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Waterproofing Canberra’s Shine Dome

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How SWP waterproofed the concrete moat at Canberra’s Shine Dome with quality cement-based solutions

The Shine Dome in Canberra, also known as the “Martian Embassy,” houses the Australian Academy of Science. As a copper-coated, multi-arched dome that has a structure diameter of nearly 50 metres, it is Australia’s largest free-standing dome. 

With historical and architectural significance gained over the decades, the Shine Dome also takes pride in being the first Canberra building that has been added to the National Heritage List.

Today, the Shine Dome remains a popular city venue that caters to different functions and events – from private soirees and family celebrations to grand banquets and international business conferences.

So, to maintain the facilities of Canberra’s Shine Dome and protect it from damage that excess water can inflict, our waterproofing specialists at Scientific Waterproofing Products (SWP) were brought in to waterproof the moat that surrounds this popular Canberra site.

Here’s how we accomplished this complex waterproofing project.

The project-critical importance of waterproofing the Shine Dome’s concrete moat

The Shine Dome holds a wide collection of national scientific archives, including works by Australia’s most famous scientists like Frank Fenner and Frank Leslie Stillwell. 

So, naturally, protecting these national treasures is of critical importance.

One of the ways of keeping these archives safe is to protect them from being destroyed by water ingress or other water-related problems. This is important as the concrete moat, which encircles the Shine Dome and covers the foundations of the roof’s 16 pillars, is filled with thousands of litres of water.

The 63-year-old concrete moat is also a key feature of the building’s architecture that enables it to stand out and earn its visual recognition. So, with waterproofing safeguarding the moat from any structural decay, the aesthetics of the Shine Dome can be maintained as well.

Waterproofing requirements to meet

At SWP, we assessed the project and decided to apply a waterproof membrane into the moat with the following characteristics:

  • UV stable
  • ability to withstand abrasion during cleaning
  • non-toxic to protect ducks swimming in the water
  • consistent texture and colour throughout for a neat finish
  • sufficiently flexible to accommodate the movement caused by seasonal temperature changes.

Considering the age of the building, we were also tasked to perform repairs on the concrete substrate before waterproofing could take place.

First step: Repairing the concrete moat

SWP has a complete range of Drizoro cement-based waterproof coatings for all your maintenance and restoration requirements.

In the case of Canberra’s Shine Dome, our Drizoro MAXGROUT® was used first to repair the concrete substrate. 

Drizoro MAXGROUT® is a single-component and non-shrink waterproof mortar that’s formulated using special cements and well-graded mineral products to provide high mechanical strength and fluidity. Produced in a powder form that is ready to use when mixed only with water, this product does not contain any chloride or metal particles.

What comes next: Waterproofing the concrete moat

To waterproof the concrete moat, two coats of Drizoro MAXSEAL® FLEX-M were applied. This product is a flexible cement-based waterproofing membrane that can only be applied to wet surfaces.

Drizoro MAXSEAL® FLEX-M can withstand up to 9 bar (90m) positive and 5 bar (50m) negative hydrostatic pressure, keeping the substrate protected even in the harshest conditions. This allowed us to be able to apply it even before the concrete repairs in the moat completely dry out! 

Also, Drizoro MAXSEAL® FLEX-M was perfect for keeping up with the substantial amounts of rain we were experiencing during that time.

On top of this, our clients also agreed with our use of Drizoro MAXSEAL® FLEX-M because it meets the AS 4020 standards – meaning, the product is drinking water-safe and duck-friendly.

Final step: Adding a protective and decorative coating

Once repairs and waterproofing were complete, we then applied a single coat of Drizoro MAXURETHANE® 2C – a two-component aliphatic polyurethane coating that’s non-toxic and provides a strong and flexible resistance to abrasion once polymerised.

But why was it necessary for us to secure the concrete moat with Drizoro MAXURETHANE® 2C when we could have simply finished with Drizoro MAXSEAL® FLEX-M alone?

By applying Drizoro MAXURETHANE® 2C, we were able to equip the Shine Dome with additional benefits such as:

  • high resistance to weathering and UV rays that ensures a consistent colour and texture throughout the entire moat 
  • very good chemical resistance of the coated surface to water, seawater, wastewater, grease and oils, de-icing salts, salt solutions, diluted alkali, acid solutions and other corrosive chemicals 
  • and a compact, continuous, uniform surface with an anti-dust finish for easy ongoing cleaning and maintenance.

Unlike other off-the-shelf polyurethanes products, Drizoro MAXURETHANE® 2C is also fully submersible. With it, the moat could be filled with water and enjoyed by visitors today and for decades to come.

Keep your building project safe against water penetration

To get the most out of waterproofing, you need to choose the right waterproofing products that can prevent leaks, mould growth and pooling water as well as eliminate unnecessary moisture that can infiltrate the foundations of your commercial building or project site.

If you want to learn more about our cement-based waterproofing products and why they are the best solutions to the waterproofing needs of any project, just consult our local Australian waterproofing specialists!

Get the right specification of waterproofing product for your next project

At Scientific Waterproofing Products, our team is here to provide you with the right waterproofing for your unique situation.

We offer a wide range of Drizoro cement-based waterproof coatings that are made from high-quality raw materials and backed by a 10-year product warranty. 

If you’ve got any questions or issues around your next waterproofing job, or you’d like to find out which product is best for your project, contact us today! You can also check out a list of local Drizoro resellers and applicators here.

As always, SWP is committed to providing the right waterproofing solution for any water-related problem or application.