03 Mar Why you need precast concrete for your project
Have you ever found yourself progressing well on a construction project only to discover that there are concrete items that must be poured? The concrete will have to cure before you can move onto the next stage of the build, and that process takes days, if not weeks, even longer in low temperatures. After a promising start, this will put you behind schedule. If only you’d been able to have every element of the build ready to go at a moment’s notice. Well, that is possible with precast concrete and it’s one of its main advantages.
Read on for a comprehensive list of reasons to choose precast concrete.
What is precast?
Firstly, it’s important to define what we mean by precast concrete. The term refers to concrete products which are cast ahead of time in a plant, prior to being needed. The firm takes your design needs, creates a drawing based on your requirements, then uses standard or custom moulds to fabricate the required products. They mix, pour and cure the concrete products in a temperature-controlled factory. The precast concrete products are then stored at the plant until they’re required on site.
Four advantages of precast concrete
One of the biggest advantages of precast concrete vs. poured in place is that your building project isn’t at the mercy of the weather. Unfortunately, the elements can have a big impact on the quality of a concrete product. The process for curing concrete happens most successfully in dry conditions, over approximately 4℃. The colder, wetter and less consistent the weather is, the longer it takes to reach minimum strength. If you’re pouring concrete on site, you can’t predict how long your concrete blocks will take to cure. If you’re curing concrete outside in winter, you may need to add concrete additives or provide heat to ensure it will cure. This adds cost and labor time. This is particularly problematic in Canada with temperatures threatening to hit below 4℃ any time between October and April, depending on location.
However, since precast concrete is cured in an internal environment, the plant is kept at room temperature all year round. We can predict the time it will take for the concrete to cure and ensure the pieces are ready when you need them. This means the timing and location of your build doesn’t have to be problematic. The products can be cast in advance, ready for when installation starts.
2. Quality control
Quality control is a major concern for building projects, in terms of health and safety, industry standards, and aesthetics. With the factory-controlled environment of precast concrete, you can guarantee consistent quality with every single item.
We can reach minimum strengths consistently and predictably, thanks to a closed, controlled environment. This isn’t the case when you’re relying on the elements.
The factory environment also means products can be poured with higher precision and accuracy compared to on-site. The moulds can be created to exactly your required dimensions, and every item will be precisely the same size.
You also end up with more consistent finishes on your concrete product because each piece is cured in the same temperature, rather than changing weather conditions creating differences in appearance. This means you end up with much better architectural finishes, an important consideration when it comes to customer satisfaction and winning subsequent bids.
Being able to order your concrete products ahead of time helps keep your construction project on schedule. When you opt to cast concrete in situ, you have to wait for it to cure before you can proceed to the next stage of your build. However, when you go for precast concrete, the moulds are created, filled, de-moulded and stored until you need them. In fact, thanks to the accelerated curing, products can be de-moulded and stored by the next day.
4. Cost, labour & waste savings
When it comes to sourcing concrete for your whole construction project, precast concrete can reduce the amount of waste, labour and cost. If you’re casting concrete in place, typically you have to order a minimum batch of concrete, even if it’s only for one small mould. In the factory, though, we can batch smaller amounts, meaning no unused concrete.
Eliminating extra work on site by using precast concrete means your labourers can focus on other aspects of the build, keeping your labour time and cost to a minimum on site.
If you’re ordering several of the same size products, you’ll save money with precast concrete. This is because creating the mould is an upfront cost. But, once the mould is formed, the more you order, the cheaper each item becomes. With most large builds you’ll need several products with the same dimension and you’ll know ahead of time what you need. So, it makes sense to have them poured off site to keep your costs down and your project on schedule.
Construction projects are notoriously complex to manage, with many elements being out of your control. However, the concrete products don’t have to be. Opting for precast concrete means you’ll avoid weather delays, get a consistent, high quality product and stay on schedule.
Contact us today to learn how we can help with your project – let’s get started.