Why do designers use Precast in Detention Centers?

The use of precast components, in detention centers are gaining more and more popularity due to the following benefits and advantages precast can offer:

  • Durability – Precast Concrete is resilient and requires little to no maintenance to preserve the original look.  Detention Centers are subject to everyday wear and tear, and this is where the use of precast concrete really makes sense.  Its hard tough surface is extremely resistant to everyday dents and dings.  Precast components are poured with high cement content and low water-cement ratios which prove to increase resistance to rain penetration, flood damage and wind-blown debris.  It can also withstand many winters of freeze-thaw cycles unlike other materials, which can deteriorate quickly with such regular exposure to expansion and contraction. 

    Mountrail County [Stanley, ND]

  • Aesthetics – Precast Concrete can be poured from many different aggregates and pigments that can be incorporated into the exterior building façade, depending on what is required. Visual interest can be enhanced with the use of ribs, reveals, finishing processes and various types of formliners.
  • Construction Year Round – Precast Concrete offers a structural and architectural system that can constructed year round – even in the harsh upper Midwest winter months. Precast installation is quick which allows other trades to begin their work sooner – often saving weeks on the construction schedule.  Precast also requires less storage onsite as the components are produced in a manufacturing plant and shipped to the jobsite.
  • Structurally Efficient / Easy to Extend – Precast Concrete can be designed with a high span-to-depth ration – thus reducing the need for additional columns and supports. Precast Concrete can also be dismantled to add extensions or new wings to detention centers.  Simply remove the end panels and continue building – the end panels can be reinstalled upon completion.

    Wabasha County Justice Center

  • Protects Against Fire – Precast Concrete is non-combustible with inherent fire-resistant capability. It protects against the spread of fire between rooms or properties.  It cannot catch fire, burn or drip molten particles – which helps protect personnel, equipment and the building itself.
  • Thermally / Energy Efficient – Precast Concrete wall panels incorporate the insulation into a “sandwich” type wall panel. Cost associated with heating and cooling can be greatly reduced through concrete’s thermal mass benefits – thus saving energy year round-round by reducing large daily temperature swings.

Mike Mortensen
Regional Sales Manager – North Dakota