Editor’s Note: Starting in early August, NPCA held its annual Reader’s Choice Cover Contest seeking projects to be considered for the feature article in Precast Inc. magazine. Voting was open to all NPCA members, and after a close competition, the most votes went to Speed Fab-Crete of Fort Worth, Texas. The feature article is followed by short descriptions of all other contest entries.
By Sara Geer
Precaster: Speed Fab-Crete
Project: Mission Revival-style City Complex
Location: Jourdanton, Texas
Few Texas courthouses exhibit the full range of architectural features associated with Mission Revival-style as well as the City of Jourdanton’s. As one of the few surviving examples in the state, city officials wanted to extend this rich style – stucco walls, low-pitched roofs with projecting wide eaves and clay roof tiles – into the construction design for a new city complex.
To accomplish this task, the city hired Callahan & Freeman Architects based in Fort Worth, Texas, to plan and design the new facility. The architects had to juggle a number of tasks when designing the building to satisfy the needs of the city, including space for the city council chambers, city courts and the Jourdanton Police Department, all while making the best use of the space.
The city complex is located on a site formerly occupied by a Catholic Charities hospital. The old structure was built on a suspended slab system due to expansive soil. Since the same system was determined to still be the best option, and final funding levels dictated a tight building budget, precast concrete emerged as the best construction material choice. In addition, the architects had a long-standing relationship with Speed Fab-Crete of Fort Worth, Texas, having worked on more than 300 successful projects together.
“Speed Fab-Crete and Callahan & Freeman Architects are actually co-located in the same building,” said Randy Landers, director of business development for Speed Fab-Crete. “Through our close relationship and co-location, we had some knowledge of the project. This led to heightened interest in the project resulting in our selection through a competitive sealed proposal process.”
The building’s exterior is primarily composed of structural precast wall panels. Precast concrete lends itself perfectly to the local Mission Revival architecture as it can easily mirror stucco or adobe, he said.
Carl Hall, co-owner, vice president and manager of plant manufacturing operations for Speed Fab-Crete, explained the majority of the wall panels were cast in a face-up orientation and were given a textured sponge finish. Approximately six pieces were poured a day starting in January 2013 to meet the December project deadline. All pieces were manufactured using a mix design that included 1,800 lbs of 1 in. crushed limestone, 1,277 lbs of fine aggregate, 564 lbs of type III Portland cement, and Eucon Air 40 and SPC admixtures.
“All the architectural features such as reveals and water tables were then formed on the top face of the panels,” Hall said. “The frustum arch used to create the curved beveled bands above the barrel arch entries were the only items that required some very exact mold work.”
The sizes manufactured varied, but all panels were within the limitations of an A-frame trailer, including panels as large as 12-ft-by-28-ft. Most panels were shipped loaded on their side and later rotated into the correct position on the job site. The combination of precast and, in selected areas, applied stone masonry veneer resulted in a very attractive building that will require little maintenance to keep up its appearance.
Besides performing as the General Contractor and manufacturing the precast walls, Speed Fab-Crete also fabricated and installed the structural steel roof system and assisted the city in additional services – installing security systems, audio/visual systems and furnishings.
“We actively seek out projects where we can combine our precast concrete expertise with our structural steel fabrication capabilities,” Landers said. “This enables us to supply and erect/install all the major structural components in a project in a seamless process.”
By using so many items manufactured and installed by Speed Fab-Crete, the company was also able to control costs and keep the project on schedule. The City of Jourdanton moved into the facility and began operations in early 2014 and held a formal ribbon-cutting dedication to show their pride in the complex.
“The city is pleased with the building and the entire team is quite proud of the project,” Landers said. Even the City Manager, Daniel Nick, wrote them a reference letter stating he’s confident “Speed Fab-Crete will provide the same level of service, communication, quality and value to future projects with these same outstanding results.”
Other contest entries
(in alphabetical order by company name)
Precaster: Arto Brick
Project: Rooftop Bar
Location: Los Angeles, California
In 1927, United Artists constructed a 13-story tower and movie palace in downtown Los Angeles to serve as the premier house for the studio’s movies. Over the years, the Spanish Gothic building became a storied landmark and later served as a church before being acquired by Ace Hotel.
During the renovation process, the designers turned to precast concrete for an extra design flair that would flow with the existing beauty of the building while setting the tone for the renovated interior. Arto Brick provided gray concrete 12-in.-by-12-in. tiles and custom panels with an Art Deco that were incorporated throughout the hotel.
Precaster: BeCo Concrete Products Inc.
Project: Massive RCP
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer. It follows, then, that for a new store opening in the Midwest, the company chose to install reinforced concrete pipe almost as large as its global presence.
To meet the project demands, BeCo Concrete Products manufactured 135 pieces of 12-ft diameter RCP. Due to the immense size and weight of the pieces, fabrication of the RCP’s 16 bends had to be completed using a non-traditional method. Instead of laying the pipe down and manufacturing the bend from the middle, workers left the pipe in the standing position, fabricating the bend from the top of the pipe just below the lifting pins.
