Innovation, Collaboration & Training for Better Outcomes

Joel Clough , 5 March 2022

Ardex National Specification and Training Manager Joel Clough says that the current demand for improved innovation in waterproofing, and increasing collaboration with architects during the specification phase, will lead to better outcomes and ultimately help return trust to the industry.

What does your role at Ardex involve? What’s a typical day like?

My role at Ardex involves managing specification strategy and literature, writing project specifications, and managing strategy and the day-to-day functions of the Ardex academy nationally.

A typical day involves liaising with architects and understanding their needs and wants regarding the project at hand. Once we develop this understanding, we provide a solution to meet those needs and wants. It also involves making sure our specification literature is up to date and meeting the requirements of our customers.

On the training side of the business, I work closely with our National Trainer to ensure we are providing market leading training within the industry.

How long have you been involved in the industry and what are the major changes you have seen over this time? How does today’s environment compare with when you started out?

I joined Ardex back in 2012, so coming up to 10 years with the company. I have been in the industry for just over 12 years. One of the most significant changes would be the NSW Design and Building Practitioners Act, which is something that was overdue for our industry and is having a positive impact.

Through many years of product innovation during my time within this industry, the focus and demand for products designed to work together for total reliability and performance have increased along with the need for independently tested and certified products.

What are the best parts of the industry? What are the main challenges?

One of the best parts of the industry is being involved in so many different projects that require various solutions. From hospitals to schools to residential buildings, each come with their own challenges. Still, it is satisfying to be able to leverage from the breadth of products, knowledge and experience in our business to help overcome these challenges with the architect, builder and all stakeholders involved in the project while learning along the way and seeing this being fed back into the business for R&D development.

The main challenge as a manufacturer is adapting quickly to rapidly changing environments within the industry. There are generally many factors to consider when updating product literature and labelling to ensure we remain compliant and ensure all of our resources reflect this.

What are the main impacts you have seen since the NSW Design and Building Practitioners Bill came into effect? What other developments do you foresee for the future?

From a manufacturer’s view, we have seen a dramatic increase in the requirements of product certifications and for complete project solutions. At Ardex Australia, our waterproofing products are regularly reviewed by our R&D team and independently tested by BRANZ.

With our SystemARDEX philosophy and offering, we can provide a specification of high quality and totally compatible products to ensure we meet the project’s needs. This being said, we have seen an increase in collaboration with architects to assist in the specification writing process for waterproofing systems.

We see the current demand for improved innovation and better solutions in waterproofing to continue. Issues caused by sub-standard waterproofing are costly and highly inconvenient for the customer and is the number one reason for damages caused.

A focus on correct specification, product selection, installer training and product warranties that deliver value, supported by correct installation methods, will only benefit and return trust to the industry. Because of this, we see the current focus on waterproofing increasing.

What key advice would you give architects in relation to waterproofing?

Ardex offers architects product training at our Training Academy and online CPD sessions that focus on successful waterproofing. There are plenty of online resources available freely 24/7 that can also help.

We believe understanding the products in both theory and practicality benefits the industry, better equips design practitioners with waterproofing skills and knowledge, and allows the correct waterproofing system to be specified.

Also, don’t hesitate to reach out for help with projects. The Ardex team is always here to help.