Understanding Concept Design Prior to Adopting Precast Technology

Vaibhav Singhal, Vice President – Design, Elematic
Are you pondering about the suitability of precast concrete structure for your construction projects? Are you unsure of how to evaluate its benefits? Do you need a clear cost calculation and a plan for the most suitable precast products? Vaibhav Singhal, Vice President – Design, Elematic, gives insights on how to adopt precast concrete as a building technology with the assistance of Concept Design Services.

Use concept design to evaluate feasibility of precast construction
If you are new to precast construction, or would like to expand your knowledge, a concept design will help in understanding the feasibility of this technology. The concept design includes an evaluation on how your current and foreseen projects could be structured using precast. It also indicates whether to use a complete or a composite structure. The performance of the precast building in the local ground conditions and the required precast product types will also be evaluated.

Jindal Realty (JRPL) turned to us for adopting precast technology in their project - the Jindal Global City and University at NCR, India. They wanted to explore which construction technology would fulfil their requirements of rapid construction, high quality, and less labour-intensive work, and how to adopt the technology.

We carried out a concept design for their building requirements. The design provided details of how precast can be implemented and how their construction methodology can be converted. As a result, JRPL successfully finished a construction project of a number of 6 to 9 storey precast buildings, taking up approx. 1,000,000 m² of construction. These buildings are complete precast structures in high seismic zone-4 of India. The buildings comprise a wall-frame system, which gives better utilization of floor area compared to conventional construction and meets all of JRPL’s requirements.

Choose the most suitable concept design office
When taking up a new construction method, it’s extremely important to find a professional partner that can truly help you in reaching the best possible outcomes. If you are considering which structural engineering service provider to choose in the precast field, then consider the points below, over and above the critical concept evaluation itself:
  • Do the design engineers have sound technical know-how on developments in the precast industry along with good practices of successfully implemented systems?
  • Have they gained experience on geographically varied projects, international structural standards, and utilization of varied programs?
  • Do the engineers have sound knowledge of precast production, plant operations, and efficient working methods, and also knowledge of structural connections and their lifetime behavior?
How to prepare a concept design project
Understanding the nature of your project in totality is crucial for the concept design team because it’s the starting point for evaluating the suitability of precast to the project. To reach the best possible outcome, the team must be ready with the architectural drawings, layouts, elevations, sections, and any special features. In addition, details of building utility services, local seismic details, and costs of local structural materials are needed.

The concept design phase usually takes 8 to 10 weeks to complete. However, all projects are unique in terms of architectural complexity, seismicity, geographical location, and other construction requirements; hence, a precise timeline for the designing phase cannot be provided before knowing all the details affecting the design.

What a concept design will entail
The end-result of a concept design project is a report that includes all the information that you need for adopting precast construction. These include:
  • The basis of structural analysis & design including loading data, design code details, and structural framing concept details, etc
  • Outlined structural framing with precast arrangement
  • Typical connection details of various precast elements
  • Sizing, geometrical details, and number of different precast product types, including reinforcement, prestressing and concrete strengths
  • Suggested changes to architectural design to make the building more efficient with precast system
  • Details of production set-up, precast machinery and equipment requirements.
For our customer KEF Infrastructure, one of their first precast projects in India was the building of PMHS Hospital. KEF was already exploring precast technology for the project. The suggestion they had at that time was rather old-fashioned and labor intensive, with complex production and execution. If the original plan had been followed, the project would have been costly and time-consuming, with questionable end-results.

We carried out a concept design for the hospital building. The concept gave details on how modern precast concrete technology can be implemented with efficient precast element requirements. We also gave advice on how to set up a productive and very flexible production system, which will cater to the various project needs in the future.

As a result, KEF was able to set up a productive and cost-efficient solution for the massive 300,00 m² hospital project. Located in seismic zone-3 of India. The structural system comprised of multi-storey reinforced precast columns, prestressed precast beams, hollow-core slabs with structural topping, staircases and special-featured graphic concrete façade panels. The PMHS hospital is a unique building in India, constructed with complete precast solutions that meet all the desired project requirements.

Understanding Concept Design Prior to Adopting Precast Technology

Discuss details before making a final decision
After you’ve gained in-depth knowledge about the precast construction technology and its suitability to your project, the next step is to discuss more about the structural system, suggested architectural changes, project costs, and precast production set-up requirements.

Besides the feasibility study, we will help you in finalizing the building details and in setting up a precast plant. We promise lifetime commitment – from design to the complete life cycle of the project.
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