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Traditionally the majority of properties in the UK are fed with cold water from a towns main supply. Those in Southern England, apart from a kitchen sink, commonly make use of water storage tanks to feed taps while in Northern England the practice is to feed all cold water taps directly.
Boosted water supplies are found where pressure is an issue due to poor water mains pressure or the building height e.g. in medium and high rise building(s).
In these cases water is supplied from the mains supply to a small break (storage) tank in the ground or basement of the building and then boosted by an electric pump (s) throughout the property.
These are often fully packaged sets delivered to the building site for ease of installation.
Fractured Pipe Risk
With boosted water supplies there is always a potential risk of a vacuum occurring in the top of the riser pipe(s) in the building.
This can occur when the water supply is temporarily withdrawn.
Usually this is the result of one of the following:
When water is returned the sudden increase in flow, in to the riser pipe, will rapidly pressurize the partial vacuum ultimately causing a sudden stop in the liquid flow, causing a back surge. Any weak joints are likely to absorb the pressure and fail, causing flooding. Certain protection, such as gas filled expansion vessels and arrestors may be too slow or these devices may not be correctly located.
Damage to residential and commercial properties with boosted water systems is occurring and these incidents can result in wide spread damage. In residential blocks this can result in a large number of the apartments being made uninhabitable with alternative temporary accommodation being required.
The use of dry linings and laminate flooring in modern apartments often adds to the damage.
Also the resulting insurance claim can be challenging due to the various interests presented by the property owners, housing associations, private buy-to-let and tenants renting.
Key Action Steps
Additional Sources of Information
Aviva Hardfacts sheets - Weather and Non-Weather related damage at our Knowledge Store:
CIPHE (Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers) at www.ciphe.org.uk/
WIAPS (Water Industry Approval Scheme) at www.wras.co.uk/WIAPS/
CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers) standards at: www.cibse.org/
HVCA Guides at: http://www.hvca.org.uk
Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 2000. BS6700:2006 Design, installation, testing and maintenance of services supplying water for domestic use within buildings and their curtilages: specification.
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.
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