermore, they become more likely to report leaks.
-Use gamification to encourage tenants to more actively participate in water conservation.
Water conservation is vital for the planet and we all need to work together to preserve our freshwater resources. By working together with tenants and using the resources that are currently available, multi-unit residential building managers can help conserve water and reduce their water bills.
When a flood occurs, your first instinct may be to think “how can I use a water shut off to stop this flood?”
But there are a few factors that contribute to why early detection is more beneficial than full water shut-offs.
It’s More Cost Effective at Implementation
The implementation of an early detection system is more cost-effective than shut-offs, due to the complexity of plumbing systems in high-rises.
With a basic flood prevention sensor layout, the most basic components required are the sensors themselves, and the gateway to communicate between the sensors and the dashboard. Although there are multiple sensor attachments available, they are all non-intrusive and do not require cutting of pipes for installation.
Shut-off valves require significant amounts of hardware, labour and money. Valves need to be placed in the lines that are going to be shut off, and they require an actuator to shut off the valves when necessary. Especially in retrofit buildings, the install can require significant amounts of plumbing work, which can be costly and disruptive to tenants.
It Helps Prevent Damage
Once the flood has occurred and shutting off the water systems is required, damage has already been done.
With early detection, the flood can be identified before the damage is done, helping to protect the integrity of the building.
Limited Incremental Benefits from Shut off Valves
With an early detection system, you’re able to gain access to valuable water insights. The robust functionality of sensors allows you to measure how much water is being used in various parts of the building, right down to the individual units in tenant spaces.
With shut-offs, the functionality is limited to the exact designated purpose: shutting off water.
Shut-Offs are More Disruptive
Shutting off the water means that water will have to be shut down across the building, and it means that a flood is already occurring. Without any warning, the tenants will have to lose access to their water for an undetermined amount of time. Furthermore, once the flood has occurred, tenants may need to be displaced out of areas where flood damage has already occurred.
We hope that this article has helped display the differences between an early detection system and a shut-off system. While the two can be used in conjunction, in our experience in response to floods, the difficulty is finding where the flood is, not where the valves are to be shut off. To learn more about the benefits of an early flood detection system, contact us today.
If you are a property manager or a superintendent, you may be asking yourself: how does a flood prevention system help me?
Let’s take a look at how flood prevention systems can help you, the building manager.
Prevention is easier to manage than floods
With a Connected Sensors system, we make prevention simple. Our dashboard gives you access to an overview of all the systems, and you’ll receive text and email alerts as soon as a flood is detected.
Without flood prevention, a flood can be a difficult event for a property manager or superintendent to deal with. The source of the flood needs to be found, valves need to be shut off, and tenants in affected areas need to be alerted. Once the flood has been stopped, the source requires repair, and then any damaged infrastructure needs to be repaired. Repairing damaged infrastructure can be a lengthy and costly process.
Flood prevention systems also provide water insights
In addition to providing you with water alerts, our flood prevention system is also able to give you an overview of your total building water consumption.
First, our product line includes items such as our Water Streamer, which can connect directly to water meters to provide you with live readings of your water. This can help you as the property manager monitor your water usage, helping you find improvements to lower your water bill.
Secondly, monitoring your water assists in determining future infrastructure upgrades, helping you prepare budgets for your condo board.
Thirdly, with our systems you can consider implementing submetering in your tenant’s spaces. With submetering, you can closely monitor the water usage of each tenant, and encourage responsible water usage by charging each tenant individually for their water.
Our dashboard also provides you with a full overview of your building at all times, giving property managers a high-level overview at your fingertips.
Happier tenants lead to a happier property manager
By preventing floods, you increase tenant satisfaction by ensuring there are no disruptions to either their workplace or living space. By utilizing early prevention over shutoffs, you also reduce the chances of shutting down water supply, which is highly disruptive to tenants.
