The National Precast Concrete Association forecasts that precast concrete will be the flooring of choice in the future thanks to its cost benefits.
Some of the well-known buildings featuring precast concrete flooring include the Fiona Stanley Hospital, Vibe Apartments and the Perth Convention Centre in Perth, Bunnings Footscray and the GPO in Melbourne, the Adelaide Oval Grandstands, Sydney’s Civic Tower and Adina Apartments, and Brisbane’s Versace Hotel.
National Precast Concrete Association Australia CEO Sarah Bachmann comments that precast flooring is overtaking traditional flooring construction methods as more builders, engineers, architects and developers are recognising all the inherent advantages of a precast solution. Precast concrete is also increasingly being demanded as the first choice for flooring by decision makers.
Precast flooring has been used in Australia for over 50 years by the construction industry with builders able to achieve up to 30 per cent project savings, which can be significant given that the floor component of a structure is typically around 6-8 per cent of the total cost. Since precast flooring is manufactured off-site under controlled factory conditions, issues such as space constraints, noise, wet weather and waste disposal are eliminated.
Precast concrete flooring can also be quality tested beforehand, ensuring long term durability while the high level of dimensional accuracy enables quick and easy installation. Precast flooring allows subsequent trades to get access to the site sooner while minimising safety issues.
Choosing precast in flooring applications additionally offers advantages such as 12-metre spans and loadbearing capability of up to 30 kPa.
The precast flooring process is very simple, with the designer specifying the application and purpose, and the manufacturer providing the detailed drawings. Once delivered to site, all systems require a crane to erect the precast components. The installation is ideally carried out by experienced riggers and installers.
Sarah Bachmann notes that the development of a variety of flooring systems by manufacturers around the country has also led to increased penetration of precast into the flooring market. She explains that systems such as hollowcore (or Deltacore in WA), Humeslab, Transfloor, Austral Deck, Ultrafloor and Bubbledeck enjoy wide use in all types of residential and commercial structures but particularly in multiple units where the repetitive use of factory-made standardised components can be fully utilised.
National Precast is also developing a series of project videos explaining the difference between various flooring systems and the cost and time savings that can be realised by their use. The videos feature designers, engineers, precasters and builders revealing their insights after using a particular precast flooring system on a project.
The first two videos in the series cover hollowcore being used in Bunnings Warehouse, Footscray VIC, and Ultrafloor at Aldina Apartments, Mascot NSW, and are available on the National Precast website.
Sarah adds that the National Precast website provides comprehensive information on the types of precast concrete systems available and is a great place to obtain knowledge on precast concrete flooring products.