What is precast concrete? - Elematic precast technology
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What is precast concrete?

Precast concrete – a construction method using prefabricated reinforced concrete elements – is gaining popularity worldwide. Initially developed in the Nordic countries in the 1950s, modular precast has proven itself one of the fastest, most profitable, sustainable, and cost-effective ways to build.

Precast is a method for industrialized construction

Precast is a method of industrialized design, production and construction using precast concrete products. The industrialized process is an advantage that enables quick long-line production, standardized components, the calculated positioning of details, and uncomplicated documentation.

Fast, profitable, and high-quality production and construction

Precast means fast construction time, high profitability, and excellent quality. The industrialized way of producing precast concrete transfers a considerable amount of work from sites to factories.

High-quality precast concrete products are cast on beds or in adjustable molds of different shapes in a controlled environment at a precast concrete plant. Pre-stressing or structural reinforcement is added into the molds or beds before the concrete is cast, compacted, and cured. After complete finishing, the produced concrete elements are transported from the precast plant to the construction site for erection.

Precast hollow core slab used as floors in a school building in Dubai, UAE

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Precast is versatile in shape, size, and surface finish

Modern precast manufacturing technologies offer countless options for producing precast elements in various shapes, sizes, and finishes. The surface finishing techniques of wall panels vary from polishing and coloring to texturing, tiling, or even printing (graphic concrete).

The picture on the right displays a graphic concrete surface on a wall panel of Albert Edelfelt school building in Finland.

Take a look at surfaces
Grapchic Concrete, Albert Edelfelt School, Porvoo, Finland.
Graphic concrete on wall panel in Albert Edelfelt school in Finland.

What can you do with precast concrete?

Precast is suitable for any building anywhere

Precast products are applied in buildings, civil construction, and landscaping. Precast concrete suits any building types: residential, commercial, industrial, logistics, and public, to name a few. Beautiful and durable, low and high-rise precast buildings have risen in cold and hot climate areas and zones of high seismic risks.

A building can be a full precast or partial precast building depending on the local construction conditions, requirements, and resources. Precast can be the only building material or utilized as a composite structure combined with steel or wood.

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The most common precast products are

  • Facades from sandwich to cladding and grey walls
  • Floors with hollow-core, half, ribbed, or solid slabs
  • Partition and internal walls from Acotec to solid walls
  • Foundations with precast concrete piles
  • Frames with beams, columns, slabs, etc.
  • Stairs, shafts, and other special products
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Why choose precast concrete?

Profitable and scalable business, fast ROI

Precast offers attractive and profitable business opportunities with fast ROI. Precast’s rapid construction time means that residential, commercial, and industrial tenants can move in sooner. You lower the investment risk and increase ROI from buildings that are built fast and tenanted quickly.

Manufacturing of precast products can start from a single production line. You can produce elements for your own construction needs or sell precast products to other building contractors. The precast production can be scaled up step by step by adding more lines and expanding plant facilities.

How to start a new precast plant? Expanding your production?
Precast wall panel installation at Vantaan Sokerikoivu building site in Vantaa, Finland.

Sustainability – precast uses less of everything

Compared to the cast-in-situ construction method, precast uses less of everything – less water, less cement, less steel, and less labor. Precast produces less waste on the site and in the factory, making its CO2 footprint much smaller than in cast-in-situ construction.

Safe and healthy working environment

Both precast production and construction offer safer and healthier working conditions. Handling of material is easier, and less scaffolding is needed. Precast technology is applicable in virtually all environments – cold, hot, humid, or dry.

More about sustainability in precast

Precast slabs and sustainability

The controlled production ensures high quality

As an industrially produced building product, precast is always of the highest quality. A carefully designed production process and the controlled environment enable real-time monitoring of quality and easy adjustments in raw materials, casting and finishing. The outcome is cured, finished, and equipped.

Building with precast is rapid and economical

In an average project of a multi-storey building, one floor can be erected as fast as within one week. The cost of precast construction is slightly higher than cast-in-situ because it requires manufacturing, logistics and crane work, but when integrating shorter building time into costs, the precast is cheaper.

Precast makes the building process and cost estimation predictable. Watch the video on the left and see how fast the United Precast Concrete has finished the residential project in Dubai.

Learn about precast and design

Minimal logistics and storage need

With precast, logistics needs are minimal. Precast elements are transported to a construction site ready-to-install and can be scheduled to arrive just-in-time, thus eliminating the need for storage space and unnecessary handling.

Pre-installed fixtures make assembly easier

Electrical and mechanical fixtures can be pre-installed into precast products during casting. Even windows are possible to install already at the precast concrete plant. The precast elements can include connection plates ready to receive heating and lighting fittings on the site, making both construction and maintenance easy.

Learn from the experience of Karkas Monolit, a large building contractor from Russia, how it achieved significant savings in time and costs with precast.

 

Architectural and structural freedom in design

Precast’s excellent load-bearing capacities and possibilities for long spans give more freedom
to architectural and structural design than traditional methods. Column-free interior space is so flexible that it allows changes to floor plans if the building’s purpose of use changes.

Well-insulated, fire-resistant, and Wi-Fi-friendly material

Precast does not burn, melt, or rot. It becomes more rigid over the years. High-quality precast does not breed any harmful microbes, either. Precast concrete has excellent thermal, moisture, and sound insulation properties as well as high fire resistance.

Precast does not interfere with radio signals, local Wi-Fi, or internet networks, making it the most technology-friendly material in the increasingly wired living and working environment.

Precast floors, beams and columns in use in a parking house in Finland

Durable, functional, and beautiful buildings

Modern precast concrete buildings can be designed safely and economically, with various layouts and facades. Precast buildings are durable. The most common designed lifetime of a precast building is between 50 and 100 years but can be even 200 years.

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