Newton Waterproofing, a UK independent designer and supplier of waterproofing systems, has delivered a failsafe waterproofing and fireproofing solution to the service tunnels beneath the British Museum, ensuring that the Grade 1 listed building is fully protected.
Built between 1907 and 1914, the King Edward VII Galleries, part of the British Museum in London, sits above a series of tunnels and ventilation shafts, which supply air into the gallery. The gallery houses many priceless objects of historical significance and cultural importance, including:
• The Portland Vase: One of the finest examples of ancient Roman art in existence, dating from the 1st century AD.
• The Ardabil Carpet: A magnificent 10.5m x 5m Persian carpet, dating from the 16th century. One of the largest and finest examples of its kind.
• The Silver Swan: An intricate 18th century automaton made from silver, glass, and steel, considered a marvel of engineering and artistry.
• The Beauvais Tapestry: An exquisite wool and silk tapestry, dating from the 17th century. One of a series of six that depict scenes from the life of Alexander the Great.
However, due to water ingress in the tunnels, there was serious concern as to the quality of the air supplied, and the impact this might have on the artefacts kept there.
Newton were called on to provide a solution to protect the tunnels against water ingress and fire, allowing the tunnels to be re-instated as the primary source of air to the galleries.
This involved repairing the tunnel walls and floors and installing a permanent waterproofing and fire rated solution to achieve a Grade 2 environment as per BS 8102:2022, and also meet the British Museum’s fire strategy.
Working directly with specialist contractor Arti Structural Waterproofing, a Type A barrier membrane, HydroCoat 107 Elastic 2K, was first installed to provide a robust coating and seal existing leaks in places where a Type C system was not feasible.
Next, Newton worked with Arti and product partner Oldroyd, Scandinavia’s leading supplier of tunnel membrane systems, to design and install Oldroyd Xtf membrane as a cavity drain waterproofing system to the walls and floors of the tunnels.
Produced in Norway, Oldroyd Xtf is the number one sustainable fireproof and waterproof solution for underground projects, and is distributed exclusively in the UK via Newton.
Containing only environmentally friendly raw materials, Oldroyd Xtf is tested according to the EN 13501-1 standard for fire classification of construction products and, as a result, is classified to B-s2.d0, meaning it completely prevents burning droplets when exposed to fire.
Newton Waterproofing Managing Director Warren Muschialli comments: “The trained installers from Arti Structural Waterproofing dealt with many challenges on this complex project – high humidity levels coupled with the challenge of fitting a fire-rated membrane to a high standard made it a physical challenge as well as a financial one. In addition, many of the existing services could not be removed, so a significant effort was required to ensure that the membrane was effectively installed to all tunnel walls.
“The project was successfully completed over 10 weeks, with Newton and Arti delivering a solution that is waterproof, fireproof, maintainable and reversible. As a result, the happy client now has a system that meets all their requirements, and that will regularly be serviced by Arti Structural Waterproofing.”
For more information, visit www.newtonwaterproofing.co.uk.