Design & Construction
If concrete were to be invented now it would be hailed as a miracle.
The properties of precast concrete mean that it is the most commonly used building material in the world. Precast concrete is:
As precast can be moulded to any shape, size and texture it can be used to deflect or absorb noise. This makes it a good acoustic host for music but also an effective sound barrier alongside busy roads. As a dense material, precast elements in a building make for a peaceful lifestyle. Privacy and effective sound reduction are ensured, which makes precast an ideal choice for residential buildings in particular.
Precast concrete has the potential to be made in any shape. Moulds can be designed to be customised, replicate patterns, shapes or other materials.There are also many different aggregates and additions that can be incorporated into precast which gives designers considerable scope to produce subtle or contrasting colour-ways.
The factory-controlled production process means that cover to rebar is consistent and correct, as are strength and concrete quality. Hence the inherent durability of the delivered product is assured.
Precast protects against the spread of fire between rooms or buildings and it cannot catch fire, burn or drip molten particles. In test, concrete performs consistently well in fire, often requiring only minor repairs.
The structural strength and dense nature of precast concrete makes it an ideal choice for safe or panic rooms in houses. Whether for homes, businesses or increasingly for prisons, precast is secure against break-ins and break-outs; it can't be cut open and is extremely resistant to impact.
Precast concrete goes on increasing its strength for hundreds of years after it is cast. What's more, during that time it won't shrink, warp, move or creep excessively so can be relied upon to perform consistently year after year.
All the materials that go into precast concrete products come from natural and recycled sources. This means they are subject to minimal processing or chemical treatments to render them suitable for use, which results in concrete having a relatively low embodied energy value.
The versatility of precast can be seen in its application as a carrying medium for heating or cooling. As concrete can be dense or lightweight, precast concrete can act as a thermal sink or as an insulator and in some buildings you can see precast doing both.
Precast concrete is resistant to rain penetration and wind-blown debris. It can also withstand many winters of freeze-thaw cycles.