Precast concrete construction is increasingly popular for many reasons. Put simply, precast concrete is a construction product produced by basing concrete in a reusable mold or “form” which is then cured in a controlled environment, transported to the construction site and lifted into place. In contrast, standard concrete is poured into site-specific forms and cured on site. Overall, precast concrete construction tends to be less expensive and more timely than the standard concrete pouring process. We’ve listed the many benefits, and few drawbacks of using precast concrete below.
What are the benefits?
- Precast concrete panels are environmentally friendly and can help attain LEED points. This is partially because the precast structures can be dismantled and used elsewhere.
- The concrete used to create the panels is more likely to be of superior quality because the concrete is created and poured in a controlled environment.
- The panels can be designed, fabricated and erected much faster than the standard concrete pouring process. For this reason, it is very appealing for projects with tight schedules and budgets.
- The panels typically require lower life cycle operating costs with limited maintenance and reduced HVAC loads.
- The transportation and storage of the equipment needed for standard concrete pouring as well as scaffolding equipment are no longer needed, which can help to bring project costs down.
- Precast concrete panels can offer architectural detail for a more affordable price and design.
- Long-span systems can adapt to changing client needs, maximizing versatility of use.
What are the drawbacks?
- Transportation can be an issue. Precast panels are more vulnerable to damage during transportation to the construction site. If not properly handled, the precast units can be damaged. Additionally, it is necessary to locate the precast factory in order to ensure that project economy is maintained and not diminished by transportation and handling costs.
- Special equipment for lifting and moving the precast units is necessary. This can be an added expense to the project.