The concrete sector offers alternatives to the ubiquitous steel shed that offer flexibility, fast construction and durability against damage. Concrete also provides a wide range of benefits which are built-in and have no additional cost.
As well as providing the structural frame, concrete can be used to improve the overall performance of the building. The following give an indication of the many benefits of using concrete for an industrial building.
Concrete can offer up to four hours fire resistance, well beyond the 30 minutes stipulated by the Building Regulations. This level of resistance is welcomed by fire fighters who often have to leave industrial buildings to burn as it is unsafe to enter. It is also welcomed by the building occupier who will want to repair the damage and return to business-as-usual as quickly as possible after a fire rather than have the premises closed, then demolished and rebuilt. Read more on fire safety.
Concrete structures provide an airtight building with minimum air leakage from interface and joint detailing. A high rate of air leakage can account for up to 20 to 50 per cent of heat loss from a building, reducing air leakage will reduce the ongoing operational costs of heating and cooling.
Speed of erection
Concrete sheds do not rely on new products or processes, so both materials and labour are available within short lead-in times. Concrete walls are used for the vertical structure, which can be manufactured to include the cladding and then the roof is placed. In just a few days fully completely panels can be erected to form the complete shed wall. Therefore, the use of concrete walls can reduce the overall timescale of the entire project and also has the flexibility to accommodate design changes later in the process.
Concrete is a ‘local’ option and all the raw materials for reinforced concrete are sourced in the UK, reducing the transport costs – both financially and environmentally. In addition, the use of concrete sheds can help to reduce the environmental footprint of the structure. The high thermal mass of concrete provides improved environmental control as it reduces the temperature swings between day and night and so saves energy cooling or heating the building.
Security is a major consideration for industrial buildings. Concrete walls offer greater resistance to unlawful entry such as ram-raiding and prevent the opportunity for thieves to cut through lightweight steel warehouse walls. In addition, robust concrete walls offer greater resistance to the impact damage that is often caused by fork-lift trucks.
The UK concrete sector offers a number of efficient and cost-effective construction solutions for industrial buildings. The walls can be propped or cantilevered and can be precast or cast in-situ.
Depending on your specific requirements for construction speed, site constraints and performance the walls can be formed using:
- In-situ concrete using formwork solutions.
- Hybrid construction, including twinwall with precast outer skins and an internal core of in-situ concrete.
- Tilt-up panels, cast horizontally on-site then tilted into position. The external cladding can be cast in the same process for maximum efficiency.
- Precast panels, which can be made as sandwich panels incorporating external cladding with the main load-bearing wall.