Cool ideas for waterproofing


Victoria Ramwell of Kemper System offers specification advice on the versatile cold-applied liquid waterproofing method for residential properties

A key theme throughout the roofing sector and the construction industry as a whole as we enter a new year is the push towards some form of normality. The Government’s plans unveiled in 2020 to “build back better” are keenly focused on housing, particularly new build projects, and this is where liquid waterproofing really comes into its own.

Its versatility means that liquid waterproofing can be specified and installed onto a range of substrates used in the housing sector, and tackle many different project challenges, including new-build developments.

Liquid specification
The development of any residential scheme requires adequate planning to ensure budget and time constraints are adhered to – not to mention the safety implications and potential disruption for any nearby residents.

Many, if not all liquid solutions can be applied not only to a roofing area, but also balconies and walkways. It can also be used within a built-up roof system such as a green or blue roof, and offer easy application around areas which have lots of outlets, such as air conditioning and ventilation units or plants.

This versatility is why liquids are one of the fastest growing solutions in the flat roofing sector. Within a housing setting, this characteristic is key, as there can be a number of complex application areas which cold-applied liquids can tackle with ease as they are roller and /or brush applied with minimal equipment needed on site.

If specifying a liquid system, take the time to research which is most suitable for your project. Consider requirements such as compliance with Building Regulations, for example fire resistance, or specific performance characteristics – including the compatibility of the surfaces to be waterproofed, ability to withstand substrate movement, and resistance to damage from anticipated load levels or trafficking.

Independent product accreditation is used to effectively communicate conformity and suitability, so it is advisable to research the manufacturer’s current product certification. An example is BBA certification, but there are others.

Beware of specification switching
As we know, specification switching can sometimes happen during housing projects because of budget or time constraints. Maintaining the specification on a project is often difficult, yet the implications of not doing so can cause a single product or even an entire system to fail – therefore raising liability issues.

Consider the client’s needs as well as the long-term performance requirements for the job. A specifier will often choose a system they have used before and work with the same contractors. However, the main contractor and their preferred subcontractors may then propose to use alternative products to the specifier.

Specifying a complete system from a single-source supplier offers peace of mind. The products specified will be matched for their compatibility, and come with the appropriate guarantees and warranties. Where liquid waterproofing and warm roof systems are concerned, switching just one element of a specification can not only create problems onsite during installation, but may also affect U-value and fire performance, alter the roof design, increase condensation risk and compromise the suitability of individual products. The entire project could be put at risk.

Rather than looking at component cost cutting, the right system choice needs to be made for the end client, and to protect the credibility and reputation of the roofing contractor. The long-term benefits of specifying a complete and proven product system are priceless.

There are many benefits of choosing a cold-applied liquid waterproofing system for flat roof repairs, and with the right application, this can ensure a sustainable refurbishment to serve a community for many years to come.

Case study: Beaufort Park
A recent example where liquid waterproofing was successfully specified and installed into a new-build residential scheme was the Beaufort Park scheme in north west London. A development by St George, part of the Berkeley Group, the scheme includes hundreds of new homes, health and fitness facilities, landscaped gardens, as well as shops, bars and restaurants.

Kemper System’s Kemperol V210M was used for for five apartment blocks, comprising a total of 363 homes. It was specified to provide high-performance waterproofing on the roof of each building as well as terrace areas and a second-floor podium, which will be used as a communal courtyard.

Victoria Ramwell is marketing manager at Kemper System