Do you live in a built up location and wanting to create more space? Basements are a popular choice for home owners living in urban locations. 
Sadly it is not always plain sailing and we look at the common pitfalls and what you can be doing to reduce the risk of things going wrong.  
What are the risks? 
There are only a relatively few experienced and competent specialist waterproofing contractors and that are properly insured.  
Basements leak due to poor design or poor workmanship, but in the majority of cases due to poor workmanship – so a 'Product Guarantee' from the waterproofing contractor is important as it covers losses arising from poor workmanship which is NOT covered by their standard annual insurance policies. 
The suppliers of the waterproofing material should approve the design (e.g Delta, GCP, Newton, Safeguard, Sika, Wykamol) 
Guarantees are only as good as the integrity and financial standing of the issuing contractor 
Trade guarantees offer little protection as it is rarely the materials that fail, and these are often, only limited to the value of the materials supplied. 
Steps you can take to best mitigate the risk 
Appoint an experienced waterproofing specialist contract with the appropriate insurance cover in place (Professional Indemnity & Product Guarantee) with sufficent limits of indemnity  
Take professional references 
Choose a company with sound financial standing and so any guarantee they offer will have more meaning 
Ensure the responsibility for design and installation of the waterproofing system sits with one party - the waterproofing specialist. 
Take out an ‘Insurance-Backed Guarantee' to protect against the contractor ceasing trading as losses can arise many years later and the contractor may no longer be trading  
Annual or bi-annual (depending on manufacturers recommendations) servicing and maintence programme for your pumps and drainage systems 
Key points to take home 
A correctly designed and installed tanked basement will prevent all sources of external water from entering, so be diligent and take all the necessary steps to avoid getting it wrong from the start. 
Other key flood risks include leaking around service entry points and pump failure, so ensure these are well maintained and serviced regularly. 
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