Forensic Waterproofing Assessment – Palmdale, CA

Terra-Petra Waterproofing Division conducted a forensic waterproofing assessment of historic water intrusion issues at the Palmdale Water District Headquarters Office building located in Palmdale, CA.

Multiple areas of historic moisture intrusion throughout this structure indicated failures at the stucco panels. The PWD Main Office was originally built in 1992 and over the years the existing stucco panels pulled apart from the building creating a safety issue. There are several theories as to why the stucco panels separated from the structure, and we assumed that it was poorly constructed. The District sought an expert to provide an evaluation of material options to replace the existing exterior stucco wall system.

Forensic Waterproofing Assessment Of Historic Building On USC Campus

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering is pleased to have been contracted to conduct a forensic waterproofing assessment of historic water intrusion issues for a building located on the campus of University of Southern California (USC).

We have been informed that there are multiple areas of historic moisture intrusion along the basement wall below areas of proposed pathway improvements at the site. The entire side of the basement has cracks on the wall that need repair; water proofing issues, and many utility penetrations with large cracks will need to be addressed. Terra-Petra shall assess the water intrusion issues and make recommendations to address these issues.

The Importance Of Waterproofing and Site Integrity – Keeping Priceless Works Of Art Safe

Terra-Petra has been selected to perform Electronic Leak Detection (ELD) testing by BEST Contracting Services for the project improvements at the Orange County Museum of Art in Costa Mesa. Testing will take place at the podium planters, with an estimated 4 move-ins where Hot Rubberized Asphalt Waterproofing will be installed as part of the site renovations.

Terra-Petra’s Waterproofing Division provides full scope building envelope consulting, design, testing and inspection services to our clients. Our goal as always is to make our clients’ lives easier by providing expert, unbiased and practical waterproofing consulting services in a highly responsive and cost-efficient manner.

While our current testing at OCMA will take place in the landscaping around the building rather than the interior of the structure, we can’t stress enough the importance of waterproofing and site integrity tests. How important?  Potentially saving priceless art collections, as noted in the 2015 article below.  A cautionary tale about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston where leaks in the building jeopardized multiple rooms in the museum holding priceless art.

The Gardner Museum’s Roofs Are Leaky, Jeopardizing Art

Re-post of original article on by Cait Munro

It’s been a tough year for Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Just days after longtime director Anne Hawley announced her resignation (see Hate Your Job? Gardner Museum Seeks Director), a security guard observed water dripping into the third floor Chapel Room.

The Boston Globe reports that the Tapestry Room, which lies one floor below, also had leaks later the same evening. Buckets and rubber mats were brought in, and jeopardized works were either removed from the area or draped in plastic.

Several days later, the Little Salon, which lies adjacent to the Tapestry Room, was also discovered to have leaks. It currently remains closed to the public, in addition to the Chapel Room.

“We are extremely cautious when a leak is detected and will drape and de-install art as a preventative measure,” said Hawley, who acknowledged that the leaks have been an ongoing problem for the past month. “We err on the side of caution and leave the plastic covering up until we are certain that any leak in the area has been stopped since water often travels. This is not always an ideal visitor experience, but protecting the collection is our top priority.”


This Is A Robbery – Netflix Documentary on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Interestingly enough, there’s also a documentary on the 1990 Heist that took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum currently streaming on Netflix.  It’s a four-part crime series on this amazing $500 million heist at this historic and beautiful building, and worth taking a look!



Forensic Water Intrusion Testing – Los Angeles, CA

Terra-Petra’s waterproofing division has been engaged by a leading Southern California contractor to conduct a forensic assessment of historic water intrusion issues for an existing building near LAX.

Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to discuss the project in detail, or disclose our client’s name as we are bound by an NDA, but we can say that the building in question is a single-story warehouse type structure with an approximate footprint of 100,000 SF.

Our process When Conducting Forensic Assessments:

Complete due diligence research on all existing buildings plans, specifications, reports, waterproofing submittal packages, photos and as-built drawings (if any of these exist). We want to be able to wrap our head around everything that has been completed to date, in order to better understand contributing factors that could have led to the failure in the waterproofing assembly.

Our investigators then conduct site walks where they perform non-destructive testing in compliance with ASTM 2128-12: Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls. This will usually include a visual inspection and the use of thermal imaging equipment and moisture meters, among other tools, to carry out the assessment work.

The forensic investigators will meet with on-site personnel, take notes and photo document conditions in order to prepare summary with our findings, options and recommendations for addressing the water intrusion matters. Sometime the non-destructive testing is not able to identify the source of the failure. In these cases, we are able to move through a destructive testing process where claddings are removed to expose the underlying conditions for the investigators. Possible testing strategies may include water testing following ASTM/AAMA standards either with or without static pressure, flood testing with colored dyes or visual inspections. Each condition is analyzed on a case-by-case basis to determine the most appropriate strategy.

No Quick Fixes, Patches Or Band-Aids....We Get To The Root Of The Problem and Fix It!

At Terra-Petra we do not believe in “patches” or “band aids” when it comes to repairing failures in the waterproofing assembly because quite honestly, they just don’t work…one must get to the root cause and make repairs at that level, to stop the leak.

Our forensic team has a high degree of success in identifying root causes of water intrusion issues by following the process outlined above.

Contact Terra-Petra today to get started or get a consultation on your own waterproofing project needs.