Pre-Cast Concrete for Civil Engineering

Fifty years ago, or even less in many cases, civil engineering and building sites contained large areas of sand and aggregate, and cumbersome machines for mixing them with the cement, which had to be stored carefully to protect it from damp and theft. Water was also needed, and that could be inconvenient and expensive. There were also planks and other baulks of timber which were used to form moulds, or at least to hold the mix in place while it set and cured. They were very active sites, as mixing and pouring concrete was labour intensive work. It was also dirty, heavy, and sometimes dangerous.

Today, with pre-cast concrete, the sites may still be active and busy, but the clouds of cement dust, the rumble of concrete mixers, the use of shovels and spades, except in the initial stages of a project, is largely a matter of history. Modern and efficient concrete manufacturers such as Croom Concrete will ensure that the heavy work is carried out off-site, and the required components are delivered to the site as and when they are needed, on the ‘just-in-time’ system.

Reinforced, or ferro-concrete, concrete in which steel is embedded in the form of mesh, bars or rods, may still be poured on-site, particularly where it is to be used for floor slabs, but pre-stressed and pre-cast concrete requires technicians working in co-operation with the architects and construction engineers to produce the units needed for the project.

In civil engineering and building sites, box culverts, manholes, gully pot risers and pipe-head walls where necessary, once a difficult and highly skilled task for the on-site workers dealing with drainage, are now dropped into place by cranes, having arrived as and when they are needed and scheduled by the construction company. After that, there are concrete stairs, Hollowcore flooring, wall panels, chimney systems, columns and beams, all pre-cast, and pre-stressed where necessary, dropped into place, fixed, and set; fast, efficient, and offering huge savings in time, in cost, and in labour.

In agriculture, too, pre-cast concrete has played a huge part in the modernisation of an almost pre-historic industry. Cattle slats and cubicle beds, underpasses and slurry channels, effluent tanks and feed troughs, once laboriously constructed by the farmer and his workforce on-site can now be built to order and delivered to the farm for speedy and safe installation. Moveable walls also play a part in agriculture; storage spaces may need to expand and contract, and farm buildings have many different rôles, often affected by the seasons. A barn that in winter shelters cattle from the cold weather may need to be divided into many small pens during the lambing and calving season, and pre-cast concrete A-walls or L-walls offer an ideal solution, combining stability with hygiene and durability, allowing farmers and farm managers a degree of flexibility in the use of their buildings that might have seemed impossible only a few decades ago.

At Croom Concrete, today’s use of precast and pre-stressed concrete has been taken to new levels of speed, efficiency and labour-saving systems that previous generations of architects, designers and construction engineers would not have believed possible.