Pramod V. Patil (Product Manager – Waterproofing Systems). BASF India Limited – Construction Chemical Division, Mumbai.

How often do we think that why do we need to do waterproofing of a structure or which system of the many available is right? The answer to this can only be arrived at after assessing various factors related to a particular structure and that might affect the structure over its life.

To cite an example, some years back in a metro city located near a coastal area in South India we came across a construction site which had a very high water table and the structure was planned to have a deep basement that would feature parking and utilities in it. The suitability for that kind of a structure was to go with an engineered watertight system than just a basic rigid system which would not be able to hold back or resist the high water pressure. The basic system was the first choice of the client in this case because of the economics. The consequence was the failure of the system and water seepage / leakages in the structure. The leaking basement had to be again re looked into and had to be repaired using an expensive injection resin system to make the basement bone dry. Same was the situation in one more prestigious structure where the roof leaked from day one due to wrong selection of the system based on economics and wrong technical assessment.

In cases like these, the cost which is incurred on repairing the structure often comes out to be way more than the engineered waterproofing systems which are available in the market which could have been used at the first go itself after the need was recognized. Thus it becomes crucial to do an analysis of various factors like building design, construction environment etc. to name a few, post which the most suitable waterproofing system should be selected.

In this article, we will touch upon the critical areas like the underground structure / basement & roofs which require water tightness and what approach one needs to have when it comes to selection of the right watertight system.

NBM&CW April 2013