Media Release

Ft. Lauderdale Tower Taps Penetron Technology for Below-Grade Waterproofing


The official July 2019 opening of the 4 West Las Olas Apartments added another exclamation point to the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, skyline. PENETRON ADMIX was specified as a concrete durability solution for the new tower.

Immediately north of Miami, the Fort Lauderdale real estate market is booming. Once known mainly for spring breaks and beach movies, today Fort Lauderdale is an increasingly attractive alternative to the overheated Miami market for commercial and residential investors. In addition, about 75% of the area’s residential buyers have a tie to the area, unlike Miami, where many buyers are investors or from South America.

"In the past, Fort Lauderdale was always the second choice to Miami,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “But as Miami prices keep rising, Fort Lauderdale looks more and more interesting. With its attractive beachfront, luxury real estate stock and robust commercial center, Fort Lauderdale offers a relatively better value compared to Miami.”

As a dining, shopping and entertainment destination for tourists and residents, the Las Olas (Spanish for 'waves') Boulevard area is the city’s crown jewel, connecting the beachfront with the downtown Fort Lauderdale center. Completed earlier this summer, the US$ 80 million project at 4 West Las Olas Boulevard is a 25-floor, 261-unit riverfront luxury apartment community, the latest of many high-end residences that now define the area’s ever-taller skyline.

Designed by Dorsky Yue Architects and built by Moss Construction and Baker Construction, the new residential tower offers over 235,000 square feet (21,800 m2) of living space, available as studios and one, two and three-bedroom units. An additional 12,500 (1,160 m2) square feet of retail area on the corner of Las Olas Boulevard and Andrews Avenue provides an attractive space for restaurants, bars, cafés or shops.

Bentonite Mat or Crystalline Admixture?

During the planning phase of the 4 West Las Olas project, the engineers at the NCC Development Group and Dorsky Yue realized that the proximity of the site to the Tarpon River – only a few hundred feet away – would make a reliable waterproofing solution a crucial part of any below-grade concrete structures. Initial plans specified the installation of a bentonite waterproofing mat to waterproof the below-grade structures.

“A substantial portion of the concrete footing was originally built for the installation of a bentonite waterproofing mat,” explains Christopher Chen. “However, due to the depth needed for this installation, the project engineer replaced the mat with a concrete mix that integrated PENETRON ADMIX as the sole waterproofing solution.”

Achieving Comprehensive Concrete Protection

PENETRON ADMIX is easily mixed into concrete during batching thanks to a unique soluble bag packaging that eliminates measuring and simplifies mixing. The admixture is unaffected by climatic conditions, and its active ingredients generate a non-soluble crystalline formation that seal the pores and capillary tracts of the concrete. This makes the treated concrete impermeable to water or liquids from any direction, even under the constant hydrostatic pressure found at the Las Olas Boulevard site.

PENETRON ADMIX SB (soluble bag format) was used to treat about 1,000 yd3 (765 m3) of concrete for the foundation footings, pile caps and elevator pits. Titan America, the ready-mix supplier, provided the PENETRON ADMIX-treated concrete.

“Overall, the switch to PENETRON ADMIX saved the builder a full two weeks of construction time – and eliminated a potential source of future maintenance costs for the owner,” adds Christopher Chen. “That’s what comprehensive protection against concrete deterioration in Florida means.”

The Las Olas project engineer replaced the bentonite mat with a concrete mix using Penetron’s integral crystalline admix as the waterproofing solution for the foundation.

Better than bentonite: The Las Olas project engineer replaced the bentonite mat with a concrete mix using Penetron’s integral crystalline admix as the waterproofing solution for the foundation.

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