Design architecture

Why Prefabricated Concrete Construction is Still Not Economical

Jul 25 2020

Malak Mehta

Affordable housing construction, economical construction, pre-cast concrete, concrete, pre-fabrication, transportation cost , mass production

Pre-cast concrete or pre-fabrication of concrete is highly used in economical construction of affordable housing construction. The cost is low in case of mass production and may increase due to transportation cost.

Precast concrete or pre-fabricated concrete involves casting of concrete in certain sizes in a factory instead of preparing in-situ concrete on site. The concrete is cast in a reusable mould off-site and is then cured in a controlled environment. Later it is transported to the construction site and assembled into place. Pre-cast concrete is considered highly economical as it produces no waste on site and no problems take place in the concrete as it is already cured in controlled situations. But, even after these advantages, the pre-fabricated concrete doesn’t seem to be that economical and there are various reasons for the same.

High initial investment

However the pre-fabricated concrete is thought to be economical, but the initial cost of investment for manufacturing is very high. The moulds used for casting are costly and thus prove to be economical only when mass production of concrete is required.

Transportation cost

The cost for transportation of the concrete slabs may be high depending on the location of the site. Moreover, various other situations such as bad weather conditions and unavailability can cause the transportation cost to increase too.

Limited size problematic for transport

The size of the prefabricated slabs of concrete is fixed. If the size of these is larger, then it causes difficulty in transporting them to the site. In such cases, transport cost drastically goes up.

Damages caused during transportation

When the cast concrete is cured in the factories and then transported, possibility of members breaking during the transportation is high. Such damages add to the overall increase in the cost.

Problems with joinery

Connections while assembling the concrete slabs prepared in the factories need to be perfectly made. Any deviation or irregularity in the placement would cause problems which in turn need extra efforts to be fixed and increase the cost.

High cost for repair work

Once the cast concrete is assembled on site, it becomes pretty inconvenient to repair any damages made. So, to repair these damages after fixation additional amount is needed.

Expensive in case of different sizes

Usually pre-cast concrete slabs of the same size are produced in large numbers and turn out to be economical. But, when the buildings are not modular, then manufacturing of different sizes of concrete slabs is required, which is encumbering and leads to immense increase in the production cost.

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