There is a new trend in high-end hotels – providing an unparalleled underwater experience by building hotel rooms underwater. From the latest hotel in Tanzania to entire disc-style pods anchored to the ocean floor, these hotels offer posh amenities with a view that is unparalleled. The most recent underwater hotel was created by Deep Ocean Technology, a Polish company that developed a disc that contains 22 bedrooms with sea views. The entire hotel looks like something from the Jetsons, but is well on its way to becoming a reality.
While those of us “landlubbers” are not challenged with the same issues in keeping water out of an underwater hotel room, there is still the issue of considering and maintaining below-grade commercial waterproofing. Many water heating systems and buildings constructed today extend one or more floors below grade level, providing expansion for additional storage and parking, but also presenting challenges if not constructed and then waterproofed correctly.
“Waterproofing services and maintenance are not just for what you see, but for what you don’t see,” said Shawn Morgan, KPOST Director of Waterproofing. “It is taking appropriate steps and going beyond stopping water infiltration into ensuring that the entire building envelope is waterproofed and well maintained.”
Below Grade Waterproofing Protects Structural Integrity
The below grade portion of a building must be built and maintained to ensure longevity of the commercial property. These areas can be inaccessible for repairs, a scary proposition when you think about these areas going unrepaired. There are numerous areas that can be below grade in a commercial building, including:
- Tunnels and crawlspaces
- Mechanical/electrical rooms
- Special-use features such as fountains or work-out rooms
During the design process, it is important to consider structural integrity and durability of the below grade materials, as well as commercial waterproofing to ensure longevity and decrease potential structural damage and wear and tear. The below grade systems construction is often complex, but can be given a back seat because they do not typically have the same aesthetics as those building areas you see.
“When considering the type of waterproofing system, particularly for below grade, it is important to ascertain what is most needed, rather than align with a single manufacturer and make the system fit,” said Morgan.
Not All Waterproofing Systems are Created Equal
There are a number of waterproofing systems, so understanding the benefits of each is important. KPOST is approved with all commercial waterproofing manufacturers, preferring to present the best solution available.
“We like to tailor the solution to the exact need, rather than attempt to retro-fit a product,” said Morgan. “This is particularly important with below grade waterproofing systems since many are almost impossible to access after the building is complete.”
Morgan understands all aspects of the waterproofing business which allows him to understand and recommend the best system for the job. His experience in sales, installation and consulting ensures that KPOST will recommend the ideal solution.
“There may be five different waterproofing systems that work for a particular special use feature, say a fountain. I make the recommendation based on experience and understanding of what is best for the project and the customer,” said Morgan. “By keeping a strong working relationship with all waterproofing manufacturers, I’m able to stay on top of the latest developments and feel confident we can make the right decision for every waterproofing project.”
While below grade commercial waterproofing may not have the same challenges as underwater hotel rooms, the importance of ensuring the construction is managed right in the beginning is just as important. In both cases, you simply don’t want there to be a leak!