It doesn’t matter if you’ve never swung a hammer or don’t know the handle from the pointy end when you pick up a screwdriver because some construction terms just mean what they say. There’s no subtle second definition for pre-cast concrete, for example, because the label is already an apt descriptor for this workflow-compressing gift to the construction trade. The product quite simply leapfrogs standard concrete pouring techniques, placing the manufacturing of building segments within a controlled environment. It’s a methodology that’s drawing the curious eye of many construction industries as space becomes a premium resource and the concept of finite control becomes so attractive, so let’s turn our spotlight on pre-cast concrete to investigate the form and its applications.
Business is booming in the construction industry. New generations of modern buildings are replacing the aging concrete structures that first poked the sky between the 1950s and 1970s, sending ripples of change clear across the globe. We clear all evidence of these structures from view, fence out a building site, and set to work with fabricated steel beams, new fastening and welding techniques, and clad this superstructure in pre-cast concrete panels. The advantage of this approach is that a construction firm can take the architectural plans and begin ‘forming’ the panels within a plant floor. The concrete is poured without interference from work site obstacles, meaning weather and construction site logistics become a non-issue while the concrete is poured into a mould and cured.
The incorporation of all physical features is managed and regulated at the moulding stage. The eventual dimensions are set by the mould, with other factors steadfastly taken into account within the offsite workflow. This includes the pre-stressing of the final product and the incorporation of all features. We’re talking about apertures for municipal water lines, the façade panels that clad attractive structures, and the storey-height panels that require heavy-duty lifting cranes. For more on this subject, check out the Associated Rigging page on powerful lifting tools, mobile cranes that can start lifting 3 tonne panels and not pause even when lifting weighty 150 tonne loads.
If you’ll excuse us for that last quick promotional sentence, we’ll hasten back to the topic. Pre-cast concrete is gaining traction within construction communities, a level of popularity that signifies a swing away from on-site concrete mixers. The advantage of this offsite manufacturing process pairs quality control with the ability to monitor the curing process, leading to a final product that’s created with superior uniformity. These panels are built as single layers or as sandwiched double-layered panels. The single thickness panels make for excellent exterior cladding panels, pre-stressed retaining walls on civil engineering projects, and countless other applications. Meanwhile, sandwiched pre-cast concrete panels increase soundproofing and other environmental factors, thus situating the product as the optimal solution for interior panels within a home, each complete with moulded door openings and window apertures. Indeed, this puzzle piece approach can fit any application while simultaneously adding high-quality finishes, a speedy construction workflow, and other features that only come from a factory floor production environment.