A lot of people debate that with an improved medium of education, Builders/developers/ realtors will uplift their desire to make available the required budgets to construct better-performing & more sustainable structures; so, therefore, more elaborate building codes is necessary.

Unfortunately, to produce a competitively valued building structure, developers/builders/realtors are under pressure to build to the Standard prescribed by the Building Code herein referring to as the “Minimum Standard”.

However, the Standardization required for reasonable and prudent engineers and architects is sometimes above this Minimum Standard. In the intermediatory zone between the two for a reasonable and prudent practitioner, lies a zone where ignorance is a commodity; which is a marketable commodity.

Mumbai’s building envelope failures, over 35 years of our experience in the domain, after sharing the enormous amount of knowledge about what can go wrong with these envelops with relevant examples. Sadly, the knowledge gained is not effectively incorporated into the structural design due to the lack of mechanism.

This document provides a review of the author on the expected standard & standard of care, case studies of waterproofing, roofing failures, and possible construction improvements.


                Defining the word ‘Leakage’ doesn’t require to be more in detail here; as we all already have a knowhow of the Water Leakage and basics of it.

                With the undefined climatic conditions, the sustainability of the structure is tossed for the deterioration & surface damages because of Wind, Sun and other climatic conditions. The results are obvious as the surface cracks, no controlled expansion joints/construction joints and plenty more.               

                Similar to the above-briefed introduction we have encountered with a site of a high profiled building structure where most of the aesthetic was achieved and the results were stunning not only from exteriors but also from the interior except a few places, of course!
Sadly, we don’t get the opportunity to visit the well maintained & well-performing building structure unless invited over for a discussion on upcoming projects.

                This fancy-looking utility building possessed many corporate offices and have been maintaining good standards of the utilities.

They had a hugely spread terrace which has been used for utility during some closed-door event within the corporates operating under the same premises.

The terrace has been equipped with the so-called best of the waterproofing system and has failed due to something and our client place was raining in the sunny weather though!

To find the reason for failure; Read Further.

To comply with the war-footing solution towards the problem, the developer /realtor /builder has asked them to cover the terrace with a permanent shade like any layman’s advice. Surprisingly, the co-op members have agreed to put the shade to avoid their property getting damaged & safeguard their pocket from getting more affected in terms of maintenance.

And guess what, the advice provided by the builder/developer/ realtor sadly didn’t offer watertight premise. Rather it was a feeling of blown mind for both of the entities involved to trace out the problem.

Now, the role of WATERPROOFING EXPERT involved. Like always they have invited the best of professionals to offer them the solution. The best of the industry veteran was asked for their opinion & relevant offering towards a sustainable solution.
A few of them were certainly on the mark to offer a lasting solution & also there were a few which didn’t have a clue, what to comment.

While offering a solution, a Waterproofing Expert has to look for the following:

  1. The Problem Statement
  2. Ease of Undertaking the Solution
  3. Remedial Approach
  4. Sustainable Solution which fits the existing environmental condition
  5. Investment for the client

                We at Raja & Raja® work on a trickiest yet rookie methodology of exploration. Our representative has asked several questions to diagnose the situation & condition; sadly, our client got offended by the silliest question they could answer. But yes, those silliest answer from them have answered the solution for their persisting problem.

To download our detailed questionnaire for Expert Water Leakage Diagnostics: click here

Evaluation & Discussions:

                From the conversation with the client, their representative & representative from a developer we had concluded a few actions to verify. The same was taken into action post-approval from concerned authorities.

Certainly, few of process according to other involved individuals were foolish, but our so-called foolish actions drew out the conclusion for us.

Protecting the terrace with shade for watetrproofing
Shade over the Terrace
Terrace Leak Source Identification old school way
Tempered System by another contractor to diagnose the problem
Water Leakage occurring at the Highlighted Area
Leakage from ceiling
Dripping Water in Sunny Weather during December 2018 (Mumbai)
Our findings were shocking to all of the present at the site.

  • mother surface neither primed nor waterproofed
  • use of superior waterproofing material was used (PU Foam)
  • Coated Mother surface PU foam wasn’t sealed for exposure
  • Relevantly the surface was finished with China Mosaic chip

Upon distinctive findings with the representative of the builder, co-op members & Waterproofing Expert the relevant discussion has been carried out. The following was discussed:

  1. Profile of contractor who executed the job
  2. The methodology used by the professional to address the problem
  3. Cautions raised by contractor post-execution
  4. Warranty rendered by the professional contractor

Being an industry person, it was quite shocking to know the contractor spoiling his reputation just to win the project by qualifying the L1 candidate.
The contractor has lost his credit of years in just one go for us!
The contractor didn’t serve any services under warranty as there was no service margin-left while bidding & winning the project.
Despite offering the best of the grade solution, there was the problem persisting & unattended.

Technical Evaluation:

The system used as a solution offering:

  • PU Foam
  • Cement Slurry
  • China Chip

The failing component, in this case, was not just one but a few.

Starting with the basics of any coating system, PRIMER. The primer is the most important step for any coating system to last on the parent surface. It helps to bond of coating & parent surface, resulting in better life of the coating.

Second, PU Foam. The PU Foam (commonly known as PUF) is a light substitute to Brick-Bat. At the same time have an added benefit of acting as a non-conducting medium for heat, so it is an insulator.  The drawback of using PUF here was the void of the PUF. When water enters any surface, it occupies the void at first and gradually saturates the surface. The difficult part is to remove the water from the Void.
These voids empty when the saturation of PUF is zero (0), which occurs in dry or sunny weather.

Third, Cement slurry. The cement slurry is not directly compatible with the PUF. The need for the PUF sealer as the topcoat over PUF is mandatory. PolyUrethane or PolyUrea are common PUF sealers known and available in the market.
Last but not the least, China Chip. China chip has its preformation and has a multiple point ending surface. If the grouting is not done to China chip, water can seep into the beneath surface very easily and results in void fill-up.

Proposed Solution:

The proposed solution here could have been:

  1. Surface Cleaning / Surface Blasting
  2. Priming
  3. Waterproofing Coat
  4. PU Foam
  5. PolyUrethane or PolyUrea coat
  6. Tile / China mosaic fixed with tile mortar
  7. Joints sealed with Non-expanding grouts

The shear comparison between both the system is detailing of the system to check the compatibility of both and relevant performance criteria in the same manner.

Also remember, the more details in the system the cost of serving is also high.


The cheapest is not always the best & Best is never cheaper.
When the solution is rendered by cutting the corner, few pennies are saved in the initial process but are always expensive in the future by damaging the other integral part, ruining the peace & cost of rework.


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