The Benefits and Advantages of Specifying Precast Wall Panels
Building materials are specified for a variety of reasons. Project owners, designers, and contractors often look through many lenses to choose products that meet their general goals and provide additional benefits when possible. Precast wall panels, otherwise known as Insulated Sandwich Walls, are an exterior wall system that provides numerous benefits and advantages over alternative wall systems.
Here’s why you should specify precast wall panels for your next project.
Insulated Sandwich Walls have a reputation as one of the most durable wall systems available. They maintain their appearance and high-strength capabilities from the day they are installed to the end of the project’s life cycle. The panels remain strong over time due to their high cement content and low water-cement ratio, which allows for thorough compaction and produces dense, highly durable concrete. Using this manufacturing method, precast panels are proven to resist weathering and corrosion.
Architectural precast allows for ultimate design freedom without exceeding budgetary restrictions. During the manufacturing process, panel color and texture can be modified by varying aggregate and matrix colors. Precast panels can also be finished post-installation to achieve any desired aesthetic.
PCI-Certified plants are upheld to strict guidelines and factory-controlled conditions to ensure precast wall panels meet quality and consistency standards.
Life Cycle Savings
Precast facades are designed to last the life of a building with minimal maintenance and substantial long-term savings. Once installed, the wall system is air- and watertight and does not need additional treatment to enhance or prolong its service life.
Time & Cost Savings
Because precast wall panels are manufactured off-site before they are needed, product delivery can be optimized to shorten construction schedules. Insulated Sandwich Walls can also be erected in most weather conditions and with smaller teams, which provides valuable time and costs savings. Building with precast wall panels allow for earlier cash flows and reduced project life cycle costs. Cost savings are greatest for low- to mid-rise structures.
Buildings with Insulated Sandwich Wall exteriors are more energy efficient than those built with alternative wall systems. Insulated Sandwich Walls get their namesake from the insulation built into the precast panel that reduces heating and cooling costs. The thermal mass of concrete further reduces costs by maintaining a consistent indoor temperature.
Other Inherent Benefits
Architectural precast concrete is built to withstand both natural elements and manmade effects. Of the protection precast concrete provides, the most noteworthy is its fire ratings up to three hours, which reduce the need for additional fire-proofing measures and lower insurance rates.
Precast concrete is manufactured with natural materials and low energy consumption. No toxic substances are produced or used in the process. Once installed on site, precast panels continue to conserve energy through high albedo that reflects heat and light, reducing the heat island effect and warmer temperatures in urban areas.
Insulated Sandwich Walls are provided as a complete wall system solution by a single-source provider, rather than as single pieces or parts that can be supplied by several different parties. Using a single-source provider ensures all specifications are met and increases consistency.
The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute offers valuable technical resources as part of their Designer’s Notebook series for designers and engineers who construct with precast concrete. Refer to their publication titled “Benefits and Advantages” available as a free download on PCI’s website.
To learn more about using County Prestress for your next project, contact us at (708) 562-7700.