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“Design, Specification and Best Practice”

“Some exceptionally brilliant speakers.” [conference delegate]

The second PCA Structural Waterproofing Conference was held on a glorious summer day at The Slate, Warwick University, Coventry on 6th July 2017.

The event was very well attended with over 120 delegates and was a huge success. It brought together both PCA members, non-members and other industry experts in a forum where they could exchange ideas and experiences and consider what challenges and opportunities are likely to impact the industry going forwards.

View the conference speaker programme

Photo gallery

Review of the day

The day was split into three sessions, design, specification and best practice. Links to selected presentations can be found at the bottom of the page.

There were also a number of manufacturer members of the PCA who took the opportunity to set up trade stands in the venue networking areas. The stands proved to be very popular during the break times and there was plenty of discussion generated around the various products and solution on display.


The first session focused on design and was chaired by Michael Earle from Phil Hewitt Associates. Following the session introduction from Michael, the first speaker was Adam Birkinshaw from Hanson who discussed standards within waterproofing including BS8102 and NHBC chapter 5.4. A greater focus was then put on the use of watertight concrete and its benefits.

Next up was Dr John Grimes, a civil engineer and Director of John Grimes Partnership Ltd. John gave a very interesting presentation on hydrogeology, shallow ground mechanics and the impact on basements and waterproofing. This presentation included a look at the effects of ground water flows on basements and forces it exerts.

The final spot in the morning session saw Charles Goodchild from the Concrete Centre take the stage. Charles’s presentation focused on basement design requiring a holistic approach that needs to include numerous factors. An interest point raised during the presentation was the clients lack of understanding of waterproofing grades as set out in BS8102. The presentation then went onto describe the forms of reinforced concrete basement construction options depending on the water level and the implications this has on cost. Charles then made the point that it is the cracks that matter and not (usually) the concrete. The three guest speakers then took questions from the audience in a Q&A session.


After a short refreshment break the second session looked at specification, and was chaired by Kevin Dodds of Delta Membranes. Like the morning session it comprised three speakers followed by a Q&A session.

Mick Smith, ICB (Waterproofing) Ltd gave a presentation on Podium Decks and buried roofs which follows the release of the PCA best practice guidance on podium decks and buried roofs document earlier this year.

The second speaker in this session was John Naylor, Technical Director at GGS Ltd. John’s presentation looked at understanding gas protection measure selection within Waterproofing Systems. This included a look at which gases are hazardous and their sources. The implications of what can happen when ground gases aren’t considered and how ground gas protection is approached.

Finally, focusing on a guidance document also released earlier in the year by the PCA, Richard Crossley, Technical Director at Newton Waterproofing, looked at the importance of continuity of waterproofing systems. Richard went on to ask if sufficient is being done to ensure that continuity is continued to above ground level to prevent defects above ground affecting the below ground structure.

Best Practice

After lunch, which gave attendees the opportunity to network with other industry experts, the final session looked at best practice. This session was chaired by Gordon Sprouse from Fosroc and followed a similar format to the morning sessions.

First speaker in the session was Alan Auld, founder and now Chief Consultant Engineer to the Alan Auld Group Ltd.  Alan introduced artificial ground freezing as a means of preventing water ingress into excavations to allow buildings to be constructed. He looked at how this technique could be applied and showed some fascinating case studies of what could be achieved using this technique.

The middle spot in this session was taken by Dr Stephen Garvin from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) who gave an overview of flood resilience measures including those that can be observed at the flood resilient repair demonstration house at the BRE in Watford.

The final speaker of the day was Cormac Rooney, Technical Director of MJ Rooney Construction Ltd. Cormac delivered an in depth and animated presentation on structural waterproofing as a construction speciality, highlighting the innovation and technology driven approach taken by his company which is celebrating it’s 30th year.

The day concluded with a panel debate which saw Dr John Grimes, Richard Crossley, Mick Smith, John Naylor, and Alan Auld answer a range of diverse and interesting questions from the floor.

It was very encouraging for the PCA to see the growth in interest and range of attendees from last years inaugural event. A big thank you goes to all those who attended what was a hugely successful event and we look forward to see you all again next year.

James Berry

James Berry
Technical Manager
Property Care Association

Tel: 0844 375 4301
e mail: [email protected]

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