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Home Sweet Precast Home

Home Sweet Precast Home

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    The triangular sandwich panel is erected. Note the variable opening configurations in rectangular and triangular panels.

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    An interior wall panel is set in place. Note the openings in the floor beams in the foreground.

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    The walls on the south corner were the first to be erected.

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    The backside of the precast Metal Stud Crete panels show the cold-formed steel stud framing used to support the 2½-inch-thick precast concrete face. Metal framing provides space for utilities and insulation.

The light weight of thin-shell precast made panels as large as 35x14 feet practical. Fewer and bigger panels meant faster erection, satisfying Hanover's desire for speed. The largest panels were shipped on slanted easels to comply with highway height and width limitations.

Metal Stud Crete panels also saved money. For example, IECS designed a horizontal concrete beam that was cast integrally with the panels. The innovative beam seals the wall against floor-to-floor fire migration. Normally, the contractor would have had to add a firestop after erection.

Perhaps the most important gain was in curb appeal. “The precast concrete finish is spectacular,” says architect Mike Goodwin of The Design Collective, of Baltimore. In the original masonry plan, the wealth of detail was too expensive to execute on all but the most visible facades.

But with thin-shell precast, beautiful detail on four walls cost no more than on two. “We were repeating what the formwork was already doing in the rest of the building,” explains Goodwin, who believes thin-shell precast improved his options on all walls. “We were able to do some very nice moves, unique to the thin-shell system, that we couldn't afford with masonry.”

— Michael Chusid
The author is a freelance writer based in Tarzana, Calif., specializing in concrete and construction topics, and is a frequent contributor to THE CONCRETE PRODUCER.
Visit www.chusid.com.