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Author: Elaine Toogood

Email:

etoogood@concretecentre.com

T

he versatility of concrete means that it can be

designed and constructed to deliver high per-

formance buildings through a spectrum of

solutions ranging from onsite cast concrete,

onsite build using factory made blocks, through to offsite

manufactured two dimensional panels and volumetric

units. When considering offsite solutions there are ad-

ditional benefits offered by the use of precast concrete

for offsite construction compared to other systems.

The robustness of concrete, for example means that

it can be delivered and erected without the need for

wrappings and covers to protect it from the elements.

Care is required when handling prefabricated elements

made of any material to prevent damage, but with ro-

bustness comes less risk of damage.

Quite apart from the resource and wastage saved,

the structural integrity of concrete is not compromised

by weather, a significant advantage for construction.

Less durable structures will be particularly vulnerable

to delayed installation of building enclosure.

Another advantage during construction is concrete’s

inherent resistance to fire, avoiding the need for special

measures to be installed to reduce the risk of fire spread-

ing during build programmes.

As architect or client this provides an immediate

solution to meet the health and safety responsibilities

set out by recent HSE endorsed guidance for reducing

fire in timber construction. Statistics show that, during

occupation, fires are also more likely to be contained in

buildings with non-combustible structure, limiting the

extent of fire damage to the property.

Fire detailing and correct installation of fire stops

and barriers are critical, but if major building

Contractors World UK & Ireland Vol 6 No 1

26

©Photo:

Scottmss

Precast housing panels are used extensively through

New Zealand to speed up construction.

Concrete

Considerations for

Off-Site Construction

©Photo: Stefan-Xp

Many contrctors are finding it faster and more eco-

nomical to use precast concrete elements for under-

ground water drainage.

Contractors World UK & Ireland