Buildings have to withstand much more than just supporting those inside it.  They also have to be resilient towards both man-made and natural events. How can they be designed to withstand these? Precast can be used to provide resilience even in the face of things that would make wood structures crumble.

Storm Resistance

Constructed from concrete, precast is inherently resistance to weather events such as hurricanes or tornadoes and the high winds, storm surge, and flying debris that can accompany them.  Precast is often used by FEMA for its shelters as well as other structures in storm ridden areas to create buildings that can withstand the storms.

Precast components have been impact tested and provide significant benefits in meeting wind-resistance design requirements.  Here recently, more emphasis has been put on coastal areas where precast has performed excellent during hurricanes.

The destruction of Hurricane Sandy highlighted in the Summer 2019 issue of PCI’s Accent magazine shares the common tales told in the aftermath of a ferocious storm.

Earthquake Resistance

Even in the Northeast, earthquakes can be felt.  Every year for the past 5 years, New York City has felt a magnitude 2 earthquake.  Although they may not be comparable to those felt on the West Coast, seismic events do occur on the East coast and can be prepared for using precast. 
Precast is used in seismic regions all over the world and has been proven to do well during major seismic events.  PCI has been a leader in creating several design solutions that provide a more effective response to seismic events including hybrid post-tensioned precast frames, pretensioned precast frames, and shear wall systems.
Learn more about these precast solutions and review technical documents here.


Fire Resistance

As a construction material, precast has inherent fire protection.  Concrete is not a combustible material and cannot burst into flame like wood or other materials.  Therefore precast can help contain fires into a controlled space called compartation. 

Precast also provides passive fire protection meaning it does not have to rely on any other systems in order to take action.
To learn more about how precast can be used to protect structures from fires, take a look at our blogs on Precast Fire Resistance Design and Precast and Fire Resistance.
Learn more about precast design and fire resiliency.
New fire standards have been added to the IBC and can be found in the most recent issue of the ASCENT magazine below.


Blast Resistance

Certain buildings, such as government facilities, require extra protection including blast resistance.  Precast is an economical construction material that can support antiterrorism/force protection (AT/FP) design. 

The goal of blast resistance design is to protect the building occupants with an acceptable level of safety in the event of a blast event such as an explosion.  Precast panels and other precast components can be designed to support the necessary blast loads expected while protecting the people inside from both the blast and its debris.

Just this year, Hurricane Michael, a major hurricane, went through the Florida panhandle. On Mexico Beach, FL one house survived the hurricane because the owner had made use of precast to build his home. Fox News interviewed the home owner who discussed how precast saved his home even in the face of a major hurricane.

Although we cannot control the weather or other intense events that buildings might face, we can design for them using economical yet resilient materials such as precast.  Precast concrete was designed to stand the test of time and designing structures with it can ensure those structures will be around for many years to come.