The Use of Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) on Waterproofing Membranes over Concrete Surfaces

Waterproofing membranes are a key element in building enclosure systems—a key element that ultimately gets covered up by a variety of finish materials including landscaping, green roofs, topping slabs, pavers and so on. As most of us know, excavation to expose a failed waterproofing membrane for repairs can be prohibitively expensive and in some cases impossible. For this reason, many designers are choosing to specify integrity testing to verify that the waterproofing membrane is free of discontinuities and penetrations through the membrane prior to the installation being permanently covered. When integrity testing is not specified, many contractors are often performing this type of testing voluntarily to avoid future problems or “call-backs.”

The most common integrity testing method is the flood test. Flood testing is typically performed by flooding waterproofed horizontal surfaces with at least two inches (50 mm) of water for a period of up to 48 hours. Temporary dams are often constructed to partition the test areas, provide an up-turned plaza edge and control the depth of the flood testing. During the flood test, access to the underside of the flooded areas is necessary for a visual inspection of water leakage. However, in the case of a membrane failure (leak), flood testing indicates only where water is penetrating through the entire assembly within the test area, not the location above where water is breaching the membrane. In addition, flood testing cannot be performed on vertical surfaces or at locations where the underside of the slab is not accessible.

The aforementioned restrictions and lack of conclusive data associated with flood testing has enabled Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) to gain momentum as a viable alternative to traditional flood testing. This article will focus on the different types of ELD and the applications where ELD is or is not well-suited.


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Terra-Petra ELD information

Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson – California Commercial Real Estate Survey


As providedthe introduction to this survey, by John M. Tipton Partner, Real Estate Department Allen Matkins:

Allen Matkins and UCLA Anderson Forecast have partnered to create a Commercial Real Estate Survey and Index to better predict future California commercial rental and vacancy rates. This tool surveys supply-side participants – commercial developers and financiers of commercial development – for insights into their markets. The Survey and the resulting Index provide a measure of the commercial real estate supply-side participants’ view of current and future conditions. Since participants make investment actions based upon these views, it provides a leading indicator of changing supply conditions.

Allen Matkins sponsored this Survey to provide value to the industry. Partnered with UCLA Anderson Forecast, the leading independent economic forecast of both the U.S. and California economies for over 65 years, they have tapped the knowledge of the leading developers and financiers of real estate development in California to provide the best, clear-sighted forecast of the California commercial real estate industry. Read they Survey and Index here.

Mixed-use project, called Metropolis, is unprecedented for Downtown L.A.

If you travel down through the Downtown LA area on a regular basis, you have probably noticed the every-changing skyline. As an environmental engineering firm, Terra-Petra is taking part with many of these new projects. One of which is called the Metropolis (you can’t miss this large mixed-use community steadily growing along the 110 freeway). The Terra-Petra Waterproofing Division is consulting on the building envelope waterproofing system for the Metropolis project and inspecting all of the waterproofing as it gets installed.

Read more about Metropolis and other projects currently being led by Chinese developers in Downtown Los Angeles.

Waterproofing Inspections on the Hollywood Argyle Hotel by Terra-Petra

Terra-Petra Waterproofing Division is performing the waterproofing inspections for the Hollywood Argyle Hotel project. Here’s an update via UrbanizeLA.com – by STEVEN SHARP:

After nearly one year of construction, exterior work is in full swing for Hollywood’s Argyle Hotel.

Located at 1800 N. Argyle Avenue, the project consists of a 16-story hotel featuring 220 guest rooms, restaurant space, and ancillary features such as meeting rooms, a swimming pool and a parking garage.  1800 Argyle Avenue Archive (Urbanize LA)

Terra-Petra Assists on Final Phase of Dana Strand Development in Wilmington

Terra-Petra has recently completed its role on Phase 4 of the Dana Strand project in Wilmington, California. Our team of environmental engineering professionals has been involved with this project since its inception, having worked on Phases 1, 2 and 3.

Earlier this week, nonprofit developers Abode Communities and Mercy Housing California convened in Wilmington to celebrate the groundbreaking of Vista del Mar and Camino del Mar, a new collection of 176 affordable homes.

In addition to housing, the $71 million development will offer 35,000 square feet of open and recreational space, as well as features uch as a computer lab, bicycle parking and on-site social services.  The property also is located in close proximity to the Wilmington Waterfront Park.

The projects are considered the fourth and final phase of the Dana Strand Village redevelopment, which has repurposed a 20-acre post-war military housing site.  A full buildout of the New Dana Strand, the culmination of a process that began in 2000, will provide housing for approximately 750 people.

