Precast cuts construction time
All the precast structural elements were manufactured off site under controlled conditions at Hanson’s Salt Lake City plant. This left the jobsite unencumbered until footings were poured. The precast system was erected many times faster than an equivalent system could be cast in place. The overall project schedule was positively impacted by the teams’ decision to incorporate load-bearing, precast wall panels with thin-brick as they were erected faster than typical on-site masonry construction.
“Hanson Structural Precast met the aggressive schedule and brought the project in on budget,” adds McGuire. “The skillful coordination provided by the general contractor’s superintendent and project manager allowed us to take advantage of the time-saving qualities of the precast members. The ability of precast concrete to be cast and erected in all kinds of weather aided the entire construction team.”
In this structure it was economical to take advantage of the inherent strength of precast shear walls and provide the masonry cladding element in the same load-bearing members. For the architect the most significant advantage of architectural precast concrete was its tremendous flexibility and unlimited design capabilities. The Whole Foods design was able to use a combination of exposed concrete surfaces with a seamless transition to the brick face. Color and detailing of the precast members successfully complement the adjacent historical structures. In this way precast provided a cost-effective method to realize the architectural vision.
The right choice
Precast concrete also helped the team meet sustainability requirements. The durability, strength, and inherent weather resistance of precast concrete represents a advantage over alternative construction methods. The material stands up well in the harsh environment conditions of Salt Lake City. Other sustainable features of the project include an on-site, storm-water management system, native plants that require less irrigation, and additional scooter and bike parking.
According to McGuire, precast concrete construction reduced construction time of the main structure by 6 months. Additional time was saved with the use of the brick inlaid precast architectural exterior versus on-site masonry construction. It’s estimated that the use of precast concrete versus cast-in-place construction resulted in a cost savings of 15%.