Are precast concrete structures better? How?

It’s a known fact that precast concrete structures produce superior buildings than standard forms of concrete structures. So, what makes Precast Concrete Construction so different than other forms of constructions? After all, the concrete does not know whether it is statically reinforced or pre-tensioned (pre-stressed)! Precast concrete is prepared and cured at a location other than the construction site. But what really distinguishes precast from in-situ is it’s stress and strain response to external (load induced) and internal (autogenously volumetric changes) effects. Precast elements are of a finite size and need to be joined to the other elements of the construction to form a complete structure.

Basically, concrete is a mixture of sand, gravel and other aggregates that are usually bound together by a water based binder. Modifying agents and additives are introduced to improve the characteristics of the concrete.

Precast Concrete Construction

Precast concrete is cast under factory controlled conditions and not erected on site until it is fully hardened. Just like in-situ concrete, precast concrete can be plain, reinforced or pre-stressed concrete.

The process becomes more ‘buildable’
With precast structures, the entire process becomes easy and more ‘buildable’. This is because, the construction sequence becomes more sensible and each part is pre-built to exactly fit into place. The overall construction is safe and    there is a sense of stability too. Further, skilled labor is used for the construction of buildings using precast concrete and hence the overall quality of work is superior.

Simply more cost effective
With precast structures, the building component cost per – structural capacity is comparable to other materials and the overall cost of construction including transport, fixing finishing, maintenance and repair are competitive. There is lowest standard deviation and hence quality and final finish is assured. This method uses factory engineered concrete and hence destructive load testing and non-destructive load testing assurances are given.

Fast to erect
The precast concrete manufacturing takes some time – even several weeks. But, once ready, it greatly speeds up the on-site construction work. Clear heights, floor zones and other statistics are accurately built and it greatly speeds up the entire process.

Above all, the intrinsic qualities of an industrial product, manufactured in a controlled environment with accurate methods are bound to be superior to standard concrete mixed onsite. In a factory controlled environment, advanced quality control methods are used and hence the final finish is far better than standard concrete mix. Well, the dimensional accuracy, properties of the hardened concrete and reinforcement can all be checked before inclusion in the structure and hence the final product is more robust.

On a final note, factory made products are independent of the weather conditions on the site and are processed separately from the construction work on site. That’s why they have fewer external dependencies and external factors that negatively impact their quality.

In a world where the need for speed and quality is a never ending quest, precast concrete adds real value to a construction project and offers just the right solution for building sustainable – futuristic structures!

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