Raising Standards in Waterproofing

Last week would have seen the latest incarnation of the PCA International Structural Waterproofing Conference. This event is the opportunity for the PCA and its members to showcase and share knowledge and best practice when it comes to keeping water out of underground structures, improve understanding of the principles and practices towards structural waterproofing, current market conditions, the latest technical content and future developments in the industry. This conference has continued to grow year on year with almost 190 delegates in 2019 and this year’s event I’m sure, would have continued that trend.

COVID-19: Webinars became the new conference!

However, 2020 has been an undeniably strange and unpredictable year and we had to make what at the time was an extremely difficult decision, to cancel all the PCA conferences for 2020. In the absence of our conferences we have tried to promote learning and best practice through a series of webinars. These have proved to be extremely popular and as Andy pointed out in his blog last week, the webinar attendance figures over the past few months would have been the equivalent to 35 conferences!!!!

The waterproofing webinars have also been one of the biggest draws, with audiences to some of the events topping 400. As we slowly get back into the ‘new normal’ our series of webinars have reverted back to their usual once a month slot, with the next waterproofing webinar scheduled for 27th August. Ben Hickman will be looking at Watertight Concrete and will focus on:

  • Understand how to specify watertight concrete
  • Understand what you need to on crack widths
  • Discussion on waterproofing additives
  • Discussion on repair
  • Explore some case studies

Lobbying for a review of BS 8102

But our working on raising the game over the past few months hasn’t stopped there and last week was a significant week in the world of structural waterproofing were we had the first orientation introduction meeting for the review of BS 8102: Code of Practice for Protection of Below Ground Structures Against Water from the Ground.

The PCA has been lobbying for the last few years for a review of 8102 so we were delighted to be in a position where last week the panel was able to introduce themselves to each other for the first time. But why have we been so keen for a review and what were we looking for?

Technical advances must be considered

Members also highlighted numerous technical advances that have been made since the publication of the standard in 2009 that are also thought to require consideration. These might include ideas around the feasibility of repair, underground soffits and buried roofs, penetrations, modular basements, drainage, commissioning and servicing of systems as well as looking at the skills and qualifications of specialists. Not for the first time the issue of the control of Ground Gas as set out in BS 8485 was highlighted.

There was also a hope to try and incorporate better synergy into this document and other British standards that may influence waterproofing design such as BS 8485, whereby ground gases need to be taken into consideration. Another area of real concern includes the continuing confusion over the “grades of waterproofing” set out in Table 2, and we hope to reduce these grey areas.

We continue to support our members

So whilst we have all been going through some uncertain times we are still striving to raise the standards in the world of below ground waterproofing and serve our members in this sector. We will of course look for input from members through the PCA’s Structural Waterproofing Group (SWG) and will hopefully facilitate a remote meeting later in the year.

 

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