Case Study: Kirkwall Air Traffic Control Tower

How to waterproof a flooded air traffic control tower

Basement Waterproofing in Orkney

Welcome to a case study on an urgent waterproofing job in a challenging location on the historic scottish island of Orkney with a tight timescale of one week.

This is the story of how Wise Basement Systems worked in conjunction with Newton Waterproofing to help eliminate the water ingress issue at Kirkwall Airport’s Air Traffic Control Tower.


The issue facing Kirkwall Air Traffic Control was to remove 2 inches of standing water and stop water ingress coming from the walls in the basement while working under a strict deadline of just one week. Watermark on the basement walls were as high as 1.2m showing the extent of flooding over the years. The waterproofing job was complicated the Wise surveyors had restricted entry to the basement with a 600mm access hatch being the only means of entering the basement.

Our senior estimator had this to say about the job:

It required a sensational team effort to pull this project off, especially time frame, location and site constraints. The Newton Waterproofing team were also invaluable as always on this project


The time constraints meant the waterproofing had to completed quickly and Wise didn’t hesitate to design and install a system to remedy the water ingress and 2 inches of water. A Newton CDM System was designed for the existing basement area. In an underground existing structure, this Type C waterproofing is often viewed as the most effective means of achieving a completely dry “Grade 3” environment. To begin the installation Wise fitted Newton 508 cavity wall membrane to the walls. Newton basedrain was installed to the perimeter of the basement with Fibran XPS 500 C insulation board to the floor slab with recycled Newton 520 installed over this. The basedrain connected to a sump chamber containing two NP400 Pumps with a battery back-up and alarm system to alert should there be any problems. This system allows wise to monitor the performance of the pumps to ensure they are working accordingly and the system is successful.

(click on images above for hi-res version)


It was a challenging installation with the airport being located ten miles off the mainland and a week to complete the job. However, Wise Basement Systems successfully met the client’s demands and delivered a completely dry waterproofed space on time backed up by a guarantee.

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