How to Become a Licensed Waterproofer in South Australia

Last week I spoke to the people at Consumer and Business Services to check what they require before issuing a person with a license to complete internal & balcony waterproofing. Each week we have people call asking if they can complete our 3 day course in waterproofing and then go out and work in the industry. If you have plenty of experience aside from the 3 day course, then yes, you can apply for a license but you will most likely be called in for a technical interview.

If you do not work in the building industry you need to get experience first. You could work with a tiler or an already licensed waterproofer until you have the experience to pass a technical interview. The interview covers off a lot of ‘what if’s’ you wont simply be reciting the Australian Standards, Building Code or SA Ministerial Code. You will need to have broad enough experience to answer questions across both commercial and residential work. This is because your license will enable you to work across all sites so you will need to understand the differences.

It is also helpful to attend training courses provided by one of the manufacturers of waterproofing materials. Gripset, Ardex and Mapei all provide regular training on how to use their products. Some of these manufacturers also have phone apps that let you lookup the product you need for certain jobs.

Once you feel you are ready to apply for a waterproofing license, you will need to complete the requirements that Consumer and Business Services have set out on their website. This includes completing two short courses in business law and finance.

Click here to access Consumer & Business Services guidelines for applicants. As always, if you have questions you can email us at [email protected] or call 83675615.

Waterproofing Refresher Course – Review of Australian Standard, Building Code and System Demonstrations

By popular demand we have developed a short 3 hour course in Waterproofing.  Our first course will be on Tuesday 28th February 2017 from 5pm – 8pm for $100. This is a classroom based course that will cover:

  • Building Code requirements
  • Complete review of AS3740 and discussion
  • Case studies & examples of failures
  • Product demonstrations, latest systems & review of manufacturers requirements
  • Q&A discussion group

The course will be held at FCTA – Building Careers, 15 Jacobsen Crs Holden Hill in South Australia. To book in and pay click here.

Waterproofing Balconies & Terraces – Supplier Technical Resources

We frequently have tilers contact us with questions about waterproofing, especially when it comes to balconies. The current training packages that apprentices complete don’t offer enough information on balconies, but focus on internal wet areas instead. FCTA has incorporated waterproofing of balconies into apprentice training regardless of it being unfunded, because its critical for tilers to have an understanding of the different processes.

Mapei is one of the suppliers of waterproofing products in Australia. They have put together a comprehensive technical notebook about terraces and balconies

Ardex is another supplier of Tiling and Waterproofing products. They have a really great section on their website that provides technical bulletins about a range of issues, including how to work with James Hardie’s Scyon product, bonding ceramic tiles to waterproofing products and an introduction to screeding & waterproofing membranes. Click here to access their technical bulletins.

Gripset is a South Australian company operating worldwide. They provide technical information and usage calculators on their website to assist tradies. Their technical manuals and calculators can be found on their website.

FCTA – Building Careers also run short courses on waterproofing, to book in follow this link.

Victoria is facing a crisis of faulty, dangerous and leaking buildings comparable to the scourge of asbestos, could Adelaide be the same?

Victoria is facing a crisis of faulty, dangerous and leaking buildings that experts warn is comparable in scale to the historical scourge of asbestos.

Shoddy materials and poor workmanship mean many homes and apartments in Victoria are likely to be outlived by their owners.

Structural failures are already emerging in residential buildings that are just a few years old, while a widespread “leaky building syndrome” has caused mould infestations so severe that many houses have become uninhabitable.

Builders Collective of Australia president Phil Dwyer said there would be an “endemic failure of the building industry” in the next 10 years as a consequence of developers chasing profits at the expensive of longevity.

“There will be so many defects and problems in buildings that we won’t be able to cope,” he said.

Veteran building regulation expert Stephen Kip said it was extremely likely lives would be lost in Victoria due to poor building standards.

He said he was aware of at least half a dozen occupied buildings that he considered unsafe for people to live in, mainly because of major fire safety risks caused by insufficient fire separation and the use of combustible cladding.

Mr Kip said there was a big problem with lightweight polystyrene cladding being installed on medium-sized apartment buildings because water would leak through the joints of the cladding.

