Precast concrete – new advantages for a new era

British Precast, UK

Over the years, research and development on precast concrete has provided significant evidence of its structural and material properties and capabilities. Innovations in these respects abound, but there is a lack of information and project data on the long-term, added value benefits to be gained from using precast products. Indeed, concrete’s performance advantages are often cited, such as fire protection and sound insulation, but attributes such as its Wi-Fi compatibility, ability to self-clean, and inherent robustness in the face of climate change remain understated, under-researched and under-promoted. Such complacency dilutes precast concrete’s competitiveness and image in the market. A recent publication has highlighted 100 advantages of specifying precast concrete (British Precast, 2006), many of which are generic to all concrete structures and many of which are absent from company or academic R&D agendas. This paper argues that it is time to re-focus our efforts on the added value factors – benefits that all precast concrete projects can share in, but which are unexploited.

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