Water Seepage -A Bigger problem than you would expect

Water Seepage is one of the more common nuisances amongst Hong Kong's residential flats and the number of cases is also on the rise. According to the Joint Office of the Buildings Department ("BD") and the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department ("FEHD") ("JO") the cases rose from 21,717 to 27.896 from 2008 to 2014 (in 1st 9 months of 2015. 20,199) and we can only imagine there will be more case going forward as more buildings age.

There are 4 common causes of water seepage including:

  • Leakages in the drainage pipes of the upper. Adjacent or your own flat
  • Leakage in water supply of the upper. Adjacent or your own flat
  • Deteriorated waterproofing of floor slabs or bath-tub seals
  • Seepage of waster water or rain water through roof/external wall

Water seepage at the beginning may not seem to be a big issue. As usually its only a small stain on the ceiling or the wall. However if you leave it for too long. It could lead to more critical problems down the road such as spalling of concrete or debonding of tiles which may cause injuries. More importantly, if the leakages are due to damage of drainage pipes. Then fould odour and impact on health will also be the main points of worry.

WHAT DO I DO IF THERE ARE WATER SEEPAGES IN MY FLAT?

First of all, you ought to investigate the case of the seepage (i.e. Where its coming from?)

A couple of question to ask

  • Location of the dampness (whether its near bathroom/kitchen walls, ceiling etc)

  • Does it coincide with the weather? (could be due to rain fall which would be relevant to external wall seepages)

  • Is the dampness intermittent? (If yes, then likely its from soil/waste pipes. If no, likely water supplies, which would be more regular)

 

If you reasonable doubt that the seepages originate from your neighbour above you. You should immediately notify:

  1. The owners' Corporation of your building
  2. The Management Office
  3. Approach your Neighbour

For investigation and repair work to resolve the problem. Pictures should also be taken on a periodic basis to serve as evidence.

If the seepage has posed a sanitary nuisance (i.e. from soil pipes). You have the option to contact the JO at their Office (http://www.fehd.gov.hk/english/comments/joint_offices.html) or via "1823" for assistance. Upon receipt of the seepage complaint. The Joint Office will carry out a preliminary investigation and if they can identify the source, they will issue a nuisance notice directing to the person responsible to fix the problem. HOWEVER, if the seepages is mild or intermittent or if the source of seepage cannot be identified after investigation. Government intervention will cease. Which means you have to deal with it yourself.

Typically, this process takes weeks if not months, as there will plenty of logistics phone calls, arrangements and coordination work involved. Especially when part of the investigation will involve testing in your neighbor's flat. In the unfortunate case that your neighbor is not so cooperative or there are damages involved. You should with the engagement of a building professional or legal consultant request the responsible person to stop seepage in accordance with the provisions under the Dead of Mutual Covenant or even lodge a claim for damages.

While V Repair does not cover for the expenses and/or service fees incurred. We will help our customers in coordination and arrangements of different parties such that our customers in coordination & arrangements of different parties. Such that our customers can be shielded from the daily frustrations and worries.