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a little book of

Concrete

Why precast concrete?

A guide to one
hundred advantages

If concrete
were to be
invented
now it
would be
hailed as
a miracle.
Ref. LB/01 Published 2007. British Precast Concrete Federation
Reprinted with minor amendments 2012

It is the most commonly used building material in the


world; yet we normally take what it does for granted too
often this means that much of what concrete can offer is
overlooked.
Now it is time to take a fresh look at the new world of
concrete.
This booklet re-examines what factory-made precast
concrete can offer the architect, the designer, the engineer,
the client, the nancier, the insurer and the environmentalist.
Precast concrete covers all factory-made concrete
products from mass produced blocks, paving and roof tiles,
to massive customised bespoke units.
We hope you enjoy reading about the 100 advantages of
precast.
If you wish to know more contact: info@britishprecast.org
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Does not melt.


Just like other concrete and masonry materials,
precast concrete does not melt in high temperatures.
This means that there is no need for protective paints
or special insulation and nishes can be viewed just
as the designer intended.
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Blends in with
e
ex
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existing
structures.
In areas of historic or architectural importance,
p
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p
g match
or are sympathetic to their older counterparts. Careful
mix design in the precast factory and use of mock-ups
can ensure that the match is satisfactory for all those
involved.

44

Can replicate
patterns, shapes or
other materials.
Just like the previous advantage, the mouldability of
precast means that it is an excellent mimic, whether
this entails copying classical details like keystones
and capitals or matching the nish of materials like
weathered stone.

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Available in a wide
range of colours...
There are many different aggregates and additions that
can be incorporated into precast concrete elements,
depending on what is required. This gives designers
considerable scope to produce subtle or contrasting
colour-ways.

48

including white
and black.
Dramatic architectural projects call for dramatic colours,
and precast can be used to provide white, off-white or
black shades. Colours in precast are long lasting and
manufacturers can always advise on suitable colours for
particular applications.
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Can be designed to
change colour.
The inclusion of thermo-chromatic dyes in precast
concrete will cause it to change colour when it reaches
particular temperatures. This is a fun idea, but has serious
applications too for example, the concrete can indicate
when it is too cold or too hot to touch.
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Guaranteed durability.
The factory-controlled production process means that
cover to rebar is consistent and correct, as are strength
and concrete quality . Hence the inherent durability of
the delivered product is assured.

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Provides an instant
work platform.
Precast structures and in particular oors and
staircases provide an early, secure and broad
platform from which subsequent site activities can
be undertaken. This solid footing helps speed up
construction and gives managers condence that
operatives can go about their work safely.

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Uses by-products
from other industries.
Precast products can safely incorporate materials
such as blast furnace slag (from the iron and steel
industry) and fuel ash (from coal-red power stations)
that might otherwise go to waste. These materials can
improve the performance of precast concrete and can
be used as partial replacements for Portland cement.
84

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oil-based products.
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between precast concrete and its casting mould or
bed; vegetable-based release agents can be used as
a substitute for oil-based chemicals, thereby reducing
the overall environmental impact. In addition concrete
is not as vulnerable to increases in oil and gas prices
as plastics and asphalt.
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109

Impressive whole
life value.
Theres no doubt that all of the previous 96 advantages
add up to a signicant package and it is exactly
this idea that convinces people to use precast. The
argument is compelling, precast offers value through
attractive nishes, robust structures and major
performance advantages such as re-proong and
thermal mass throughout its life.

Peace of mind.
The technology behind precast production, design
and construction stretches back hundreds of years,
so customers can be assured of peace of mind when
specifying precast products. Precast is a proven
technology.

110

Product
developments...
Manufacturers of precast concrete products invest
heavily in research and development to make their
products and services even better. New products,
new information technology and new factories
demonstrate this forward-thinking attitude.

...and innovation.
This brochure shows that innovation is an everyday
part of the precast world, but we think theres still
more to come. Were keen to hear of new benets of
using precast please send in your suggestions for
the next 100 reasons to info@britishprecast.org
111

Requirements for sustainable products are


increasingly being adopted by construction
industry clients. To achieve CARES
sustainability certification, the reinforcing
steel product as well as the quality and
environmental management system
must be positively assessed by CARES.
This includes assessment to the relevant
product standard and to environmental
issues such as greenhouse gas emissions
and raw material use, as well as the
social and economic issues.

112

CARES Product Certication


Quality Management System to ISO 9001
Veried compliance with Product Standards
Full product traceability
Monitoring of scheme performance
Avoidance of unnecessary site delays
No need for product test data certicates

CARES Sustainable Reinforcing Steel


Environmental Management System to ISO14001
Compliance with regulatory requirements
Energy eciency and waste management systems
Independently validated product carbon footprint data
Product traceability (chain of custody) to production source

and manufacturing process


Social and economic issues required by BS 8902

For further information about CARES and an up-to-date list of rms holding CARES
certication please consult the CARES website: www.ukcares.com
T: 01732 450000 F: 01732 455917 E: general@ukcares.com

UK Certication Authority for Reinforcing Steels (CARES)


Pembroke House, 21 Pembroke Road, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1XR

a little book of

Concrete

This edition
sponsored by

60 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FB


Tel: 0116 253 6161 Fax: 0116 251 4568
Web: www.britishprecast.org
Global Copyright
Email: info@britishprecast.org
British Precast Concrete Federation Ltd