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Types of Foundation:


Shallow foundations are also called spread footings or open footings. The 'open' refers to the
fact that the foundations are made by first excavating all the earth till the bottom of the footing,
and then constructing the footing. During the early stages of work, the entire footing is visible
to the eye, and is therefore called an open foundation. The idea is that each footing takes the
concentrated load of the column and spreads it out over a large area, so that the actual weight
on the soil does not exceed the safe bearing capacity of the soil.
Individual footings are one of the most simple and common types of foundations.
These are used when the load of the building is carried by columns. Usually,
each column will have its own footing. The footing is just a square or rectangular
pad of concrete on which the column sits. To get a very rough idea of the size of
the footing, the engineer will take the total load on the column and divide it by
the safe bearing capacity (SBC) of the soil. For example, if a column has a
vertical load of 10T, and the SBC of the soil is 10T/m2, then the area of the
footing will be 1m2. In practice, the designer will look at many other factors
before preparing a construction design for the footing.
Strip footings are commonly found in load-bearing masonry construction, and act
as a long strip that supports the weight of an entire wall. These are used where
the building loads are carried by entire walls rather than isolated columns, such
as in older buildings made of masonry.
Raft Foundations, also called Mat Foundations, are most often used when
basements are to be constructed. In a raft, the entire basement floor slab acts as
the foundation; the weight of the building is spread evenly over the entire
footprint of the building. It is called a raft because the building is like a vessel
that 'floats' in a sea of soil.
Mat Foundations are used where the soil is week, and therefore building loads
have to be spread over a large area, or where columns are closely spaced, which
means that if individual footings were used, they would touch each other.


A pile is basically a long cylinder of a strong material such as concrete that is

pushed into the ground so that structures can be supported on top of it.
Pile foundations are used in the following situations:
When there is a layer of weak soil at the surface. This layer cannot support the
weight of the building, so the loads of the building have to bypass this layer and
be transferred to the layer of stronger soil or rock that is below the weak layer.
When a building has very heavy, concentrated loads, such as in a high rise
Pile foundations are capable of taking higher loads than spread footings.
There are two types of pile foundations, each of which works in its own way.

End Bearing Piles

In end bearing piles, the bottom end of the pile rests on a layer of especially strong
soil or rock. The load of the building is transferred through the pile onto the
strong layer. In a sense, this pile acts like a column. The key principle is that the
bottom end rests on the surface which is the intersection of a weak and strong
layer. The load therefore bypasses the weak layer and is safely transferred to the
strong layer.

Friction Piles
Friction piles work on a different principle. The pile transfers the
load of the building to the soil across the full height of the pile, by
friction. In other words, the entire surface of the pile, which is
cylindrical in shape, works to transfer the forces to the soil.
In practice, however, each pile resists load by a combination of end bearing and

Foundation is a structural part of a building on which a building stands. Foundation

transmits and distributes its own load and imposed loads to the soil in such a way
that the load bearing capacity of the foundation bed is not exceeded. The solid
ground on which the foundation rest is called foundation bed. We use various types
of footing as a foundation.
Foundations are mainly two categories.
1. Shallow foundation, and
2. Deep foundation.

See below for details:

1- Shallow Foundation
Shallow foundation is a type of foundation that transfers load to the very near the
surface. Shallow foundations typically have a depth to width ratio of less than 1.
Various types of Shallow Foundations:
Following are the types shallow foundations o

Pad footing or column footing

Cantilever or strap footings

Mat/Raft footings

Wall Footings

Pad footing or column footing

This type of footing can be two types - Isolated and Combined.

Isolated footing
These are most economical. They are usually in square or rectangle size with the
column sitting in the middle of the square. It's a kind of pad footing.

Combined footing
A footing, either rectangular or trapezoidal, that supports two columns. It's also a
pad footing.

Cantilever or strap footings

Consist of two single footings connected with a beam or a strap and support two
single columns.

Mat/Raft footings
Consist of one footing usually placed under the entire building area. They are used
when soil bearing capacity is low, column loads are heavy, single footing cant be
used, piles are not used and differential settlement must be reduced.
Wall Footings
Wall footings are used to distribute the loads of structural load-bearing walls to the
2- Deep Foundations
Deep foundations are those founding too deeply below the finished ground surface
for their base bearing capacity to be affected by surface conditions, this is usually at
depths of 3 meter below finished ground level. Deep foundations can be used to
transfer the load to a deeper, more competent strata at depth if unsuitable soils are
present near the surface.

Common Type of Deep Foundation :

Pile foundations are common type of deep foundation. These are relatively long,
slender members that transmit foundation loads through soil strata of low bearing
capacity to deeper soil or rock strata having a high bearing capacity. They are used
when for economic, constructional or soil condition considerations it is desirable
to transmit loads to strata beyond the practical reach of shallow foundations.
In addition to supporting structures, piles are also used to anchor structures against
uplift forces and to assist structures in resisting lateral and overturning forces.
Thick slabs are used to tie a group of piles together to support and transmit column
loads to the piles.

types of raft or mat foundation.

A true raft or mat is a flat concrete slab with uniform thickness throughout the
area, as shown in Fig. 3.26 (a). This is adopted only when the column spacing is
small and column loads are also relatively small. If the column loads are heavy,
the slab under the columns is thickened, as shown in Figs. 3.26 (b) and (c). If the
column spacing is large, and/or the column loads are heavy, thickened bands
may be provided along the column lines in both the directions. These bands are
cal1ed main and secondary beams. If the loads are extremely heavy, two way
grid structure made of cellular construction [Fig. 3.26 (e)] may be used. Where
basements are to be provided, the basement walls may be used a ribs or deep
beams [Fig. 3.25 (f)]. A raft often rests directly on soil or rock. However, it may
also rest on piles.
Ordinarily, rafts are designed as reinforced concrete flat slabs. If the C.G. of loads
coincide with the centroid of the rift, the upward load is regarded as a uniform
pressure equal to the downward load divided by the area of the raft. The weight
of the raft is not considered in the structural design because it is assumed to be
carried directly by the subsoil. Since this method does not take into account
moments and shears caused by differential settlements, it is customary to
reinforce the raft more heavily than required according to the analysis.


(a) Flat plate type (b) Flat plate thickened under columns (c) Flat plate with
padestals (d) Two way beam and slab type (e) Cellular construction (f) Basement
walls as rigid frame.

A pile is basically a long cylinder of a strong material such as concrete that is pushed into the
ground to act as a steady support for structures built on top of it.
Pile foundations are used in the following situations:

1. When there is a layer of weak soil at the surface. This layer cannot support the

weight of the building, so the loads of the building have to bypass this layer and be
transferred to the layer of stronger soil or rock that is below the weak layer.
2. When a building has very heavy, concentrated loads, such as in a high rise structure,

bridge, or water tank.

Pile foundations are capable of taking higher loads than spread footings.
There are two types of pile foundations, each of which works in its own way.

End Bearing Piles

In end bearing piles, the bottom end of the pile rests on a layer of especially strong soil
or rock. The load of the building is transferred through the pile onto the strong layer. In a
sense, this pile acts like a column. The key principle is that the bottom end rests on the
surface which is the intersection of a weak and strong layer. The load therefore bypasses the
weak layer and is safely transferred to the strong layer.

Friction Piles
Friction piles work on a different principle. The pile transfers the load of the
building to the soil across the full height of the pile, by friction. In other
words, the entire surface of the pile, which is cylindrical in shape, works to
transfer the forces to the soil.
To visualise how this works, imagine you are pushing a solid metal rod
of say 4mm diameter into a tub of frozen ice cream. Once you have pushed it in, it is strong
enough to support some load. The greater the embedment depth in the ice cream, the more
load it can support. This is very similar to how a friction pile works. In a friction pile, the
amount of load a pile can support is directly proportionate to its length.


Piles can be made of wood, concrete, or steel.
In traditional construction, wooden piles were used to support buildings in areas with weak
soil. Wood piles are still used to make jetties. For this one needs trees with exceptionally
straight trunks. The pile length is limited to the length of a single tree, about 20m, since one
cannot join together two tree trunks. The entire city of Venice in Italy is famous for being built
on wooden piles over the sea water.

Cross sections of various pile foundations

Concrete piles are precast, that is, made at ground level, and
then driven into the ground by hammering - more on that
later. Steel H-piles can also be driven into the ground. These
can take very heavy loads, and save time during construction,
as the pile casting process is eliminated. No protective
coating is given to the steel, as during driving, this would be
scraped away by the soil. In areas with corrosive soil,
concrete piles should be used.


