Versus - Fabcon Precast

See how structural precast stacks up against site-cast construction and masonry.

By definition, Fabcon manufactures precast non-composite wall panels. It’ll come as no surprise that we’re unabashed advocates for precast construction. It’s a field we helped pioneer nearly 50 years ago, and it’s still all we do. There’s obviously other ways to construct a building, and they all have their place…but let’s take the gloves off and see how other forms of construction stack up.

58% Recycled Content, Up to R-28.2, Panel Heights up to 73 feet

The Fabcon Advantage

Functional Aesthetics Badge with Trowel

The advantages of construction with precast non-composite panels are many. Structural precast panels have made great strides in both function and aesthetics since they took off in the 1970s, and we continue to push the envelope today.

Fabcon’s structural designation is a critical component—it’s what separates how our buildings go together versus other forms of construction. Discover how Fabcon can add value to your building project.

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VERSATILITY

Fabcon produces a variety of panel types and configurations. Our panels can function as structural (load-bearing) or architectural (non-load-bearing).

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ALL-SEASONS

Even in the toughest conditions, we’re efficient. That means less erection time lost to harsh weather, more accurate lead times, and the ability to salvage projects that have fallen behind schedule.

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SPEED

Speed is a strategy. Our panels are cast while site work is being completed. Up to 250–350 linear feet of wall panels can be erected in one day to meet even the tightest schedules.

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SITE PREP

With Fabcon, there is less need for storage or staging areas on-site, leaving more room for other trades to maneuver.

 

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DURABILITY

Our panels offer structural stability that is resistant to dents, corrosion, and rust. They also require less maintenance without sacrificing aesthetics.

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Fabcon’s superior, integrated insulating properties offer variable R-Values up to R-28.2 so you can right-size the thermal performance of your building.

FABCON VS. SITE-CAST CONSTRUCTION

A site-cast concrete wall system is typically cast on the building’s concrete floor slab or a nearby casting surface. The wall panel is formed and then poured at the job site. Once cured, it is tilted up and temporarily braced until the roof system is installed.

By contrast, Fabcon’s panels are manufactured in a controlled environment, ensuring proper and consistent curing. 

Illustration of site-cast with numerical callouts

CHALLENGES OF SITE-CAST CONSTRUCTION

1 — Site-cast panels max out at around 40 ft high.
2 — The weather can wreak havoc on site-cast schedules.
3 — The floor is often damaged in the process of pouring panels, requiring additional cost and time.
4 — Site cast crews are bigger, more expensive and on site considerably longer. Fabcon’s smaller crews, efficient installation and commitment to safety decrease risk on the jobsite.
5 — Integrated insulation is difficult. Fabcon’s VersaCore+Green delivers R-values ranging from R-13.6 up to R-28.2.

The Issues with Site-Cast

— Site-cast can produce inconsistent quality.

— Rain and cold can alter the wall’s structural integrity, appearance and durability.

— Panel production speed and quality creation is weather-dependent.

— Site-cast panels lack integral insulation. The interior surface must be furred out and insulation glued or tacked to the interior surface.

— Limited aesthetic options when compared to precast.

— Floor slabs are often damaged during the casting process. The required repairs add additional time and cost to the job.

— Site-cast limits other trades’ access to the site and impacts the overall schedule.

— Panels exceeding 40′ pose serious engineering challenges.

— You’re only as good as your ready-mix provider.

FABCON VS. MASONRY

Masonry’s relatively high costs, long construction cycles, and physical limitations cannot be ignored. Precast has serious advantages; delivery speed, energy performance, lifetime operating costs and even aesthetic options all fall in favor of precast.

Masonry construction has had good run, but it can be hard to justify these days. For many types of structures, masonry consumes too much time and too much money. Where block and brick fail, structural precast panels excel—and can even replicate the look of masonry.

CHALLENGES OF MASONRY CONSTRUCTION

1 — Large crews remain on the job site for long stretches of time.
2 — Extensive scaffolding is required, and heights are limited to 20′ or less.
3 — Masonry crews can’t begin until the site is ready. Fabcon starts manufacturing panels while site prep takes place.
4 — Crowded work sites are full of liability.

The Issues with Masonry

Requires reinforcement at heights above 20′

Monopolizes work space on active job sites

Insulation is costly and requires additional subcontractor(s)

Extensive field man-hours needed

Susceptible to water penetration

Skilled labor shortage

Speed of progress is very weather-dependent

Slowest form of construction

Winter construction requires poly-tenting

 

The Benefits of Fabcon

Our panels are manufactured in a controlled environment

We can begin manufacturing panels before site work is completed (or even started!)

Fabcon panels are load-bearing

Fabcon Precast panels feature integrated insulation with R-values as high as R-28.2

Fabcon Precast panels can reach heights of 73 feet

Up to 250–350 linear feet of wall panels can be erected in one day to meet even the tightest schedules.

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