Owners and developers considering new structures must balance a variety of needs, including aesthetics and function. Each plays a role in achieving success with the finished project, and maximizing them all takes great experience and expertise. Precast, prestressed concrete not only can ensure these general goals are met, but it also provides a myriad of life cycle and ancillary benefits that are hard to match with other materials.
An important point to remember is that every facet of precast, prestressed concrete's outstanding performance characteristics can be brought on board early in the process. This helps ensure all programmatic needs are considered and efficiency is maximized. Such early input can improve any element in the program, including placement on the site, design that exploits precast's ability to replicate components quickly, flexibility to meet any aesthetic need, and planning for long-term performance and maintenance goals.
Creation of Customized Components in Unusual Shapes and Sizes
Precast's ability to provide rustication and detailing as well as reveals and other decorative treatments allows it to create drama and character on any facade. It can also match textures or colors on existing structures, whether those buildings are historic or contemporary. It can be molded into almost any shape or texture, putting virtually no limit on what effects can be achieved for a façade.
Speed to Market:
A precast concrete structural system can save a project six to eight weeks compared to steel and even more when compared with cast-in-place concrete, according to a survey of developers. That savings can be critical in bringing a new building into a competitive market or to meet a tenant’s need for occupancy on a specific date. As permitting and decision-making processes slow, total precast system’s speed helps keep projects on track.
The scheduling advantages result from several factors that grow through the process:
One-stop shopping secures much of the building’s shell in one efficient contractual relationship.
Designers find precast systems easier to design than masonry or other building materials thanks to aid from the precaster’s engineering staff.
The ability to begin "fabrication" while "permitting" and "site work" are completed allows precast concrete to begin erection as soon as foundations are complete.
Precast components can be erected in winter conditions, thus maintaining tight schedules.
With total precast concrete systems, speedy erection allows the contractor to enclose the building quickly, giving interior trades faster access.
Precast concrete’s inherent fire resistance eliminates the messy and time-consuming work of fireproofing a steel structure and then repairing it as other trades finish.
Speed of Erection
Casting precast, prestressed components off-site ensures fewer problems maneuvering at the site among crews and subcontractors, which speeds their work. In addition, the precast approach allows construction to continue in weather that would slow down or stop on-site construction using other materials. Since the casting process does not rely on other critical-path activities to begin, components can be produced as soon as drawings are approved, ensuring they are ready for erection as soon as foundation work and other site preparation is completed. Precast's ability to enclose the structure so much quicker than other types of construction allows trades to begin quicker and put the project "in the dry" faster, producing additional cost efficiencies.
Precast, prestressed concrete is a highly adaptive and easily erected material that responds well to site needs, such as tight locations, and the desire to blend with existing structures or site conditions. It can meet almost any structural requirement, meshing with a variety of specific needs. These include benefits derived from long clear spans or larger panels that reduce the number of columns or joints.