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Why It's Right To Be Water Tight

 

Today, across Asia, waterproofing defects are still consistently rated as the most common recurring construction defect, which poses a risk for modern buildings and the safety of occupants. Hence, it is crucial that quality waterproofing materials should be front-of-mind for engineers, particularly during the planning stage.

Quality waterproofing also delivers peace of mind for building owners, reduces maintenance costs, and enhances the long-term valuation of the property. By working with the right waterproofing expert and materials, engineers can avoid many teething problems for themselves and the proprietors:  

  • Water seeping into walls and tiles can create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, resulting in stench that renders building spaces uninhabitable
  • Seepage may also affect electrical fixtures, short circuiting lights and other appliances, creating unnecessary liability issues for all the parties involved
  • Prolonged exposure to moisture could lead to corroded reinforcement beams in concrete, thus weakening the overall building integrity

 

As space becomes scarce in metropolises like Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok, buildings with deeper basements will be more frequent. Moreover, we are seeing increasingly more office and retail applications for these underground spaces. Should these basement areas leak, the implications could be disastrous, not only in terms of revenue loss but also repair cost for building owners.

 


With that in mind, here are some of the best waterproofing practices which you can consider: 

  • Getting the waterproofing expert involved right from the start

    Working with the right waterproofing solutions provider early can help prevent headaches later, both at the job site and having to deal with repair works after completion. These specialists have the in-depth knowledge to understand project requirements, and local waterproofing standards to offer a suitable and holistic waterproofing solution.   

    More importantly, they can also provide end-to-end consultation, from the preliminary design stage to conducting on-site job inspection during the application process.   In fact, according to the British Standard, BS 8102:2009 clause 4.2, a waterproofing specialist should be included as part of the design team so that an integrated waterproofing solution is created.

  • Understand the client's requirement on type of internal environment needed

    Understanding the use of the space, client's specific requirements on the internal environment, and local waterproofing standard, will go a long way towards deciding on the type of waterproofing needed.
  • Specifying the right material for the right application area

    It may be easy, and sometimes tempting, to deploy just one type of waterproofing for the entire structure, although this is not advisable. For example, a cementitious waterproofing material may be sufficient for internal wet areas, but in reality, is really not recommended for basement or roof waterproofing. 

    For details of how a dual-waterproofing solution was provided for luxury waterfront residences, please refer to "The Sandy Island and Kasara, The Lake at Sentosa Cove, Singapore" case study.

  • Ensuring professional installation so waterproofing material performs as stated

    Lacklustre on-site preparation and application can affect waterproofing performance. For instance, improper preparation of the substrate can reduce the waterproofing material's effectiveness. Proper supervision is also important, not only during waterproofing application, but also when other trades are working over the membrane, to prevent inadvertent damage.

 

Structural compromise due to poor waterproofing occurs more commonly than we might think. As urban space becomes more limited, buildings will have to either go deeper or higher, presenting more complex challenges when it comes to building structure and safety. 

Additionally, weather conditions in tropical Southeast Asia can be very unpredictable, with flash floods and rains occurring randomly throughout the year. Taking everything into consideration, waterproofing needs to be seen as a key factor in ensuring structural integrity.

 

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