As pile foundations carry a lot of load, they must be designed
very carefully. A good engineer will study the soil the piles are
placed in to ensure that the soil is not overloaded beyond its
bearing capacity.
Every pile has a zone of influence on the soil around it. Care
must be taken to space the piles far enough apart so that
loads are distributed evenly over the entire bulb of soil that
carries them, and not concentrated into a few areas.

The load pattern of the piles on the soil surrounding them. This is also called a zone of influence.

Engineers will usually group a few piles together, and top them with a pile cap. A pile cap is a
very thick cap of concrete that extends over a small group of piles, and serves as a base on
which a column can be constructed. The load of this column is then distributed to all the piles
in the group.


Piles are first cast at ground level and then hammered or driven into the ground using a pile
driver. This is a machine that holds the pile perfectly vertical, and then hammers it into the
ground blow by blow. Each blow is is struck by lifting a heavy weight and dropping it on the
top of the pile - the pile is temporarily covered with a steel cap to prevent it from
disintegrating. The pile driver thus performs two functions - first, it acts as a crane, and lifts
the pile from a horizontal position on the ground and rotates it into the correct vertical
position, and second, it hammers the pile down into the ground.
Piles should be hammered into the ground till refusal, at which point they cannot be driven
any further into the soil.

Pile driving is very noisy and causes massive vibrations through the soil. For this reason, it is
sometimes difficult to use them in sensitive locations. For example, if an operational hospital
or science lab is to be extended, driving piles would cause unwanted disturbance. Their use
is also restricted in residential areas in many countries. The vibrations could also cause
structural damage to older buildings that are close by. In such situations it is possible to
use micro piling or helical piling, neither of which rely on hammering.

Micro piles or minipiles are small piles that are constructed in the following way:
Step 1: a hole a little larger than the pile diameter and the full length of the pile is dug into
the ground using an apparatus like a soil boring machine.
Step 2: a precast concrete pile is lowered or pushed into the hole.
Step 3: a concrete grout is poured into the gap between the pile and the earth.
Helical piles are steel tubes that have helical (spiral) blades attached to them. These can be
drilled into the ground, meaning that the pile acts as a giant drill bit, and is rotated and
pushed into the ground from above, much like a screw drills into wood. Once the steel pile is
driven into the ground, a pile cap is poured on top of the pile to prepare it for the construction

The waterproofing of buildings to prevent the ingress of water is an activity, which, perhaps is
practiced in one form or the other, ever since the first building was built on earth. The
methodology has been changing with the changes in architectural designs and availability of
different building materials for construction. In the initial stages when stone was the main building
construction material placed in position with mud or lime mortar, the emphasis used was to make
the construction in such a way that the rainwater does not collect on the roofs. Hence old
architecture relied mainly on dome structures or slanting/slopy roofs. The slow speed of such
construction and unaffordability by common man to build such structures for their own dwelling,
made constant evolution and development in the construction material technology. With new
developments, the concepts of waterproofing have also changed. Now in the present day
construction with ordinary portland cement and its blends (with puzzolonic and slag materials) a
lot of compatible alternatives, are available to a builder to choose from various waterproofing
systems. Some systems are old and conventional but still practiced successfully and some are
modern systems designed taking the material and structural behavior into consideration.
There are some compounds, which are used as aaditive in plastic concrete to make it less
permeable to water. These compounds are known as integral waterproofing compounds. They are
based on plasticising and air-entrainment or water repellence principles. These are used as a good
waterproofing precautions when other factors such as good mix-design, proper mixing/placing,
compacting/curing etc are taken care of. This subject of using integral waterproofing compounds
requires an in depth discussion hence will not be taken up here. Similarly, there are many
waterproofing techniques for vertical surfaces. These techniques used are also used for preserving
heritage buildings by stopping/minimising the aging process of these buildings. This subject also
will not be discussed here.
First of all let us review some of the old and conventional waterproofing systems and then we
would discuss the modern waterproofing techniques.
Review of Conventional Waterproofing Systems
Some of the conventional water- proofing systems are as follows:

