Last edited 27 Nov 2020

Leaks in buildings

Water tap.jpg

The term ‘leak’ refers to the accidentally loss or admission of something through a hole, crack, or some other permeability. It most commonly relates to liquids or gases, but might also refer to some solids that can behave in a fluid manner, such as sand.

In the construction industry, leaks might refer to:

Leaks can result from:

Because of the tendency for leaking materials to move, leaks can be difficult to detect, and their causes can be difficult to trace and rectify.

Leaks that go unrepaired can result in significant losses. A tap leaking just once every 6 seconds can discharge almost 100 litres in a month. In a review of water company performance published in 2019, it was reported that 3.17 billion litres of water leaks from the water distribution network every day in England and Wales (Ref

Leaking water or mains gas can be very damaging and sometimes dangerous, whilst leaks of some refrigerants, oil and so on can be damaging to the environment.

When repairing leaks, it is important to identify the actual source of the leak, and to repair the problem that has caused it before repairing any of the subsequent damage that may have resulted from the leak.

NB Leakage can also refer to '...the leakage of benefits intended for a recipient group or area into another group or area.' Ref The Green Book, Central Government Guidance On Appraisal And Evaluation, Published by HM Treasury in 2018.

Note The 2020 Green Book suggests ‘Leakage is the extent to which effects “leak out” of a target area into others e.g. workers commuting into other areas to take up new employment opportunities.’

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