RESISTANCE TO THE SCOURGE OF TERMITES
Most of our hidden housemates are harmless. When it comes to termites, however, they can quite literally eat you out of house and home. These often-invisible crawlies love to snack on cellulose—a fibre found in dead, organic materials. Once termites infiltrate the loadbearing elements of a structure, the likelihood of structural inadequacy increases. While there are a range of chemicals that can be applied that work to protect the structure from the infestation of termites, the application of these chemicals is required multiple times over the life of the structure and certainly not without the risk of failure. Precast concrete cannot be eaten by termites, making it the ideal material to use for floors, walls, and other structural elements.
“Precast concrete cannot be eaten by termites, making it the ideal material to use for floors, walls, and other structural elements.“ National Precast CEO Sarah Bachmann
MOULD / MOULD
In nature, mould is an essential component of the ecosystem, allowing the return of nutrients to the soil. In our structures however, mould causing rot simply isn’t welcome. In some cases mould can be harmful to the structural members, and is often also a problem for the family members, particularly those with asthma or other breathing conditions. If by chance it is discovered early, removing mould can involve the application of an array of industrial strength chemicals, often along with the replacement or ‘re-work’ of structural elements. Of course, like your invisible housemates, mould can be prevented using a range of ‘band-aid’ style solutions, but those over time will need to be re-applied. Meanwhile the mould in which the precast is being manufactured is a welcome variety. That kind of mould delivers a high quality of finish and can be fully customisable.
FIRE RESISTANCE = STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY
Tragically, sometimes non-fire rated materials get passed as fire-rated, and fail spectacularly. Or active fire protection systems like sprinklers or coatings fail, increasing the reliance on any passive fire protection that might be offered by a structure. Because concrete is non-combustible, it is inherently fire resistant; none of its constituents are flammable. When correctly designed, a precast structure requires no treatment to meet fire requirements. That means the occupants of a precast structure do not need to rely alone on active fire protection systems and coatings being maintained for their safety. Often designed as a key component of a building’s passive fire protection, a precast structure will also assist with the prevention of collapse through structural fire resistance.
“Because concrete is non-combustible, it is inherently fire resistant; none of its constituents are flammable. When correctly designed, a precast structure requires no treatment to meet fire requirements.”
DURABILITY AND MORE
Not only does precast concrete promote a durable, sustainable, and high-quality method of construction, it also generates boundless opportunities for the innovative architect, from the statements made by award-winning public buildings to the subtle nuances of light and shadow from a textured monument façade.■
Precast moulds are fully customisable to achieve any shape.
Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth; a demonstration of precast durability.