Media Release

Penetron Prescribed Waterproofing for Hospital in Chile


The opening of the new Hospital San José in October 2021 was a landmark event for the city of Melipilla, Chile. The new medical center now provides the region with modern medical services at a vastly larger capacity. Penetron crystalline technology was specified over a competitive waterproofing solution for the below-grade concrete structures.

Melipilla hospitals have a long history. The first medical facility – essentially a room with 12 beds – was built in 1865. Since then, successive hospitals were continually rebuilt and expanded.

The US$134 million project for a significantly larger medical facility was commissioned by the Chilean Ministry of Health and designed by the architect, Hugo Silva Soto. The new Hospital San José replaced the previous care center (9,814 m2) with a full-service hospital (60,834 m2 / 660,000 square feet) with 239 beds, 7 surgical pavilions, and 410 parking spaces (350 underground).

“The Hospital San José provides much-improved infrastructure, a wider range of services, and enhanced capacity for the region,” adds Domingo Lema, Director of Penetron Chile. “Because of Chile’s dramatic seismic history, the new project incorporated a system of seismic isolators to help significantly reduce vibrations to the buildings during an earthquake. This will help avoid major structural damage.”

Initially, San José Constructora, the general contractor, specified a competitive waterproofing solution. But the Penetron Chile team showed how PENETRON ADMIX would more efficiently reduce concrete permeability and provide a lower-cost waterproofing solution. “After our presentation to the construction company, the engineers switched to Penetron,” adds Domingo Lema.

Ready-Mix Hormigones, the ready-mix supplier, treated 13,000 m3 of concrete with PENETRON ADMIX, which was added during the batching phase. The treated concrete was used for the retaining walls and foundation slabs of the new hospital.

Once PENETRON ADMIX is in the mix, it becomes an integral part of the concrete matrix by forming a network of insoluble crystals, making the concrete impermeable. PENETRON ADMIX-treated concrete provides permanent protection against deterioration caused by chemical attack, freeze-thaw cycles, and corrosion.

“Last but not least, PENETRON ADMIX also provides concrete with a self-healing capability to seal microcracks that may show up in the hospital’s foundation structures,” adds Domingo Lema. “That’s an important advantage when building in an area like Melipilla, where the ground is never still.”

The below-grade retaining walls and foundation slabs of the new Hospital San José in Melipilla, Chile were treated with PENETRON ADMIX.

Built to withstand earthquakes – and moisture: The below-grade retaining walls and foundation slabs of the new Hospital San José in Melipilla, Chile were treated with PENETRON ADMIX.

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