Can The Construction Industry Find A Concrete Way To Keep Water Out?
Waterproofing has long been a time-consuming and costly problem for the construction industry. However, Tim Yeiser has a solution.
“We use our waterproofing admixture to do the job,” said Yeiser, president of Dricrete, which provides technology as an alternative for waterproofing below-grade basements, shaving two to three weeks off project timelines.
Yeiser mentioned a recent project in Costa Mesa, California, with Lennar Construction, a multifamily development company. The 400-key multifamily project included twin podiums with below-grade parking and retail space above.
While traditional waterproofing methods work well in many applications, Yeiser said, Dricrete is the better solution for below-grade projects such as Lennar’s. The obstacles inherent during the below-grade phase of construction cannot be avoided; it starts with gravity, which works against the vertical installation of membranes on walls. Additionally, the labor, equipment and on-site storage needed for the installation add to an already chaotic environment filled with multiple trades all trying to work in a small, constricted space.
Yeiser noted that in the case of the Lennar project, the site sat in a water table and required a continuous dewatering system until the building reached grade.
“Our product is introduced at the batch plant, which takes our trade off-site,” Yeiser said. "The fact is, we can envelope any basement with two people. The waterproofing starts at the concrete plant where our first quality-control manager monitors the correct amount of our admixture dosed into each truck. When the waterproofed concrete arrives on-site, our second QC manager kicks in and oversees the installation and placement of the Dricrete concrete.”
This type of waterproofing technology can help construction crews create a more streamlined workflow as well as save money — something that’s particularly important as general contractors continue to navigate "crisis level" labor shortages.
Paul Bissin, CEO of Covi Concrete, said that the basement level of a parking garage, which includes walls and often slabs, needs to be waterproofed. He added that Dricrete requires no on-site labor, which eliminates the need to over excavate and for a team to get into the space to apply the membrane barrier. Using Dricrete allows construction workers to simply pour the concrete directly into the pit and be done.
“Dricrete saves a tremendous amount of time spent digging and backfilling the project,” Bissin said. “Because people don’t have to climb in between the walls to lay down the membrane, there’s no danger involved. It’s a much safer way to build.”
Dan Franklin, chief estimator of Nationwide Shotcrete, said that with Dricrete, his team doesn’t have to go back and change water cement ratios or add stabilizers or accelerators to the concrete, which can make a big difference in the timeline.
“The Dricrete gets put into the concrete and it acts like a normal concrete mix,” Franklin said. “It stacks, it sets and finishes. It’s a much more complete system that also includes joint design.”
As the pandemic moves forward, supply chain issues continue to plague the construction industry. By the end of 2020, 88% of projects were either postponed or scrapped entirely. Additionally as of October 2021, the cost for nonresidential building projects had risen by 4.5% over the past year and is expected to continue increasing into 2022.
“Dricrete is made domestically so we can hold our pricing and are not affected by backlogs at the port,” Yeiser said. “Most membranes are manufactured overseas. A 40-foot container is reaching $20K to ship when it used to be $4K. These increases are not sustainable and at some point, will have to be passed on to the customer. We can shave weeks off the path of construction at a lower cost.”
There's no clear timeline for when the supply chain issues will be resolved but until then and moving forward, Dricrete considers itself to be part of the solution as a smarter way to build.
This article was produced in collaboration between Dricrete and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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