Joshua Kelly published an article titled, “Preparing for Blind-Side Waterproofing Installations,” in the winter issue of Applicator Magazine.
When designing a building foundation or below-grade structure that may be impacted by groundwater or chemicals, it is common for architects and engineers to specify below-grade waterproofing systems. The systems may be used to protect occupied or unoccupied below-grade spaces from water leakage, or they may be intended to protect the concrete structure from water penetration or chemical contamination to provide increased durability of the structure and a longer service life. One method that is commonly used in property-line installations or where access is limited is blind-side waterproofing, which is installed prior to concrete placement. In most cases, concrete slabs or walls are placed against blind-side waterproofing in a way that does not allow the system to be inspected or easily repaired, once concrete is placed. Therefore, preparation, detailing, and inspection of blind-side waterproofing prior to concrete placement is critical to the success of the system.
Focusing on blind-side waterproofing applications, we discuss the steps that Contractors should follow during construction to ensure that the blind-side waterproofing performs as designed. We discuss the design and installation principals for blind-side waterproofing and use examples to demonstrate problems observed during construction. We address the most significant issues that put the waterproofing system in jeopardy of failure and simple steps that the Contractor can follow to avoid these costly issues.