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PRECAST CONCRETE: VERSATILITY FOR A MODERN WORLD

According to a May, 2018 article by ResearchandMarkets.com, the precast concrete market is projected to grow from US$104.3 billion in 2017 to US$138.96 billion in 2022, a nearly six percent growth rate. Increasing populations and urbanization in developing countries, investments in infrastructure, and continued demand from China, India, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia, are driving the market.

Precast concrete is one of the most widely used man-made construction materials. Although the commercial sector is growing faster, the many benefits of building with precast concrete translate to the residential market as well. This versatile material can be of any size, shape or color and is available in a wide variety of finishes. It’s particularly suited to modular construction, as in building highways, parking garages, bridges, or retaining walls.

As the de facto leaders in all things concrete, it’s not surprising that the ancient Romans were the first large-scale users of concrete poured into molds. They used this precast concrete to build complex structures, such as their aqueduct, culvert, and tunnel networks. The next published use of precast concrete was in Liverpool in 1905, when city engineer John Alexander Brodie developed and patented the process of using precast panels in contemporary buildings.

In the modern world of concrete, there are two basic types of pre-fabricated concrete: precast and prestressed. Precast is made by casting wet concrete in a specifically shaped mold that is reusable. Prestressed concrete is compressed between steel bars for added strength and durability. We are surrounded by precast concrete; highway barriers, manholes, water tanks, siding, and roof tiles are made of it. There are so many advantages to building with this cost-efficient and versatile material:

  • Durability – Precast concrete is plant-manufactured, and held to strict quality and strength guidelines. When it arrives at the construction site, it is fully cured and guaranteed to meet standards. This cannot be assured when concrete is cast onsite.
  • Control over production – Precast concrete production is not impacted by outside variables like temperature and humidity, which in turn can affect strength and cure time. Adverse weather can result in lost time on the project, adding to labor costs. Fixed pricing translates to more accurate project budgeting.
  • Safety – Because it’s produced on the ground level, there’s less scaffolding needed; workers are safer.
  • Sustainability – Precast concrete molds can be reused. Manufacturing is more efficient, materials waste is minimal; projects are completed in less time.
  • Fewer moving parts – Using precast concrete avoids managing another production activity at the construction site. Onsite casting is more labor-intensive, requires more space, and complicates logistics.

Of course every construction project is unique. In a location more susceptible to earthquakes, for example, onsite concrete casting might be more appropriate. Transporting some large precast sections may be prohibitively expensive or otherwise impractical. With few exceptions, though, the benefits of building with precast concrete are considerable. No wonder the industry is more robust than ever, with no signs of slowing down.

For your concrete and masonry cutting equipment needs, call Ace Cutting & Equipment Supply at 888-283-2597. Or visit our website: www.acecutting.com.