One Station Square

Cambridge

One Station Square, a six-storey BREEAM ‘Excellent’ mixed-use building utilised a precast concrete facade. The facade’s design was driven by the need to minimise solar gain whilst maintaining excellent levels of beneficial daylight along with a view out.

The Lansdowne

Birmingham

The Lansdowne is a 17-storey residential building in central Birmingham, with a precast structural frame, plus numerous other precast components.

Arena Central

Birmingham

Arena Central is a two block (17 and 22 storeys) residential development in Birmingham. The project utilised precast concrete systems including the building’s structural frame, cladding and balcony units.

Victoria & Albert Museum

Dundee

The UK’s Victoria & Albert Museum stands on the waterfront of Dundee, a city in the north of Scotland. It is the first design museum in Scotland and is expected to function as a base for promoting Scottish culture.

Victoria Gate

Leeds

ACME Architects adds lustre to a Leeds department store with a seductive diagrid facade.

Concrete Compass: Offsite concrete construction

Navigating to useful resources and guidance

The use of precast concrete elements is a well-established construction method. Concrete offsite solutions range from whole building and structural systems, to precast construction components, offering numerous benefits during construction and over the whole life of a building. This compass brings together some of latest information and resources, including guidance documents and case studies, that can assist in making informed design decisions.

Our head of architecture, Elaine Toogood, looks at the full range of offsite concrete construction methods, their advantages and applications, in her recent blog.

Key guidance

The Concrete Centre has a number of resources that provide comprehensive guidance for designers.

  • Offsite Concrete Construction is a free-to-download publication which includes guidance and benefits of using offsite concrete construction and delves into details of some of the more common techniques. This 24-page guide is a great starting point for those wanting a comprehensive overview of design considerations.
  • Residential Cellular Concrete Buildings technical guide, includes detailed ‘How-To’ guidance on construction systems, including crosswall, tunnelform and twin wall.
  • Concrete offsite solutions on-demand webinar. This webinar, presented by Elaine Toogood, head of architecture at The Concrete Centre explains the range of offsite solutions available in concrete and their benefits, along with design guidance for their use. 

Focus on...

As featured in Concrete Quarterly magazine and other key journals, here is some useful guidance.

Sustainability 

There are many ways in which precast concrete can be used as part of sustainable buildings. In addition, there are many sustainable benefits that are available due to the manufacture and supply chain, including low waste production, lower carbon concrete, responsible sourcing and the use of recycled content.

  • Summary of the sustainability benefits of precast concrete feature in the Offsite Concrete Construction guide, published in 2019.
     
  • Offsite solutions in concrete are often manufactured to suit project specific criteria, which can include project specific sustainability performance from responsible sourcing, to cutting carbon. For more information see Specifying Sustainable Concrete, published in 2020.
     
  • Generic Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have been published by British Precast, working closely with sustainability consultants  thinkstep. Together they produced a life cycle assessment tool to enable British Precast to produce verified EPDs in accordance with BS EN 15804: 2012 +A1 (2013). The tool has an extensive list of over 50 material inputs covering all the commonly used aggregates, cements, reinforcements and admixtures. These third-party verified EPDs can be accessed here.
     
  • Easy to use carbon fact sheets for brick-faced and stone cladding and structural precast elements are available to download here. These were produced prior to the EPDs (above) and therefore should only be referred to if needed once the EPDs are consulted.
     
  • The precast concrete sector reports annually via Sustainability Matters and the sector is also part of the Concrete Industry Sustainable Construction Strategy, that also reports performance annually. There are also recent articles in Construction News supplement from British Precast: March 2019 that show progress on the Precast Sustainability Charter Scheme and carbon reduction targets and the sustainability benefits of precast concrete.

Codes and Standards

The structural design of offsite concrete construction is to Eurocode 2 (BS EN 1992-1-1) but there are further codes for precast concrete elements. The general code for all precast concrete elements is BS EN 13369 and a list of codes for specific elements can be found here.

UK Precast Concrete

There are a number of specialist groups that represent the UK precast sector:

  • British Precast is the trade association for the UK Precast concrete sector. As an industry body it operates a number of specialist product groups as well as sector schemes for health and safety, and sustainability. More information about the Precast Sustainability Charter.  
  • British Precast Architectural and Structural Association (BPAS) is the trade association for manufacturers of architectural and structural precast concrete in the UK. It represents a wealth of expertise and experience in offsite construction. Available resources from BPAS include regular newsletters on a vast range of construction sectors and precast concrete applications, including cladding and its use of digitalisation, such as BIM. Read more via the BPAS publications library.  

Concrete Offsite Solutions webinar

Presented by: Elaine Toogood

This webinar gives an overview of the range of offsite solutions available in concrete in the UK, their benefits and guidance for design. (Recorded 04/02/2019)