What is Precast Concrete?

Precast concrete is a material used in building construction produced by casting concrete in a reusable mold or “form” which is then cured in a controlled environment, aesthetically finished, then transported to the construction site and installed onto a building or structure.  [In contrast, standard cast-in-place concrete is poured into site-specific forms and cured on site.]  Precast concrete is commonly referred to as either “gray precast” or “architectural precast”.  The “gray precast” is a standard concrete mix used in many foundational applications such as bridge girders, sewer pipes, man-hole covers, buried tanks, etc.  “Architectural precast” is distinguished from the “gray precast” by using a variety of fine aggregate, color additives and specialty enhancements in the mixture, so the final product is architecturally pleasing.

By producing precast concrete in a controlled environment (a precast plant), the precast concrete is afforded the opportunity to properly cure and be closely monitored by plant employees. Utilizing a Precast Concrete system offers many potential advantages over site casting of concrete. There is a greater control of the quality of materials and workmanship in a precast plant rather than on a construction site. Financially, the forms used in a precast plant may be reused many times which allows cost of formwork per unit to be lower than for site-cast production.