The official opening of the Elqui Clinic expansion in La Serena, Northern Chile, in January 2019 featured a greatly enlarged and enhanced medical facility that will serve the region. PENETRON ADMIX was chosen over a membrane system as the optimal concrete waterproofing solution.
With a view of the nearby Pacific Ocean, the Elqui Clinic was upgraded to a full-service hospital and healthcare center that offers general and internal medical services; these include a full range of surgical facilities, pediatrics, a nutrition center, a neurological treatment facility, dermatology and ophthalmic services, and many other specialties.
“With the completion of the expansion project, the Elqui Clinic becomes the largest private health center in the Coquimbo Region,” says Domingo Lema, Managing Director of Penetron Chile. “Together with the new Diagnostic Center at the La Serena Hospital, also a Penetron project, the city of La Serena has become the center for the most modern medical treatments and healthcare in all of Northern Chile.”
Looking for an Alternative to a Membrane Solution
Designed by May Architecture, a USA-based architecture and interior design firm, the CLP $6,000 million (US$9 million) expansion project added a four-story (5,500 m2/60,500 square feet) tower to the previous hospital complex. The project not only tripled the number of hospital beds, but also increased the hospital footprint by a third and doubled parking capacity (from 170 to 340 spaces).
Initially, the project engineers at Inversalud del Elqui, the developer, and Ly D S.A., the contractor, envisioned an asphalt membrane as a permanent waterproofing solution for the hospital’s below-grade concrete structures. However, an alternate solution using PENETRON ADMIX to treat the concrete mix was specified after consulting with the experts at Penetron Chile team.
Proven Solution for Chile
“Our team showed the engineers and contractor the results of many other successful applications of crystalline technology in Chile,” adds Domingo Lema. “Ultimately, they were convinced and specified PENETRON ADMIX for their project. The admixture turned out to be a lower cost solution than the membrane, as well as a better guarantee of impermeability and self-healing of cracks throughout the life of the concrete structures.”
PENETRON ADMIX was added to the concrete mix during the batching phase by Concretes Melon SA. The waterproofing properties of the crystalline admixture secured the building’s perimeter walls and the foundation slab. Further, PENEBAR SW-45 swellable-type waterstop strips were used to prevent water ingress along the concrete joints.
Integral Waterproofing for Concrete
The proprietary chemicals in PENETRON ADMIX react with concrete to generate water-insoluble crystals, which fill and block micro-cracks, pores and capillaries in the substrate. This blocks any water penetration into the concrete of the new Elqui Clinic tower, which is now essentially – and permanently – waterproof, without the maintenance worries that accompany many membrane applications.
“The crystalline technology behind PENETRON ADMIX provided an optimal waterproofing solution for the Elqui Clinic project, and also gave the project a scheduling advantage,” adds Jozef van Beeck, International Sales & Marketing Director of The Penetron Group. “It’s a challenge we’ve solved at countless construction sites in Chile – and around the world.”