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10 steps to successful waterproofing

Freeing up underground space, either through new build projects or refurbishment works, can transform homes creating flexible living opportunities which make the most of the land available underfoot.

However, such works can be particularly sensitive to failures due to poor workmanship or the inappropriate use of materials or bad design.  Our 10 steps to successful waterproofing video provides a 10 point overview on achieving successful basement or cellar waterproofing projects by providing an overview of some of the main areas to consider to keep projects on the right track.

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10 steps to successful waterproofing projects

  1. Groundworks:
    Understand your drainage options. Do you have risks posed by the 'water table'. This will affect the waterproofing design
  2. Different waterproofing grades:
    What is the basement/cellar going to be used for and what grade of waterproofing is needed to achieve this success? There are 3 grades to waterproofing.  Which one is right for you? Make sure you discuss with your designer as to what is the right choice and use?
  3. Think about ventilation:
    Has provision been put in to accommodate adequate ventilation to prevent excess moisture and condensation issues building up? This is something you should discuss at design stage.
  4. Consult documents:
    There are several documents that cover waterproofing applications for contractors in the UK.  They include British Standards BS8102 and the PCA's own Code of Practice.  It is worth while ensuring that your contractor is fully up-to-speed with these documents and best practice.  You can however, always read them yourself to gain some understanding of the challenges of waterproofing a basement or cellar.
  5. Get familar with the A,B,C's:
    What system is right for you.  You can learn more about the systems by clicking the following links: Type A Waterproofing, Type B Waterproofing, Type C Waterproofing.
  6. Build-in maintenance features:
    What happens when there is a defect in the system? How do you inspect it? Building in maintenance features is now a key recommendation of any best practice guidance. If this is not being considered by your designer, you should insist that it does.
  7. Keep a close eye on the work:
    The best materials in the work are only as good as those installing or using them.  Make sure to have regular communications with both your designer and installers to make sure products are installed correctly. If you do have concerns, make sure you raise them with the designer/contractor.
  8. Keep the waterproofing work safe:  
    While getting the waterproofing works installed, may have many different contractors working within your property that do not necessarily know the details of your waterproofing project.  Make sure they are aware of any installed products and that they are careful around the areas that have been waterproofed.
  9. Prior to finishing, do a flood test:  
    if you selected a Type C Waterproofing system, before you add all the decorative finishes to you newly waterproofed basement or cellar, ensure your contractor 'flood tests' the waterproofing system. Ensure the water flows through the system correctly and finds its way to the sump pump to be safely pumped away.
  10. Bring in properly qualified experts:
    British Standards BS8102 is very clear here in that from the beginning (or early in the design stage), make sure you include a waterproofing specialist as part of the design team to ensure the waterproofing design is fully integrated with the building structure and well thought through.

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Basement & Cellar Waterproofing

Learn more about basement and cellar waterproofing and find specialists that can help you.

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Find waterproofing design experts

British Standard BS8102:2022 – ‘Code of Practice for protection of below ground structures against water ingress’- recommends that a specialist in waterproofing is included in the design team for any structure where usable space is fully or partly below the ground level. This is specifically set out in Section 4.2 of BS8102:2009 under the heading ‘Design Team’.

The PCA Waterproofing Design Specialist Register provides a central point where individuals with the relevant waterproofing design skills and experience can identify themselves. The register can be searched by postcode or geographical area to find specialists with the requisite expertise and experience required by a design team. Simply click on the button below to find a waterproofing specialist near you...

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