He said mould drove people out of their units, then the timber frame of a building slowly decayed to the point that the building would have to be demolished unless expensive repair work was undertaken.

“I have personally seen dozens of buildings like this and I believe the problem relates to thousands of buildings built in the last decade,” Mr Kip said.

While many agree there are pervasive flaws with the standard of new buildings in Victoria, there is not yet consensus about how to reform the industry, amid fears any changes might increase the cost of building homes.

Water leaking from the ceiling of a new apartment complex. 

Water leaking from the ceiling of a new apartment complex. Photo: Wayne Taylor

A future of mass building demolition

New laws may have to be introduced to manage mass demolitions of buildings with multiple owners.

Leading building law specialist Tim Graham said in some cases the problems in apartment complexes were likely to be so bad it would be quicker and cheaper to terminate the owners’ corporation and collectively sell the land to a developer.

He said current laws required 100 per cent of owners to agree to a demolition, but it’s likely these requirements will be changed in the future, perhaps to 75 per cent.

Do you know more about this issue? Email reporter Aisha Dow

Meanwhile, there are reports standalone houses built in the past 10 to 15 years have already been demolished because of substandard builds – in suburbs including Drysdale, Reservoir, Caulfield and Balwyn North.

Sahil Bhasin, the national general manager of Roscon, a company that specialises in identifying building defects, said more than 20 houses with polystyrene or “foam” cladding had been bulldozed after water leaked through broken cladding and rotted structural timbers.

While others argue lightweight construction material poses no inherent problem if used correctly, Mr Bhasin said in his experience defects would always emerge, especially in cement sheet or polystyrene cladding.

“Foam is meant to be used for eskies, not building houses,” he said.

“These developments are being constructed out of inferior products and sold off the plans to investors. These are the ones that are being quickly slapped up and they’ll be falling apart within 20 years.”

Defect expert Sahil Bhasin investigates a water leak in a new apartment building. 

Defect expert Sahil Bhasin investigates a water leak in a new apartment building. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Mr Bhasin is calling for the quality of building materials to be assessed by authorities as part of the planning permit process.

“We go to some of these places that are breaking down in front of us and it’s really sad,” he said.

“What do you tell someone when you remove a little bit of plasterboard and find a whole rotted wall?

“Especially if the lady sold her $1 million home in Kew home to buy this $600,000 unit, thinking they have $400,000 for retirement, then all of a sudden they having nothing.”

Melbourne’s leaky building syndrome

When it comes to declining building standards in Victoria, the canary in the coal mine has been the drip drip of leaking homes.

Ray Neary lives in an award-winning apartment in Coburg, built just five years ago. But for the past four months, he has been sleeping on a mattress on the floor of his living room, since water start leaking into his unit and dripping through his bedroom wall.

“It got that damp I put my hand on it to see how soggy it was and my hand went through the wall,” Mr Neary said.

Ray Neary said he has been forced out of his bedroom due to water leaks. 

Ray Neary said he has been forced out of his bedroom due to water leaks. Photo: Wayne Taylor

His neighbours are also having problems. In the unit directly underneath, Mary Stella has set up a big plastic storage container to catch the litres of dirty tea-coloured water that have been dripping from a hole in the ceiling meant to hold an evacuation speaker.

The Nicholson apartment complex was one of the first modular apartment buildings constructed in Melbourne, a project by Places Victoria (the government’s property development agency).

Each unit was constructed in a factory and before Mary moved in she appeared in a newspaper article which heralded the project as the possible “future of housing for many in Melbourne”.

Now the retiree is thinking twice about her decision to trade in her three-bedroom family home in Brunswick for the $450,000 unit, after problems getting the persistent leaks fixed.

Mary Stella in her Coburg apartment. 

Mary Stella in her Coburg apartment. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Mary Stella collected this water leaking from the ceiling of her apartment. 

Mary Stella collected this water leaking from the ceiling of her apartment. Photo: Supplied

Worryingly for residents, water damage can also be seen on the ceilings and walls of the building’s common areas and a number of balconies.

“I thought I would do this and I wouldn’t have any problems with maintenance, but now I find myself in an even worse situation,” Ms Stella said.

