Monday, January 25, 2021


"Improper construction practices, unskilled labour and lack of supervision result in waterproofing failures"


SUMON CHAKRAVARTY, HEAD-TECHNICAL AND R&D, BUILDING PRODUCTS DIVISION, ULTRATECH CEMENT in an interview with CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES discusses the problem areas of waterproofing and offers solutions to avoid the pitfalls


Give us an idea of the Indian market for dry mix mortar?


The dry mix mortar market is at a nascent stage in India as compared to other developed countries and is primarily restricted to the metros.Dry mix products market is estimated to grow at the rate of 20-30 per cent CAGR. Increasing customer preference for ready to use products coupled with increasing shortage of skilled manpower, faster pace of construction will be the driving force behind the growth of market for this segment.


Tell us about your new product launches and the technological advantage they offer?


We have launched various dry mix products like Fixoblock, Seal & Dry, Power Grout, Super Stucco and Readiplast to keep pace with modern construction needs and are committed to develop more and more sustainable construction materials and in the process expand the market for dry mix mortar. Based on the market feedback and requirements, research studies to develop tailor made products for specific application of the dry mix mortar category is under way. We have a state of the art manufacturing facility from M-Tec, Germany, considered to be the best in the field. Apart from offering excellent control of product quality, the Dry Mix Mortar Plant Technology allows homogenous formulation of high performance products by precise dosing of additives. These products provide our customers unique advantages like higher coverage, faster work, increasing the manpower productivity, ready to use, self-curing, high and uniform quality and most importantly environment friendly material. All our new products are at par with international standards.



UltraTech Xtralite: Aerated Autoclaved Concrete Block (AAC Blocks) which is also commonly known as light weight concrete blocks

Dry Mix Products: Dry Mix Products are ready to use value added products for various applications like Plastering, Jointing, Grouting, Water Proofing etc. Only water is to be added at site.

UltraTech Seal & Dry:  Single component,elastomeric coating with very high tensile adhesion strength which forms a compact film.

UltraTech Super Stucco: Polymer modified crack resistant thin layer plaster.

UltraTech Power Grout: Cement based polymer modified high early strength grout, ready to use by adding only water at site

UltraTech Fixoblock: Thin mortar joint (2-3 mm) for block work.

UltraTech Readiplast: Readiplast is a ready mix cement plaster with a high quality polymer additives.



What are the problem areas and how is the industry planning to overcome them?


The problem is lack of awareness about the correct product, its usage at right location with correct application. This is aggravated by the lack of regulations and proper specifications. The need of the hour is to create awareness through education, demonstration of product performance and continuous training for proper product application. This is perhaps the only way forward.


What is your assessment of the growth opportunities in the water proofing industry?


Due to non-availability of good quality of aggregates and skilled workman the quality of construction deteriorates. This results in seepages and leakages. To offset this problem the construction industry is bound to need good quality water proofing products. This is an opportunity for quality manufacturers of water proofing products. There is also increased trend for hassle free solution and people are even ready to spend more for value added products, which are not only durable but also economical in the long term. The challenge is to execute with right product and demonstrate. The perception of quality is changing fast which would definitely help all round development.



• The cover concrete and system should be examined for its soundness.

• Proper cleaning and surface preparation is a must.

• Surface cracks, if any, should be carefully fixed with polymer modified cementitious crack filling compound.

• The slopes should be checked for effective drainage of water.

• For terraces, ensure proper fixing of down take pipes

• For membrane coating: The product should be flexible, crack bridging. Application of two coats of water proofing system, each layer applied perpendicular to one another, is recommended.

• It should be observed that there should be no pin-holes or gaps in the coatings.

• Final layer of cement mortar screed covering




Tell us about the various aspects that need to be considered while providing waterproofing solutions to large projects? What is your plan to make your products more competitive than others?


High level of brand awareness with demonstration of the products at sites of influencers and end users along with continuous training of applicators will help us establish product benefits which would be the main differentiating factor vis a vis non-standard products. Value for money needs to be established with life cycle cost analysis. The various aspects which need to be considered right from the design stage can be elaborated as below:

Waterproofing of a surface whether it is of a terrace, basement, kitchen, or bathroom if planned during the design stage, costs a small fraction of the overall project cost. However, if inadequate attention is paid to it during design or execution, it can become extremely expensive to repair after the structure starts leaking. It is imperative to look into the complete process of water proofing for the specific area along with the product requirements and compatibility. It has to be ensured that the product is used correctly at any particular site with proper supervision. The quality of workmanship often decides the quality of work that is achieved. All too often scant attention is paid to the waterproofing as it is hidden or covered under finishes; but when it fails, it causes untold misery to the client.

In the Indian scenario, lack of understanding, improper construction practices with unskilled labour coupled with inadequate supervision result in frequent waterproofing failures. Keeping this in mind, a robust, fool proof system of waterproofing is to be designed with detailed engineering. Planning for all aspects of waterproofing of the structure during the design stage is essential, including product selection based on climate, compatibility of various products and site problems. An independent water proofing consultant's inputs along with the correct choice of supplier and of product can reduce the risk considerably.


Tell us about the threat to your business from the spread of cheap products by fly by night operators in the unorganised market?


Today, the customer is not aware as to what a product can and should deliver. Any manufacturer of quality product will be able to demonstrate and show the performance of “best in class” product. Once customer knows this he would not go in for any inferior product. Therefore, we strongly feel that there is no competition from fly by night operators or cheap products as long as we are able to deliver.


What will determine the growth of the market for your waterproofing products?


Rapid growth is expected subject to pace of market development initiatives taken up by major players from organised sector.  People generally think about water proofing just before or during monsoon. However, this approach is changing fast and customers are adopting the “Prevention is better than cure” philosophy at the time of construction itself. We feel that customers will increasingly adopt preventive maintenance and repair regime and may wish to have an AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) like they do for several other services. Further increased awareness and entry of professional agencies to carry out effective water proofing which requires minimal maintenance and/or repair will grow the demand for quality water proofing products and methods. The demand drivers in urban areas are convenience, labor shortage, need for faster project implementation and reduced availability of sand. The success will also depend upon the penetration level across markets, both urban and semi urban.

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