Damp And Waterproofing - A Maintenance Nightmare

Moisture ingress?, Damp?, Leaks?, Penetrating damp?, Lateral Damp?, Rising Damp? …………..

Mention the words waterproofing or damp problems and most property owners will swap stories and nightmarish experiences. The causes of damp and waterproofing have remained fairly consistent, but treatments have evolved. Changes in building methods and materials are key factors in ensuring correct damp and waterproofing.

As with so many things the available science and technology has had a huge impact on the industry. Not only has it provided more solutions, it has increased the load on all parties to stay informed and up to date. Damp and waterproofing treatments has become a minefield of options and promised solutions.

Very often we find that incorrect specifying / application at design / building stage is responsible for ongoing failures and increased maintenance requirements. Property owners trying to save money during construction more often than not, end up paying painful school fees in the long-run.

Getting it right the first time around is crucial. Utilizing specialist in the market to specify and evaluate systems at construction will provide peace of mind. For existing failures the procedure involves much of the same: Get the correct technical assessment of causes and possible solutions for failures.

For large asset owners and sectional title schemes we promote the following systematic approach to damp treatment, waterproofing and maintenance:

1. Appoint specialist third party to perform comprehensive building audit:

  • Identify failures and causes of damp / waterproofing failures.
  • List possible solutions / options.
  • Compile detailed specifications and scope of work for selected system.
  • Pre-negotiate Manufacturer’s Guarantees for systems.
  • Obtain at least three competitive quotes on proposed system for approved applicators.

2. Project:

  • Appoint selected: Third Party Quality Assuror, Manufacturer and Contractor.
  • Ensure that contract includes Quality Control Plan and control points for monitoring of all applications.   

3. Continued Maintenance:

  • Compile a long-term maintenance plan or Life Cycle Costing to schedule maintenance.
  • Ensure that applied system is maintained in accordance with Manufacturer’s guidelines and requirements. (Example: Silver coat over heat-fused systems)

Prevention is better than cure – Get the right assessment and information before acting. Solving causes of failures will eliminate an ongoing battle against symptoms.

Frederik Nel,