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Creating a safe and dry basement by overcoming the conflict between waterproofing and gas proofing

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Basement living and working is frequent in the UK, with barely a week going past without mention in the press of planning applications for a ‘superbasement’ or ‘billionaire’s bunker’. All basements are at risk of containing high levels of radon, the naturally occurring radioactive gas, regardless of their geographic location. Since 1999, designers and contractors have been steered towards the use of internally fitted cavity drain membrane systems for basement waterproofing. Such systems are based on air gap technology, however, and are not appropriate for gas proofing, rather they may inadvertently increase radon concentrations in the property. This paper explores the conflict between best practice waterproofing and effective gas proofing, and a process that was developed to solve the dilemma, along with case studies of successful installations.
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Keywords: BS8102:2009; basement; below ground waterproofing; cavity drain membranes; cellar conversion; positive pressure; radon

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: propertECO

Publication date: January 1, 2020

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  • Journal of Building Survey, Appraisal & Valuation is the essential peer-reviewed journal for building surveyors, structural engineers and other professionals concerned with building condition, defects, valuation, repair and maintenance.

    Published quarterly and guided by an expert Editor and Editorial Board, each 100-page issue – published both in print and online – contains in-depth, practical articles on building condition, defects, valuation, repair and maintenance written by and for leading surveying professionals. The journal provides detailed, actionable advice on the latest thinking, techniques and instrumentation available to the surveyor in the diagnosis and repair of building defects, as well as valuation and legal and regulatory updates - with no advertising.

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