What is Precast Concrete?

Increasingly, precast concrete construction is replacing traditional concrete construction. Manufacturers of precast concrete will typically prepare and cast it in factory-controlled conditions. In many cases, they will use reusable moulds for making precast concrete. These moulds will usually comprise steel or plywood. Thereafter, the manufacturers will cure or harden the concrete in their factories, before transporting it to the construction site.

On occasions, the manufacturers could include steel reinforcement or certain admixtures in the concrete as well. These admixtures typically serve to enhance the quality of the concrete in its fresh or hardened state. Admixtures will usually be water-reducing or air-entraining. Alternatively, these could be retarders or accelerators as well. Precast concrete offers a standardisation and quality that is far superior to traditional concrete (or cast-in-situ concrete). Hence, it is hardly surprising that it is fast replacing traditional concrete construction across Australia.

 

How Does Precast Concrete Differ from Cast-In-Situ Concrete?

There are various reasons behind the increasing levels of popularity of precast concrete construction. The biggest of these is the fact that the use of precast concrete saves time. Precast concrete suppliers will usually work extensively with the project design team in the initial stages of the project. This collaboration saves time and money over the course of the entire project. With the layout coordination settled upfront, the building process does not take long for completion.

 

AspectsPrecast ConcreteTraditional Concrete
Element ManufactureTakes place in a controlled casting environment, which facilitates the mixing, placement and curing activitiesTakes place on site, which makes it relatively tougher to mix, place and cure the concrete
Casting of ElementsTakes place in advance in a controlled environmentTakes place in the open environment at the time of construction
Quality ControlEasy to maintainDifficult
Amount of Labour RequiredLesserMore
Construction SpeedQuick, because workers can install precast concrete immediately without waiting for it to gain strengthSlow, as it takes time for the concrete to gain the appropriate strength
Factors Affecting Concrete StrengthNone, as suppliers create the concrete in controlled environmentsExtreme temperatures, humidity etc.
Increase the Strength of the ConcreteEasy to achieve with accelerated curingDifficult to achieve onsite with accelerated curing
Onsite Strength TestNot requiredEssential
Weather Impact on CastingNoneCan delay the work
Ideally Suited forLarge-scale construction projects such as commercial buildings comprising:

–        Hotels and motels

–        Shopping malls and big box stores

–        Storage facilities and warehouses

–        Office buildings

–        Manufacturing facilities

–        Hospitals and retirement homes and,

–        Schools and libraries

Smaller structures such as standalone houses, sheds etc.
Construction TimeThe suppliers can prepare the concrete in advance and deliver them within a few days, leading to faster completion of projects The pouring and setting of concrete can add several days to the length of your project
Preparatory Work NeededMinimal – you can just dig a hole and set the precast concrete in itSignificant – You will need to:

–        Haul, set and remove forms

–        Wait for the concrete to cure

Excavation Open TimeMinimal – because you don’t need to wait for the concrete to arrive i.e. you can order it in advanceHigher – because you will need to wait for the delivery of the forms, arrival of the trucks, pouring and curing of the concrete and stripping of the forms
Last-Minute ChangesPermissible up to the time the supplier pours the concrete in the formDifficult to make

 

Why You Need to Use Precast Concrete Construction in Your Next Building Project

Precast concrete components feature better thermal insulating properties. They are environment-friendly materials. They minimise the need for formwork and scaffolding as well. In addition, structures made of precast concrete are easy to dismantle, if needed and used elsewhere. Besides these, the use of precast concrete components offers a wide range of benefits. Precast concrete components also feature:

  • Higher levels of quality and dimensional accuracy
  • Superior levels of durability
  • Tighter tolerance levels
  • Reduction in onsite activities and their environmental impact (e.g. noise, disturbances, labour etc.) and waste
  • Shorter construction times, which result in more economical and cost-effective projects
  • Greater ease in producing repetitive units
  • Higher levels of versatility, safety and comfort
  • Rot-resistant, fire-rated, energy-efficient, acoustically insulated and non-combustible structures and,
  • Earthquake-resistant structures

 

Chappell Building Services has over 20 years of experience in building a diverse range of commercial structures throughout Eastern Australia. Our proven experience in concrete panel construction makes us the builder of choice in the area. Harness our comprehensive project management services to enjoy a hassle-free experience in your next project.