I’m an engineer
structural waterproofing for engineers
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO STRUCTURAL WATERPROOFING
Think of the buildings that people recognise as great buildings: The Shard, The Empire State Building, The Sydney Opera House. Those buildings are not only aesthetically intriguing, but have to work within the bounds of the underlying logic systems not only of their own structural and material make-up, but that of the enviornment which surrounds them . As engineers, it’s your job to take a paper-based ideal and translate it into a real-world scenario, ensuring it’s robust enough to weather the elements and perform its specified function.
BS8102, the British Standard Code of Practice for Structural Waterproofing, has a very simple underlying purpose: it directs designers in making decisions that will result in successful basement waterproofing systems, capable of withstanding even the worst circumstances of water pressure and presence in the surrounding area. Should anything go wrong down the line, the system should allow for simple remedial measures that make minimal demands on time and money. As engineers, nine times out of ten (and unless you’re designing a giant fish tank!), you’ll need to ensure the structure you are devising remains dry. With basements, this can be done in three ways:
1) Type A – You stop water coming in using a barrier protection;
2) Type B – You stop water coming in structurally;
3) Type C – You accept that water is going to come in and deal with it.
the engineering and design team
Traditionally it has been the architect’s or engineer’s role to draw up and recommend the waterproofing design for below ground projects. However, the vast majority of architects and engineers will readily acknowledge that they do not have the training or expertise to undertake this specialist function. With the recent trend for digging down and the rise of the so-called ‘iceberg home’, structural waterproofing is becoming more frequently required than ever, with architects and engineers increasingly being faced with designs outside of their traditional remits and training. The latest edition of BS8102 recognises this problem and has addressed it by recommending that every design team incorporates a Waterproofing Design Specialist. This is set out in section 4.2 of BS 8102:2009 under the heading “Design Team”. The code states that “A waterproofing specialist should be included as part of the design team so that an integrated waterproofing solution is created. The waterproofing specialist should:
a) be suitably experienced;
b) be capable of devising solutions that accommodate the various project constraints and needs;
c) provide the design team with information and guidance that assists with and influences the design, installation and future maintenance of the waterproofed structure.
NOTE: The waterproofing specialist could be the manufacturer or material supplier, provided that the manufacturer/supplier has the relevant expertise.”
Pay particular attention to the bold, underlined section of the above quote from BS8102. This, in any other circumstance, would probably cause some alarm bells to ring for the purchaser. You can walk into car manufacturer’s dealership and speak to a salesman. But we all know that they aren’t going to give you the car that matches your needs, they are going to try and sell you something bigger, shinier, faster and, most importantly, more expensive! The same principle applies here: a product manufacturer will sell their product to you. uct manufacturer will sell their product to you.
what is a waterproofing design specialist?
Waterproofing design specialists can, in theory, be anybody who is able to provide expertise in structural waterproofing. However, identifying those that have the appropriate skills and knowledge from those who don’t can be difficult and daunting. Singling out a seasoned expert from an enthusiastic salesman, even more so! Even the most experienced architects and building developers can struggle to identify those that can be trusted to give the correct information. BS8102 states that the Waterproofing Design Specialist should have knowledge of the following:
- The range of waterproofing systems and products available.
- An in-depth understanding of the requirements of BS8102.
- Sources of water, and how it flows through the soil and interacts with the structure.
- Sufficient structural knowledge to be able to discourse meaningfully with the structural engineer.
- Sufficient geotechnical knowledge to be able to understand the implications of a soil report, and to discourse meaningfully with the geotechnical engineer.
Sounds challenging, right?!
how can i find a waterproofing design specialist?
Whilst there may be many people who are able to fulfil the function of Waterproofing Design Specialist, the leaders of the engineering and design teams will need to know who they are. Currently the only way to identify an individual who has put themselves through the rigours of study and qualification in this specialist field is to look for those who have attained the Certificated Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing (CSSW) qualification. Contact Crownstone Group today on 0208 2265654 or visit www.crownstonegroup.co.uk to speak to one of our CSSWs about your project’s requirements.