Rain, rain, and more rain

8 March 2022
By The Remedial Management Team

If you live in Sydney you know that the end of Summer and the first weeks of Autumn have been unprecedented. The premier has called it 1 in 1000 year storms. There is extensive flooding all the way from Queensland – where they have tragically lost 13 lives – down to the southern suburbs of Sydney.

As you have no doubt read and seen in the news, across social media, and maybe even heard from family and friends, Tweed Heads, Richmond, Port Macquarie, the Northern Beaches, Milperra, and The North Coast are some of the suburbs sadly in the headlines on a regular basis. The Georges River, the Hawkesbury River, and damns across the greater Sydney area are all bursting at the seams. And whilst these suburbs and areas may be mentioned more often, that should not take away anything from the devastation affecting many more suburbs and the tens and tens of thousands of people across the state. Whether it is flash flooding, leaks in roofs, windows that can no longer take the pounding, people across the Eastern Seaboard of Australia have had more than 2 weeks of relentless rain and the effects are likely to be showing.

Impact on Buildings

Whether you live in an apartment or work in a commercial building, chances are that you have seen the effects of the rain – and not from looking out the window. In the deluge that has been battering the city for as long as it has, chances are your building may be starting to show signs of water ingress. Here are a few reasons why you may have water coming in:

  • The sheer volume of water on your roof meant the water level went above the turn-ups on your waterproofing and got in behind
  •  The water level or the fact that there has been so much rain has meant water has risen above the flashings and down into the cavity
  • The sealant around the windows has cracks or is not water-tight, allowing water in
  • Drains in the building are overflowing and water is finding the next lowest spot
  • Water has been sitting on parapet walls. The longer it has sat there, the more it has permeated through the paint and coatings and now is flowing downwards causing bubbling
  • Water has risen above your hobs on balconies or other outside doors
  • You have pinhole cracks somewhere in the facade and the driving rain and water has created a vacuum which is sucking more water in.

Things you need to know about water leaks

First up, you need to know, not all the above are signs of building failure given weather such as this. Where the rain has simply pooled in quantities too extreme for even the best of forward planning measures, some level of leakage and damage can and should be expected. Sure, it is very annoying and, yes, you should get it all checked once the rain recedes, but not all water ingress is a sign of failure.

Rather, the list above needs to be split out to identify those issues which do require more immediate attention, less they stay untreated and cause more, and escalating problems. Our advice is this: If you are a resident in a commercial or multi-tenanted residential building, these are the things you need to be wary of, and take prompt action on:

  • Cracks that appear in your facade 
  • Windows that have not kept the water out
  • Flashing that has been compromised as a result of the water
  • First signs (or even extensive) rust stains which appear to come out of the walls
  • Internal drips and leaks which are not underneath an obvious source of a leak, thus indicating water is tracking along structural elements
  • Movement in the facade, or erosion around retaining walls due to the effect of gushing water
  •  Balcony Tiles that move or are drummy (sound hollow when tapped or walked on) after the rains subside
  • Evidence of damaged expansion joints or silicon sealants
  • Water trapped under your waterproofing membranes on your flat surfaces.

A final thought

Above all, everyone here at Remedial hopes that as you read this, you are safe, you are relatively dry, and that your lives are not impacted too much by this weather. If, once the weather has gone back to normal programming (but hey, what does normal even mean these days?) you do need someone to take a look at your place, give our team a call. Please note, whilst we would love to help everyone, our specialty is large building repair for commercial, industrial and multi-tenanted residential, and not houses and homes.