When designing the addition for the First United Methodist Church in Orlando, FL, the architect chose a precast concrete design to mimic the color, style and texture of the existing structure with a modern,cost-effective, and sustainable solution. “This was an urban project in downtown Orlando, and the owner of the church wanted a building that would last 100 years,” says Tim Black, architect with CDH Partners in Marietta, GA. “That was the main driver for using precast concrete.”
Initially Black’s team had considered using natural stone and metal panels, but they realized that a precast concrete design was a better choice.“Overall, precast concrete is less expensive and still provides the long
life and ease of maintenance that were looking for.” To be sure the project went off without a hitch, the designers built a 3D model that they shared with the precast concrete producer, the engineers, and the contractor to identify any challenges or conflicts that could occur during construction.
As a result of those conversations, the team was able to identify the need to prioritize production of the precast concrete elements that were used for the entrance ramp to the underground parking garage. “This part of the project needed to be completed before the structure
above it had to be built,” he says.
Choosing precast concrete also helped the erection team address the tight footprint and active neighborhood during construction. “The building site was right up to the property line, and they had to keep the streets open during construction,” Black says. “The precast concrete panels were maneuvered into place with cranes, which made for easier constructability, and required fewer trades on site.”
And because the precast concrete plant was so close to the job site, just 20 mi. (32 km) away, they were able to ship the elements on an as-needed basis during non-peak traffic hours. This further minimized disruption and eliminated the need for storage or extra trailers on site, Baker adds. “We were able to off-load pieces on an hourly basis, which meant the job site never filled up.”