The first question that an architect will have to answer is if waterproofing is required on the building that they are designing. This can be a complex question and the answer could have a significant ramification over the life span of the structure. Economic and code requirements could also weigh heavily in the decision process. Waterproofing may be included for a piece of mind, this is the one component of the building that it may be best to caution on the side of err.
There are five reasons why waterproofing is required. They are:
- Code requirements
- Keep water out of the building
- To protect the structure: concrete and steel
- Hydrostatic pressure
- Economics: the cost of excavation
Keep Moisture Out of the BuildingThe main function of a structure is to protect man from the environment. This has been the one element that has remained consistent throughout the history of mankind. Advancements in material technology, application procedures and design have not changed this function. The main purpose of waterproofing is to serve as a barrier that protects the interior of the structure from moisture intrusion and other environmental ingress.
Below grade building components are susceptible to moisture intrusion because they can be exposed to moisture from groundwater for weeks – even months – at a time. Buildings constructed in low-lying areas with high water tables can be exposed to groundwater throughout the life of the structure.
There are several points where a below grade exterior component is prone to moisture infiltration. These points require proper design diligence from architects to keep moisture out of the building. Some of the more common areas of concern are:
- Tie-rod Holes
- Cold Joints
- Expansion Joints
- Internal Drains
- Structural Connections