Network of Substructures at Ashbourne Flats Stretches Waterproofers
Restoration contractors are often stretched to the limit when it comes to repairing damaged exteriors to buildings. In the case of Ashbourne Flats in Kenilworth, Cape Town, waterproofing professionals Indawo Painting and Waterproofing, came up against, possibly, the most complicated restoration project in a decade.
In the contemporary techno-hungry world, commercial buildings, hotels, homes and apartment roofs have become prime real estate for a broad range of mobile and internet service providers’ elaborate and complex networks of communication equipment, substructures, air-conditioning units and an array of satellite dishes and antennae. The impact that these have on the integrity of the outer surfaces can result in severe weather induced damage if incorrectly installed.
Indawo Managing Director, Peter Jäck, says, “One of the challenges in waterproofing the 430 square meter flat roof at Ashbourne Flats was the lifting and careful replacement of existing substructures. The effectiveness of the existing mastic asphalt waterproofing was compromised resulting in severe water damage. The resulting brittle screed absorbed moisture and significant apertures appeared in the concrete slab allowing rain water access to cause severe damage to the interior of units.”
Flat roofs are particularly at risk. The persistent winter rains that batter the Western Cape pose a significant threat to buildings. It is critical to ensure that adequate waterproofing measures are implemented, especially if substructures, satellite dishes or antennae have been installed during the summer months. In many cases quick fix waterproofing on and around installed substructures merely mask the problem, delaying, for a short time, the onset of structural damage.
The scope of the Ashbourne Flats restoration project included:
- Lifting of existing substructures to ensure effective waterproofing.
- Stripping existing waterproofing, including the 20-50mm thick mastic asphalt layer, using heavy duty equipment, and replacing with an effective new waterproofing membrane
- Lifting existing screed and, with existing internal outlets severely corroded and not repairable, the surface of the roof had to be re-screeded to new falls to ensure water ran off the sides of the building into hopper boxes.
- Reinstalling the substructures without compromising the new waterproofing membranes.
In any high rise complex or building, the complexities of the restoration project can place significant health and safety risks on the workforce. The safety of the project team has to be guaranteed. Highly trained and skilled workers play a crucial role in ensuring the success of a project of this magnitude.
With the entire roof damaged, workers had to reach perilously close to the roof’s edge. Under the guidance of Safety and Health consultancy, Ingozi Management, Indawo ensured that all safety procedures were strictly adhered to under strict guidelines from the Department of Labour. Safety lines, harnesses, helmets and safety equipment were checked and rechecked regularly to ensure the safety of each worker.
Jäck warns building owners to consider the impact on their fixed asset when installing a range of substructures on the roofs and exteriors of buildings or homes. “It is always responsible to consult with a professional waterproofing company before installing complex substructures and equipment. Opening even the slightest aperture in a waterproofing membrane can have severe and disastrous results for building owners.”