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The concept of precast construction includes those buildings

where the majority of structural components are standardized and produced in plants in a location away from the building, and then transported to the site for assembly. These components are manufactured by industrial methods based on bunch production in order to build a large number of buildings in a short time at low cost. Precast concrete construction requires a restructuring of the entire conventional construction process to enable interaction between the design phase and production planning in order to improve and speed up the construction. One of the key premises for achieving that objective is to design buildings with a regular configuration in plan and elevation

Main features of this construction process are as

The division and specialization of the human workforce. The use of tools, machinery, and other equipment, usually

automated, in the production of standard, interchangeable parts and

products. Compared to site-cast concrete, precast concrete erection is faster

and less affected by adverse weather conditions.

Plant casting allows increased efficiency, high quality control and greater control on finishes.

Benefits of Precast Structures

Inherent Fire Properties - Concrete has its own inbuilt fire resistance which is

present during all construction phases. Fire resistance is typically achieved without the application of additional sprays or linings. This is an important inherent advantage over steel and timber solutions.
Health & Safety: Precast floor slabs they provide a safe working platform for site

operatives. Simultaneously installing precast stairs offers safe and easy access

between floors.
Reduced Construction Programme: Precast concrete increases speed of

construction, which gives earlier return on investment, freeing up the project critical path and allowing earlier completion. It is estimated that a precast structure takes up to 20% less time to construct than a similar cast in situ structure.

Build ability: Precast frames can greatly improve buildability because the
sensitive parts of the operation can be moved from the site to the factory. Larger Clear Spans - Reducing the number of columns is critically

important in developments such as sports stadia and car parks. Longer spans and
shallower construction depths can be obtained by using pre stressed concrete beams and floors. Composite Action Pre stressed precast elements act compositely with an in situ structural screed (topping), combining the benefits of precast and in situ construction. Air tightness: Air infiltration in precast buildings is minimal because of the relatively small number of joints in the construction. This factor combined with the thermal mass of concrete gives excellent thermal performance.


Depending on the load bearing, precast building system can be divided into following categories:
Precast concrete frame.

Precast concrete wall.

Precast concrete floor.


Precast frames can be constructed using either linear elements

or spatial beam-column sub assemblages .Precast beam-column sub assemblages have the advantage that the connecting faces between the sub assemblages can be placed away from the critical frame regions.
Types of precast frame construction:

(1)Portal Frames. (2)Column and Beam (single storey and multi-storey). (3)Cross Wall Construction.

A Portal Frame is a frame consisting of precast columns connected at the top by a

pitched or sloping horizontal beam Portal Frames are economical to produce and are often associated with industrial or warehouse buildings where a clear span of

up to 35m or more is required.

Industrial Portal Frame


Single storey columns:

Single storey column are jointed at each floor level are more often located inside the perimeter of the building. Spine beams are typically erected over these columns and are connected using high strength dowel bars in grouted dowel tubes, cast into

the beams and With this method of precast construction, buildings are erected one
floor at a time with beams placed at the head of columns at one level before the upper level columns are erected and connected through the beams to the columns below columns.
Figure 2 Continuous spine beams


Multi-storey precast buildings consist of a combination of Column and Beam and

Cross Wall construction where the benefits of each are used to optimise structural and cost efficiencies. Lift shafts and gable walls are common cross wall elements

used in conjunction with Column and Beam structures, adding significantly to the
structural stability of the building.

Figure 3 Typical multi-storey building

Cross Wall Construction

Cross wall multi-storey structures consist of precast floors and load bearing walls,

where the walls are designed as the means of primary support. Longitudinal stability is achieved by external wall panels and/or diaphragm action involving the floors and roof, which are connected, back to lift cores or staircases, which are also formed by precast wall panels.

Figure 4 Cross wall


Precast wall are used for internal & external walls, lift shafts, central cores

etc. Precast wall system is mostly used in domestic construction, both for individual housing and for apartments. The precast walls can be load

bearing or only partition walls. The surface of the elements is smooth on

both sides & ready for painting or wall papering.

Figure 5: Wall panel

Depending on the wall layout, there are three basic

configurations of large-panel Buildings:

(1)Cross-wall system: The main walls that resist gravity and

lateral loads are placed in the short direction of the building. (2)Longitudinal-wall system: The walls resisting gravity and lateral loads are placed in the longitudinal direction. (3)Two-way system: The walls are placed in both directions.


Precast concrete flooring offers an economic and versatile

solution to ground and suspended floors in any type of building construction.

Types of Floor unit:
(1) Hollow core floor.
(2)Double tee floor slabs. (3)Solid wide slab floors.

(4)Composite plank.
(5)Bubble floor

Hollow core floor slabs: Hollow core slabs derive their name from the
circular voids or cores which run from end to end of the slab. The cores can function as cable services ducts and significantly reduce the self-weight of the slabs, maximising structural efficiency. Units are available in standard 1200mm widths and in depths of 150mm to 500mm

Double tee floor slab: Double-Tee floor units are produced in standard widths of
2400mm and in depths of between 250mm and 1000mm The system offers greater structural capacity at longer spans than hollow core or wide slabs, but often requires a deeper floor zone. The Double-Tee system is the only system which offers a solution for spans over16m

Solid wide slab floors

Solid Wide slab is also referred to as plate flooring which is

generally used in residential developments. Wide slab flooring contains an internal mesh/strand which facilitates notching.

