With the demand for precast concrete booming around Australia, it is imperative that anyone involved with its design, manufacture and installation, knows about the revision of the Australian Standard, AS 3850-2003 Tilt-up concrete construction.

After a lengthy review process, the revised version of the Standard is soon to be published. The changes may be the most important the Australian precast industry and its stakeholders have seen.

The revised version of AS 3850 will be named Prefabricated concrete elements. The new version has a much wider reach than the 2003 version - which primarily sought to regulate activities associated with site cast tilt-up panels. The revised Standard will apply to all prefabricated concrete elements used in building and construction. It will not however, apply to civil products or small precast elements such as bricks, blocks and pavers.

The revised Standard has been divided into two parts for ease of use.

(Pictured) Australian centre for Lifelong Learning. Image courtesy NPCAA.

Part 1 General Requirements, details requirements for materials, components and equipment used during the manufacture of elements. It will provide the construction industry with greater confidence that products and components used in manufacturing elements have been selected and tested in accordance with relevant criteria and comply with a higher standard than in the past.

Part 2 Building Construction, addresses requirements to improve safety and quality of products and provides best practice guidance on design and documentation, casting, transportation, craneage and erection, temporary supports and incorporation of elements into the final structure.

In parallel with the review of the Standard, Safe Work Australia has been developing ‘how to’ guidance materials in the form of a revised Code of Practice/Guides which will complement and reinforce the revised requirements of the Standard.

Once released, the challenge will be to engage with the design and installation communities to ensure widespread adoption, understanding and application of the Standard. The National Precast Concrete Association is already well advanced in its endeavours to develop suitable training to facilitate the education necessary to expedite the industry wide benefits which are envisaged to flow from the revised Standard.


Sarah Bachmann, CEO, National Precast Concrete Association Australia