Birmingham, UK

The high-tech, Library of Birmingham building, which on completion was the largest public bulding in Europe, was designed by the Delft-based architects, Mecanoo. The library, which is situated on Centenary Square, is spread over 10 levels and comprises four box shaped structures that are staggered to create various canopies and terraces. Strikingly, the exterior is clad with a filigree pattern of concentric metal rings over glass, silver and gold façade.

Project Requirements

The library, which has a BREEAM Excellent rating, covers an area of 32,000 m², houses over one million books in both an adult and children’s library, has more than 200 public access computers, a music room, theatres, cafe and an exhibition gallery. Its most valuable books are copies of Shakespeare‘s First Folio and John James Audubon‘s Birds of America - worth between £6 million and £7 million each.

A cost effective and guaranteed watertight solution was required for the concrete basement and terraces.

Sika Solutions

The Sika® Watertight Concrete System was specified for both the basemet and terraces. The system complies with BS 8103:2009 Grade 3 for habitable areas where no water penetration is acceptable, an essential consideration for the basement area. On the terraces, Sika® Watertight Concrete was chosen as a secondary defence should the waterproof decking above become damaged and allow water to penetrate. Bardon Concrete supplied 1,000 m³ of Sika® Watertight Concrete to the project.

The guaranteed Sika® Watertight Concrete System offers a comprehensive solution in the waterproofing of concrete structures. State-of-theart Sika admixtures are added to the concrete to prevent water penetration. The system is completed with carefully selected waterstops for construction and movement joints to produce a waterproof structure.

Products Used

 Sika® Watertight Concrete System

Project Participants

Library of Birmingham


Carillion plc

Concrete Supplier
Bardon Concrete