We attended the Property Care Association awards dinner this week held at Cambridge University, with high hopes of winning our third project of the year award, and thankfully the judges picked our entry:

Trace win Project Of The Year of the Property Care Association (PCA) for an unprecedented third year in a row.

In all three years this was judged by three independents from outside the preservation and waterproofing industries (Graham Perrior of the NHBC, Douglas Kent for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and Gerald Kelly of CITB.).

PCA-Awards-Final-logo-copy-CopyIn 2012/13 this involved surveying and design by James Hockey, with Trace installation on a multi-unit waterproofing project  that called for both below ground and weather exposed protection, with numerous CAD detail requirements, this on behalf of NHBC and using Newton materials.

PCA Awards 2014In 2013/14 David Hockey our Chartered Building Surveyor undertook surveying and design, with Trace undertaking repair of a timber framed farmhouse, involving both modern Timber Resin Splice technology and traditional  oak replacement work, along with large scale replacement of and repair of wattle and daub, and traditional lath and plaster, this working in conjunction with a conservation architect and for a national house builder.

PCA Awards Logo 2015 - Copy

In 2014/15 working in association with Structural Engineers and facade specialists Eckersley O’Callaghan, designers of the iconic 'glass box' New York 5th Avenue Apple Store, with the project involving the food court at the Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester and calling for removal of thirty-six glazing panels, thus compromising the thermal and weather line of the building, James Hockey designed and Trace installed a waterproof internal wall and floor so that a multi unit giant media screen could be fitted directly into the glazing framework rather than off it, this for MediaCo. and using Newton Materials.

Trace Arndale Media Screen

Trace Basements Arndale Media Screen

James & David Hockey PCA Project of the Year 2015

Note: James and David Hockey were raised in the family preservation company, Trace (NWDPS Ltd), which has now traded unbroken for 41 years, and when they sat their industry exams they both scored the highest marks in their year, with David scoring the highest ever recorded for both CSRT and CSSW in the history of PCA and BWPDA.

Thanks to Paul at PAM Ties for sponsoring the award.

This is a link to an article that I've just published on my blog at www.basementwaterproofingexpert.co.uk

Why Podium Deck Waterproofing Systems Fail

Example leaking podium deck.

Recently, I've had a couple of informal conversations with contractors and specifiers in relation to waterproofing products, where we discussed the role of third party product accreditation such as BBA, and in one case I was asked for an opinion on a particular product, more specifically an adhesive bitumen sheet tanking membrane produced by a particular manufacturer, (which I expect they had used on a previous scheme).

My answer (in summary): 'same as any other adhesive bitumen sheet membrane'.  Yes, a bit blasé, but I explained why I feel this way and thought that it might make for an interesting blog post.

My point was that while 'product' is important, it is just one part of the equation, with design and installation if anything being more critical, in the following order:

Oops, poor design (but awesome efflorescence).

Oops, poor design (but awesome efflorescence).

Design > installation > product.

Why? Well, if your design is incorrect then perfect installation and perfect product may not result in a dry basement.

Case in point, we've just started remedial work on a waterproof concrete basement (using an admixture in the concrete), good product and I expect that the concrete pours would have been checked and/or supervised as quality control; however, to provide a means of escape, there is a window opening through the (waterproof) concrete structure, with reveals part lined in (not waterproof) masonry, with the glazing unit fitted into the masonry recess.

The design of the external stairwell leading down to the window is such that water is able to pressure upon the masonry elements and find its way into the basement. 

Probably a simple design oversight, but enough to cause penetration and problems for the homeowner.  Nothing to do with product or the installation of it.

A classic example is the use of external adhesive bitumen sheet (or other) membrane tanking systems, which rely on effective land drain systems to prevent pressure from coming to bear, because while a BBA/other certification might imply that they are capable of totally excluding water, the reality on site is that they will not realistically be 100% free of defects, and as a result rely on the correct design of external land drain systems, to prevent pressure from coming to bear, thus negating any potential defects present.

Following Phil Hewitt's work on the Outwing Vs. Weatherald case it is more common knowledge, but you still see land drains shown too high, with failure often occurring as a result. 

Thankfully the British Standard now advises that a waterproofing specialist should be involved on the design team at an early stage.  We've been promoting such an approach at Trace for many years, because we know that good design is the first stage in achieving a sucessful outcome.  Product is important, but it is only one part of the equation.

My money would be that in the next iteration of the British Standard (8102), installation by specialists is also recommended, but that's another blog post!


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