Significant water intrusion that is a bit mysterious

Folks, we ran into an issue in the basement car park for a Hi Rise residential building. This is the B1 level, first basement level under the ground (there is a lower B2 level as well). The ceiling of that basement has multiple areas of past water leaks that seems to have dried out at the time of our inspection. The building maintenance team says that the water keep dripping from one area then stop after a week or so and drips from another and hence the multiple areas we observed.
At this time, during our inspection, the leak is active near and around an exhaust duct penetration into the ceiling. This penetration is very close to the exterior wall.

I have attached few photos and IR images for you to view.
Apparently the building owner association has been wondering around with the issue for almost 6 months and they have hired multiple companies and no one seems to know the root cause and therefore the remedy?
Would appreciate ANY thoughts to what that could be given the below facts:

  1. The walls and the ceiling are reinforced concrete foundation walls and slab
  2. The Podium floor on top of this floor is another parking level but COMPLETLY dry
  3. There is a Pool in 1st Floor (On top of Podium), so it is two floors above the leak area
  4. The building maintenance guys think that this problem started when they filled the pool as it was empty for a period of time. Nothing documented but they think the problem started just about at the same time!
  5. Behind the foundation wall that is almost adjacent to the duct roof penetration (leaking area) is an abandoned land that seems to have a very high ground water that can bee seen with lots of water puddles appearing at the surface.
  6. The wet area on the wall is very limited to like 3 meter wide. Rest of the foundation wall that is further away from the duct penetration (leaky area) is completely dry
  7. The leak is not slight dripping. It is rather a lower pressure “shower like” dripping!



Will need a lot more information this does not sound like a typical inspection. I would think if you were hired to perform a root cause analysis you shouldn’t exclude anything. But here are my initial questions.

Where is the building is located?

Pictures from exterior?

Pictures of the level and location above the pictures you provided?

Location of any plumbing above the area in question?

If you’re digging deep for a cause, do you have access to the as built plans or the original Geotechnical Engineering Report?

Ground water levels fluctuate, do you have a recent log for depth of ground water? I’m not talking surface level water.

Temperature difference between level B1 and the level above?

That’s what I could think of right away.


Many thanks, Tony. All valuable comments and questions.
We still do not have many of it though as we were not “officially” hired yet. They invited us to give a proposal for root cause analysis and allowed all “bidders” a quick walk through to look around to decide if we will provide a proposal or not and what is the extent of the job to be able to price it accordingly.
Here are “some answers” to your questions:

  1. Building is in Dubai, UAE
  2. The surrounding of the building is two other buildings on the east and west side, street level on the north and an empty last on the south, which is the back of the impacted area
  3. I don’t have photos of the floor above but I have personally seen it and it is completely dry car park level with no signs of any plumbing work around
    All other questions are not available yet

How large is the pool?
Perhaps go to the hassle of emptying it & observe any difference.


There are two pools - One fairly large adult pool and the other is a small kids pool.
We actually mentioned that but the initial answer from building management is that the cost of refilling is significant and they do not want to go there unless they exhaust all other options!
I guess we can also stop the pool circulation on the interim and see. It is now 24 hours operation

This has been ongoing for some time.
Through concrete duct work?
Provide the humidity and temperature levels of concrete, ambient air and exhaust. Dew point.


1 Like

Being as you are located in the middle of a desert, a leak from the pool seems logical. Water can migrate a long way sometimes.

1 Like

Yes but the confusing part is that the pool and the pool pump room is two floors above the problem area and the level in between “Podium” is completely dry!

I had a similar moisture intrusion job in a large building in OKC we had a very large fountain inside on the first floor with moisture intrusion into a mechanical room in the basement but not below the fountain. Water is just like air it follows the path of least resistance. We drain the fountain and w-la the intrusion disappeared.


Thanks, Charley. That give us a hope that this might be the issue. I’ll start by stopping circulation of the pool then if no changes, I’ll recommend emptying it.

Also a a HVAC person I would recommend checking the supply air duct for missing insulation on the interior and check the air temp and dew point.

1 Like

Are you referring to possible condensation?



But the leak intensity is way more than condensation issue. It’s a running water almost

An old Indian trick for finding missing insulation on the interior of rectangular duct is to simply tap on the duct there is a different sound in the metal where no insulation is located.

1 Like

Is the HVAC duct chase accessible from above the B1 level? at the podium level?

1 Like

Yes it is available

Just thinking of all possibilities ya have only two sources of moisture discounting plumbing leaks

1 Like

Was that area examined carefully? is the duct inside and outside bone dry above the B1 level? was it examined inside with a camera? There are clear water deposit stains on the duct at the B1 level.

1 Like

I would also check the air handler condensate pan and ensure the drain is not overflowing into the duct.

1 Like