It’s just one of those facts of life in Property Management. Moisture inside the office building is the enemy. To fight the enemy, we work hard to prevent leaks. Yet, if it rains hard enough or long enough, leaks will happen despite our best efforts.
It never ceases to amaze me how many times water penetration is the result of a previous repair to brick, flashing, or mortar can actually create a situation where the water can come in. The thing is, brick masons don’t necessarily know how to prevent leaks, and people who know how to prevent leaks aren’t necessarily brick or stone masons. And leaks don’t just come through the roof, water can come through failed window seals, improperly installed flashing, brick that has shifted and cracked the mortar, and so on. The older a building gets, the more these items fail and the water comes in.
So how to figure it all out & get on top of the problem? I think one major way is what I would call “institutional knowledge.” You have to have at least two good exterior waterproofing vendors who you trust to bring the trades in line with best practices in waterproofing. In addition, a good “envelope” consultant can provide peace of mind that the right steps are being done to accomplish the objective because they will help you find and correct mistakes at the time of repair. And finally, practice vigilance. Let no leak go or compromise on quality of the repair. Long term, if you do these things, you will make great strides in keeping the inside dry, and your tenants will know you are doing all you can, and that goes a long way to keeping the relationships good when a leak does happen.