A friend of mine is a project manager for a new development of 80 apartments that’s just a couple of weeks away from handover and occupation. He got a call over the weekend from site security about a flood. By the time the fire brigade had arrived and turned off the water 14 of the apartments and the businesses below them had been subjected to severe water damage.

This particular site is well run and remedial action soon kicked in; secure the site, isolate the power, turn-off the water, notify the insurance company, let the building owner know the bad news, contact the estate agents to inform the tenants they wouldn’t be moving in before Christmas, and find out why it happened.

The cause was traced to a faulty sprinkler head which had been discharging for several hours before it was discovered. Apparently the flood was 100mm deep in the apartments and communal areas, with damage in the stairwells and to the lifts. The flooring in the affected apartments was ruined, some of the kitchens were damaged, and the electrics were also affected. The remedial action will include new underlay and carpets, dehumidifier and re-decoration, and cutting out 500mm of the plasterboard in the rooms before replacement and redecoration. All in all a headache for everyone concerned and lots of work in figuring out the replacement and remedial costs. Fortunately this happened whist the developer was still on-site and the PM had access to all the necessary information and personnel to put things right.


What would have happened if this flood occurred a couple of years down the line? These apartments will not have a concierge or a full time building supervisor, and by that time the overseas developer and project manager will have moved on to new ventures. The building maintenance would be under a management contract, and they might not be able to easily access the information.


This is when good room data can help in saving time and money. Obviously, it wouldn’t  do anything to solve the cause of the issue, but having chapter and verse information on the FFE of the affected apartments would help the management company. All the necessary information including dimensions, finishes, specifications and suppliers would be available from the room database stored in the cloud to help them resolve the situation efficiently.

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