Tag NPCA

Building a Village and Breaking New Ground: Precast Concrete at Camp Lejeune

Sep24

Precast concrete is a very versatile material. It’s been proven to be an excellent choice for architectural projects, renovations, environmental efforts and even Olympic stadiums! As if those purposes weren’t varied enough, precast is even being used for military situations. Smith-Midland Corporation was awarded an honorable mention in the 2011 NPCA Creative Use of Precast competition. What was Smith-Midland nominated for? Its work at the Camp Lejeune Marine Base — a simulated Afghan village. The village was actually built to train Marines for real-life battles in the future!

Smith-Midland Corporation’s project was officially called the Military Infantry Immersion Training Village, located in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In total, 23 different-sized, prefabricated buildings were created using precast concrete. These buildings were designed to make up a simulated Afghan village and included a mosque, sheik’s home, hardware store, police station and even a café. The buildings were constructed within a warehouse. The biggest building was the mosque at two stories tall, and the smallest was the sheik’s house (11’x11’).

Warehouse Construction

The project is noteworthy already, but a few more innovations are worth mention. First, the buildings were all constructed within an old warehouse (constructed in the 1940’s). The builders had to use a specially designed forklift to avoid getting caught up in the electrical wiring and mechanical equipment descending from the ceiling.

Forklifts

More interestingly, the mock village was made as realistic as possible to give the Marines the best simulation they could manage. So, all sorts of atmospheric elements were included: aromas of meat and cider were floated into the area. The concrete was tinted in a ruddy, earthy pigment to look similar to “mud huts” in Afghanistan. The floors were made of dirt. Videos inside the school building projected a scene of children in a classroom, and there were roadside bomb obstacles to be dealt with.

Precast VillageIt’s amazing to see how much can be done with a little precast concrete and a lot of creativity! And it’s great to know that precast is helping our nation’s soldiers prepare for dangerous situations. Hopefully with this extra bit of training, more of our Marines will return unharmed, and more missions will be completed successfully!

Precast Concrete for Sustainability, Safety and the Future

Dec8

NPCA Concrete Facts
At Precast Specialties Corp., our mission is to embrace sustainable practices and continually educate our customers about the benefits of precast concrete as a sustainable building material. The following facts are from the National Precast Concrete Association’s “The Little Green Book of Concrete”, a great resource for precast information that we recommend reading!

- All the materials that go into precast concrete come from natural and recycled sources, mainly inorganic.

- Transportation costs can double the carbon footprint of construction materials through the burning of fossil fuels, which makes locally produced material, like precast concrete, more environmentally friendly.

- Many precast plants now incorporate concrete wastewater and cement recycling systems.

- Unlike other construction materials, precast concrete erection is much less disruptive to the site environment, producing far less construction debris, dust, noise and pollution.

- All reinforcing steel is made from 100 percent steel scrap. All reinforcing bars used in precast concrete are made from recycled steel. At the end of a precast structure’s life, the reinforcement can be recovered for recycling again.

- As with many concrete products, precast is easy to crush and recycle for use as aggregate – almost 100 percent of a concrete building can be recycled, no matter how heavily reinforced.

- Precast concrete is manufactured in plants under strictly controlled conditions, which means excellent resource efficiency for materials, labor, energy and processes.

- The easy installation of precast products makes for less noise pollution from the construction site, a significant benefit to those inhabiting or working in adjoining properties.

- The durability and long service life of precast products means fewer repairs and generations of service, which means less use of energy and natural resources during the lifetime of a product when compared with other materials.

- Over 60 years, a concrete home emits up to 15 tons less carbon dioxide than a lightweight alternative, thereby providing an environmentally better long-term solution.

- With operational energy (heating and cooling systems) accounting for about 90 percent of the energy consumption of a building, the ability of precast concrete systems to moderate temperature extremes is both economically important and good for the environment.

The New Solar Products Group Marks Impressive Expansion for Precast Specialties Corp.

Nov9

Solar Products Group with custom precast foundations and ballast assemblies for ground mount systems
With a continued focus on sustainable, eco-friendly practices and products, Precast Specialties Corp. is proud to announce the formation of our new Solar Products Group.

