In the pipeline - DIY Plumbing Tip #22 - Melbourne Leak Detection - What can go Wrong

January 06 2015

​The following is a list of common mistakes made by both the DIY home handyman and the so-called experienced/qualified contractor.

*The big guess!! - This is the number one common mistake, where big guesses are made and numerous holes are knocked in walls, ceilings and floors. We call it the ‘Swiss Cheese Technique’.

*Small brains and big hammers!! - This common strategy involves acting before you think and plan and often results in the ‘Swiss Cheese Effect’.

*Destructive testing!! - This common technique involves knocking holes in walls, floors, driveways, etc in the hope of narrowing the search area. Again the end result is time wasting, large cost and a big mess.

*Doing nothing!! - This is a surprisingly common strategy which often results in extensive and expensive restoration costs and is definitely in the top five of mistakes made in relation to leak detection!!

*Utilising the least expensive option!! - This common technique often proves to be extremely costly as expensive guesswork is made which results in large exploratory and resultant water damage costs..

Case Study:

In the first quarter of 2014 we were engaged to find and fix significant water leak in a large commercial property in the outer eastern Melbourne suburb of Dandenong. The property was a large contemporary residential home with significant areas of concrete. The client had previously engaged a local emergency plumber and a series of holes had been cut/knocked in the concrete slab floor and footings of the building. Our experienced leak detection specialist used line tracing equipment to map out where the water pipes ran in the concrete floors and associated masonry walls and then used thermal imaging equipment to narrow the search area. We presented our findings and management plan to the client advising that the water leak was in a large concrete footing and that replacing the existing water service was the best long-term strategy. Fortunately the client agreed with our management proposal and we ran a new by-pass water pipe. Although this was a more expensive strategy, it eliminated the possibility of causing more damage to the building and provided a black-and-white end result. Structural damage caused to one of the concrete footings by their previous contractor was significant and associated engineering costs were substantial.


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