Tips For Handling And Installing Precast Products
For centuries, concrete has been a popular choice among builders and farmers for its durability, widespread uses, and aesthetic appeal. It is widely used in a range of construction projects, from building storage sheds and feed troughs to foundations, architectural structures and retaining walls.
Precast concrete is the latest revolution in concrete technology – with premade forms cast at specialised plants before being transported onsite and installed by experienced craftsmen. Precast concrete products offer several advantages over traditional concrete, making them a popular choice in agriculture, mining, and other industries.
In agriculture, precast concrete is vital for building animal housing, storage sheds, retaining walls, and more. Its durability, versatility, and ease of installation allow farmers and contractors to erect structures quickly and efficiently. With precast concrete, farmers can focus on their core business while also benefitting from its cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and longevity.
Precast products have unique strengths, adding to the many widely known benefits of concrete. They are easy on the environment, cost-effective, extremely durable, and can significantly reduce construction time.
Let’s start with some key benefits of precast concrete products.
Benefits Of Using Precast Concrete
1. Saves Construction Time
Precast concrete products offer an incredible advantage to construction projects. They’re manufactured off-site and delivered ready to install whenever necessary. As a result, project schedules are shortened, safety concerns reduced significantly, and site disruption minimised – leading to less time spent on the entire project and cost savings.
Furthermore, precast concrete products offer significant benefits to the agriculture sector, as they are ideal for constructing robust and efficient structures such as silos, feed bunks, cattle grids, and retaining walls.
2. Superior Quality
Precast Concrete is an effective and reliable way to achieve improved construction quality with measures such as temperature regulation, curing processes, mix designs, and formwork regularly monitored during the construction process. From mixing sand, cement, and aggregates to creating moulds, every step is meticulously inspected for quality control and maximum assurance.
3. Extremely Durable
Another great advantage of precast concrete products is that they last for decades, require minimal upkeep, and feature lab-tested components to ensure durability. They can also easily withstand impacts and corrosion damage through chemicals such as acids and offer superior protection against fire due to their high heat-bearing capacity.
Farmers can benefit from the use of precast concrete in the construction of durable and long-lasting structures such as barns, silos, and storage facilities.
4. Aesthetic & Highly Customisable
Precast concrete is readily available in various shapes, sizes, colours, and textures. It can be moulded into virtually any shape or texture, allowing builders and architects to create aesthetically pleasing structures that blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape. So no matter the size or style you desire for your project, precast products can be tailored to suit your unique needs.
5. Environmentally Safe & Sustainable
Precast concrete provides a safe, efficient alternative to traditional construction techniques. As there is no need for stockpiling raw materials on-site, this method can help eliminate health and safety risks and declutter your work environment.
Now that we know what precast concrete products are and their key advantages, let’s explore some valuable tips for effectively handling and installing them.
Handling Procedures For Precast Concrete Products
Below are some good practice guidelines for keeping your workers healthy and safe when handling, transporting, and installing precast concrete products.
1. Crane Lift Preparation
Before precast concrete is ready to go onsite, careful planning is critical. Part of the planning process typically includes an initial job site visit by the crane or equipment operators, who will evaluate everything from safety gears and crane placements to determining where the structure should best fit and checking that there are no overhead restrictions. It may seem like an intense precautionary step – however, these small plans ensure great success when building with precast concrete!
In the agriculture industry, careful planning and evaluation of the job site are especially important when using precast concrete to construct structures that must meet specific requirements for storing and protecting livestock, feed, and equipment.
2. Excavation & Shoring Preparation
Preparation for excavation and shoring begins with a comprehensive site assessment. This includes identifying potential risks or hazards, such as unstable soil conditions or underground utilities, that must be avoided.
Next is shoring. Shoring plays a huge role in ensuring the construction project goes smoothly. This technique uses supports to hold up structures and prevent collapses during excavation. Without it, soil shift can lead to unfortunate mishaps.
The most efficient job sites should mark out exactly where the crane operators and riggers should place the concrete blocks for lasting success. Proper shoring and careful placement of precast concrete blocks are essential for constructing structures such as irrigation canals, retaining walls, and drainage systems that can withstand the weight and pressure of soil and water.
Without investing in these crucial elements ahead of time, even an expertly designed structure can suffer setbacks!
3. Final Checks
Before lifting begins, everyone involved – site personnel, crane operators, riggers and service truck drivers must attend a final pre-lift meeting to verify the weight of the materials and ensure there are no potential hazards around the job site that could harm crops, livestock, or workers. This includes assessing factors such as wind and weather conditions that could impact the lifting process.
