It may be because structural engineers report no difficulty in learning to design with total precast concrete systems. But in addition, a full precast concrete system has design flexibility, engineering support, is aesthetically versatile, and can be installed quickly. So what does all of this truly mean during the construction process?
Design Flexibility: Architectural wall panels have a structural portion that is laterally stiff and designed to resist wind and earthquake forces. These multipurpose panels limit the need to incorporate multiple materials and trades. Designs also include precast columns, beams, double tees, and hollow core, and utilizing precast concrete’s natural fire resistance eliminates messy and expensive fire proofing. Hollow core floors provide a fire rated floor system that can span upwards of 50 feet. Spans of 110 feet can be achieved by using precast double tees often needed for long roof spans.
Engineering Support: A shop drawing will be provided that is a one-stop shop for the entire shell and core design. This allows better coordination among construction trades with less time required for planning. A calculation package can also be provided that is signed and sealed by a professional engineer registered in the state of the construction project.
Aesthetically Versatile: When it comes to precast concrete there are many different shapes, colors, and finishes available. An architectural wall panel not only provides structural support but can replicate brick, stone, or granite at a fraction of the cost. The concrete for these panels can be gray cement to white cement with any array of vibrant colors. As for finishes, there are options from water wash and acid etch, to sandblast and polished.
Installation Speed: Setting the precast concrete components is done quickly due to pre-planned lifting requirements designed by the precast engineer. When compared to cast-in-place concrete the savings in time is critical, a fully enclosed building can be achieved in a matter of days in some cases. Weather is not an issue as the components are produced in a quality controlled factory allowing for consistency year around. This also allows other trades to start and finish the interior sooner, which ultimately meets the owner’s need for occupancy.
Whether you’re an owner, architect, general contractor, or structural engineer there is a benefit to choosing an all precast concrete system.