Leak detection devices can help protect your Community Association and its residents. David Zilenziger from Aware Buildings shares more.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about Aware Buildings?
Sure. Aware Buildings started over six years ago by the founder of BuildingLink. We pioneered high-rise property management software, and we are now pioneering the high-rise hardware space – using wireless sensors. We bring nearly 25 years of experience in the field of real estate technology, with a deep commitment to customer service.
What problems do you aim to solve with Aware Buildings’ Leak Detection solution?
We catch leaks – plain and simple! This is done by setting up a network of sensors throughout the building, both in common areas – like boiler rooms or laundry rooms – and in individual apartments – say under a sink or behind a refrigerator. The moment water is detected, alerts are sent to building staff via text, email, and/or an audio announcement to the concierge (using Aware’s ‘Annunciator’ speaker).
How much would a leak detection solution cost?
Well, how much did repairs cost after your last major leak? The solution costs less than that! But in all seriousness, given the quality of the solution we provide, it’s very reasonable. Our customers usually spend anywhere between $3k and $10k a year for whole-building, in-suite monitoring and common areas like laundry and boiler rooms after initial equipment costs.
Do you have a typical type of customer?
Our typical customer is a residential multi-family building that has a 3-year or longer history of annoying or expensive leak issues or has had one catastrophic leak – and are at the point that they want the pain and disruption to just END. Some need mechanical room or common area protection – some need detection at every apartment sink, washing machine, and dishwasher. We also serve the needs of some commercial properties and hotels.
Is my building too big or too small?
Nope. We install leak detection solutions ranging from just 20 sensors per building to over 3,000 sensors.
Do you need to be a techie to install this?
Not at all! That’s one of the really nice things about our solutions. A superintendent could install the hubs (they just require a power outlet and ethernet cable) and set up an entire building by simply scanning and naming the sensors – using nothing more than a smartphone. It takes about 30 seconds for a single sensor to be set up. But if further help is needed, we offer unlimited engineering and technical support for however long a customer needs it.
Can Aware’s leak detection solution help reduce my insurance costs?
Maybe. The single biggest contributor to increase premiums are losses. Insurance companies review the loss runs each year to decide whether they want to provide a renewal quote. Any time insurance is remarketed to other carriers for an alternate quote, the broker must supply five years of loss runs. These loss runs show any claims reported and how much it cost the insurance company to adjust them. Aware’s leak detection solution can help prevent or reduce water damage claims, which will make your loss history more attractive and thus, help keep premiums and deductibles lower over the course of time.
What is the return on investment for something like this?
Potentially huge. Water leaks are a problem for most buildings, and the problem is getting worse as they age. We typically encounter boards whose most recent leak caused over $100k in damages. For many customers facing ever-increasing deductibles, this can easily be an out-of-pocket expense and a major inconvenience to schedule contractors to conduct repair work. Many of our customers see our solution as offering them a great return on their investment.
How is this different from the other leak-detection solutions out there?
Aware Buildings is a commercial-grade, centralized solution that places a huge premium not only on reliability but on customer service as well. Many competing products out there might be suitable for single-family homes but lose their value in high-rise property environments where the frequency of leaks and damages can be a lot higher. Retail products are paired with individual residents’ Wi-Fi. This becomes a problem if one resident happens to have internet issues or has their service suspended. This small detail can have dire consequences to the rest of the building. With Aware Building’s solutions, these risks are not a factor. Also, because Aware Building is a centralized solution, it gives building management a complete view of how the building is functioning in real-time, giving them greater control and means to be more proactive.
Is leak detection the only solution Aware offers?
No. The same sensors we use for leak detection can also monitor temperature and humidity, which helps building managers detect other problems like overheating of elevator rooms and control panels. The sensors also report accelerometer data – and can be installed on gym equipment to monitor usage – letting residents know what’s available and allowing property managers to see historic equipment usage statistics. It’s a very versatile network.
Can buildings expand their monitoring efforts?
Yes! Very easily. Once a solution is set up, additional sensors can be added to the network; building managers can expand their monitoring efforts however they wish. For example, some of our customers have created a “lending library” of sensors for their snowbird residents – who will drop a sensor into their kitchen sink before taking off for several weeks or months; (Kitchen sinks have been known to back up and cause some bad leaks). When they return home, they return that sensor back to the superintendent.
What exactly is the technology behind Aware Buildings?
Our solutions rely on what is known as the LoRaWAN protocol. Our highly advanced, custom-built sensors can transmit data through concrete and long distances, creating a huge advantage over earlier “smart building” monitoring solutions. Any solution we deploy is made up of a single network consisting of sensors, hubs, and a cloud-based server. Once dropped into place, a sensor begins to send data to “listening hubs” placed throughout the building as needed. This data gets relayed to a central server, where it is processed and triggers any alerts.
Where is Aware Buildings located?
We are headquartered in New York City. But if you’re asking where you’ll find our solutions deployed – so far, they’re in buildings across the US, Canada, the UK, and Ireland!
How can we learn more about Aware Buildings?
You can visit us at www.awarebuildings.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We like to start by getting a clear understanding of the building’s leak issues or areas of concern. If a board expresses real interest in setting up a test for their building, we’re happy to arrange for that. We frequently present our solutions over Zoom at board meetings, which gives everybody a chance to learn more about how they can solve their building’s leak problems and ask lots of good questions!