Publications > Waterproofing

Essential Architecture: GSA, DGS & USPS

Department of General Services and General Services Administrati

CC by ND – Department of General Services and General Services Administration Proposal Covers

During this challenging time, we are grateful to be hard at work. Many of our clients are designated as essential, and we have two new on-call contracts to announce: with the General Services Administration (GSA) and with the Department of General Services (DGS), both government agencies that we have decades of experience working with, dating back to 1990. And we are in the fourth year of an on-call contract with the United State Postal Service, which we have worked with since the mid-1980s. We are grateful to be able to help these entities maintain the services we need. Read More

Case Study: BART Waterproofing Project Saves Tens of Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water Annually

Reverse osmosis filtration takes place during a water reclamation project at Energy Center San Francisco. Photo: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle

From 2011 to 2016, I was project manager for Interactive Resources on a project for BART to repair extensive leaks into the BART Powell Street Station that had plagued BART for decades and had stymied continuous previous repair attempts.

The solution ultimately involved injecting urethane grout through the ceiling of the station into the soil above to create a new waterproofing system to replace, or augment, the original Bentonite system that had failed.

Our investigation revealed a complicating factor that had played a role in both exacerbating some of the leakage as well as thwarting previous attempts to repair it. It turned out that there was an ultra-high temperature steam pipe running the length of the station above the ceiling in the soil above. Despite extensive insulation and encasement in concrete, the heat was raising the temperature of the surrounding soil and could even be felt radiating through the concrete ceiling. The steam pipe was operated by NRG and supplied steam to a number of buildings bordering Market Street. Read More

Who was Frank J. Hagel?

Frank Hagel, landscape arhitecture, public

© 2018. Treve Johnson

Interactive Resources recently completed a six yearlong project for The Frank Hagel Federal Building in Richmond, California. The main tenant of this six-story structure is the Social Security Administration, and Interactive Resources was retained by the General Services Administration to investigate and report on ongoing water intrusion into the building’s basement from the plaza above. You can read about our feasibility study, final report, schematic design, construction documents and cost estimates here.

We thought it would be interesting to learn about the person whose name is on this building we’ve spent so much time studying. Surprisingly, just googling Frank Hagel doesn’t easily answer this question. Read More

Envelope Study & Improvements for UC Berkeley’s University Hall

University of California, University Hall Envelope Improvements


We recently completed a study for UC Berkeley’s University Hall. This seven-story tower and adjoining two-story annex at the west edge of campus, designed by the well-known west coast firm Welton Becet & Associates and constructed in 1959, originally housed the University of California Office of the President. When UCOP relocated to Oakland, University Hall became home to the campus's Visitor Center and a variety of administrative offices. Read More

Delta Diablo Plant Operations & Treatment Plant Roof Replacement, Antioch, California

Delta Diablo Roof Replacement, Plant Operations Building, Interactive Resources


Interactive Resources is very happy to announce a recent award from the Delta Diablo (Delta Diablo Sanitation District) for the Plant Operations Center and Treatment Plant roof replacement. Edward Anisman, is the project manager at Interactive Resources who will be leading this roof replacement effort. Read More

DGS, FMD Bay & Northern Area Architectural Retainer Services

We are happy to announce that State of California, Department of General Services (DGS), Facilities Management Division (FMD) selected Interactive Resources to provide architectural and engineering services for the Bay and Northern California regions. The FMD is comprised of the former Building and Property Management Branch and the Direct Construction Unit. FMD is tasked with ensuring the ongoing maintenance and management of several state-owned buildings. Read More

Codes & Standards for Barriers & Flashings

Tom Butt overseeing Initial mockup for urethane injection grout waterproofing at BART's Powell Street Station

Tom Butt overseeing Initial mockup for urethane injection grout waterproofing at BART's Powell Street Station. CC-ND

Both technology and available materials and products continue to proliferate, with new offerings in liquid-applied barriers and flashings, air barriers with water-resistive functionality and drainable interstices. Architects, contractors, builders and developers are faced with a dizzying number of choices. This presentation and related paper review applicable AAMA, ICC and ASTM standards and identify both gaps and works in progress. Read More

Window and Door Design and Installation Guide

Nystrom Elementary School

Nystrom Elementary School CC-ND

This post explores basic information on the design, specifying and installing doors and windows. Techniques for installation of “punched” windows and doors have been evolving continually over the last two decades. For many years, the accepted standard involved four strips of flexible flashing integrated with a nailing fin and the water resistive barrier (WRB) at the window perimeter. This concept was easy to understand and implement because the window fins, the flashings and the WRB were typically all in the same plane. It is amazing, however, that so many designers and builders were still able to get it wrong. Read More

Plaza Deck Design Primer

Plaza Design, Frank Hagel Federal Building

Plaza Design, Frank Hagel Federal Building CC BY-ND

This primer points out key issues for designing and constructing a successful plaza deck system. A plaza deck is a walking surface, which sometimes can accommodate vehicles, typically waterproofed to protect the underlying structure and/or occupied spaces below. Common surface treatments include concrete, ceramic tile, stone or other paving material, usually with a bi-level drain used to accept both surface run-off and water at the waterproofing membrane level. Structural substrates are commonly wood or concrete. Read More

