They’ll come back. Just like bell bottoms.

Recently, I took part in a review of the 8th Edition of the PCI Design Handbook. These sessions take place whenever a new edition is released for public use. Generally, these reviews would fall into the “watching paint dry” spectrum on the interesting meter; there will be some fairly minor design changes or possibly a reorganization of chapters but nothing earth shattering. That was not the case this year. For this engineer (who received the 3rd edition on my first day of employment), the most noteworthy of the changes in this 8th edition was the REMOVAL of the double tee wall panel design example.

Prior to today’s unlimited architectural shapes and finishes on flat wall panels, there were raked and broomed finishes on flat wall panels. Prior to that, the double tee wall panel was the bread and butter for precasters in this region.  They were used for warehouses, gymnasiums, manufacturing facilities, office buildings, etc. Heck, even the Imax theatre at Valley Fair was constructed using double tee wall panels. They’re lighter, stronger, and much easier to erect than flat wall panels. More cost effective also. I’ll grant you that aesthetically there are more options with a flat wall panel, but from a pure functionality standpoint, nothing beats a DT wall panel and it saddens me that its popularity has fallen so far as to warrant exclusion from the Design Manual.

I shared the news with a couple of retired engineers and one of them sent a message back. It read:

“Just think, in a few years we’ll have a
unique economical product that
architects will gush over.”


I hope he’s right.

Ryan Garden
Vice President – Drafting/Engineering