Abu Dhabi airport dome ... a Liquid Plastics project.

LIQUID Plastics, which has been advocating the use of alternatives to high-risk roof waterproofing methods such as hot bitumen and torch-applied felts, continues to see its products specified on some of the most prestigious projects in the region.

The UK-based manufacturer of quality seamless protection systems for the construction industry introduced its flame-free, heat-free roof waterproofing solution in its domestic market several decades ago. Since then, its product — Decothane — has evolved into a top-of-the-range waterproof roof membrane and has been used worldwide. Among its latest projects in the region using the product is a major contract at Abu Dhabi airport.
“Decothane is a moisture-triggered, polyurethane system that is cold when applied in liquid form, thus eliminating the need for any heat or flame during application,” explains a spokesman for Liquid Plastics. “This makes it completely safe to apply and avoids fire hazards, in contrast to the numerous risks associated with using hot works during a roof application. Furthermore, there is no need to transport heavy machinery up many storeys to the roof area as Decothane can be simply applied straight from the tin.”
Liquid Plastics is currently waterproofing two key areas within the Abu Dhabi airport – the VIP lounge and the main entrance canopy. The VIP lounge is an impressive dome-shaped structure. Its existing built-up waterproofing system and the cementitious shell cap on the exterior of the dome had cracked and begun to disintegrate – exposing the waterproofing system and causing major leaks. The airport’s engineers confirmed that the entire building needed renovation with the installation of an advanced waterproofing system that would also provide an aesthetically-pleasing finish.
A cold-fusion-bonded built-up roofing system was specified for the refurbishment due to its versatility and ease of application to the curvature of the dome.
The full system consists of Decotherm insulation – mechanically fixed to the dome – a carrier membrane and a Decothane Omega 15 waterproof ‘cap sheet’.
The full system is completely cold applied and utilises zero-flame, zero-heat technology in the form of Decostik — a revolutionary cold fusion adhesive, the spokesman explains.
Elaborating on the project, he continues: “The Decothane waterproof membrane was produced in a series of special colours, chosen to match the dome roof to the airport’s main building, and provides a completely seamless waterproof finish. When complete, it is guaranteed to last for at least 15 years.
“The main entrance to the airport has a canopy roof, designed to shade a 200-m-wide arc across the front of the terminal. This canopy was originally protected with Liquid Plastics' 10-year Decothane system in 1992 and had now outperformed its design life by almost five years without any sign of failure.
“The membrane had suffered some mechanical damage due to maintenance works and the installation of telecommunications equipment on the canopy roof. Therefore, engineers agreed to refurbish the roof and extend the life of the system with the application of a Decothane Top-Up system.
“The canopy roof was treated with a 10-year Decothane Top-Up System in white, to provide enhanced solar-reflective capabilities. The main advantage of a top-up system is that it can be easily applied to the existing waterproofing with minimum preparation required. The completed roof is now guaranteed for a further 10 years, but can be expected to last even longer.”
“All of Liquid Plastics’ products are completely cold applied, thus eliminating the need for any heat or naked flame on the roof. The use of a heat-applied system could have proven dangerous, particularly on the dome roof that is over 12 m high. All of Liquid Plastics’ systems have also achieved BBA approval, and once installed meet the highest fire ratings available,” he emphasises.
Liquid Plastics has been aggressively promoting the use of zero-flame, zero-heat construction materials instead of high-risk roof waterproofing methods.
Towards this end, the company co-hosted, with the UK Institute of Fire Safety Managers, the successful ‘Don’t Get Your Fingers Burnt’ seminar during The Big 5 show in Dubai last November. The event provided an exclusive opportunity for construction industry professionals to learn more about fire risks, and demonstrated to architects, contractors, and specifiers that there are alternative options to high-risk roof waterproofing methods.
Speaking at the event was Major General Rashid Thani Al Matrooshi, director general of the Dubai Civil Defence, who discussed the causes and problems of fires during the construction of buildings and commented on the experience of the Dubai Civil Defence when tackling fires during the construction process.
He pointed out that some construction companies’ staff and workers were not committed to safety measures on site and that there was a lack of basic fire-fighting systems in buildings.
Al Matrooshi added that materials were being stored in escape routes and flammable materials stored in buildings that were under construction. Other common problems he highlighted include the absence of well-trained safety teams to handle the situation in the early stages of a fire and safely evacuate workers from the buildings. “The outcome of such fires is loss of lives and properties, especially in the final construction stages simply because many types of plastics, wood, lubricant materials and glaze partitions are present at the sites. This leads to thick smoke and toxic gases, which directly threaten workers’ lives and hinder fire team’s work. “We urge construction companies to train safety teams, apply safety measures to equipment used to heat building materials, and not store any flammable materials incorrectly,” he said.
Also addressing the seminar was John Williamson, the chairman of the UK Institute of Fire Safety Managers, who has established an enviable reputation amongst fire-fighting professionals in the UK, working his way through the ranks of the British Fire and Rescue Service to become assistant chief fire officer.
Williamson said: “Many professionals who work at the specification stage are not fully aware that traditional methods of applying roofing systems often require temperatures in excess of 500 to 800 deg C using gas torches, and hot air or hot gas guns.
“These methods have been used for many years, resulting in countless roof fires, and occasionally causing severe damage and even the loss of entire buildings.”
Liquid Plastics, which was established in 1963, produces an extensive range of high performance, technologically advanced coatings and membranes for the protection and waterproofing of roofs, walls and balconies, and for hygiene control.
The company has become a world leader in waterproof roof membranes and further expanded last year with the creation of Liquid Plastics (FZCO) in the Dubai Airport Free Zone, and Liquid Plastics (Asia Pacific) in Hong Kong.
Phil Richardson, Liquid Plastics’ Group marketing director, comments: “Liquid Plastics has been active in the Middle East for several decades, and we have recently shown our full commitment to the area by establishing Liquid Plastics FZCO and providing further resources in terms of technical support and regional sales staff.