Concrete has been one of the most versatile building materials on the planet for centuries. The ancient Romans created aqueducts to carry water to the town centers, created seawalls that have been pounded by the seas for 2,000 years, and buildings that are still standing today.
The no. 1 building material around the world and is lauded for its strength, adaptability, and longevity. Advances in concrete building have allowed structures to reach even greater heights.
Precast concrete allows structures to be built with great efficiency. Hundreds of wall panels can be produced in the weeks leading up to construction and then quickly assembled. Precast columns, curbs, and beams make building parking structures much faster, too.
In addition to being built above the ground, precast concrete is often used as a way to hold back dirt or stabilize large amounts of earth. Large retaining wall systems can often be seen along the highway on- and off-ramps. Smaller applications include creating retention ponds in new subdivisions or elaborate garden beds.
Precast box culverts and three-sided bridges are ideal solutions for stream crossings and other swales. They allow heavy traffic to go over depressions without affecting the environment or wildlife below. These structures can also be made for building structural walkways for pedestrians under major roadways.
The final type of precast concrete construction comes in the form of buried infrastructure. Manholes, catch basins, vaults, and more are common throughout cityscapes as well as the countryside. Used to take stormwater or sewage away, retain water, or house electrical or telecommunication junction boxes, these systems are sturdy ways to remove overhead wiring in residential areas as well as industrial, commercial, and manufacturing facilities.
These pieces can often be produced in mass quantities because codes or specifications have already been established. In some cases, these traditional products can be made to fit custom situations. For example, there may be times when vaults can’t be placed in one piece, either because of existing infrastructure or blockages.
Individual concrete panels are made and the vaults are assembled in place. Other custom applications include boat ramps, railroad crossings, and whatever else engineers can design to meet strength specifications.
Benefits of Precast Concrete
With precast concrete, we’re making a good thing even better. Whether you need a manhole, a three-sided bridge, or a catch basin, the advantages are all the same. First and foremost, precast concrete structures are ready for installation when you are. You can schedule excavation, installation, and backfilling over a relatively short amount of time.
With site casting concrete, scheduling isn’t as cut and dry. If the weather is too wet, cold, or hot on a particular day, pouring in place may not be advisable. Even though the batch was properly mixed at the plant, the conditions could affect the mix and the amount of time it takes to strengthen.
Those just aren’t issues when precast products are created inside a controlled environment. It could be over 100 degrees or sub-zero temperatures outside, but a precast facility will be able to control the temperature enough for a quality casting. And there’s no worry about a lot of rain or blowing debris to jeopardize the pour, either.
If the conditions are good for a site pour, there’s still the time and effort needed to set the forms, add rebar for strength, and then careful monitoring. Depending on the size of the structure, the time needed to allow the concrete to strengthen will fluctuate. With precast infrastructure, the strength-testing has already occurred.
Precast concrete production is also a very sustainable process. Concrete by itself is made from raw and natural materials and volatile organic compound free. Concrete can remain in the ground forever and will not break down chemically either, leaving the surrounding environment undisturbed.
That durability is what helped Rogue Valley Precast earn SMaRT certification at the end of 2019. Columbia Precast Products, our sister precast facility in Woodland, WA, was the first buried infrastructure plant to earn this certification in the United States, and we followed suit.
Our sustainability goes beyond our products as well. The roof of our facility is 80 percent covered with solar panels. With these panels, we are able to power our plant, administration building, conference rooms, and all other aspects of Rogue Valley Precast.
Work With Experienced Professionals
Although Rogue Valley Precast opened its doors in 2019, we were built with more than 130 years of combined experience. From the crews on the plant floor to the managerial staff, precast concrete has been a way of life for our employees.
If you have an upcoming project that requires buried infrastructure, crossings, or other precast concrete, contact Rogue Valley Precast to see how we can help. We have extensive experience with Oregon Department of Transportation specifications and have many standard products already made for quick turnaround times.
No longer will you have to go to Salem or Northern California to get your precast products. Consider Rogue Valley Precast your local Southern Oregon precaster. Find out how we can keep your project on schedule, on budget, and meet your environmental needs.