Basement Waterproofing – Doing it the right way

We receive a wide array of enquiries relating to basements, ranging from surveying a basement to diagnose the source of dampness, to addressing failed waterproofing and tanking systems, carrying out sump and pump inspections, supporting customers who are part of our aftercare Pump Servicing Scheme.

This blog post will look at another key aspect of basement waterproofing; the design and install of the waterproofing system itself.

Basement Waterproofing

With converting existing basements or digging down becoming a more and more popular way to add space to a property, the industry is having to become far more regulated to ensure the work carried out is done correctly and to the highest of standards.

BS 8102:2009 Regulation

The main function of BS 8102:2009 (the British Standards Institute Code of Practice for the protection of below ground structures against water from the ground) is to provide guidance and recommendations on methods of dealing with and preventing the entry of water from surrounding ground into a structure below ground level.

Design Team

Where a design team for a basement conversion will usually as standard include an architect, engineer and builder or basement conversion specialist, a revision to BS8102 now recommends that a Waterproofing Specialist be included as part of that core design team.

What this means is that the expertise of the waterproofing contractor has been recognised as an essential part of the conversion project. They will not only fulfil the role of Waterproofing Specialist in accordance with and working to relevant and complex guidelines, but as the specialist they will also take on full design liability so that ultimately the homeowner is better protected.

This is vital when you bear in mind that although the finished design is what creates the dream factor, it is what goes on behind the scenes and the waterproofing system put in place that will ensure a basement remains dry and trouble free for the long term.

So how do you choose or ensure a qualified and experienced basement waterproofing contractor is part of the team?
As a private client, homeowner or landlord, it will usually be down to the architect or builder or sometimes the product manufacturer to do this. The following are the criteria that should be looked for:

Approved Contractor Status

Approved installer status with the major waterproofing product manufacturers is a good indication of the level of expertise of a waterproofing contractor. A manufacturer will only want someone installing their products who know what they are doing and approval will only be given once a rigid approval process has been passed.

Approval with different manufacturers is also a good indication that a waterproofing contractor can specify a system or more often than not a combination of systems without bias. This means they will have access and knowledge to the raft of products that will ensure the bespoke solution right for the project.

Qualifications and Experience

CSSW qualified (Certified Surveyor in Structural Waterproofing) and members of registers such as the basement waterproofing association Register are a good indication of skill and are a requirement of NHBC and cgs/gpi design policy. Case Studies and testimonials of works carried out are also important and you should ask to see these.

Guarantees Available

A company should have in place a meaningful Below Ground Waterproofing Guarantee and be able to offer the option of third party insurance. The standard guarantee term is 10 years. The manufacturer will also have a product guarantee in place and the waterproofing contractor will give you access to that. Look out also for caveats such as regular servicing of the pump as being an essential condition of a company and product guarantee being honoured in the event of a claim.

Insurances in Place

It is important that a company has the correct insurances in place as this protects both clients and the company. Design Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity and Public Liability are all essential and a company should be able to provide these on request.

And Finally

Waterproofing is a highly complex and technical task. The aawu we have been waterproofing basements for many years and we have a team of Surveyors and Operatives that work across the country to the highest standards, using only the very best in waterproofing products.

If you would like to find out how the aawu can work with you, whether you’re a Builder, Architect or private client planning to convert your basement, please contact us for more details