To remain safe, workers must maintain a distance of 10 to 15 feet from the structure when it is offloaded and should never walk underneath loads suspended in the air.
After ensuring all the necessary preparations are made and plans carefully reviewed, it’s finally time for your precast structure to arrive! From chains or slings with adjustable shackles to crane spotters on the ground monitoring progress and the lifting technique used, there’s no detail too small when offloading a precast structure. This process often involves coordinating with farmers, ranchers, or other stakeholders to minimise disruptions to their operations.
The crane operator should take caution as workers below should never be at risk of being suspended by material above them. Now that we are all set, let’s get this project rolling!
Installation Procedures For Precast Concrete Products
Installing precast concrete blocks can be challenging and tricky. Bigger precast blocks typically require a mobile crane, and several factors need to be considered to achieve optimum results, so it’s best to let the pros take care of it! Need some guidance? We’ve put together some helpful tips for successful installation – keep reading and get your project underway!
1. Plan Out The Project
Before you begin construction, take a second to map out the entire project. Consider how different types of precast concrete blocks require distinct slopes – for instance, if you’re erecting a retaining wall for your farm, their shapes can vary significantly, requiring different slopes. Thus, you’ll need to plan out the project accordingly to achieve optimum results.
2. Level The Ground
Preparing the ground for precast concrete block installation in sectors such as agriculture or mining requires careful consideration of the specific site’s soil conditions and the type of crops or livestock that the installation will impact. This includes marking the installation site, levelling the ground, and removing any rocks or debris that could hinder the blocks’ placement.
In addition, it’s important to properly excavate the area, pack it down, and assess potential environmental impacts to ensure the installation is done correctly and sustainably. Next, excavate the area, then pack down so you’re ready to lay those blocks.
3. Prepare The Foundation
Once the area is excavated, you need to prepare an adequate foundation. This typically involves pouring a layer of base course material for the precast concrete blocks to rest on. Depending on the project’s specifications, reinforcing beams or other structural supports may be required to withstand the weight of machinery and other agricultural equipment. Once the foundation is ready, you’re ready to place the precast concrete blocks!
4. Install The Precast Concrete Blocks
This process requires careful attention to detail, as all pieces must fit together precisely for the structure to remain secure and stable. Place the first block on top of the foundation. Make sure that it’s level and in line with the base. Minor adjustments can make a huge difference here.
When installing precast concrete blocks in agricultural or mining projects, it’s essential to ensure that the blocks are securely anchored in place. Once you’re happy, anchor the block in place by packing around it with gravel or other materials as per your project’s requirements.
This helps to prevent damage from livestock or heavy machinery that may come into contact with the structure. It’s also important to consider factors such as soil composition and drainage to ensure that the foundation remains stable over time.
5. Continue Adding More Blocks
Go along adding more blocks. Apply mortar between each consecutive block to ensure full coverage and prevent any shifting. Next, fill in the gaps between the blocks with either sand or filler material for further stability, then compact it down with a tamping tool until it is level with the top of the concrete block. Once all blocks are installed, use a concrete mixture to fill any remaining gaps for extra protection against water or other elements.
If, for instance, you’re installing precast drainage pipes, you need to dig a trench that is wide and deep enough for the structure. Make sure that the bottom of the trench slopes away from where the water will enter so that it can drain properly. Next, begin laying each section of pipe in the trench. Once all the sections have been laid and connected, fill any gaps around the pipe with soil and tamp it down firmly to provide additional support.
Add finishing touches to ensure flatness, burnish, and attention to detail. You can use edge machines, finishing slicks, and plastic blades for this. You can also coat it with concrete adhesive (if necessary) to add a distinctive touch to your precast concrete project that fits with the other infrastructure of your farm.
Your One-Stop Precast Concrete Solution!
There you have it! Precast concrete products offer several notable benefits, but there are plenty of considerations to be made for safely and effectively handling and installing them.
Even if you have some experience with precast concrete, setting it up and overseeing every little detail to achieve the desired outcome is time-consuming and strenuous. That’s where we come in!
If you’re looking for quality-approved precast concrete products or need expert help or assistance with your project, DALLCON is your one-stop solution! We are a leading precast concrete manufacturer in Western Australia, offering a comprehensive range of precast concrete solutions for the construction industry since 2000.