Waterproofing buildings is a challenge for all the parties involved in the engineering and construction process
Construction sealing accounts for the highest percentage of damage as far as new buildings are concerned. In general, the designers and contractors involved face undefined liability that is very difficult to limit. This situation results from the building process work being shared; none of the participants have an overall view, far less control, of the whole process. Additional reasons are the declining quality of construction sites and increasing demand for high quality use of basements. If water does infiltrate and cause damage, lengthy and costly legal action that requires expert appraisals becomes necessary. The total cost, including consequential loss, frequently reaches several million euros per case of water damage.
Integral waterproofing vs. traditional waterproofing methods
When using integral waterproofing the reinforced concrete structure fulfils several tasks simultaneously: structure solidity, permanent waterproofing and resistance against corrosive substances that attack concrete and steel reinforcements. Membranes and other waterproofing methods can be dispensed with completely. Because of the bright colour of the concrete sometimes the term “white tanking” is used for integral waterproofing.
Integral waterproofing offers an optimised risk profile compared to other methods, if it is installed with the complete cooperation of all those involved in the building process. Therefore, in Central Europe integral waterproofing has replaced traditional methods such as PVC-membranes or coatings for the majority of projects.
Provided that integral waterproofing projects are thoroughly engineered and implemented accurately, they offer the following advantages compared to traditional, surface waterproofing methods:
- Integral waterproofing is frequently less expensive as far as the initial investment and installation cost is concerned. Furthermore, the life cycle cost for the waterproofing is optimised, since integral waterproofing is maintenance free and does not deteriorate with age.
- With a minimum concrete diameter of 25cm, integral waterproofing is robust and offers the highest protection against mechanical impacts during the construction and use phase of the building. Integral waterproofing is resistant to roots if designed correctly.
- Construction is reduced because the waterproofing medium and its application become redundant.
- Integral waterproofing is not sensitive to climatic conditions, ensuring that the building process is continual and that there are no weather delays, even under adverse meteorological conditions.
- Waterproofing of complex structures is possible.
- Single-side shuttering is possible, which optimises the usable surface of the building for projects where the cost of land is high.
- In the event of infiltrations the damaged spot can be localised easily. The repair work is performed by injecting from the “dry” interior side; digging from the outside is no longer necessary.