April 2013

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Founded In Strength The precast concrete sector is awash with initiatives to improve products and service by Godfrey Budd C anada's precast concrete sector, these days, is marked by a range of progressive initiatives – whether it's at the national association level to launch a new portal on sustainability, or on the shop floor to improve products and processes. Naturally, wherever possible, such measures try to optimize or build on the key advantages of precast construction: short timelines, little or no on-site congestion, product strength, density, durability, and better quality control because of production in a manufacturing and not a site environment. One initiative saw the development of a new information portal. While the Cement Association of Canada (CAC) initially led the initiative, Lyse Teasdale, director of communications at the CAC, is quick to point out that it has been a collaborative effort. The new portal was launched in March this year and provides information on sustainability. "It is for architects, engineers, decision makers and environmental groups. The site will include recent research from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others. It also includes the latest environmental performance report on how the cement and concrete industry has contributed to sustainability, in terms of energy efficiency and savings," Teasdale says. Along with other industry groups, the Canadian Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (CPCI) is involved in the CAC portal. But the CPCI has also launched some initiatives of its own. One such initiative is called the Infrastructure for LIFE program. The program's purpose is to advance the cause of longer-lasting infrastructure with the use of innovative technologies and practices to accomplish quick, efficient construction that does not compromise the safety or quality of the final product. The Toronto South Detention Centre is a recently completed male maximum-security remand facility in Toronto. The tsdc project involved the integration of multiple precast components, including columns, beams, spandrel panels, walls and hollowcore plank. This facilitated speed of construction in order to meet the project schedule. Detailed coordination between disciplines was required to ensure openings for the various trades were properly located. Due to the nature of the facility, security had to be considered in all aspects of construction and coordination. In many cases precast provided the final finished surfaces. Photos courtesy Prestressed Systems Inc. 12/    april 2013 p12-17Precast.indd 12 Precast Concrete 13-04-05 1:54 PM

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