Australia Must Improve Waterproofing Standards and Practices
Quality Waterproofing is Critical
For five Irish students and one Irish American, the date of June 16, 2015, should have been one in which they celebrated a 21st birthday party at an apartment in Berkeley, California.
Each of the six died, however, following the collapse of a balcony on the fifth floor where they were standing. Several others were injured.
Grief for families turned to outrage, however, when the California State Licensing Board subsequently ruled that the collapse had been caused by shoddy material selection and poor waterproofing workmanship, which had enabled dry rot and decay to set in within timber joists.
California is not the only state to experience problems. In New Zealand, a ‘leaky homes debacle’ saw tens of thousands of homes constructed which did not meet required watertightness standards.
VIEW VIDEO - Victorian Registered Waterproofers
Australian Waterproofing Standards
Paul Evans, Manager/Director of Findlay Evans Waterproofing and President of Australian Institute of Waterproofing (AIW), says the problem with waterproofing standards in Australia, it stems from several areas.
"Amongst many architects, designers and building surveyors, understanding of waterproofing is poor.
This places the responsibility for ensuring waterproofing works are done correctly almost entirely onto the building contractor.
Unlike in Queensland, licensing of those conducting waterproofing work in Victoria is non-existent.
Australian Institute of Waterproofing
The Australian Institute of Waterproofing (AIW) is committed to raising
waterproofing standards and training across Australia.
The AIW supports registration/ licensing of waterproofing trades to improve the standard of work.
The AIW is also involved in providing waterproofing training and best practices to all sectors of the building industry.
This course has been designed to educate all construction industry professionals who have a responsibility to ensure a construction project is made watertight and perform correctly.
Effects of Leaking Balconies
“A leaky building syndrome is unfolding in Australia”, construction lawyer Kim Lovegrove wrote in this article HERE.
- As shown above, poor waterproofing on balconies can be aesthetically an eyesore - and may also lead to structural issues, such as concrete cancer, rotting wood and even to collapse.
- Structural instability and collapse occurs within a concrete structure when water ingress impacts the steel reinforcing bar, causing rust which swells and pushes concrete away from the bar.
- Balconies also require appropriate drainage, sufficient expansion joints and must also be integrated to move with the existing building envelope.
- A significant issue is waterproofing that fails, particularly in hi-rise apartment buildings, is water ingress to the apartment immediately below.
- Water ingress can cause mold spores within unseen cavities (i.e walls and subfloor and tile sealants), which may then lead to sickness when entering ventilation systems.
Insurance companies report waterproofing is usually less than 1% of building costs but water leaks and subsequent damage represent approx 80% of building defects!
Leaking Balcony Repairs - Waterproofing
With effort in the right areas, prevention of water ingress within buildings can be improved.
Original Article first published by Sourceable