Pour-in-Place vs. Precast Concrete

By November 5, 2021 No Comments
Catch basins stacked and ready for use

One of the most common questions we get here at Columbia Precast Products concerns pour-in-place vs. precast concrete. What makes precast, which is what we produce, such a good choice for projects both big and small, as well as above and below ground?

We’ve covered this topic in some depth, but it’s always useful to have it summarized and laid out here for ease of reference. So let’s dig into the topic of precast concrete vs. pour-in-place concrete (also known as cast-in-place concrete or site-cast concrete).

More Efficient

Given the vast and varied amounts of concrete buried infrastructure forms, there’s really no competition between precast and pour-in-place concrete.

Builders understand that there are just too many variables at play to make pour-in-place a viable option for the many different types, sizes, and applications of buried infrastructure.

In fact, while precast concrete’s roots go back generations, it was really in response to modern industry needs that it really began to take off in terms of popularity. Once the industry began developing solutions for infrastructure and not just concrete slabs, precast concrete became the go-to solution instead of pouring concrete on site.

Precast is simply a more efficient and exacting way to install buried infrastructure. Pour-in-place often requires many setups and teardowns in order to install the concrete at various locations and job sites. This means more time and more labor.

Precast, on the other hand, arrives at the job site ready for installation, so that you and your workers can move immediately to the next task at hand.


We referenced time in the section on efficiencies above. Pour-in-place applications may save time on the front end — while the precast forms are being developed in precast concrete facilities.

But they lose that time on the back end while waiting for job sites to be optimized; for the weather to clear; for concrete to be poured; for rebar to be installed; and for inspections to take place to ensure the quality and integrity of the poured product.

For precast concrete, all those quality control processes have been internalized in the factory, including the curing process, so that when the forms arrive on site, they are ready to be installed.

Eco-Friendly Production

Concrete is durable and resilient. Its green bonafides begin with the product itself, which can last for literally hundreds of years with little to no maintenance.

But it’s in our facility and in our production processes where we earned our SMaRT certification — the first buried infrastructure facility in the United States to be so designated.

Precast concrete is made using a closely monitored production process. We recycle and reuse wastewater. We produce our concrete forms using natural and raw materials that remain free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

Our products have the longest life cycle for products designed for sewer, water, storm drain, and utility systems. And, finally, our products are chemically inert.

The choice is clear when it comes to precast concrete vs. pour-in-place. For large-scale projects or small ones, get in touch with us today to discuss your needs and your options for precast concrete products.