They don’t build them like they used to

There are buildings in Melbourne that have survived more than 150 years. But, if the experts are right, there may not be too many “Millennial” homes that stand the test of time alongside the city’s proud legacy of Victorian and Edwardian properties.

Phil Dwyer said his building company had knocked back offers to build 17 apartment projects this year because it was impossible to build a safe building that would last at the price demanded by the developer.

“You can’t cut corners like that and get away with it,” he said.

A growing chorus of industry experts say authorities have not grasped the scale of the problem, and have criticised the building regulators for their long-term failure to ensure builders and developers adhere to existing codes and standards.

Stephen Kip said a lack of government oversight of the building permit system was key. “Most building practitioners have never had their work effectively audited,” he said.

When one big audit did occur as a result of a 2014 fire that damaged the Lacrosse tower in Docklands (later found to have combustible cladding), the Victorian Building Authority found 51 per cent of Melbourne’s newest high rises also had cladding installed improperly.

The Lacrosse fire prompted reforms by the Victorian government, including new injunction powers to inspect construction sites and rules compelling builders to repair bad work.

Authorities said it was extremely lucky no one was killed in the 2014 Lacrosse fire. 

Authorities said it was extremely lucky no one was killed in the 2014 Lacrosse fire. Photo: Gregory Badrock

Planning Minister Richard Wynne said he continued to raise building product issues with the Australian Building Codes Board. “We want to continue our push for higher standards,” he said.

The Builders Collective of Australia is calling for a better building warranty insurance system that incentivise builders and developers to use proper construction methods and hardy materials by making them pay to fix defects.

Others say too much of the building work in Victoria is being performed by people who are not properly trained nor registered as tradespeople, which means they are not held accountable for bad work.

Meanwhile, the Property Council of Australia said an increased demand for high-quality apartments meant Victorian developers had a greater focus on building longevity.

Originally published:

Waterproofing course on 29th Jan will be rescheduled

After this weeks hot weather made it nearly impossible to get any work done, we’ve decided to reschedule our waterproofing course. When dates have been confirmed an update will be posted. If you are interested in attending and have time free at specific dates, email [email protected] so we can take that into consideration when we reschedule.

Short Courses on Offer in 2014

FCTA – Building Careers has a range of short courses scheduled for 2014. Some of these courses are available at a discounted price to people currently working in the construction industry, via the CITB. The CITB co-funds these courses, prices listed will have a cost with CITB discount applied and without. CITB cards do expire, but you can visit their website to renew or apply for a card if you haven’t in the past.

The following courses are on offer, click the title of the course to download a flyer:

Date Course Name Cost
29/01/2014 – 31/01/2014 Waterproofing – Internal Wet Areas 3 Day Course* Please not current standard is AS3740 -2010 CITB= $150 Without = $500
10/02/2014 – 14/02/2014 Traditional Sand & Cement Rendering 5 Day Course CITB= $100 Without = $650
24/03/2014 – 28/03/2014 Solid Plastering – Including Rendering Quoins & Bands 5 Day Course CITB= $100 Without = $650
28/04/2014 – 02/05/2014 Decorative Fibrous Plastering 5 Day Course CITB= $200 Without = $720
05/05/2014 – 07/05/2014 Acrylic Rendering 3 Day Course CITB= $150 Without = $500
19/05/2014 – 23/05/2014 Introduction to Tiling 5 Day Course CITB= $150 Without = $670
02/06/2014 – 06/06/2014 Advanced Tiling 5 Day Course CITB= $200 Without = $720
07/02/2014      02/05/2014      25/07/2014     17/10/2014 White Card  1 Day Course   6 Hours Face to Face CITB= $25 Without = $100
18/01/2014 – 19/01/20140

1/02/2014 – 02/02/2014


08/02/2014 – 09/02/2014

22/02/2014 – 23/02/2014 

Contractors Licence Course 4 days over 2 weekends. CITB= $450

Without = $950

Weekday courses run from 8am – 3:30pm.

Payment Methods:

Cash, cheque, electronic funds transfer or paypal credit card payments via website

To secure a place, please email us.

Student completing advanced tiling task at FCTA