Issue 10
July 2019

Risk management and planning, why do I need that!


Risk management and planning are essential tools for any waterproofing business owner to actively use and utilise. Waterproofing failure is one of the most often mentioned issues facing the building industry today. There are far too many horror stories to ignore. Waterproofing is an essential item in a building program, and let’s face it a watertight result is not difficult to achieve but is only one step in a multi-stepped process.

Let’s go back in time and look at the construction phase of a balcony. The waterproofing applicator arrives on site to get on with waterproofing the balcony.

What’s the first thing he should do?

Use the 5 x 5 x 5 rule.

Take 5 steps back and 5 minutes to do your site safety review, then, take another 5 minutes to think about what we need to achieve here and review your project risk mitigation plan. What is the final finish, is it to be tiled or pavers on pedestals perhaps, is the balcony membrane finish to be trafficable? What sort of outlet is to be utilised, and can I apply my waterproofing
to it, is there sufficient fall to the outlet or gutter, what height should my membrane upstand be? What are the other building elements to be constructed by other trades around the balcony and what might the impact be on my work and my work on theirs, do I have all the required primers, membranes, topcoats and accessories to do the job. Great, that’s sorted.

Your Risk mitigation plan will contain as much information about the project as possible. It will contain all those items noted above as checkboxes to be reviewed by you (as the business owner), your supervisor and staff. It will check that all parts of the project where You are responsible have been reviewed and photographed for Your records.

A great result in any building project is a team event. Take the time to talk to your builder and any other trade working around you that will impact your ability to provide a great result, preferably as part of your risk mitigation strategy before you attend site. You never know how helpful taking a little time to understand the construction process around your part in the project will enhance your ability to provide a watertight result, especially when everyone knows what needs to be achieved and how it’s to be achieved.

Waterproofing of balconies is an important step in the building process. The waterproofing business owner has now taken the time to assess the risks and plan their work. They have also taken the time to talk with their fellow contractors who are also working on the project around them. Through this process, they have discovered that they need to work with the
window and cladding installer. They have both worked out that they now know it is essential to coordinate the installation of the waterproofing membrane with the installation of the sliding doors and cladding to ensure the correct upstand details are to be undertaken BEFORE these items are installed, Great, that’s sorted.

Now, they know what details need to work together to stop water entering the unit at
a critical junction. Phew! Bob, the builder, is happy that was picked up early in the process.

Proper Planning
Prevents Poor

This may appear to be a simplified example, and it is. Building is a complicated business. However, as a business owner and professional waterproofer, you are responsible for minimising the risks to your business. After all, you have invested a large part of yourself and your families future in this enterprise. The point to take from this example is that Risk management and planning can alleviate a lot of your risk. The process of waterproofing (as is any building project) is a team event, and like any team, if we are don’t plan and we are not all invested in the outcome, it makes it very difficult to be a winner.

There are a number of regulatory standards available (such as AS4654 parts 1 and 2), and these should be essential reading for every waterproofing business owner in the industry, including ALL of their staff.

Don’t see risk management and the planning process as a burden; see it as a risk mitigation
strategy for YOUR business and YOUR future.

Karl Wootton