Precaster: Cape Fear Precast LLC
Project: Aircraft Maintenance Hangar and Apron
Location: Jacksonville, North Carolina
The U.S. Marine Corp’s P-705 Project has been an ongoing job that started in May 2013 for Cape Fear Precast. The purpose of the project is to provide additional maintenance facilities, parking, aprons and hangars for the MV-22 Osprey military aircraft. Cape Fear has supplied dozens of aircraft-rated drop inlets, underground rainwater harvesting vaults, utility vaults, pump stations and sewer manholes. At completion, 100 deliveries will have been made to this project.
Cape Fear Precast was approached in the spring about the possibility of producing an 8-ft-by-8-ft aircraft-rated box culvert as well. In order to meet schedule, the contractor wanted all pours completed by Aug. 1. No scheduled pours were missed and the last unit was manufactured on July 31.
Precaster: Dalmaray Concrete Products Inc.
Project: Residential Walls
Location: Janesville, Wisconsin
Sometimes homeowners go for neutral colors and mundane features, and sometimes they go for the “WOW” factor. The latter was the case when Dalmaray Concrete Products was approached by an individual looking for a wall system to lead to underground car storage in the basement of his home.
The block chosen was a Recon Weathered Edge block at 4-ft-by-16-in. with a jagged rock pattern. Using all-natural stains, Dalmaray crafted a two-wall system that combined strength and beauty. Although the project was small in volume at only 1,180 sq ft and 220 pieces of precast in total, the homeowner received a very large, intimidating wall that made the exact impression he was hoping to achieve.
Precaster: Gainey’s Concrete Products Inc.
Project: Above-Ground Precast Tanks
Location: Geismer, Louisiana
When Methanex Chemical Co. in Geismer, Lousiana, ordered a 25,000 gallon tank for its newly expanded facility, the company needed the project to be completed quickly and in a safe environment.
Methanex contacted its wastewater consultant, Coastal Process, which recommended Gainey’s Concrete Products for the job. Because the structures needed to be set above-grade, three custom precast tanks were produced in two segments each, minimizing joints. The largest tank was fabricated 7-ft-tall-by-10-ft-wide with 6-in. thick walls. Gainey’s used a custom fabricated steel mat to speed production, modular steel forms and a laser-leveled casting table to ensure each tank stacked level and square. In the end, the tanks were manufactured in less than three weeks saving Methanex from two months of plant downtime.
Precaster: Kistner Precast Concrete Products Inc.
Project: Bridge Pier
Location: Perrington, New York
Accelerated Bridge Construction is a current theme for many highway engineers and owners. Interested in saving time and money, the New York State Department of Transportation deployed an accelerated precast solution for a bridge project, on Interstate 490. The project included a segmental precast pier design using a high-strength grout coupler system, which was deployed for the first time in an NYSDOT project. Kistner Precast Concrete Products supplied four pier units and one precast cap for the project.
The four pier segments were approximately 10-ft wide, 42-in. thick and 13-ft 6-in. tall, weighing 35 tons each. The single 43-ft long precast cap was 42-in. wide and 42-in. tall, weighing 36 tons. Epoxy reinforcement steel with 2-in. steel cover was specified in all precast elements.
The project went off without a hitch, with the precast elements providing an accelerated installation and a highly durable solution.
Precaster: Knight’s Precast Inc.
Project: Drainage Upgrade
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Like any coastal city, downtown Charleston, South Carolina, must consistently battle the effects of heavy rains and high tides. To help relieve the flooding, the city called on Knight’s Precast Inc. to supply a massive precast concrete cover for one of the vertical shafts above underground tunnels located deep below the city.
The cover was 25 ft in diameter and weighed approximately 40 tons. In fact, the cover was so large it had to be built in three separate pieces. The scope of the project also required a huge, 70-ton water control structure.
After more than 500 man-hours and with plenty of lumber, Styrofoam, steel, concrete and sweat, the storm drainage precast structures were completed and ready to be delivered.
Precaster: Leesburg Concrete Co. Inc.
Project: Boat Ramp Restroom
Location: Lake County, Florida
Lake County, Florida, understands clearly that its wildlife, pristine lakes, rolling hills and open spaces are an asset to the county’s economy. So naturally, Lake County is improving and expanding its parklands. To assist with the beautification, Leesburg Concrete Co. Inc. joined with a local contractor to manufacture and deliver a waterless restroom for Astatula Boat Ramp. Within eight weeks, LCCI’s first Easi-Set restroom building was ready for delivery. The waterless restroom with a post-tensioned roof and floor consists of seven precast panels (not including the tank).
The county wanted to keep the boat ramp open and didn’t want a lot of site disturbance, making precast the natural solution for this project. Installation was quick and easy, enabling the tank and fully-fitted building to be placed in one day. The Sierra Dry double restroom was cast to simulate barn-board siding with a shake shingle roof. The big difference, though, is that the precast will look beautiful and should remain virtually maintenance-free for many years to come.
