While in-situ concrete is poured and formed onsite, we’re here to answer all your questions about precast concrete. Below, we’ll explore in detail what precast concrete is and what its various uses are.
Precast concrete is made offsite in a highly controlled factory environment, making it much easier to control its mix, its placement and its curing. It can be used for a variety of uses, such as decorative items and construction elements, with many manufacturers preferring it due to the improved ability to monitor and control its quality.
It’s generally made by being poured into a wooden or steel mode, with a rebar or wire mesh. It’s often prestressed with a cable reinforcement, increasing its strength and making it suitable for use in buildings and heavy structures. Once it arrives onsite, it’s generally installed into place using a crane.
Precast concrete is versatile in size, shape and finish
Thanks to the ability to produce it in a controlled environment, precast concrete is highly versatile in size, shape and finish. This versatility is appealing to many different industries, making it a highly competitive and profitable business.
Often used for both buildings and structures
As we mentioned above, precast concrete is often used for both buildings and structures as well as civil construction. Some structures it’s commonly used in are parking lots in the form of columns, traffic barriers, stairs and paving slabs, bridges in the form of beams, arches, girders and deck slabs, and in foundations in many residential homes.
In terms of buildings, precast concrete can be found in office buildings with concrete columns and architectural panels, multi-unit housing such as hotels and apartment buildings, and all types of schools from university campuses to primary schools due to their fast turnaround times and ability to help keep projects on target.
It’s transported to site ready for installation
Of course, precast concrete being made in factories means that it has to be transported to the site for installation. In some cases, this does limit what can and can’t be made precast, as the weight of concrete can make it difficult to move the finished product from point A to point B. However, with the right equipment, sizable pieces of precast concrete can be made and successfully transported to their installation site.
One of the best things about precast concrete is that it’s an environmentally friendly process. Let’s explore why:
- Concrete is a material made from natural properties such as sand, water and rock
- The water used to create concrete can be recycled
- It absorbs and releases heat incredibly slowly, equalling long-term energy savings over time
- Creating precast concrete in a factory reduces waste from packaging, excess or wasted concrete, packaging and bracing and formwork
- Less material is used in the production of precast concrete, with less raw material being harvested and less left behind to be disposed of at the end of the project
- Most precast concrete is made locally and has short and simple transportation routes