Brick Bat Coba system or Lime Terracing

Bituminous Treatment

Metallic Sheet Wrapping

Poly-urethane based Water- proofing treatment

Epoxy Based Waterproofing Treatment

Box Type Waterproofing System

Brick Bat Coba System

This system was developed during the initial stages of flat roof construction with lime mortar &
burnt clay brick aggregate. This system involved laying of lightweight mortar on the roof and
spreading it to give gentle slopes for draining away the rainwater immediately. The mortar
consisted of lightweight brick pieces as aggregates and ground brick with lime as binding matrix.
During British rule, this system became more popular not because of its waterproofing efficiency
but because of its efficiency in keeping the interiors cool. Some applicators developed better skills
in laying these systems with neatly finished top with lines engraved on top of plastic mortar now
known as IPS. Some practiced embedding broken tile or ceramic pieces in the plastic mortar and
called it China mosaic. This type of system remained most popular with multi-storeyed
construction in all major cities. The system lasts approximately up to 15 years if done by skillful
applicators. This system may be considered more from its weatherproof abilities rather than its
waterproofing qualities. Once water starts entering into the brickbat coba the brick pieces absorb
too much of water and the roof becomes an invisible water pond continuously causing leakage and
increasing burden on the roof slab. It will be highly beneficial if brick-bat coba, is laid on a flexible
waterproofing membrane as water proofing as well as economical weather proof can be achieved
with this system.

Bituminous Treatment
Discovery of petroleum and its products and by-products has given the construction industry an
indispensable product in the form of bitumen. Bitumen is more commonly used in the form of felt
or flexible membrane formed by sandwiching jute fabric or fibreglass/polypropylene mats with
chemically modified bitumen. These membranes are laid on the roofing system over a bitumen
primer. There are two types of membranes one is cold applied and the other is hot applied which
means one needs to heat the edges of the felt with a torch so that they melt and stick to the
second layer in the overlap area. On the RCC flat roofs, the bitumen felts have not been successful
because of the unacceptable black appearance and inaccessibility of the terrace for other social
uses. Technically, it is not preferred because bitumen layer or felt on the terrace not only makes it
watertight but also airtight. Concrete has the breathing property. It takes water/moisture and
breathes out water vapour. Hindrance of this breathing property of concrete develops pore
pressure which causes blisters in the felt. After a few seasons, the blisters multiply and eventually
delaminate the felt from the concrete surface. Hindrance of breathing property of concrete, makes
the concrete weak. But on the asbestos cement sheets and zinc sheets in factory roofs, this
bitumen felt is the only dependable waterproofing system. Hence most of the factory roofs in India
adopt this waterproofing system.
Bitumen is very effective in waterproofing of basements from outside. Bitumen primers have very
successfully been used as damp-proof course in earlier days. This practice is slowly discontinued
for whatever reasons now very few engineers believe that this was in practice once. As
consequence of this absent DPC, we have a lot of cases of rising dampness, which we tend to
attribute to wrong reasons such as the quality or salinity of sand etc. Bitumen is still the product of
first choice where it is commonly recommended, in areas such as industrial roof waterproofing,
basement water- proofing, and damp-proof course. Moreover, bitumen is the most economical
product presently available for waterproofing. But black top over roof can absorb heat and this
need to be kept in mind while deciding waterproofing system for exposed roofs.

Metallic Sheet Wrapping

Because of the non-existence of suitable expansion joint filling compounds before the discovery of
poly-sulphides, a complex procedure used to be adopted to treat expansion joints in concrete
dams and such huge structures utilising thick copper sheets. An extension of this practice was to
try thin foils of copper and aluminium for wrapping the concrete surfaces with nagging leakage
problems. Unavailability of common joining material for these metal foils and the concrete and
mortar created weakness in the system at the joints. This discouraged the system in its infancy
only. But thereafter, the metal manufacturers have been trying to market this type of
waterproofing system with improved adhesives and when the metal market slumped.