Westcon Tribune

Avoid litigation and achieve better design and construction

Avoid litigation and achieve better design and construction, photo credit Joe Gratz. CC-ND

Architects and engineers become defendants in construction defect litigation because of allegations that they breached the standard of care – that is, they practiced in a negligent manner that caused or contributed to a construction defect that resulted in damage to someone. Tom Butt's presentation at the Westcon symposium included remarks about construction litigation in general, the design professional’s standard of care, using standards to avoid litigation and achieve better design and construction, and tips to avoid waterproofing failures. Read More

Water Resistance and Vapor Permeance of Weather Resistive Barriers

ASTM International is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services

ASTM International. CC-ND

This paper, which is limited to the properties of water resistance and water vapor permeance, provides information that may be helpful in understanding, selecting, and using weather resistive barriers. Weather-resistive barriers (WRBs) are typically used in exterior walls of low rise frame buildings under claddings such as stucco (cement plaster), wood and wood derived products, vinyl (PVC), and masonry veneer. WRBs are primarily intended to provide resistance to water that may penetrate the outer cladding. WRBs also provide resistance to passage of air to varying extents but generally are moderately permeable to water vapor. Traditional WRB materials were limited to asphalt saturated felts and papers, but polymeric sheets have taken a growing share of the market in recent years.
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The Enduring Mystery of Weather Resistive Barriers and the Need for Standards

Santa Ana Federal Building Water Intrusion Investigation & Repair Design, Santa Ana, CA, Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY-ND

This PowerPoint Presentation by Tom Butt was delivered at the Westcon ASTM E 2266 Seminar. "The Enduring Mystery of Weather Resistive Barriers and the Need for Standards" covers drainage walls, weather resistive barriers, common use and misuse of terminology, the California Building Code, and much more. Read More

Soffit/Weep Screeds in Cement Plaster (Stucco) Construction

Stucco remains one of the most popular cladding materials in the west and southwest United States. Photo credit Dante Alighieri CC-ND

Conventional stucco, also called cement plaster, is a mixture of Portland cement, sand and water, to which plasticizers, traditionally lime, are often added to increase workability. In wood frame construction, stucco is usually applied in three coats over metal reinforcement (lath), with or without solid backing. Properly used, stucco is a desirable cladding material that is hard, strong, fire-resistant, rot and fungus resistant and durable. It adapts to any shape, is low in first cost and
has minimal requirements for maintenance. It remains one of the most popular cladding materials in the west and southwest United States. In spite of its many advantages, stucco has, when misused or abused, distinct undesirable characteristics that can cause or contribute to serious problems or construction failures. The undesirable result most often seen is water intrusion resulting in damage to structure or building contents. Read More

Weather Resistive Barriers and Flexible Flashings

Presentation delivered at the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Western Region Meeting. Read More

Complex Roofing Design Earns Interactive Resources an RCI Award

When the twenty-two year old built-up roofing system began to fail in 1991, the Navy decided to re-roof Building 680. Totaling 2,260 squares, Building 680 has one big roof! Read More

ASTM Task Group Addresses Challenges of Designing and Constructing Weather-Resistant Frame Buildings

ASTM International is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services

ASTM International. CC-ND

ASTM Task Group E06.21.14, chaired by Serge Fedorov, AIA, an architect with the Oakland, CA Housing Authority, is closing in on a national standard that is intended to result in low-rise frame buildings that are resistant to leaks. Read More

Architect Disciplined for Designing a Flat Deck

Although the debate over substrate slope in protected membrane roofs may continue, a recent disciplinary action by the California board of Architectural Examiners seems to have ended any debate over surface slope. Read More

Water Testing as a Diagnostic Tool for Building Leaks

In the field of construction diagnostics and litigation, water testing is frequently used to find the source of water intrusion, and less frequently, to proof test prototypical repairs. Selecting the type of test and conducting it properly is important, not only so that it will be an effective diagnostic tool, but also so that it will be credible if presented in court in conjunction with expert testimony. Read More

The Search for the Perfect Weather-Resistive Barrier

Find out what improvements are being proposed in the specification, manufacture and evaluation of weather resistive barriers - commonly known as building papers, house wraps and air barriers. Read More

Vinyl Windows May Exacerbate Water Intrusion in Stucco Walls

Because of a very high coefficient of thermal expansion, vinyl window installation in stucco walls may result in large joints and water intrusion between the window and the stucco cladding. Read More

Mold and Mildew – Emerging Public Health Concern

Although fungi have always been here, they are only recently emerging as a public health and indoor air quality concern. Read More

The Renovation of Contra Costa County’s 50 Douglas

Three-story office building exterior
50 Douglas houses Contra Costa County's County Probation Department, the District Attorney's Family Support Office. Read More