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Precast Concrete Structures: A Guide to Design and Construction
Precast concrete structures are buildings that are made of concrete elements that are manufactured in a factory and then assembled on site. Precast concrete structures have many advantages over conventional cast-in-situ concrete structures, such as faster construction, better quality control, lower maintenance, and improved durability. Precast concrete structures can also be designed to achieve high performance in terms of fire resistance, seismic resistance, thermal efficiency, and acoustic insulation.
In this article, we will introduce the conceptual design ideas for the prefabrication of concrete structures and present some examples of precast concrete multi-storey buildings. We will also discuss the structural analysis of precast concrete and its use, as well as the design, manufacture, and construction of precast concrete elements, composite construction, joints and connections, and frame stability. We will refer to the Eurocodes and European Product Standards for precast reinforced and prestressed concrete elements as the main sources of guidance and specifications for precast concrete structures.
Conceptual Design of Precast Concrete Structures
The conceptual design of precast concrete structures involves choosing the appropriate structural system, layout, and configuration of precast elements to suit the architectural and functional requirements of the building. The structural system can be classified into three main types: skeletal frames, shear wall frames, and hybrid frames. Skeletal frames consist of columns and beams that support floor slabs and roof panels. Shear wall frames consist of vertical walls that resist lateral loads and horizontal slabs that provide gravity support. Hybrid frames combine both skeletal and shear wall elements to achieve a balanced distribution of forces.
The layout and configuration of precast elements depend on factors such as span lengths, floor heights, loading conditions, serviceability requirements, aesthetic preferences, and site constraints. The precast elements can be arranged in various ways, such as linear, grid, radial, or irregular patterns. The precast elements can also have different shapes and sizes, such as rectangular, T-shaped, L-shaped, or hollow core sections. The choice of precast elements should consider the ease of manufacture, transport, handling, erection, connection, and integration with other building components.
Examples of Precast Concrete Multi-Storey Buildings
Precast concrete structures have been used for various types of multi-storey buildings, such as residential, commercial, industrial, educational, and institutional buildings. Some examples of recent precast concrete multi-storey buildings are:
The 40-storey Clement Canopy residential tower in Singapore[^1^], which is the world's tallest precast concrete building. The tower consists of prefabricated modules that are stacked together to form the units. The modules are made of reinforced concrete walls and slabs that are connected by steel brackets and bolts.
The 22-storey Broad Sustainable Building (BSB) hotel in Changsha, China[^2^], which was constructed in only 15 days using prefabricated steel-concrete composite modules. The modules are made of steel frames with concrete infill panels that are connected by bolts and welds.
The 12-storey Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore[^3^], which is the first large-scale public building in Southeast Asia to achieve net zero energy consumption. The building consists of precast concrete columns, beams, slabs, walls, stairs, and facade panels that are integrated with photovoltaic panels and other green features.
Structural Analysis of Precast Concrete and Its Use
The structural analysis of precast concrete and its use involves determining the internal forces and deformations of precast elements under various loading conditions and verifying their strength and serviceability according to the relevant codes and standards. The structural analysis can be performed using analytical methods or numerical methods. Analytical methods involve applying simplified assumptions and idealizations to derive equations or charts that can be used to calculate the internal forces and deformations of precast elements. Numerical methods involve using computer software to model the geometry, material properties, aa16f39245