Polyurethane Based Waterproofing Treatment

Polyurethane consists of two liquid components one is called the Base component and the other is
called reactor or curing agent. Base is a polyol and the reactor is an isocyanide such as TDI or
MDI. There are various grades of polyols and numerous isocyanides. The combination of these two
ingredients results in a formation liquid applied rigid membrane or a foam depending upon the
In waterproofing, this rigid liquid membrane was tried with fibreglass reinforcing mats. The
systems failed because coefficients of thermal expansion of concrete and rigid PU membrane being
different lateral movement or creep occurred with the passage on one working climatic cycle.
When exposed to ultra violet rays or direct sunlight, most polyurethane rigid membranes became
brittle and crumbled. Apart from this, the application of polyurethane coating needed very rigorous
surface preparation. The surface needed to be neutralized by removing alkalinity from the concrete
surface through acid itching then washing and blowtorching to make the surface bone dry. This
kind of surface preparation with acids angered, the civil engineering community and the product
ceased to be used as waterproofing material apart from its several failures. Never the less
continuous research in the polyurethane technology gave the construction industry excellent
sealant for glazing industry and foams for thermal insulations. The new generation polyurethanes
which are alkali stable and water-based, may find better applications in waterproofing industry.

Epoxy Based Water- proofing System

Like polyurethane expoxy is also a two-component system having a base resin and a reactor or
curing agent. Base resin is obtained by dissolving Bis-phenol A flakes in epichlorohydrin. This base
is available in various viscosity ranges to suit different application conditions. The curing agent is
an amine/polyamine aliphatic or aromatic or an amine-adduct for general applications and
polyamide or an amino-amide for coating purposes. After mixing base and reactor components,
the resultant viscous liquid or paste if some fillers are added to it can be brush applied like a paint
or trowel applied like a mortar.
Not withstanding, the alkalinity of concrete and the concrete needs to be acid washed and
neutralised which the civil engineers donot agree. Here again the coefficient of thermal expansion
of concrete and epoxy being different the compatibility of epoxy in waterproofing exposed concrete
surfaces such as roofs became limited. Later the use of epoxy in waterproofing was discarded. But
epoxies have come to stay in civil engineering industry as bonding agents, floor & wall coatings,
coatings for food processing units, operation theatres and computer and pharmaceutical


Box Type Waterproofing

This type of waterproofing system is used only for basement waterproofing or structures below the
ground level from outside to prevent leakages of subsoil water into the basement.
In this method, limestone slabs (Shahabad Stones) are first laid in the excavated pit over blinding
concrete in a staggered joint fashion to avoid the continuity of the mortar joints. The joints are
effectively filled with rich cement, sand mortar admixed with integral waterproofing compound and
cured. Over this, the raft is laid and shear/brick walls constructed. The limestone slabs are erected
around the walls in a similar fashion leaving a gap of one to two inches between the external
surface of the wall and the inner face of the stone surface. The joints again effectively sealed with
rich admixed mortar and the same mortar is filled in the gap between the wall and the stones. This
stonework is continued up to ground level. In this system, the raft and the sidewalls are protected
from direct exposure to sub soil water.
This system works on two principles of common sense. First the area exposed to subsoil water is
only the area of the joint where as the whole stone is impervious to water, hence only a fraction of
area, that is, that of the joint is exposed to subsoil water when the joint itself is filled with rich and
quality mortar. Secondly, the path of water to reach the raft or the sidewall is elongated. This
elongated path is through quality mortar. This system seeks to delay the occurrence of leakages in
the basements. A lot of building structures are waterproofed using this system. A few notable
successes are to its credit especially in five star hotels and of-course there are a few failures as
Modern Techniques in Waterproofing

Modern technique aims to understand the functional behaviour of the structure, understand the
properties of the available materials to arrive at a system, which is best suited for the structure
and incorporate the system at the design stage itself.
A single product or technique is not usually enough, involvement of various bodies and techniques
in coordination is essential for making structures waterproof. For success of any system, the
building structure should have sufficient and efficient control joints if the slabs dimensions are
more than twenty meter in any direction. Control joints are structural engineering design features.
These joints are supposed to be designed and their configuration marked on the drawings and
their detailing needs to be given with respect to waterproofing system proposed in large buildings.
Different types of control joints are Construction joints or day joint, crack inducer joint, contraction
joint and expansion joint. Coefficient of thermal expansion of concrete is between 6 to 10 X 10-6
mm/mm/oC. If proper control joints are not provided in large slabs, no waterproofing system will
work. Modern technique relies basically on two main waterproofing systems, which are fool proof
and simple.
They are as follows:

Crystalline waterproofing system

Flexible membrane waterproofing system

Crystalline Waterproofing System

This system involves blocking the water bearing capillaries with insoluble crystals. This method is
used for waterproofing of water-retaining structures like overhead/underground water tanks, sunk
slabs of bathrooms and toilets, swimming pools, basements, terrace gardens etc. The main
product in this system is a grey or brown looking powder.
The method of treatment involves saturating with water the surface to be treated. Then mixing two
and half volume of the powder with one volume of water to form neat consistency hot slurry. This
slurry is brush applied on the saturated surface. The active ingredients in the slurry pass through
the water bearing capillaries and react with calcium oxide present in the concrete to form insoluble
crystals, which effectively block the capillaries. Further the chemical ingredients of the product
remain in concrete to reactivate the process of crystallisation and when a new capillary is
developed. This system of waterproofing, the water retaining structures is practiced in most of the
developed countries. Typical specification for this type of system is as follows:


Clean the surface to remove all loose particles, grease shuttering oil and such deleterious
materials to get a sound concrete surface.


Cracks if any should be cut into V shaped grooves one inch wide and proper size width &
depth Cut honey combed areas back to sound concrete.


Repair these areas first by priming with crystalline waterproofing slurry and then by filling
them with crystalline modified mortar produced by mixing crystalline waterproofing powder
OPC and zone II sand in the proportion of 1:1:4 and water enough to produce a stiff
consistence paste. Allow the repair mortar to dry.


Thoroughly sprinkle water on the area to be treated till the surface becomes saturated. Some
recommend overnight ponding for effective results


Prepare crystalline waterproofing slurry by mixing the powder and water in the proportion of
two and half volume of powder to one volume of water to form a hot slurry. Brush apply this
slurry on the water saturated surface in two coats.


When the second coat is still wet plaster the surface with 1 : 4 cement sand mortar admixed
with an integral waterproofing compound and cure properly.

Flexible Membrane Waterproofing System

The main product used in this system, comprises two components one liquid and the other is a
powder packed roughly in the proportion of 1:4 by weight. The liquid component is an acrylic
emulsion and the powder component is a polymer-modified cement with film forming chemicals
and fillers, and some manufacturers add reinforcing fibres to make the product extra effective.
When these two ingredients namely the pre-weighed powder and the liquid are mixed together an
uniform slurry results. This slurry is brush applied on the roof surface, which upon drying forms a
flexible film. Since there is cement in this product, its compatibility with concrete is excellent. The
film further allows the breathing of the concrete without any hindrance hence there is no problem
of its de-lamination from the concrete surface. This film being flexible takes care of the deflections
in the slab and the movements caused because of primary or secondary settlements, movements
due to wind loads and temperature stresses developed in the concrete. This system can be used
on surfaces which had bituminous treatment earlier. In European countries, this type of product is
used as coating on pre-stressed concrete bridge girders to protect them from aggressive chemical
atmosphere. A typical waterproofing specification using flexible membrane system will be as


Clean the surface to remove all loose particles, grease shuttering oil and such deleterious
materials to get a sound concrete surface.


Cracks if any should be cut into V shaped grooves of a proper size in depth. Cut honey
combed areas back to sound concrete.


Repair these areas with a stiff paste of fibre reinforced polymer repair mortar generally sold in
the name of crack fill.


Mix the powder and the liquid components of the product to form an uniform slurry and brush
apply this slurry on the surface to be waterproofed.


When the waterproofing coating is still tacky apply 1 : 4 cement sand screed and cure

Ferrocement Waterproofing System

Ferrocement is a cement based high strength Semi Flexible Composite used for construction of
water retaining and resisting structures, boats, roofs, pipes etc. In SERC Roorkee the ferrocement
group headed by Er. P.C. Sharma developed ferrocement lining technology for waterproofing and
jacketing of RCC (for strengthening) & masonary structures. The structures like Calico mills
Ahmedabad, Khatima Power Station, BHEL Turbine Testing Lab Caliberation Tank at Haridwar done
more than 30 years ago have behaved well. The system is simple but need skills and proper
training. NBM&CW has published many articles on this topic providing total know how.
Ferrocement has great bond with cement concrete and brick surface and is reinforced with at least
two woven mesh layers. Thickness of this treatment is generally between 12 to 20 mm. Large
number of basements, overhead tanks, underground reservoirs and important roofs have been
treated using this technique. When life cycle cost is considered it is the cheapest waterproofing
system today which add strength to the original structure in addition to waterproofing.

