Today’s healthy construction activity is a boon for an industry that’s waited years to recover, but Florida-based Liberty Building Forensics Group® (Liberty) warns that a risk manager’s biggest nightmare could come true if steps aren’t taken to prevent moisture damage in warm, humid climates.
Construction risk management experts acknowledge water to be a leading cause of damage at construction sites.
Historically, Liberty has found humidity-based building damage to be 100 times more costly than acute water damage (pipe breaks/storms/flooding). Ironically, comprehensive water prevention strategies rarely focus on humidity issues.
“While the average water damage claim is $147,000, we routinely see humidity-related claims of $15M or more,” said George DuBose, Liberty’s President. “Humidity often damages complete systems (like ductwork) or ruins interior finishes such as drywall or ceilings, which requires large sections of buildings to be completely replaced.”
Acute water damage is usually contained and quickly remediated. Humidity-related damage tends to be widespread and takes longer to resolve, leading to significant construction delay claims.
Contractors must work closely with designers at every stage of construction to consider humidity control, so that uncontained moisture isn’t sealed into systems only to be found at a later date. It is essential that all building systems are turned on in the proper sequence.
Liberty has found that conducting a quality peer review is one of the most effective problem avoidance techniques. Analysis of building design alone is not enough; a peer review must also examine how a building will be commissioned.