Water Systems and Device Failure
Case Studies

Water Sprinkler Failure

RAH Consultancy were approached by a householder in Mexborough Yorkshire with regard to the freezing of the water system within his property. This occurred during the freezing weather in 2010 whilst the occupant was away on holiday.

The household is fitted with a fire sprinkler system protecting the ground floor of the property that was designed and installed by a company specialising in sprinkler installations. This system had burst which had resulted in considerable water damage to the residence. We were asked to inspect and comment upon the design and installation of this system with particular regard to frost protection.

We attended at the property and prepared a report which considered the information contained within BS 9251:2005 "Sprinkler systems for residential and domestic occupancies - Code of Practice."

The report concentrated on the requirements and obligations for the design and installation of the system and the failures of the installer. The result of the consultation was the complete replacement of all damaged building contents, and internal fittings at a cost of £30,000 by the installer's insurance company.

Underfloor Heating Consultation

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A solicitor approached RAH Consultancy with regard to the presumed failure of design in a underfloor heating system. Our work entailed a site inspection during which we investigated the nature and thickness of the floor finish on top of the underfloor heating. The heating system comprised five zones which it was claimed were inadequately designed.

Our investigations included studying the relevant standards and evaluating the heating requirements so as to establish the correct design parameters needed. Our advice was that although the workmanship of the installation was questionable the installation had been correctly designed but the efficacy of the heat output had been compromised by the addition of carpet and underlay subsequently placed on top of the wood flooring. 

Borehole System Examination


RAH Consultancy were asked to provide an experts report with regard to a borehole system feeding a number of remote properties in the north of England. The family living on one of the properties were experiencing health problems and were concerned about quality of their water supply.

Their solicitor engaged us to the inspect the water supply system, take water samples and instruct an approved laboratory on the required testing.

We examined the bore hole and the associated pipework against the requirements of the "Manual on Treatment for Small Water Supply Systems" and "The Water Regulations Guide".

Approximately 30 water samples were taken from various locations through the site using approved laboratory practice. iron stained water.

The property owners concerns were verified as the problems with the quality of the water included an excessive level of iron. The ppm (parts per million) level was outside the limits of the current water quality regulations and was also causing unsightly staining to the plumbing fittings. The presence of excessive iron with a potable water system is a danger to health and can cause severe health problems.

We provided a report on the borehole's non-compliance with water quality standards and produced a design for the rehabilitation of the supply, which include a new filtration system and a new testing and maintenance regime.

Kitchen & Bathroom Installation Problems

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A flat owner living in the West Country had engaged a local contractor to design and install a new en-suite bathroom and replace fittings within the kitchen area. Upon completion of the works problems were immediately apparent. Having failed to resolve shortcomings in the installation with the contractor the flat owner sought recompense via the small claims court. The Court instructed that a joint expert be engaged to examine the property.

RAH Consultancy inspected the property and prepared a report which highlighted problems with the use of some of the fittings. These included improper installation of the drainage system resulting in toilet blockages and overflowing of the shower tray. In addition, there were issues with the decorative finishes, such as badly applied uneven wall tiling and uneven floor tiling. Our experience makes us competent to comment on these issues.

The report submitted to the court concluded that in this case the works had not been carried out satisfactorily. Our report suggested a number of solutions to enable the problems to be rectified.

Serious Scalding Incident


We were approached by a major builder to conduct an audit of the evidence regarding an incident of scalding in the East of Scotland. The builder was recommended to our Consultancy by a major manufacturer of heating equipment: who was aware of our existence through their membership of the KIWA Certification Scheme.

It was agreed that we would have full access to all the information that was in the possession of the builders with regard to the scalding incident and that we would also be able to discuss the incident with concerned parties. The purpose of the investigation was to ascertain if, in our view there, was any action or inaction on the part of anyone involved that may have led to, or contributed to, this incident. We were to ascertain if there was any action that anyone might be required to take so as to limit any future possible occurrences. We were able to advise the client that they had fully complied with the requirements of national legislation and that we found no issues of malpractice. 

Issues Whilst Purchasing Gate Valves

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A major Scottish Water Undertaker contacted us regarding a tender which had been issued for the purchase of a large quantity of gate valves. This tender was for valves required for the mains service pipework throughout the authority.

The tender specified that these valves should meet the requirements of BS 5163. "Valves for waterworks purposes. Predominantly key/operated cast iron gate valves. Code of practice."

The tender was allocated an a competitive bid basis to an importer of water fittings. The Water Undertaker had reason to believe that these valves did not meet their tender specification. We were required to examine a number of these valves and compare the design and the materials of construction including the internal and external coatings against the specifications of BS 5163.

We were able to complete this work and our report concluded that the valves did not meet the tender specification due to failures in their design.

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