Failure of Waterproofing Systems

Especially in large buildings, waterproofing systems fail if the control joints are not in
position or not properly executed and maintained. This failure occurs even after one complete
year when the structure has passed through one complete summer and the winter cycle. One
cant repair this type of failures. It needs a different type of approach involving provision of
crack inducer joints and then tackling the waterproofing in movement restricted bays.

Application of a waterproofing product in non-specified areas, such as using a crystalline

waterproofing system in waterproofing the terrace or using a flexible membrane system in the
water tank results in failures even though the products themselves may be genuine.

Stretching the coverage of the products beyond the specified limits by the manufacturer
results in inefficiency of the product and hence a failure.

Precautions to be Taken by the Client and Consultant.

Selection of an effective waterproofing system for a structure taking all the performance
criteria of the structure into account and also taking into the consideration, the performance of
the materials in the system is of prime importance for any success of the waterproofing job.

Waterproofing jobs awarded to waterproofing contractors purely on economical price

considerations often fail.

It is always advisable to involve the architect or the structural engineer in selection of a

system and requisite performance guarantees should be taken from the contractors.

It is better to avoid bargaining for the job value out of contractors margins. This could
result in stretching the product beyond the coverage specified by the manufacturer or
substitution of cheaper material in the system to cover the cost.

Always supervise the job and the incoming materials for the intact tamperproof seals and

Use the services of an engineer or architect in selection of materials. That too only
procured from well know manufacturing firm.


Generally, architects in India, do not specify in depth waterproofing details and leave this
aspect generally to ignorant client to chose whatever system he likes, and many structural
designers give least importance to the control joints. As a result of this, many systems have
failed in several prestigious buildings and the blame went to waterproofing contractors or the
product manufacturer.

There is a need for the architects and the structural designers to understand the various
systems available and specify them clearly and in sufficient detail, taking into consideration
the in-service conditions of the structure.

The client should also insist on the architect to provide waterproofing design details in
advance so that no ambiguity remains till the end. This would give enough time in selecting
the specified material.

Some of the benefits are :

a. The dry cladding method is safe and chances of stone falling down at a later date is
b. Method allow for expansion and contraction of stone in extreme weather conditions.
c. The dry cladding method creates a gap of around 30 to 45 mm in between back wall
and stone lining , providing a layer of air cushion that acts as a thermal barrier.
d. The appearance of stone used in dry cladding work looks aesthetically pleasing. The
stone fixed with mortar may change in colour due to absorption of water from back

mortar layer.

Laminated glass specifications:

A typical laminated makeup is 2.5 mm glass / 0.38 mm interlayer / 2.5 mm glass. This gives a
final product that would be referred to as 5.38 laminated glass.
Multiple laminates and thicker glass increases the strength. Bullet-resistant glass is usually
constructed using polycarbonate, thermoplastic materials, thermoset EVA, and layers of
laminated glass. A similar glass is often used in airliners on the front windows, often three sheets
of 6 mm toughened glass with thick PVB between them.
Newer developments have increased the thermoplastic family for the lamination of glass. Beside
PVB, important thermoplastic glass lamination materials today are ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA),
thermoset EVA ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA)[17] and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).[18] The
adhesion of PVB/TPU and EVA is not only high to glass, but also to polyester (PE) interlayers.
Since 2004 metallised and electroconductive polyethylene terephthalate (PET) interlayers are
used as substrate for light emitting diodes and laminated to or between glass.

Top layer: Glass

Interlayer: Transparent thermoplastic materials (TPU or PVB, EVA) or transparent
thermoset material (EVA)
Interlayer: LED (light emitting diodes)on transparent conductive Polymer

Interlayer: Transparent thermoplastic materials (TPU or PVB, EVA) or transparent

thermoset material (EVA)
Bottom layer: Glass

Laminated glass is also sometimes used in glass sculptures.

Toughened glass specification:

Insulated glass specification:
Tempered glass specification:
Frost free glass specification: