Residential Waterproofing: An International Concern

The importance of waterproofing in the architectural design and construction industries obtained international recognition recently. Increasing interest in this emerging field prompted the Property Care Association to sponsor a second annual conference. Experts in the fields of structural waterproofing, construction, real estate development and architectural design will speak at the event in Coventry, England on Thursday, July 6, 2017. The PCA has worked in the UK together with the NHBC, an insurance company, to promote a new set of proposed best waterproofing construction standards.

The day-long conference, held at Warwick University, will focus on three key areas of interest to businesses involved in waterproofing residential units: architectural design, planning specifications and best practices. Speakers at the conference plan to address topics such as the impact of soil mechanics and hydrology on basement waterproofing and correcting common problems with deck waterproofing systems. The PCA’s CEO Steve Hodgson described the 2016 conference as a “great success”.

Waterproofing Conferences in the United States

The waterproofing industry has also attracted strong interest in many parts of the United States. For example, a large international industry trade show and convention sponsored by RCI, Inc. will celebrate its 33rd year between March 22nd and March 25th in 2018. The sponsors anticipate many interested waterproofing industry professionals will attend the upcoming event in Houston, Texas. Papers presented at the proceeding will cover a variety of issues, including waterproofing walls and significant new developments in waterproofing materials research.

Around the USA, architects, home builders, engineers, construction industry professionals and real estate agents often discuss waterproofing topics in conferences and continuing education classes. The development of innovative new products to protect residential basements, foundations and crawl spaces from water damage has contributed to interest in this field. Some product manufacturers also offer programs about residential waterproofing.

Addressing a Pervasive Problem

Interest in promoting new standards for waterproofing housing in the UK arose after the disclosure insurance claims in that nation for damage to basements since 2005 had exceeded 21 million British Pounds (equivalent to over $26.7 million). Leaky, waterlogged basements have imposed significant costs upon residential insurance companies, home builders and homeowners in Britain during the past decade.

In the United States, a far more populous nation, the total financial toll exacted by seeping, water-filled basements likely proves considerably higher. However, homeowner policies in the USA do not cover most problems caused by water seeping into basements. A vivid illustration of the magnitude of this problem occurred last year. During August, 2016, heavy rainstorms across Louisiana produced flooding in many communities, damaging an estimated 40,000 buildings in a single weekend of heavy downpours. The incident caused severe hardship for thousands of families who sustained extensive property losses caused by water despite residing outside of designated flood plains.

Protection For U. S. Homeowners

Reportedly, a few insurance companies in the United States will provide specific endorsements for accidents involving the catastrophic failure of a sump pump. Special endorsements in some policies also safeguard against damage caused by sewer line backups. Experts caution property owners must consult their individual policy provisions to determine whether or not they enjoy coverage for those types of potentially very expensive disasters.

Flooding occurs fairly frequently in some locations in the USA. Home buyers seeking mortgages on homes lying within flood plains must typically request government-sponsored flood insurance marketed through private insurance firms in order to obtain purchasing finance approvals. Unfortunately, these insurance policies typically won’t cover water damage originating in basements. Additionally, as many unfortunate Louisiana residents discovered in 2016, seeping water does sometimes impact properties lying well outside designated flood plains. Both homeowners in low-lying areas who fail to purchase flood insurance and property owners of waterlogged residences in locations outside flood zones may encounter steep, sudden financial losses as a result of unexpected water damage.

Crafting a Waterproofing Strategy

If you fall into one of these completely unprotected categories, at a minimum you should probably consider consulting with a basement waterproofing expert to discuss strategies to better protect your residence in the event of nearby flooding or unusually heavy rainfalls. Installing a sump pump and/or interior basement drains, waterproofing lower level windows and carefully landscaping the area around the home may all help mitigate property losses in the event of heavy rains and rising water table levels. Planning ahead to remove water quickly from basements in some cases can prove valuable.