standing water in a house

Construction jobsites can be left unoccupied for periods of time and it is important to ensure that proper precautions are in place to help warn of potential water damage to the project.

Jobsites are prime targets for costly water damage, due to the unoccupied nature of buildings under construction and contractors regularly working on water systems. A key to preventing excessive water damage is fast notification of a water release. A jobsite without a monitoring system could be subject to days of water discharge. This can lead to enormous losses and schedule delays. A proactive approach is necessary to ensure quick notification of these losses. It is also critical that planning is done ahead of time so that added costs can be included into construction bids.


A recent LexisNexis Risk Solutions study1 revealed that water leak detection devices can help reduce water leak claims by as much as 96% and claim severity by as much as 72%. The study primarily focused on residential water damage though the principles are the same: quick notification in conjunction with active shutoff technologies can significantly reduce your exposure.

Active/passive monitoring

Water monitoring systems include active and passive devices. Passive devices sense a predetermined level of water, humidity or temperature and provide alarms or alerts on a local or remote basis. Passive systems can employ a single spot or multiple spot sensors to detect problems.

Active monitoring systems combine alert notifications with electronic or mechanical shutoff actions of the water itself. These systems often require a permanent power source near where the device is located, Wi-Fi connection and may require a plumber to install. Smart leak detection systems can be an active system or passive systems. These devices employ machine learning of water usage patterns and will notify in the event of an anomaly. Some smart systems include active capabilities to shut off water in the event of a deviation.

Customization and capabilities

Each jobsite is unique so planning your system is important. Based on the exposed areas and the notification system preferred, access to Wi-Fi or cellular networks may be necessary. Signal boosters may also be required depending on the area being protected. Notification methods range from audible alarms to cellular text notifications. Systems can use one or more types of sensors:


  • Spot detectors are placed in a pre-determined location on flat surfaces. When probes or sensors come in to contact with water, it sends a notification or rings an alarm. These sensors can be used near high-risk appliances, in basements, elevator shafts, electrical and mechanical rooms, storage rooms or anywhere where water damage poses a significant risk.


  • Excess humidity can be a signal that water damage has occurred. These sensors will notify you once the humidity exceeds your specified limit. These sensors are best used in connection with flood/leak alarms.


  • Temperature sensors can provide notification and or alarms when temperatures fall below a pre-set level. For example, the National Fire Protection Association requires wet sprinkler piping to be maintained at 40° F or above. Temperature sensors could be placed in attics or other areas of the building that may be subject to freezing temperatures.

Setting up a PLAN

Assemble key stakeholders and ASSESS the jobsite water damage exposures.

Design a monitoring solution that addresses your needs.

Implement and test your monitoring solution to ensure performance meets your expectations

Monitor your project for water damage hazards. Ensure multiple contacts are configured to receive notifications. Setup a plan to respond to a water damage emergency. See Nationwide’s Water Damage Response Planner.

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