Waterproofing Wisdom – Episode 06 Design Risk

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Welcome to this episode of “Waterproofing Wisdom” Design Risk in the construction process.

You can watch a 4 min video here.

Waterproofing Wisdom Episode 6 – Design Risk


Ben Hickman
Technical Director


Hello and welcome to waterproofing wisdom episode six my name is Ben and I am the Technical Director at CLW and today in this episode I wanted to talk about design risk in basement waterproofing and we operate in an industry where there can be a lot of finger pointing when things go wrong and that’s because there are a lot of parties involved and part of what’s generated this question, is BS8102 which is the Code of Practice for protection of below ground building against water ingress and that’s a code of practice which has just been revised and it’s sort of the bible for basement waterproofing if you like.

There’s a Clause in there which is Clause 4.2 that talks about Design Teams and labours the requirement for a waterproofing specialist to be involved but towards the end it talks about imparting design responsibility so that is essentially where a consultant such as ourselves would develop an outline design probably to RIBA Stage 4, it may be a very developed RIBA Stage 4 design but it’s still an outline design that says this is how we’re going to waterproof this that would then be put into Tender documents and specialist contractors would hopefully be tendering on that and putting in the price for them to do the final detail design and install that waterproofing.

So you would hope that you would get numerous compliant bids for the same sort of waterproofing but Contractor A might use Membrane “Z” and Contractor B might use Membrane “X” and you might get some price differences and you know you’ve still got a specialist contractor doing the design and the install and there’s one point of liability.

In theory if something goes wrong so that’s what that’s all about and I just wanted to cover a couple of points the first is I think there can be a lot of confusion about who has design responsibility and I think ultimately, we and you are responsible for what you do and so whether or not you have professional indemnity insurance really if you’re the waterproofing person doing the design you’re doing the design and that might be that we do the outline design and somebody else does the detailed design we’re still responsible for what we’ve done and they’ll be responsible for what they’ve done.

That can be the responsibility through contracts where there’s offer plus acceptance plus consideration it’s a contract and in big formal contracts like we sign it’s many pages and there’s often a schedule which is the scope of works and within that you would see all the detail of you know what is it that we are doing and if that’s outline design I need that to be in our schedule of works and if you’re appointing somebody under a contractor’s design portion and they’re doing the detailed design you need that to be in their scope of works but you can also be responsible just through torts which I’m not even going to try and explain it but I you can owe a duty of care even where you don’t have a contract.

So if you’re doing waterproofing design, you’re responsible for it by and large but whether or not you have professional indemnity insurance makes no difference for whether or not you are responsible I buy or CLW buys professional indemnity insurance so that if somebody sues us I can call the professional indemnity insurance and that should cover us and that’s a better outcome for us because the company remains intact and it’s a better outcome for the client because the client gets the pay-out.

But the client could still call us and claim on us for damages if we didn’t have professional indemnity insurance and the same is true for other parties in the industry so whether you have professional indemnity insurance or not is not the same as whether or not you have design responsibility and I would suggest if you are doing design it would be a good idea for you to have professional indemnity insurance it would protect you and it would protect your clients so that’s waterproofing wisdom episode six.

I hope it’s been helpful if you have more questions than you did before, give us a call and if you ever want to talk about basement waterproofing or podium deck waterproofing or blue roof’s please contact us.

Thank you very much

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