Building owners are becoming more aware of the benefits of having a building that offers high durability, to lessen the life-cycle costs and long-term operating expenses. The lower these costs run, the better the structure’s overall return on investment. The focus on sustainable design in particular has made owners and designers examine the long-term benefits and costs of various decisions.
Precast concrete’s durability provides excellent long-term benefits. Maintenance is minimized during the building’s lifetime, with panel joints requiring caulking only every 15 to 20 years to maintain their reliability.
The minimal number of joints makes precast far easier to maintain than brick mortar joints, plaster or exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS). The panels’ fewer locations for moisture penetration prevents unsightly stains or damage to interiors while alleviating concerns about having to deal with mold.
Precast concrete’s high durability also means fewer chemicals are needed to keep it clean and maintained, which in turn reduces the labor needed to maintain the building. Its durability also may eliminate the need to upgrade or replace the building entirely in later years.
The use of a precast concrete structural system, including wall panels and hollow-core plank or double tees, offers tremendous design flexibility by providing long clear spans. Load-bearing precast wall panels can reach heights of 55 feet, while double tees can extend 80 feet or more. This allows interior spaces to adapt to changing client needs through the years. Precast also provides high floor-loading capability with little added cost.