Types of wide slab

In situ screeded slabs: are 2400mm wide and in depths of 65mm to

200mm deep with spans of up to 7.5m. These slabs are generally for
upper floors and have smooth self-finishing soffits.Generally a 75mm structural screed is required..
Pre-screeded slabs: are 150mm to 200mm deep and are delivered

self-finished for ground floor applications. These slabs are particularly suited to poor ground conditions or where cut and fill is

required. Maximum spans of 7.5m can be achieved.

Composite beam and plank floor unit

This is a tertiary system in which a composite floor is produced by primary

beams (R.C., precast, steel etc.) support long span beams, reinforced or pre stressed depending on structural requirements and manufacturing capability as shown below:

Advantages of precast floor systems :

(1) Reduction in Frame Size Precast floors can be designed to act compositely with the structure of the building to reduce frame sizes: e.g. main support beams supporting solid slab and screed can be designed as T-beams.

(2)Progressive Collapse Pre stressed composite floors can be tied-in to the main structure and are therefore particularly suited to buildings where progressive collapse is a consideration.

(3)Diaphragm Action
Precast floor slabs together with the structural screed provide a structural deck with full diaphragm action where required in multi-storey buildings.

Flooring arrangements
A floor slab comprises of a large number of individual units, each

designed to serve for specified loads, moments etc., or it may comprise a complete slab field where the loads are shared between the precast units according to the structural response of each

Floor unit: a discrete element designed in isolation of other units. Floor slab: several floor units structurally tied together to form a

floor area.
Floor field: a floor slab where each floor unit is designed as part of

the whole floor.

Design of Pre cast concrete

Structural design of precast concrete is performed in stages

when architectural design and other general requirement are

Following aspects should be considered:

(1)Precast Concrete Components (2)Joints.

(4)Structural Integrity.

Precast concrete components


The following is relevant to column design: (1) Columns are designed for combined axial compression and bending. (2) Column bending moments at beam level are determined from the eccentric loading at the connection. (3) In the case of slender unbraced columns, the additional moments

due to slenderness effects are added to the total design moment at

each floor level.


Reinforced or pre stressed concrete beams in a precast concrete frame are

designed for the specified loadings and support conditions. The beam may be composite or non-composite. Composite beams act with the floor,

column and screed to form a monolithic structure. Beams are typically

designed as simply supported with a characteristic concrete strength of between40N/mm2 and 50N/mm2.

Figure: Inverted tee-beam

Joints and connection:

The design and construction of joints is the most important aspect of precast

construction. Joints provides strength/robustness and transmit forces between the structural components. There are a number of different methods for connecting units including tie-bars, steel billets or plates, in conjunction with the use of high strength grouts.
Column to Foundation Fixing Detail

A number of factors determine which type of column to foundation fixing detail should be used. These factors include: (1)Design requirements, i.e. fixed or pinned base. (2)Ground conditions. (3)Presence of services around the column base, e.g. drainage, gas mains, etc.

Methods of fixing precast columns to the in situ foundation

There are three main methods of fixing precast columns to

the in situ foundation:

(1). Projecting Starter-Bars.

(2). Bolt or Base plate Connections. (3). In situ Pocket Foundation.

Projecting Starter-Bars
The number and size of projecting starter-bars is determined by the project engineer to suit design requirements. . This method of fixing a precast

column to an in situ base is extensively used in medium to high rise

buildings where the complete structure is designed as a braced frame and thus a pinned connection is required at the base.

Figure: projecting starter-bars

Bolted or Base plate Connections

Mild steel bars can be welded to the base plate and cast onto the foot of the column during the curing process. The column is then fixed to the in situ foundation using cast-in holding down bolts to form a pinned base connection.

In situ Pocket Foundation

The in situ Pocket Foundation will provide a fixed base connection to the

precast column, which is particularly useful in low rise precast industrial


The Hub, 5 Piccadilly Place (Manchester)

The Hub is a 10 storey U shaped development, wrapped around a hard
landscaped plaza, of 167 new apartments in the heart of a Manchester mixed use development area, by Argent Group in Manchester City centre. The building structure is formed entirely from precast elements, which has led to each floor level being erected and clad within a 4 week period .
A wide range of precast sections: Architectural sandwich cladding panels,

Pre cast stairs, Twin wall, Solid wall, Hollow-core planks, Solid wall lift shafts are the precast elements used for the construction.

Alameda Mid-Corridor Trench (LOS ANGELES)

Alameda Mid-Corridor Trench is a 10-mile-long freight rail expressway

built in a 33-foot-deep, below-grade trench lying adjacent to Alameda Street. The trench is a midway section of a 20-mile-long rail corridor that links the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with other rail systems.
The top of the trench is permanently braced with 1,500 53-foot-longs, 39-

inch-deep precast, pre stressed concrete struts. Key bridge components across the trench consist of double tees, inverted tee beams, box girders and roadway slabs. The use of precast concrete components allowed the pieces

to be cast as trenching began rather than having to wait until a length was
dug out to begin pouring concrete. This minimized the amount of time streets had to be closed and detours erected around the construction

Pre-cast structures have a great potential to respond to new market

Precast concrete has considerable advantages as a construction

material, including inherent fireproofing, sound and durability characteristics.

Precast concrete increases speed of construction, which gives earlier

return on investment, freeing up the project critical path and allowing earlier completion and it was found that precast structure takes up to

20% less time to construct than a similar cast in situ structure