Vista del Mar and Camino del Mar were through both public and private sources, including U.S. Bank, low income housing tax credits and tax exempt bonds from the City of Los Angeles.

Completion is expected in 2018.

Successful Oil Well Re-Abandonment Work in Santa Fe Springs

The end of August 2016 marked the commencement of Terra-Petra’s re-abandonment of a single oil and gas well located on a client’s property in Santa Fe Springs, California.

Terra-Petra managed all of the oil well permitting matters associated with an unspecified redevelopment of the site since March of this year — consulting with the property owner and negotiating with the Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) on all oil well related compliance matters in an attempt to bring the site up to current standards so that it can be redeveloped.

Terra-Petra provided a full turn-key approach to address the oil well compliance matters upon submitting the Construction Site Plan Review, wrote the well reabandonment program, filed for and received the Permit to Conduct Well Operations and currently in the process of re-abandoning the well. The well re-abandonment work typically consists of drilling out all existing cement plugs within the well all the way to depth.

Once the well is cleaned out new “isolation plugs” consisting of cement are installed at varying depths to seal off different oil and gas producing zones including the upper hydrocarbon zone as well as the base of fresh water.

The cementing operations are completed with a final cement plug from 25’-35’ deep to the surface.  A steel plate is tack welded to the exterior steel casing and the last 5 digits of the API number are welded to it.

The well then must be surveyed prior to burying with latitude and longitude in a specific DOGGR approved format. Terra-Petra is anticipating a completion date of September 23, 2016. Please contact Terra-Petra for any of your oil well related needs.

Detec Systems Training for the Terra-Petra Team

Certified ELD Field Testing Crew, left to right: Diego Saucedo, Project Coordinator Andrew Alvarran, Anthony Avina, Alvaro Arellano, Director of Field Operations Daniel Valdez and Chad Herrick of Detect Systems.

Detec Systems visited Terra-Petra’s Los Angeles office this week to conduct a comprehensive education and training session to promote their innovative product line of leak detection technologies. Detec provides leading-edge technology in the field of electronic leak detection (ELD), by way of membrane integrity testing and scanning, and automated structure monitoring. The training session included a classroom like session followed by field training on a jobsite.

The Terra-Petra Waterproofing Division is certified to conduct ELD testing throughout Southern California for numerous types of fluid-applied waterproofing and roofing systems in compliance with ASTM 7877-14. This includes any thermoplastic roofing system, any asphalt based waterproofing, traffic coatings, hot and cold fluid applied membranes and some bentonite systems (as long as they have thermoplastic reinforcement).

Terra-Petra employs the use of the Detec Systems Roof Membrane Integrity Scanner (RMIS) to accurately identify breaches in new and existing membrane systems. Many contractors are using a 24-48 hour flood test to check for breaches in these types of waterproofing assemblies. While this method can identify water leaks, it is time consuming and less cost effective. The benefits of the RMIS technology is that breaches and other imperfections can be identified, repaired and re-tested the same day, saving valuable time, resources and money for any project.

Terra-Petra attends Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering, once again, joined up with the ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CONFERENCE AT YOSEMITE® -October 20-23 at the Tenaya Lodge (“The Gateway to Yosemite”). The conference is nationally recognized as the largest and most prestigious gathering in California of leaders in environmental, land use, and natural resources law. Here are a few of the highlights.

Left to right: The Great Expo Hall of Tenaya Lodge! Terra-Petra exhibition meeting table; Gorgeous view from the Lodge; The crowd waits to hear Senator Barbara Boxer; Terra-Petra’s Justin Conaway and Kevin Buchanan, on their way out to Fresno Dome; Working up to the top of the Dome and the beautiful view from above; Justin takes a tumble down, but rest assured he is doing fine. Terra-Petra’s team had a fantasic time and as always, The Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite was an exceptional event for educational and networking opportunities within the environmental engineering and law industries

Terra-Petra Company Christmas Party 2016: Another Memory Maker!

Terra-Petra’s CEO, Kevin Buchanan and VP/General Manager, Justin Conaway another memorable holiday party for the Terra-Petra team and family last Saturday night! The group gathered at Downtown Los Angeles’ favorite Maso Malo (one of Kevn and Justin’s favorite gathering places for the group over the years).

“I was happy to see all of the people that have helped make Terra-Petra great in 2016 having so much fun. This party was a direct reflection of the growth and success that we have had all year long.  I would have to say that this was not only our biggest, but probably the best party we have had so far. I’m happy we can continue this tradition every year. It just gets bigger and better everytime.” – Justin Conaway

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