Case Study: Waverley Bridge

How do you waterproof a listed building?


Welcome to a case study of a unique waterproofing job in an iconic piece of Scottish architecture.

This is the story of how Wise Basement Systems worked in conjunction with Newton Waterproofing to waterproof the basement level of a building in Edinburgh’s Grade A listed Waverley Bridge.

Working on Waverley Bridge: Tricky but not Impossible

The basement we were tasked with waterproofing was inside the former Waverley bridge booking office, which is now a Wetherspoon’s bar and eatery (appropriately named The Booking Office).

To explain the complexity of the job, here is our senior surveyor, Stuart McGinlay:

“The bar we were working on was contained in the cast iron and concrete construction of the bridge with the ground and basement levels held up on steel columns that come up from the rail stations platforms below. This means the trains run directly below, and we could feel them rumbling through the foundations, a clear concern when applying any basement waterproofing.

In addition, water was leaking down into the basement from various sources through the paving and roadway above, then tracking along the basement’s steel frame. We quickly realised we were facing a real waterproofing nightmare. Really, there was no way of successfully re-waterproofing the space as it was, without deconstructing the bridge and rebuilding… Obviously, this was never going to happen, so we had come up with a more inventive solution.”

The Solution

Wise Basement Systems proposed that a structure be built inside the existing space. We then installed a TypeC cavity membrane system with drainage points and maintenance points in the drainage. The builder, who initially contracted us to provide the waterproofing, installed a slopping roof. This roof catches the previously mentioned leaks from above the basement and diverts them behind our cavity membrane system and safely away into drainage.

One stipulation Wise Basement Systems had to abide by, due to the basement being within a listed building, was that we were not allowed to cut any concrete out to form a channel for the drainage. To get around this we installed our drainage channel on top of the floor slabs along with a specialist waterproof insulation spacer over the whole floor (700m2). This allowed us to direct any water that could potentially reach the floor into the drainage channels.

In layman’s terms, we effectively formed an internal “umbrella” for the water to run off and into our system to then be managed.

All our works were in compliance with the waterproofing standards Bs 8102 2009.

Praise and Recognition

The fantastic work by our team was Highly Commended at the 2017 Property Care Association Awards in their "Project of the Year" category.

This project also resulted in a glowing testimonial from the construction manager of Sanderson Ltd, the company that hired Wise Basement Systems for the project.

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More information on Wise Basement Systems

Read more of our case studies or find out more about our internal waterproofing systems by clicking the links below:

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Find out more about the process of waterproofing a basement from the inside using membranes and drainage channels.

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