VERSATILITY | EFFICIENCY | RESILIENCY
Precast concrete is a high performance material that provides three important characteristics — versatility, efficiency, and resiliency.
Versatile Aesthetics, Designs, and Uses
The inherent qualities of precast concrete enable an almost endless array of aesthetic options. Using formliners, aggregates, pigmentation, and various finishing techniques (including acid etching, smooth-as-cast, exposed aggregate, and abrasive blasting) designers can create the custom finishes, sizes, and configurations to achieve the appearance they want for a structure. Even on a budget, precast producers can mimic historic finishes including stone and brick façades.
Economically and Environmentally Efficient
From a faster erection schedule to the environmental benefits, the high performance of precast concrete is the reason why so many builders and contractors are choosing Tindall precast. The inherent thermal efficiency of a precast structure lowers the cost and environmental footprint from construction through occupancy and contributes to LEED points and certification. From recycled materials and materials supplied within the region, to sustainable sites and low-emitting materials, precast is the best choice for an efficient structure.
High Level Resiliency
The structural soundness of precast provides protection against numerous hazards including fire, severe storms, high winds, flying debris, and explosions. Extensive research has resulted in innovatively designed structures that provide resiliency even through earthquakes. Precast provides passive fire protection because concrete does not combust and can easily meet fire code requirements. Precast concrete does not provide a food source for mold thus resulting in quality air conditions. And because precast concrete is an inert material it provides a safe indoor environment for occupants.
A Faster Track to Occupancy and Revenue
Experience shows that project teams using total precast systems bring their projects to completion more than 20% faster than steel and typically 30% faster than cast-in-place concrete.
This faster completion timeline can be critical for revenue generation in a competitive market or in meeting a tenant’s need for occupancy on a specific date. The faster the base track to completion, the less risk of weather factors, construction delays, lost productivity claims, and other unanticipated complications. Considering the capitalization impact of earlier revenue generation, overall project economics become even more attractive with precast.
It is no wonder that precast projects have become a significant component of the design/build trend, particularly where the structure makes up a large part (60% and more) of the design cost. The scheduling advantages of precast result from multiple factors that compound their impact throughout the process.
Consolidated deliverables secure much of the building’s shell in one efficient, contractual relationship. Architects and engineers find precast systems easier to design, thanks to aid from Tindall’s skilled engineering department. Applying specialized knowledge and experience, our design engineers serve as a catalyst for the entire project team, including architects, specifying engineers, project managers, estimators, and schedulers. The results are focused strategies developed early in the process to meet the owner’s needs. Tindall estimates construction costs simultaneously with design, arriving upon a guaranteed construction cost promptly. In this way, final project approval can take place before incurring substantial design expenditures and with firm knowledge of the final cost.
Value engineering and constructibility concerns are taken up by the precast design and contracting team right from the project’s start. This optimization process pays dividends in timeline compression and schedule discipline.
Keeping on track
Changing orders invariably involve a certain amount of scheduling fixes. Changes sometimes occur despite an owner's best efforts to develop accurate and airtight project scopes. The longer the project track, the greater the potential for changes that feed a cycle of change, schedule creep, and cost overrun.
Precast construction, particularly in a design/build model, helps avoid change by locking in the deliverables earlier in the project track. The arrival of precast pieces on-site upon completion of footing and foundation work tends to have a moderating effect upon the perceived need for changes. The precast product track thus helps to focus more attention on getting the drawings right and the project correctly defined before the site work begins. The result is more rapid occupancy for less cost.
Manufacturing/erecting instead of constructing
Since in-plant precast component manufacturing begins during permitting and site preparation, erection proceeds rapidly as soon as foundations are complete. In-plant, PCI-Certified precasting to tight tolerances results in fewer job-site adjustments and quicker erection. Typically, more than 7,500 square feet can be installed each day (average of 15 pieces per day).
Safety and weather factors
With in-plant manufacturing predominant over on-site construction, a precast project will require fewer on-site man-hours and personnel. This reduces site safety risks and potential construction delays caused by injury, post-event regulatory action, and litigation.
Precast components can be erected in weather conditions that bring conventional construction to a halt, keeping the schedule on track. Rapid erection allows the contractor to enclose the building quickly, giving interior trades faster access. Precast’s inherent fire resistance eliminates the need for fireproofing as in a steel structure, with the added stage of coming back to repair it as other trades finish.
All in all, the time savings with total precast are impressive. The Precast Concrete Institute offers a comparison (summarized in the accompanying figure) of the project track for two prototypical office buildings. The comparative study was carried out by a nationally recognized estimating firm. Estimated were a 4-story, 100,000-square-foot building and an 8-story, 200,000-square-foot building, each with a footprint of 113 feet x 227 feet. The total precast prototype was ready for occupancy in 21% less time than the steel & brick, 16% less than the steel & precast, and 29% less than the cast-in-place framing method.
The greater the need for rapid occupancy or to accelerate the revenue side of a project, the more total precast construction deserves serious consideration.
Designer’s NOTEBOOK, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute
“How To Profit From Design/Build,” Ascent, Summer 1996, p. 14.
Total Precast Concrete Structures, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute