Short term pricing is still a major factor for most construction professionals when specifying the products they need. But for those willing to look at the bigger picture, they would find that the best value for money and the most sustainable green solutions can be found from trusted and tried traditional products. John Blowers, director of the Mastic Asphalt Council (MAC) makes the case for one of our traditional waterproofing materials.When it comes to specifying a waterproof membrane it would seem that there are still too many construction professionals prepared to choose products based on price – and nothing else. Cost is everything even to the point of choosing totally unsuitable membranes that will fail to deliver the kind of performance needed when the going gets tough.
When it comes to specifying a waterproof membrane it would seem that there are still too many construction professionals prepared to choose products based on price – and nothing else. Cost is everything even to the point of choosing totally unsuitable membranes that will fail to deliver the kind of performance needed when the going gets tough.
The Mastic Asphalt Council has seen many examples of waterproofing membranes failing simply because the specifier or end user did not understand the limitations of the product, or chose to ignore them, simply to save money. It usually means that someone else, usually the building owner, has to foot the bill – for the second time.
On face value some waterproof membranes, such as mastic asphalt, might not seem to offer the best value for money but look at the facts. The London-based Building Performance Group, leaders in construction assessment, when examining the costs of different waterproofing methods across a 60 year life span, found that mastic asphalt was the most cost effective waterproofing option on the market. In addition whilst a number of modern day products gave good results in laboratory tests, they did not perform so well when installed and exposed to the rigours of UK construction methods and wet weather conditions.
Alternative flat roof systems were estimated to cost between 12% and 21% That means that for a roof the size of a football pitch, mastic asphalt could cost £40,000 less than these products over the lifetime of the installation.
It is the astonishing longevity and durability of mastic asphalt that makes it much better value than its alternatives. Though alternative waterproofing membranes may look much better value initially, many of them have life expectancies of around 15 or 20 years, only half the life expectancy of mastic asphalt. This is what makes them extremely costly in the long run.
Should it be required, repair work to mastic asphalt roofing is also far cheaper and easier than it is for other systems. Because mastic asphalt is hot laid and thereby seamless, any imperfections to the roof can be easily found and repaired with a quick application of the material. With other roofing materials water can become trapped below the layers of the membranes, creating widespread structural damage – costing even more money to correct.
There are further hidden savings to be made from mastic asphalt roofs. As they are so hardy and have such a long life span, there is less need for onsite repair work or the installation of new roofing. This means fewer disruptions for organisations, be they businesses, schools or hospitals, and therefore less negative effect on productivity. Because they can accommodate foot traffic, there is no need for extra expenditure on walkways and roof protection.
The evident money saving qualities of mastic asphalt make it one of the market’s best choice for waterproofing. However, not only does it represent great value, it has a range of benefits that make it stand out from other materials.
Chief amongst these is quality. The Mastic Asphalt Council (MAC) ensures that every installer of mastic asphalt has trained and achieved an NVQ level 2 or level 3 in the mastic asphalt craft. This means that anyone looking for an asphalt roof can be sure that it will only be applied by reputable and skilled craftsman. The manufacturers of mastic asphalt are all accredited to ISO:9001 and ISO:14001, the industry standard marks of Quality and Environmental Management.
Environmentally conscious practice is central to the members of MAC. The first industry worldwide to go CarbonZero, users of mastic asphalt can rest assured that the waterproofing of their rooftop is 100% carbon neutral – crucial at a time when sustainability has become so important to construction. As part of MAC’s Carbon100 initiative, thousands of allied sub-contractors also meet the rigorous CarbonZero standard.
Central to the industry’s green operations has been the offsetting of emissions. Aided by co2balance, a prominent carbon management company, MAC has invested in energy balancing projects internationally to absorb and prevent its carbon impact. One of these projects has seen MAC donate energy efficient stoves to African families, benefiting the environment and helping some of the world’s poorest communities.
These factors have all made MAC a consistently popular choice with specifiers across the UK. Used on everything from prestigious heritage projects to modern green roofing, its versatility and high performance qualities make it stand head and shoulders above alternative materials, as does one other factor – its undeniable good value.