Preventing floods is important for property management, building owners, and tenants. For building owners, it helps reduce the chances of costly repairs associated with floods, and for tenants, it reduces the chances of inconvenient interruptions. If you want to learn more about how a flood prevention system can help you, contact us today!
The condo insurance market is undergoing dramatic changes.
Approximately 48% of insurance claims in the high-rise market are due to water damage, compared to 18% of claims due to fire and 4% due to theft. COVID is changing how our buildings are being used. Weather-related claims are increasing. Underwriters are changing their approach. As a response to all of these changes, rates are increasing.
As the vast majority of insurance claims shift to floods, we are seeing the condo insurance market shift in response. Read more to learn about what some of these changes are.
Why is this shift occurring?
According to Canadian Underwriter, experts are blaming deteriorating infrastructure as a major factor in the increased insurance claims, pointing at aging and deteriorating pipes as a problem as water damage claims have almost tripled since 2013.
On top of increased claims, repairing the water damage is becoming more complex, driving up claims costs. Repairs need to be done with the correct new products, and tasks such as protecting against mold are more labour-intensive than they used to be due to the amount of infrastructure that needs to be replaced during the process.
How has COVID affected flood insurance claims?
With the pandemic keeping many businesses stay-at-home for well over a year now, high-rise buildings need to consider the effects of having large buildings empty in the long term. Pipes require winterization to prevent floods, and monitoring in case floods do occur. Water ingress – when outside water gets into a building – needs to be prevented, and the HVAC systems need to continue operating.
How are insurance companies changing?
Technological innovation is affecting how insurance underwriters work. Underwriters are on a path to becoming technological trailblazers, utilizing automation and leveraging technological tools to focus on higher-level challenges. Technology isn’t squeezing out underwriters, but rather a future tool that will be used to increase efficiency.
How are condos and tenants affected?
All of the changes above are affecting condo insurance, and the effects are directly affecting the condo owners. From 2019 to 2020, Ontario condo owners’ insurance rose by 8%. In Alberta and BC, the increases are even higher, at 20% and 18% respectively.
Ontario’s increase is attributed to a condo development boom, which corresponds to more insurance claims. Furthermore, aging infrastructure is affecting rates as well, as construction flaws become more apparent and claims in one condo can affect neighboring condos.
Lastly, severe weather events are occurring more frequently due to climate change, which can also affect condo insurance claims. Claims related to severe weather events reached $422 million nationwide in 2008, and $2 billion nationwide currently.
Claims made by the condo can increase insurance premiums, and the condos may pass these increased costs onto tenants through maintenance fees.
The insurance market is changing rapidly, and one of the best ways to protect your building and lower your rates is to invest in a water risk mitigation system. Contact us today for a quote.
When speaking with prospective clients, we often get asked if we can quantify the Return on Investment (ROI) of a Leak Detection System.
While there is no simple formula to calculate the ROI of a Leak Detection System, we will do our best to cover all the elements that can impact the ROI of such an investment while also sharing why we believe that such systems should be implemented for the purpose of good governance and risk management.
To better understand the need for such an investment, we have broken down our analysis into two segments. The first segment is focused on insurance and risk while the second segment is focused on operational advantages.
Insurance and Risk:
When it comes to insurance and risk, the first part is to identify the likelihood of water loss within the built environment.
After extensive research yet limited data points, we have found that according to this article published in the Canadian Underwriter, condos have more than a 30% chance of making a claim each year. While we encourage you to come to your own conclusions by using your own data set, one could assume that similar ratios would apply to multi-residential rentals and commercial high-rise. In addition, according to this study from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, water damage represents 48% of the claims, making water the most common cause of loss within the built environment. By utilizing the above 2 statistics, one could expect that condos, if not all high-rise buildings, have approximately a 14% chance of making a water claim each year or once every 7 years.
The second part is to evaluate the “size and/or magnitude” of this risk.
When evaluating the magnitude of this risk, you should take into consideration the ever increasing costs of insurance, your insurability, the size of loss, and the deductible payout in the event of a loss.