Formed to meet a growing need for the solar photovoltaic industry that is rapidly growing throughout the Northeast and beyond, the Solar Products Group manufactures custom precast foundations and ballast assemblies for ground mount systems in addition to standard and custom sized ballast blocks for roof mount applications. We’ve been producing precast components for many of the large solar projects in New England and can offer customers the experience and reliability to deliver price and schedule that is critical to the success of a project. Having architectural precast capability in our DNA allows us to fabricate any shape, color or features necessary to meet any aesthetic or structural requirement in addition to efficiently producing standard, repeatable product to meet any schedule.

Solar Products Group Easthampton Project

As the precast industry continues to evolve, along with a focus on solar, Precast Specialties Corp. has maintained a focus on high quality, low cost products including architectural precast panels, precast roadway products and custom precast products. Our Abington, MA-based facility is certified by both the Architectural Precast Association (APA) and National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). Please contact Tim Breen at tbreen@precastspecialtiescorp.com for more information and additional pricing.

Precast: Product of the Future

Aug22

NPCA
Photo via NPCA

From a recent article on the National Precast Concrete Association blog, the growing interest and popularity of precast concrete use by architects was evident at the 2011 AIA National Conference – despite a Saturday morning, 7am presentation timeslot, Peter Seibert, Technical Director at Ductal® for Lafarge North America, the largest diversified supplier of construction materials in the U.S. and Canada, packed the house for his presentation on “Sustainable Architectural Precast Elements for the 22nd Century.”

In his presentation, Seibert discussed the evolution of the precast product:

“By using precast UHPC (ultra-high performance concrete) elements, architects can design complex, thin shapes in a near endless number of colors and textures. Things that have never been possible before are now possible. By using a unique mix design containing fiber reinforcement, compressive strength in excess of 20,000 psi (possibly attaining 36,000 psi) can be achieved.  The increased durability aspect of UHPC makes this material ideal for building precast elements with longevity in mind…Concrete has been around for centuries, but with the possibilities that precast creates and the growing number of ways it’s being used, the surface has only been scratched on what the future holds for the industry.”

With our own constant focus on the future of precast, Precast Specialties Corp. employs the latest technologies and sustainable practices to not only meet your precast concrete needs but contribute to the achievement of LEED points on you project and provide aesthetic design components through our products.

Precast Specialties Corp. Featured This Month on the NPCA Blog

Jul18

Precast Specialties Corp. on NPCA Blog
As part of National Precast Concrete Association’s (NPCA) “Meet a Precaster” series, we’re pleased to be this month’s spotlight firm!

Read the complete post by visiting NPCA.

Precast Specialties Corp. Applauds Eco-Friendly Initiatives in Massachusetts

Jun7

Sustainable Solar Field Efforts on Martha's Vineyard
Precast Specialties Corp. wants to recognize both American Capital Energy and Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative for their recent agreement to reuse ten capped landfills for the production of solar energy. Projected to power 3,132 Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard homes, the solar field is expected to produce around 22,500 MWh every year.

The federal government has estimated that there are close to 425,000 industrial or contaminated sites known as “brownfields” throughout the United States. The EPA and various other alternative energy companies are actively working to transform these deserted landfills into solar energy producing areas.

As a member of the NPCA (National Precast Concrete Association), APA (Architectural Precast Association) certified Precast Specialties Corp. President John D’Amelio is a strong believer in sustainability. PSC ensures that each piece of precast concrete manufactured meets the current need of any customer and also offers eco-friendly features that provide for the future.

Precast Specialties Corp.maintains its sustainable focus through efficient service and production of products that are both durable and good for the environment. Although a small step in the alternative energy movement, Precast Specialties Corp. alongside American Capital Energy and Cape & Vineyard Electric Cooperative are continually striving to create and improve the future of New England’s built environment.

Precast Specialties Corp. Wins Prestigous Award

Feb3

Precast Specialties Corp Wins NPCA Excellence in Safety Award

Every year, the National Precast Concrete Association selects NPCA members who have excelled in various areas of the precast concrete industry. The Salute to Excellence Awards recognize top companies who creatively use precast, demonstrate ingenuity with precast, and consistently show a focus on safety in their precast production. For 2010, Precast Specialties Corp. was given the honor of NPCA’s Excellence in Safety Award – Platinum Level.

To achieve this top level of the Safety Awards, Precast maintained a record of zero OSHA reportable/recordable injuries and illnesses for the year. Competing against the largest number of submissions for the award in the history of the program, Precast was chosen as the best! We’re proud to add this achievement to our impeccable record and pledge to continue forward with outstanding precast concrete work.