5 Reasons To Use Precast Concrete
There are defintiely more advantages for using precast concrete in construction projects, but we thought we’d start with our top 5 for you!
1 – Factory Controlled Quality
Manufacturing precast elements off-site, in factory-controlled conditions, ensures the quality of the product remains constant throughout the manufacturing process. A precast factory is able to monitor the concrete mix closely and change the mix design based on the product or project requirements. In addition to this samples are taken from each pour either cubes, cylinders or both and are crushed to confirm the concrete (compression) strength.
One of the main disadvantages when pouring concrete on site, is the weather. Typically, when concrete structures are being built on site, the formwork and tops of the concrete will be exposed to the elements. This means that heavy rainfall, snow, wind and fluctuations in temperature, can all effect the overall quality and finish of the finished concrete.
2 – Delivery From Stock
As the majority of our products, are pre-designed and are manufactured in fixed moulds, we are able to keep precast products in stock at the factory, ready for transportation at short notice. This said, the levels of stock available will vary from product to product and be affected by the level of units on order.
It is advisable to give as much notice as possible, to ensure we can have the product available to meet your programme. If the product is a stock item, we can typically have the units on site within 48 hours from order.
For more specialist products, such as precast stairs or ground beams, there will always be some amount of lead time required. These products are designed to suit specific site specifications and manufactured to order. For these types of precast elements, we recommend looking at the procurement as early as possible in the project programme.
3 – Fast-track Construction
Delays on-site inevitably cost money and with an estimated 60%+ of UK construction projects running over time, it’s our clients that are usually the ones who are losing out. It only takes one poor batch of ready-mix concrete, a sudden drop in air temperature, or prolonged periods of rainfall to cause significant delays in construction.
However, if the concrete elements are manufactured off-site, in a factory-controlled environment, you will have much better control over the consistency and quality of the product and enables us to continue to pour, whatever the weather.
4 – Value Engineering
Traditional in-situ designs for structural elements, such as retaining walls, are not always the most economical solution, these designs often specify a relatively low concrete strength and high steel content. If we use a cantilever retaining wall as an example, these in-situ designs typically have a constant base and vertical stem thickness, which can be unnecessary if the majority of the load will be applied to the bottom of the wall. The introduction of design packages like Tekla Tedds, also continues to steer structural engineers in this direction.
When designing a precast retaining wall however, the design teams aim, is to ensure that every part of the structure has been analysed and modified to ensure value for money. From the concrete strength to the reinforcement design, precast engineers are always looking to push the boundaries of structural design, to create cost-effective solutions for their clients.
5 – Environmentally Friendly
Concrete is not always considered to be an environmentally friendly material. However, compared to similar structural components used in construction, precast concrete is eco-friendlier than you may think. If you compare precast to in-situ concrete pours, for example, there is less waste, less energy and less water used in the production process. Precast concrete is designed to last up to 100 years and as natural materials are used in the concrete mix, the products can be recycled and re-used.