This recent Canadian Underwriter article indicates that while insurance costs have been on the rise now for a combined 13 consecutive quarters, there is no end in sight. For property owners and managers, this means that you need to continue to put energy in making your risk management more attractive to underwriters to ensure that insurance capacity can be carved out for your book of business at competitive market rates. As indicated in the above section, since water is the most common cause of loss within the built environment, it is only good governance to implement some form of water risk mitigation to appeal to the underwriter. In some market segments, the industry has seen insurance costs spike as high as 780% making it impossible for the landlord or condo board to recoup such an expense.
Given this hard insurance market and the capacity reduction resulting from the exit of many underwriters within the Commercial Property Insurance space over the last few years, property owners and managers have limited – if any – options when it comes to insurance. Some have even been denied coverage. Differentiating your risk profile can help create capacity and give you a competitive advantage in this market.
Size of Loss:
As it relates to water claims within the built environment, many articles have been written using different data points which identify that the average size of a claim ranges from $150,000 to $250,000. More importantly, it has been found that the cost incurred for such losses have increased by 400% over the past 10 years. Leveraging technology such as Flood Mitigation Systems to reduce the size of a water loss is a great way to reduce your loss impact.
Another very important element to consider is the size of your deductible. Over the last few years deductible payouts for some, if not most, have increased from $25,000 to $250,000 and even up to $500,000. What we have seen happen here is that the underwriters have effectively passed on the risk of claims beneath the deductible threshold to the property owners and managers. One can say that these property owners and managers are now self-insured until they reach a claim that exceeds the deductible payout, which may never happen if you are one of these individuals with a $250,000 to $500,000 deductible.
Some of the obvious benefits & savings that come from installing a Flood Mitigation System include avoiding:
Costly downtime from infrastructure repairs
Clean-up, remediation, and restoration of such incidents
Removal of hazardous materials such as asbestos
Tenant disruption and displacement
Some less obvious yet important advantages include:
Maintaining building Integrity
Often times when a leak happens, it can go unnoticed for a long period of time, which can deteriorate the integrity of your building’s infrastructure over time. By installing a flood mitigation solution, you can monitor the leaks inside your property and take immediate action when notified. Over time if your asset/building has been well attended to, your property can fetch a higher valuation than a comparable asset nearby that may be distressed due to damage over the years.
Automated Asset Protection:
Managing, maintaining, and monitoring a multi-story high-rise can be a laborious and daunting task. By leveraging technology such as a flood mitigation system to automate such arduous tasks, it can help reduce operational and payroll expenses.
Preventive maintenance and contractor truck roll:
By leveraging technology and installing a smart flow monitoring device as part of your Flood Mitigation System, you can effectively identify small leaks such as toilet and faucet repairs, issues with blow down cycles, and many other problems that can go undetected for long periods of time. It is estimated that 85% of properties lose 35% of their water due to leaks. As such, you can effectively reduce your contractor truck roll generating operational savings while also creating a preventive maintenance schedule that suits all stakeholders involved in managing and maintaining the property.
Leveraging Data Analytics:
By installing a Flood Mitigation Solution as part of your building, you can take advantage of the data aggregates that come from such a solution. For example, if multiple leaks have been identified on a riser over the last few years, this may be a great time to budget for a riser replacement in the next fiscal year.
Other operational advantages include:
Decreased water expenses
Reduced energy consumption
Improved environmental impact
Help achieving bold sustainable goals
We hope that our perspective on the ROI of a leak detection system can help you make a better informed decision as to whether or not a Flood Mitigation System should be part of your investment roadmap or not. If you have any questions as it relates to the advantages of such a solution, please do not hesitate to send us a message and we would be happy to discuss with you and your team.
This is always one of the first questions a potential client wants to know when they reach out to us. While the question of “how much does a commercial leak detection cost?” is a very challenging one to answer, we will try our best to explain some general pricing guidelines.
