Concrete is one of the major components in a wide range of building applications, used in commercial buildings, office buildings, business parks, and more. Concrete is aesthetically versatile, dependable, and has many different uses. Vaults, dry wells, retaining walls, and anything else that requires strength and durability.
Many materials are used throughout the construction industry, such as steel, wood, brick, and aluminum. But none of those materials are as long-term or sustainable as concrete. Concrete won’t warp, rust, or rot, whether it’s buried or above ground, which makes it incredibly attractive for buried infrastructure.
Why Precast Concrete?
Using precast concrete makes a great product that much better. Here are a few of the advantages of using precast concrete for your building project as compared to other materials, as well as pour in place concrete:
- Readiness/Ease of Use
- Sustainable/Maintenance Free
For the strength factor alone, concrete is the most economical and reliable of building materials. Built to last decades, precast concrete retains its strength whether it’s above ground or below. Because it can be made in a facility well before it’s needed, precast concrete is allowed to strengthen for weeks.
Before any piece leaves for the field, it is strength-tested for its particular application. That is a huge advantage over pour-in-place concrete, which can’t be tested until it’s already in place. If pour-in-place concrete is given the time to harden before completing the installation, it should be fine. With precast, however, you’ll know for sure.
Not only is precast concrete strong, but it’s also very durable – which is not necessarily the same thing. For example, a large wooden beam is strong enough to hold up an entire home. But is it durable enough to stand up to fire, termites, or water damage?
With precast concrete, the answer is yes. Built to last, buried precast concrete infrastructure is designed to last up to 100 years, resisting damage from the elements, fires, animals, and natural disasters. No remodeling or replacing needed.
Size, shape, and access points – no matter your project, precast concrete can be made to fit the bill. Do your wall panels need to be an irregular shape or outfitted with openings for electrical work? Send in the specifications and you’ll get exactly what you need, when you need it, and ready to be installed.
The ability to assign finishes and even colors during the casting process gives your concrete even more versatility. Retaining walls can resemble the look of red brick by designing the form and adding the color during the mixing process. Working in a tight spot? Precast vaults can be made in pieces for easy transportation and installation at the job site.
As mentioned before, precast concrete is ready to go when you are. While pour in place concrete can be just as strong or durable as precast, installation times are a major difference. Once the excavation is complete, precast wells and catch basins can be placed, ready for backfill, and the project can continue.
With poured concrete on site, there’s time spent building forms, time spent placing rebar, time spent mixing and pouring, and time spent waiting for it to strengthen. The whole process could take a week or two, during which time there’s a dangerous hole in the ground. Any problems during the pour could also affect timelines – never a good thing.
Due to the strength, durability, and how it’s constructed, Precast concrete is also one of the more sustainable building materials on the market. Because of the controlled environment during precast concrete production, any wastewater or materials created can be saved and reused.
The durability and relatively low-maintenance of concrete also mean precast concrete doesn’t need to be replaced every other decade. This helps the bottom line of any project, both in the short term and long haul. Columbia Precast Products is proud to be the first precast plant in the Buried Infrastructure industry to earn SMaRT certification due to our sustainable practice.
Precast concrete remains incredibly strong for decades, is resistant to fires and floods, and repels burrowing animals and insects. If anything in the construction business has “set it and forget it” properties, it’s concrete. That’s why some form of it has been used for hundreds of years.
Have questions about how precast concrete can help your construction project? Contact Columbia Precast today. We may be a young company, but our crews have decades of experience working with precast concrete in the Pacific Northwest.