As civil engineers, we at Bluey have seen the issues caused by poorly constructed basements in residential settings first-hand and believe that it is a problem that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Traditionally, basements haven’t been built far below the water table which means there hasn’t been a great need for serious waterproofing over the past century. However, as Australia’s population has grown, the industry has definitely shifted.
Basements are now built deeper and deeper and are constructed closer to harbours, bays and rivers. As such, waterproofing has never been more important to homeowners, builders and engineers during the design and building phases.
Lack of experience linked to issues
While builders and civil engineers operate in similar industries, their roles couldn’t be further apart. A builder does everything from the ground up, highly experienced in many trades, while civil engineers will probably be found working on bridges, airports, highways and most underground applications.
Most builders are well versed in waterproofing roofs, balconies, bathrooms and buildings, but when it comes to waterproofing underground, the same level of knowledge and experience isn’t always there to attempt such a job.
Waterproofing underground is a vastly different environment to anything found above ground and many underestimate how difficult it is. The techniques used to waterproof roofs generally are not robust enough to resist high levels of water pressure. Most people would agree that a waterproofed roof is unlikely to remain sealed under 5m of water pressure.
More industry collaboration required
As basement waterproofing jobs increase and the consequences are highlighted in the media, I believe that there needs to be greater collaboration between civil engineers and the building community. From my perspective, Bluey has strong specific experience in groundwater management, waterproofing, drainage and filtration, but aren’t generally called on in a residential setting because most builders don’t know how we can help. This disconnect between builders and civil engineering providers needs to be bridged.
What can be done?
One of the pros of the Covid-19 lockdowns is that the Bluey Waterproofing technical team is currently working from home, rather than being out on site. So, while they’re in front of their computers we’re offering you their undivided time and attention.
The team will happily organise a virtual presentation, to discuss how large scale civil waterproofing techniques can be applied to basement waterproofing.
The team can also build a custom presentation or even just organise an open discussion to answer as many of your questions as possible.
Send an email to email@example.com with the subject line: Virtual Presentation Request and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.
– Daniel Bosco