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Book 3 - Guide to Planter Box Waterproofing

Master Builders NSW

Version:  2017 Revised Edition.  (Current)
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A planter box is a structure designed to contain soil and plants whilst allowing effective drainage which collects and drains water to the primary drainage system and preventing water damage to adjoining structures.

The waterproofing system must be designed and installed to protect the structure and amenity of the building from water ingress. The waterproofing system should function as a collection tank that directs water to the drainage system. The building elements above the waterproofing system must be designed to direct water into the waterproofing system.

It is imperative that the structure above the waterproofing system is designed and installed to prevent moisture bypassing the waterproofing system. The waterproofing system includes not only the membrane, but includes drainage, falls, cappings and/or flashing which combine to form a complete waterproof system.

Every planter box waterproofing system should be designed and installed to:

  • Collect and drain water to the primary drainage system
  • Be compatible with other building materials with which it will be in contact with
  • Withstand anticipated microbial and chemical attack
  • Withstand constant dampness or wetting
  • Accommodate anticipated movement
  • Withstand the anticipated environmental conditions and common in service fertilisers
  • Withstand root penetration
  • Withstand exposure to ultra violet rays (above the soil line)

The Guide to External Area Waterproofing (Planter boxes) is the third book in a series, which currently include Internal (Wet Area) waterproofing and External (Balcony) waterproofing.

The objective of the Master Builders Association Waterproofing Technical Committee “Guides to Waterproofing” series of books is to document current industry high quality building practice with the intent of reducing the high incidence of waterproofing failures.

The minimum performance requirements for waterproofing are set out in the National Construction Code 2016 (NCC). In 2012 two Australian Standards were published for External Waterproofing, they are AS-4654.1 “External Waterproofing Membrane Systems Part 1 Materials” and AS-4654.2 “External Waterproofing Membranes Part 2 Design and Installation”, which are now referenced in the NCC. Clause 2.2 of the NCC defines the objectives in relation to damp and weatherproofing. Clause 2.2 states that the objective is to (a) safeguard occupants from illness or injury and protect the building from damage caused by- i) surface water, and ii) external moisture entering a building; and iii) the accumulation of internal moisture in a building; and discharge of swimming pool waste water; and (b) protect other property from damage caused by – i) redirected surface water, and ii) the discharge of swimming pool waste water.

Chapter 1: Waterproofing System Considerations
Chapter 2: Planter Box Design
Chapter 3: Types Of Construction Of Planter Boxes
Chapter 4: Construction Characteristics
Chapter 5: Damp-Proof Courses And Over-Flashings
Chapter 6: Substrates
Chapter 7: Drainage Systems
Chapter 8: Service Penetrations
Chapter 9: Hand Rails And Balustrades
Chapter 10: Membrane Selection
Chapter 11: Bond Breakers And Fillets
Chapter 12: Termination Detailing
Chapter 13: Plant Selection
Chapter 14: Maintenance Of Membranes
Chapter 15: Waterproofing Process Sequence
Chapter 16: Plan And Prepare
Chapter 17: Application Of Waterproofing Systems
Chapter 18: Waterproofing Failures
Chapter 19: Certification
Chapter 20: Glossary Of Terms
Appendix 1: Tables And Illustrations


Waterproofing Council Technical Committee

Paul Ratcliff  - Chair / Building Consultant
Michael Anderson - Builder / Consultant
Eric Byrne - Consultant
Colin Cass - Tiling Consultant
Bob Hearn  - Builder / Consultant
David Viles - Graphics Content
Bill Straw - Consultant / Trainer
Michael Herder - Supplier

Master Builders Association of New South Wales 2021
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Book 3 - Guide to Planter Box Waterproofing 2017 cover