The purchase of a Water Risk Mitigation System is much like the purchase of a vehicle or even a home. With so many options available, price ranges can vary significantly. Just as a car can start around the $20,000 range with just a basic package, that same car can often exceed the $40,000 range if you start to add all the bells and whistles.
Given that most people change cars every 5 years or so, why do people still choose to purchase the extras when purchasing a car? It’s because in general, people understand the value of doing things right the first time and not having to redo things later down the road. People want to make sure their vehicle will provide them quality, longevity, and ease of use and those same principals apply to a Water Risk Mitigation System.
You are going to rely on your Water Risk Mitigation System to provide valuable insight of your water risk every minute of every day for as long as you can foresee. It is therefore critical to ensure you receive maximum value and minimum maintenance from your investment.
However, some companies choose to focus on the initial price of the system with the goal to find the cheapest vendor therefore sacrificing low-maintenance, quality, and warranty which more often than not leads to regrets – especially considering that unlike cars, you cannot trade in your Water Risk Mitigation System.
To simplify the system architecture, we have segmented the project types into 3 main categories: Retro-fit Market, New Buildings & Construction Phase. Under each of these segments we have created sub categories labelled as: Good, Better & Best Option to help our clients understand what and where we perceive value.
Average Commercial Leak Detection System cost based on a 100 unit Multi-Residential Property over a 5 year period of time:
How the installation affects the cost:
When someone inquires what is our Commercial Leak Detection System cost, the extent of installation is also a key factor. What we mean by this is that as a company, we have four different packages we offer our customers. Unlike most companies, we will do as much or as little as our customers would have us do. This flexibility leads to less stress and more savings for the customer.
The installation packages are as follows with their corresponding price ranges:
1. Self-Install (DIY):
This package includes the system and features to be shipped directly to the property. With our self-install program the property manager or building owner is responsible for all labor involved with the project, including deployment of the sensors, setting up the gateways, commissioning of the sensors on the platform, installation of electrical outlets as required, installation of valves as required, etc.
Although the concept of installing a Water Risk Mitigation System is not very complex, it does require some attention to detail and there is a small margin for error. We recommend self-install for larger companies with facility managers and/or subject matter experts on staff that can be dedicated to the install of such solutions.
The average company can expect to spend between 5 -10% of the value of the system on a self-install, based on the scope of the project and the options that come with it.
2. Pre-Configured Install:
This package includes the system and features to be shipped directly to the property, the sensors to be pre-configured on top of our dashboard, and the valve & actuator locations to be labelled and ready for your mechanical contractor to price and install.
The property manager or building owner is responsible for the labor involved with the project, including deployment of the sensors and gateways, contracting out the installation of electrical outlets as required, installation of valves as required, etc.
The average company can expect to spend between 10 – 15% of the value of the system on a Pre-Configured Install, based on the scope of the project and the options that comes with it.
3. Connected Sensors Tech Install:
This package includes the system and features to be shipped directly to the property, the sensors to be pre-configured on top of our dashboard, the valve & actuators locations to be labelled and ready for your mechanical contractor to install, and the sensors, gateways and actuators (if applicable) to be installed by our team of experts or contractors.
The property manager or building owner is responsible for the labor and parts cost of 3rd party contractors, such as the electricians and the plumber for outlets and valves etc.
The average company can expect to spend between 15 – 20% of the value of the system on a Connected Sensors Tech install, based on the scope of the project and the options that comes with it.
4. Turn-Key Install:
Many Property Managers would rather work with one company instead of many. We at Connected Sensors are one of the few companies that will offer our clients true “turn-key” installations. This package includes everything found in package #3 as well as the electrical and mechanical costs associated with the project.
The average company can expect to spend between 20 – 30% of the value of the system on a Turn-Key install, based on the scope of the project and the options that comes with it.
We hope that this article has helped you gain insight on the commercial leak detection system cost. You can visit our pricing page for further details or simply reach out to us using the “Request for Information” feature on our website.