As well as providing the structural frame, concrete can be used to improve the overall performance of the building. The following list gives an indication of the many benefits of using concrete for a high-rise residential building.
A significant and fundamental performance benefit of concrete for high-rise residential construction is its non combustibility and slow rate of heat transfer. Concrete ensures that structural integrity remains, fire compartmentation is not compromised and shielding from heat can be relied upon. The regulation, guidance and requirements related to fire in high rise residential development has changed considerably in recent years. Read here for more information.
Concrete’s inherent qualities make it good for acoustic performance. It is a good sound insulator, even when the source of the sound is impact on the concrete itself. Tests have shown that concrete can make a major contribution to the sound attenuation required to meet Building Regulations, minimising or even eliminating additional finishes.
A concrete structure has high thermal mass. Exposed soffits allow fabric energy storage (FES), regulating temperature swings. This can reduce initial plant costs and ongoing operational costs, while converting plant space to usable space. With the outlook of increasingly hot summers, it makes sense to choose a material that reduces the requirement for energy intensive, high maintenance air-conditioning.
All the Building Regulations in the UK require pre-completion pressure testing to demonstrate airtightness (Part L in England and Wales, Section 6 in Scotland and Part F in Northern Ireland). Failing these tests means a time consuming process of inspecting joints and interfaces, resealing where necessary. Concrete edge details are simpler to seal, with less failure risk. Some contractors have switched to concrete frames on this criterion alone.
Flat slabs are slabs that are supported directly on columns without any beams. They are highly versatile elements widely used in construction, providing minimum depth, fast construction and allowing flexible column grids.
Post-tensioned flat slab
Post-tensioning is a method of prestressing that offers the thinnest slab type, as concrete is worked to its strengths, mostly being kept in compression. Longer spans can be achieved due to prestress, which can also be used to control deflections.
In recent years numerous high rise housing developments have been constructed using offsite concrete solutions, or a hybrid of concrete cast in situ with pre-fabricated elements. These include structural flat panel solutions and twin wall. Precast concrete cladding panels are a common means of providing attractive low maintenance, non combustible and energy efficient building enclosure. Thay can be self-finished in range of textures, patterns and colours, or brick faced. Insulation, windows and balconies can be factory-fitted and tested before delivery to site for immediate assembly.
Read our case studies which feature high-rise buildings: