Suitability of integral waterproof concrete construction for high use category structures

“Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyse so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.”*

When it comes to the design and construction of waterproof concrete structures, this lesson in humility* (A.R. Dykes, Scottish Branch, Institution of Structural Engineers/1946) should guide us throughout the process. Nonetheless, integral waterproofing designs have a proven and time-tested track record to be functioning as structural shell and the effective envelope seal without any additional waterproofing1).

The concept relies on the self-healing properties due to lime leaching and subsequent autogenous closure of leaking cracks. Even though the underlying chemistry is well understood2),...

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