What is a prefabricated spandrel?

Spandrels are horizontal precast pieces that can be used in structural and architectural applications. They can be used along the perimeter of the building as the main load path back to the columns or used between walls to create large openings around the building envelope. Spandrels can also be solid or insulated to meet the desired specifications of the project. While solid spandrels have consistent cross-sections across the thickness of the panel, insulated spandrels include rigid insulation laid and cast integral with the spandrel section to achieve any desired thermal insulating property.

Structural design considerations for spandrels.

Spandrels are typically prestressed to increase the span-to-depth ratio, allowing for longer spans to minimize deflections.

Spandrels can be designed with deep sections that serve as the primary enclosure for the building envelope, allowing for windows to be incorporated into the system. Their minimal deflection makes them well-suited for perimeter use around structures. Additionally, they can create expansive spans between columns in applications such as garages, meeting openness requirements. Their deep sections also provide effective fall protection and crash barriers. Moreover, their substantial thickness ensures durability over time.

Manufacturing spandrels in a quality-controlled environment.

Spandrels are typically cast flat to accommodate prestressing in the spandrel sections, offering flexibility. The form face of the spandrel is primarily used for exposed surfaces or architectural finishes. The back face, known as the screed face, can feature a range of finishes based on specifications, from a float finish to a hard trowel finish, ensuring consistent quality along the length of the wall. Spandrels can be manufactured with integrated electrical components cast directly into the panels, reducing on-site work. Coordinated penetrations in the wall panels further minimize the need for on-site coring.

Spacer Image
Spacer Image

Structural benefits of precast spandrels.

  • Structural element that can also support life safety
  • Deep section with minimal deflections
  • Dual purpose as structural and architectural facade