For decades, water towers have stood as high-rising landmarks of cities and towns across the country. They are sometimes even used as a blank canvas to depict the local culture, a local company, or a well-known aspect of the community.
At their core, though, water towers are very functional and necessary. They supply the water pressure needed for the surrounding area and hold enough water for a typical day of use. To achieve the needed water pressure requires a building material strong enough to safely reach the specified height. In the past, this has typically been steel, but precast concrete may soon become the material of choice due to its inherent benefits of affordability, strength, durability, uniformity, quality and ease of installation.
In its Winter 2012 edition of Form + Function, a quarterly newsletter, Hamilton Forms featured one such project in Ontario, Canada. The article cites long-time use of precast concrete for water storage tanks, and outlines why it may become the material of choice for water towers. The featured tower’s base is constructed of 16 conical precast segments, and the platform, or stem, is also being constructed of precast concrete.
As the economic recession drags on, and sales of traditional precast concrete products continue to lag, precast manufacturers are increasingly finding new markets that can be served by these versatile products. Examples where precast has replaced other materials are becoming more prevalent, such as the Indianapolis Super Bowl Walk project featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Precast Solutions. In addition, plants are taking on more custom projects or starting new product lines that better match the evolving needs of their communities.
Whatever the need, precast concrete is always up for the challenge. With an almost endless array of possible shapes, sizes, colors and finishes, as well as durability, strength and quality, no other building material can match the functionality and versatility of precast concrete.