Concrete – it’s just cement, grit and water. Mix it and pour it where you want it. It seems simple, but working with heavy, unwieldy concrete requires expert planning and execution to meet the increasingly complex needs of modern construction. And regardless of complexity, projects still demand completion that’s on time and under budget. When planning your next large project, consider these benefits of using precast concrete products.
Since precast concrete products are made in a controlled factory environment, mixing, pouring and curing are closely monitored to deliver higher quality. Unlike on-site casting, where weather can affect results, precast concrete, made with the same mix and method, delivers consistent quality.
Precast concrete processes include accelerating cure time, which allows the concrete to gain strength very rapidly. In addition, rebar placement and coverage is consistently accurate, ensuring concrete strength is not compromised. The density of precast concrete reduces its susceptibility to vibration, minimizing the risk of structural damage.
Precast concrete used natural products such as stone and sand, recycled steel, and by-products such as ground-blast furnace slag from the steel industry and fly ash from power plants. Most material is sourced locally, and precast concrete is produced locally, which reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting raw materials.
The molds or forms for precast concrete can be designed to create a range of sizes, shapes, and textures. Precast can also be structured to absorb or deflect sound. And by adding hollow cores or pipes into precast concrete, slabs can be used to carry air or water for cooling and heating, and act as protective barriers for those systems.
Precast concrete cannot catch fire, burn or melt. Even after damage, it requires little, if any, repair. The density of the concrete also makes it more resistant to shifts from water. And it is impact resistant and difficult to penetrate, providing protection from small problems, like rodents, to more dangerous situations like chemical spills and explosions.
From energy to materials and everything in between, there are a range of benefits to using precast concrete products. Portland, OR and other major metro areas in particular require projects that are as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
From a cost perspective, precast concrete products provide the following value:
- Material Savings – Production methods enable precast manufacturers to buy for multiple projects and secure quantity discounts.
- Mold / Form Savings – Concrete forms can be reused many times, maximizing their value and reducing replacement costs.
- Production Savings – The process for precast concrete eliminates costs associated with transporting and storing the equipment and scaffolding used for on-site casting.
- Project Savings – Designs using lightweight concrete mixes, foam-core insulation and synthetic reinforcement can deliver a high-strength concrete in thinner, lower-cost panels. Because precast concrete has a high span-to-depth ratio and better load bearing properties, it reduces the need for additional material and floor depth. Compared to traditional concrete, precast can save up to four inches of floor depth, providing significant savings on large construction projects.
- Energy Savings – The density of precast concrete reduces heating and cooling requirements in completed projects.
Precast concrete products also save time on several fronts:
- Production Time – Accelerated cure process reduces the time between casting and installation. In addition, onsite work can begin concurrently with production.
- Installation Time – Once precast concrete is on site, it can be installed quickly.
- Project Time – Quick production and installation for pre-formed concrete means other phases of a project can start earlier, saving schedule time.
Precast concrete Portland, OR
The benefits of precast concrete are driving industry growth. The U.S. precast concrete industry was up 2.5% in 2017 and is expected to grow 3% in 2018 to $19.1 billion. To find out more about precast concrete in the Portland area and reap its benefits for your next large project, contact the Columbia Precast Products team.