Eleventh: don’t be surprised

Artiom Komardin, CSO 30 July 2020 Warning: Undefined variable $post_categories_list_lenght in /usr/home/sense/domains/ on line 162 Kategoria: Expert advice, Water on the roof
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Working in the industry related to intelligent flat roof safety management, we have encountered many situations. Our customers have grappled with diverse, unique challenges. Therefore, fewer and fewer things are able to surprise us.

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Today we want to share our knowledge with you. Topics that are little known, not widely publicised, and yet crucial for the safety of the people and equipment in buildings. But we don’t just want to publicise such issues, above all, we would like to give you tips on how to prepare for them. And you can do this with our two flagship products: the Sense S-One sensor and the DSW sensor.

Dura lex, sed lex

It is no exaggeration to say that construction law remains a fundamental piece of legislation for many of us. It would seem that this particular piece of legislation is well known. But are you sure? Let’s turn our attention to article 61 of Polish Building law — especially up-to-date in the period of climatic turbulences affecting us. Its provision imposes on owners of buildings the obligation to “use the facility safely in case of occurrence of external factors affecting the facility, connected with human activity or forces of nature”.

What does this provision mean in practice? First and foremost, it implies that ensuring safety by the owner or manager is not limited to constructing a facility that can withstand heavy rainfall, snowfall or other phenomena. Article 61 means that it is necessary to:

  • to inspect the condition of the building — especially the roof — on an ongoing basis;
  • to have an up-to-date knowledge of the condition of the building;
  • to take measures to increase safety.

Ongoing inspections – what does this mean?

Every building must undergo regular annual technical inspections. The legislator imposes an obligation on owners and managers to prevent the deterioration of the “functional properties and technical efficiency” of buildings. But according to point 2 of article 61, such inspections should also take place when the building is exposed to “external factors”. That is, in short: a large and sudden downpour, prolonged rainfall, whirlwind, or other weather phenomena which are becoming more and more common in Poland.

Do such checks take place? We know from our own experience that they do not. It is not customary to verify the safe use of a building after a storm has passed. The most important thing is not that such negligence remains illegal as defined in the aforementioned article of the Building Law. What is much more important is that an insufficient inspection translates into a lower level of safety for people and property in the building.

Up-to-date knowledge about the condition of the building

The effect of such inspections is that the building manager has precise knowledge about the condition of the building. He knows what needs to be repaired or invested in. He also knows, how his building endures various unpredictable phenomena, e.g., cloudbursts or long-lasting heavy snowfalls. This gives him the comfort of knowing that he is watching over everything. This state is not only the result of inspections initiated after the “occurrence of external factors”. Technologically advanced tools for safe building management provide equally valuable information. The development of seamless wireless technologies, reliable clouds providing access to unlimited data, and last but not least, smartphones with high computing power that can handle any application. All of this provides a toolkit for intelligent security management of buildings, including flat roofs.

Solutions that make sense: Sense S-One and DSW sensor

At Sense Monitoring, we have created a tool that fully meets the responsibilities defined by the aforementioned Article 61. This is the Smart Roof Platform, which enables the condition of the structure to be checked at any time. It provides current information about the roof 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore, it informs in advance about weather phenomena that may affect the level of safety in the building.

Sense S-One sensors are used for precise monitoring of structural deflections. Another type of sensor is the DSW sensor. Monitoring of roof drains provides information about the amount of water accumulated on the roof and the time of occurrence of water ponding. Data from both types of sensors are sent to the Smart Roof Platform. Importantly, the Platform can be used to manage the building network from the level of a mobile or web application. Its latest option is weather forecasting, which further reduces what was previously unpredictable and could have been a surprise. The graphic below shows recorded water pile-ups of up to 120-180 millimeters. This corresponds to 120-180 kilograms per square meter, which is a multiple of the snow load the roof was designed for.

It is after such precipitation that a safe use inspection should be carried out in accordance with sec. 4) section 1 of Art. 62 of the Building Act.

Do not give the insurer an excuse

Every year, between spring and autumn, there are a dozen or so serious construction accidents in Poland. Roofs are torn off under the influence of rain, buildings are flooded, clients or employees are evacuated. Production or other business activities have to be halted because of roof failure. Ongoing climate change can only exacerbate this state of affairs. Article 62 therefore makes sense. It is worth answering the question whether you are prepared to meet it. We would be happy to help you retrofit your buildings so that they are ready not only to meet the obligations of the aforementioned article – but also to be ready for any other unexpected events.

Our Smart Roof Platform support will also prepare you for the meeting with the insurance company. If there is an unpleasant incident of a flat roof failure, the insurer will certainly verify your attitude and preventive measures. If it concludes – based on historical weather data and your technical building book – that you have neglected Article 62, it will certainly refuse to insure you. You will not be able to compensate for the repair of the roof or make up for the financial losses caused by the forced stoppage of work. However, if you show him that your building has been equipped with the Intelligent Roof Platform, which allows for de facto daily technical inspections, then it will be really difficult for him to present arguments proving your omissions.

If you want to take care of your roof in an intelligent way, it is worth using not only the Sense S-one sensors, but also the DSW sensors.


Artiom Komardin, CSO
inżynier budownictwa z pełnym zakresem uprawnień. Absolwent Politechniki Krakowskiej oraz UJF Grenoble. Ekspert w zakresie budynków wielkopowierzchniowych, autor kilkudziesięciu ekspertyz i opinii konstruktorskich. Współzałożyciel oraz wiceprezes firmy Sense Monitoring sp. z o.o. dostarczającej platformę Inteligentny Dach do zarządzania ryzykami dachów płaskich.