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WATERPROOFING

*BELOW-GRADE/ PODIUM/PRIVATE DECK AND BALCONY WATERPROOFING INSPECTIONS

HUFFMAN INSPCECTION SERVICES provides full-time, on-site monitoring of all waterproofing and roofing installations. No project is too small or too large!

Podium, upper level walkways, planters, water features, most private deck and balconies are waterproofed using some sort of sheet waterproofing or liquid based products. Although unseen from the public view, waterproofing is a necessity and critical for preventing water intrusion to areas of a structure which are located below grade or at street level.

Below-Grade waterproofing on foundation walls protect interior spaces like underground parking and basements from water intrusion into interior spaces. Waterproofing is considered a key component of all construction, where QA services during the installation is recommended to assure proper installation of materials and ensure the water-tight integrity of all waterproofing components. Waterproofing below-grade is performed prior to backfilling the exterior side of the foundation wall with soils. After the waterproofing has been installed and the backfilling has been completed, the installation of planters, trees, etc. can be completed.
The problem with waiting to find out if the waterproofing is "Leak FREE®" and performing properly after the back-filling is complete, is the cost associated with removing or excavating the soil and other structures in order to gain access and make repairs to the failing waterproofing. This is another reason why QA should be performed during the installation, before any problems occurs. It is always recommended that flood-testing of all new water-proofing be part of the QA process as required to assure the integrity of the waterproofing prior to back-filling or covering with walkable surface such as pavers or concrete.
It is important to check the substrate and transition areas for proper transition flashings prior to the installation of the waterproofing system.
Deck drain type, connections, slope of the substrate, metal transition flashings and counter-flashing are all components which are an integral to the waterproofing system and inspection of these components is critical for a properly installed waterproofing system.

H.I.S. has decades of experience providing QA services related commercial and residential waterproofing systems - above and below-grade.

H.I.S. also provides QA services related to negative side chemical grout injections for below-grade water intrusion remediation.

NOTE:  H.I.S. does not perform inspections for structural components and will retain a structural engineer's services if necessary to assess any structural problems or concerns.

Many times, water intrusion into the building interior can be attributed to the lack of proper transition flashings or other critical components, whether by ommision or inadequate experience and/or knowledge by the installer to know any different.
Other sources of water intrusion into the building interior can be attributed to adjacent walls and related wall penetrations which are the source of water penetration, although to the untrained observer, water intrusion is often inappropriately assumed to be from the horizontal waterpoofing.
It is important to be able to identify all possible sources and make an educated assessment as to the source or source(s) to ensure the building envelope components are all functioning and performing as a whole unit to prevent all leaks and provide a "Moisture Free Environments®"Sometimes it is necessary to perform spray testing, destructive testing and/or use an infrared thermographic camera to identify the sources of the water intrusion. If water intrusion has been identified as related to poor workmanship and/or related to not installing the waterproofing according to the manufacturer's written requirements, then litigation is probable for the property owner(s) to recoup cost's associated with repairs and revenue losses. Owners have up to ten years to file a construction defect claim.

Unfortunately, past experience has shown H.I.S. that the majority of water intrusion problems and failures observed from past projects were related directly to poor workmanship and/or lack of knowledge to install proper transition flashings. Many times installers of the waterproofing will rely on sealant(s) instead of metal transition flashings which have been fully soldered, resulting in leaks as soon as the sealant has aged and adhesion problems begin.

Other waterproofing failures can be attributed to the lack of proper details for the installer to follow, which provide installation instruction for complex transitions and terminations.This is why an experienced and registered inspector should be part of the owners team to document and assure a proper and successful installation. QA inspector is also required to document and inform all key players if something is wrong, missing or not being installed according to requirements of the construction documents. This gives the owners and design professional time to correct problems which have been identified,prior to being covered up.

 H.I.S. logs all non-conformance deficiencies on an"Open Issues log" and tracks all items until an adequate and approved conclusion for each item on the log can be documented and signed-off. 

Even if all the correct and designed details for the installation of the components have been distributed to the waterproofing installer, if the workmanship is poor or sloppy, or if the installer is inexperienced or having a bad day the integrity of the waterproofing system can be compromised. Why take the chance? This is why is is a smart long term return of this investment to have a full-time Quality Assurance inspector employed during this type of critical building protection installation.

Full-time inspections verify to the owner that the proper materials and related components have all been installed according to the construction documents, including approved details, shop drawings, specifications and manufacturer's installation requirements for warranty purposes.

There are several types of waterproofing products to use for decks and balconies, each with its own unique installation requirements and challenges. Certain products are temperature sensitive and should not be applied when the ambient temperature is below a published minimum degree F. Other products have two-part activators and require exact mixing times and RPM speeds related to the power drill and paddle attachments, and if not followed axactly may compromise the performance of the waterproofing.There are also several requirements  for storing the materials, shelve lives and so on.

All liquid type materials have lot numbers used to track certain batches during the manufacturing process for future tracking in case of claims due to failures, leaks or recall by the manufacturer. These numbers are always documented in daily reports by H.I.S. for later reference.

There are many variables which can cause pre-mature failure of the waterproofing. Observation and Quality Assurance(QA) inspection including detailed documentation has been growing in popularity over the past twenty years in the United States, mostly due to manufacturer requirements for 3rd party QA during installation for warranties, but also due to the rise in litigation cases related to construction defects.  A construction claim can be filed in the United Sates if done so within a 10 year period after substantial completion. Owners, designers, engineers, etc.. realize that the cost associated with hiring a full-time consultant and/or a full-time QA inspectoris negligable in comparison to the cost of repairs after installation and/or possible litigation claims related to failure of the waterproofing to provide a "Moisture Free Environment®". 

H.I.S. is familiar with the majority of waterproofing materials and installation techniques used in the market place today. Hot, cold, sheet or monolithic membranes are all unique and require trained installers and trained professionals to keep an eye on the installation. It is important to have the correct personnel installing the waterproofing system, but just as important to have the proper inspection and documentation  to verify conformance with all requirements, track all issues and resolve all issues before they get covered up or forgotten.

Damage to the waterproofing often occurs from other trades and the damage is often not repaired prior to the installation of  flooring, concrete, pavers or other traffic bearing surface, therefore the owner or contractor may have just covered a source for water intrusion on a brand new waterproofing system.

As an active QA inspector, I have prevented hundreds of leaks over the years from identifying trade damage and/or improper installations to waterproofing and being involved in an adequate resolutions towards remediation of the identified deficiencies.
Once again, the cost associated with QA during all construction phases is negligable when compared to the cost's for repairs, loss of revenue and possible litigtion.This is why HUFFMAN INSPECTION SERVICES is available, TO PROTECT YOU AND YOUR PROPERTY.

"H.I.S." 
holds current certification as a "Registered Construction Inspector" for Roofing and Waterproofing from the American Construction Inspectors Association (ACIA).


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