Members of MPA Precast provide a wide range of building façade products serving a multitude of markets. Architectural precast concrete is manufactured in modern factories and can form part of complete offsite building systems. Despite this the majority of façade products are designed to meet architect requirements and are therefore bespoke to the building. Solution details:
These are reinforced precast concrete units in the form of loadbearing walls or non-loadbearing panels manufactured in a wide range of mixes, colours and finishes. Finishes can include acid-etched, smooth or coarse ground, grit or sand-blasted, rubbed, polished or formed as a reconstituted stone.
The majority of panels used in the UK are manufactured in the UK or Ireland, with manufacturers offering a range of services and scale of output.
Early discussion with cladding manufacturers is to be recommended, to provide specialist input into the design development and to improve cost efficiency. A thickness of 150mm concrete is a good early assumption.
Panels are typically designed to span either from column to column or floor to floor allowing large areas to be rapidly enclosed. Panels are fixed to frames with brackets designed to allow for three-dimensional adjustment.
Manufacturers provide samples of mix and finish for specification and, once appointed, typically provide design services, producing drawings of each individual unit for coordination.
Precast concrete panels are cast face-downwards in purpose-built moulds. Factories are highly automated with moveable steel beds as a basis for bespoke moulds. By inserting mats or rods in the base of the mould different designs and effects can be created - from false joints to intricate leaf patterns.
A steel reinforcement cage is placed in the mould prior to the concrete being poured, designed to meet final structural requirements and those for moving the element during manufacture and installation. Increasingly, maximum use of off-site fabrication is being made by fixing other elements during manufacture, from insulation to entire windows.
Once de-moulded, the exposed surface of the unit can be treated in a variety of ways including acid-etched, smooth or coarse ground, grit or sand-blasted, rubbed or polished to achieve a high quality of surface finish.
The insulated precast concrete panels, constructed off-site, comprise an outer leaf of precast concrete, an insulating layer and an inner leaf of plain grey concrete. The external skin is connected to the internal skin using proprietary plastic ties. The ties have low thermal conductivity and as such eliminate cold bridging. The shape, thickness and size of the concrete can be made to fit design requirements and the outer leaf can be finished in a range of ways including with brick facing.
MPA Precast is part of the Mineral Products Association, the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement ,concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. www.mineralproducts.org
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