Precaster: Olympian Precast Inc.
Project: Upscale Urban Destination
Location: Seattle, Washington
The precast façade of this mixed-use project is in a high-profile shopping district consists of 38,000 sq ft of acid-etched or sandblasted column covers and spandrels and an additional 6,800 sq ft of brick-faced column covers and spandrels.
The acid-etched elements consist of three different colored concrete panels manufactured with local aggregate and sand materials with gray cement. The sandblasted elements also include local materials, along with white cement and an integral pigment. Even the brick-faced architectural precast includes pigmented concrete. Olympian used self-consolidating concrete to achieve better color and texture consistency on both the face surfaces and the deep finished returns.
Each different section of the precast façade has its own unique panel shapes and sizes to help transform a long monolithic structure into individual storefronts.
Precaster: Piranha Pipe & Precast
Project: Park Diversion Structure
Location: Sacramento, California
This project was designed to solve a combined sewer overflow in Sacramento, California. Piranha Pipe & Precast designed a system that included approximately 5,000 ft of 120-in. reinforced concrete pipe, a 96-in. pump station and 565 ft of 72-in. RCP to move the water to and from the holding system.
The diversion structure was built with precast to minimize the disruption to traffic on city streets. The structure was built in three pieces: the base slab, rise section and lid and weighed more than 248,000 lbs. The project, when completed, will be used to provide a park and soccer field for the local community.
Precaster: Roman Stone Construction Co.
Project: Reverse-Slope Barrier
Location: Bay Shore, New York
Precast concrete traffic barriers have been a common sight on roadways for decades. Although shapes and connections can vary, the basic principles of the product remain relatively consistent. That is, unless you’re talking about traffic barriers with real granite cast into each piece.
The project came about when community leaders demanded a barrier just as functional as a typical traffic barrier but also pleasing to the eye. Each piece of reverse-slope barrier contains integrally cast granite stone. One unit was manufactured per day and each stone had to be hand cut and placed into the mold for casting, with special attention paid to size of grout joints and variations in the color of the stone.
In total, Roman Stone Construction Co. cast 24 straight sections at 20-ft long and eight bull-nose sections with a 3-ft radius. Installation was accomplished in one week. The use of precast enabled the work to be completed safely and reduced the amount of time the road was closed for installation.
Precaster: Sherman-Dixie Concrete Industries Inc.
Project: Arch Bridge
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
When a road widening project called for a new bridge to be built in Kentucky, precast concrete’s structural and cost benefits offered the most viable solution.
The precast bridge required a complicated, no-rise hydraulic design. Modular precast components worked well with the phased construction plan, which minimized traffic impact and eliminated costly and inconvenient detours. In phase 1, the existing bridge was left in service while over half of the new bridge was constructed. In phase 2, 24 of the 36 precast arch sections were installed and traffic was shifted to the new bridge. Concurrently, the old bridge was demolished and replaced by the remaining 12 arch sections.
Some of the project’s many improvements include a wider road, a clear span opening that will minimize future maintenance and a higher roadway elevation. Overall, Sherman Dixie’s work successfully demonstrated the enormous benefits of precast to all DOTs involved in accelerated bridge construction.
Precaster: Smith-Midland Corp.
Project: Residential Tower
Location: Tysons Corner, Virginia
Rising up alongside one of the country’s most famous and dynamic shopping malls, a new 31-story mixed-use development shows off the range and beauty of precast concrete architectural panels. The project includes 429,000 sq ft of apartment space, a rooftop pool, amenity areas, retail space, a pedestrian bridge and four levels of below-grade parking.
Planned as a LEED Gold development, the structure features 1,356 two-toned gray and buff medium acid-washed architectural panels that mimic granite but offer the economy and modularity provided by precast. Developers also expect fewer issues with water and maintenance because of the precast system. In addition, the choice of precast helped keep the project on schedule, as installation of the panels proceeded despite harsh winter weather conditions.
When completed in 2015, the high-profile property will offer the very best of city life, with sweeping high-rise views, close proximity to public transportation and an unparalleled retail mix.
Precaster: Wilbert Precast Inc.
Project: Log Sorting Bunks
Location: Lewiston, Idaho
Wilbert Precast Inc. began working with Idaho Forest Group (IFG) on the production of 110 log sorting bunks in 2013. The custom project developed after IFG purchased a computerized, log sorting system from Sweden for its lumber mill in Lewiston, Idaho. The system works by identifying the log species, evaluating the length and diameter and lastly, determining the best use for the log. The logs then travel along the sorting line, where the computer kicks each log into the appropriate bunk. From there, logs are distributed throughout the mill. This system has helped IFG double its daily production from 500,000 to 1 million board feet per day.
IFG chose to have the bunks produced out of high-quality, self-consolidating concrete based on the increased mass, durability and longevity of precast concrete. Each bunk weighs between 21,000 and 38,000 lbs, contains an average of 1,200 lbs. of rebar reinforcement and was approximately 10-ft-tall-by-11-ft-wide.