Gas membrane installation to buildings is a highly skilled activity and is becoming more of a requirement in the construction industry. This affects the construction of a wide range of commercial buildings and housing.
What are the risks of ground gas?
Dangerous ground gases such as radon, methane and carbon dioxide can infiltrate buildings and build up in areas of poor ventilation. They create dangerous environments for inhabitants of the buildings and can be harmful to health.
- Methane is explosive and is an asphyxiating gas
- Carbon dioxide is asphyxiating
Planning departments and other controlling bodies have become aware of the importance of correct installation of protection measures on construction projects and have subsequently made the installation of gas membranes, by a competent contractor, a condition of planning. Local authority Contaminated Land Officers are insisting that the appropriate measures and evidence are in place to demonstrate and prove that an appropriate gas membrane has been installed and that the membrane and the installation reflect the latest guidelines.
Company Accreditation Scheme (Gas Membrane Installers)
Responding to concerns about the professionalism of the companies designing and installing gas membrane systems, the British Geomembrane Association developed, with the TWI, an independently audited system of accreditation for gas membrane installer companies. After eight years of development, the scheme’s development was completed in late 2021 and launched in early 2022. The independently audited company accreditation scheme was the first such scheme for the gas membrane industry.
The National House Builders Council (NHBC) is also active in this area and has measures in place to ensure that gas membrane installation has been carried out correctly in the private house building market.
Technical Note – It does seem obvious that the puncturing of membranes severely reduces their effectiveness. However, this is an occurrence that happens far to often. Membranes are not designed to carry the weight of vehicles or resisting debris, including steel rods, from puncturing them. Therefore, management on site must ensure that no practices are carried out that will put the effectiveness of the membrane at risk.