Earth Covered Buildings (ECB)

Earth Covered and Green Roof Buildings are becoming a popular alternative to conventional metal and tile roofs. Well designed earth covered buildings are environmentally sound, energy and water efficient and low maintenance. They provide privacy, make efficient use of land in urban settings and provide protection from disasters such as cyclones and bushfires. They help achieve high Green Star ratings and bring people closer to nature.


Earth covered buildings have a wide variety of uses green homes, bushfire shelters, blast proof buildings used extensively by defense forces.

Commercial buildings are using green roofs to improve the Green Star rating of the overall project. The new Sydney Zoo is planning to construct an earth covered building to be used as a nocturnal animal display.

Since 2014 AIS has provided waterproofing materials and services for essential Australian Defence Force (ADF) infrastructure.  The ADF uses earth covered buildings (ECB) to store Explosive Ordnance (EO) at bases around Australia.  These ECB are designed and constructed by Spantech.

Over the years AIS has worked numerous of these buildings traveling all over Australia and New Zealand 

Our product choice, Liquid Rubber provides us with a fast and efficient process to waterproof what would otherwise be a slow and complex job. The curved surface and rounded edges and with sometimes uneven areas. Using Liquid Rubber saves time and provides strong hard wearing a seamless membrane over the entire building.

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EWP Work
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Waterproofing - an Essential Element

Earth covered buildings are generally designed as a reinforced concrete structure that is waterproofed before being covered in earth.

As concrete is porous, a successful earth covered building must incorporate a proven, stable, long-lasting waterproofing solution. It is an essential component of any earth covered building design.

However, as the base structure moves and deflects as the earth is loaded (reinforced concrete structures can deflect by up to 70mm as the earth is placed on the structure) the waterproofing layer must be flexible enough to accommodate the deflection in the structure. Waterproofing must also allow for movement around vents and other penetrations which are more susceptible to differential movement.

In these critical areas the membrane should be reinforced but flexible. Waterproofing membranes should also adhere well to the structure, being able to resist any differential movement between the structure and the earth cover.

When Membranes Fail

Problems of water seepage, internal condensation and poor indoor air quality can occur if an earth covered building has not been properly designed or waterproofed.

Construction issues can also compromise a good design as many construction companies have little or no experience with the specialized construction techniques required to successfully deliver an earth covered building.

If a waterproofing system fails:

  • Moist air and condensation can adversely affect the health of the people who live or work in the building

  • Water can damage the structure

  • Water and moisture can damage the building contents.

It can take months before a damaged membrane becomes evident, compounding the damage, and the source of the failure can be very difficult to identify. Rectification often requires the building to be vacated, all vegetation and earth removed, the failed waterproofing system removed, and the entire system replaced. This is a time consuming and costly process.

It is for this reason that AIS uses a combination of reinforced Liquid Rubber High Build and Liquid Rubber Instant Set to provide a waterproofing system for concrete earth covered buildings.


AIS test and guarantee all earth covered building projects we complete.

Supplier to Defence

The Australian Department of Defense (ADF) uses earth covered buildings to protect people, aircraft and critical infrastructure. The most common ECB used by Defence is the Spantech ECB, an Australian designed building used to safely store high explosives.

AIS has supplied and applied a Liquid Rubber waterproofing membrane system to over ten Spantech ECB since 2014. These projects are located at Defence bases across Australia and New Zealand.

Meeting Defence Specifications

To meet the high specifications and warranties demanded by Defence, AIS uses Liquid Rubber High build reinforced with Geofabric and Liquid Rubber Instant Set. Both products are manufactured and applied by AIS. Our technicians have over 8 years’ experience manufacturing the product which is manufactured to the highest quality standards.

Liquid Rubber simplifies what would be an otherwise complex process. Liquid Rubber can expand to over eight (8) times its size accommodating all structural movement in the concrete structure during the initial earth loading procedure and through the life of the building.

The product also adheres extremely well to the structure. The concrete needs no preparation. AIS technicians apply Liquid Rubber high build to all corners to reinforce the membrane at these vulnerable areas, then apply spay applied High Set to the rest of the structure. Instant Set is able to follow and adhere to the curved surfaces and round edges of the structure. Layers of membrane are built up in a fast and highly efficient process. Using Liquid Rubber saves time and provides strong, hard wearing and seamless membrane over the entire building.