Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Benefits Of Precast Concrete Flooring

Over the past 40 years or so there has been an increasing shift to concrete flooring - particularly in commercial and industrial buildings. Some of the key reasons for this continuing growth can be summed up as sustainability, innovation and health & safety.


Sustainability is in many ways an obvious feature since it is one of the principal features of concrete as a material. Its 'shelf life' can be measured in decades rather than years and, what’s more, it can be broken up when no longer required and recycled in a variety of ways; including use as an aggregate for new concrete.


In terms of innovation, there are now many variations, each offering particular benefits for specific individual applications.

Health & Safety

Last, but certainly by no means least, there is health & safety - a vitally important area that is at the heart of the work of the Precast Flooring Federation.

Whilst product developments and innovation still continue, there are currently three main generic types of precast concrete floor: hollowcore, beam & block and lattice girder.

Of these it is hollowcore which is proving the most popular for commercial buildings. Hollowcore flooring consists of concrete elements cored along their length, with units generally available as 1,200mm wide - although some manufacturers produce up to 1,500mm, or as narrower units of 600-750mm width. Depths are 100-400mm, depending on the span and loading conditions; providing efficient, flexible solutions across all markets for most building types.

An often over-looked benefit of concrete floors is the improved acoustic performance. With today's generally increasing environmental noise, any such improvements are most welcome.

Concrete floors are also more cost-effective than timber and enable thinner floor zones, as well as longer spans. In addition, they provide a safe working platform for ongoing construction work.

Add to that their intrinsic one hour minimum fire resistance and compatibility with other precast concrete components such as stairs and balconies and it is easy to see why the technique continues to gain ground.

Another more obvious plus for concrete floors is the ability to vary room layouts without worrying about floor loadings. This feature applies particularly at first floor level and above, avoiding any concern about the positions of supporting walls. For the designer this flexibility and adaptability provide yet more factors in favour of concrete.


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