Precast concrete flooring for upper floors can offer various benefits to builders and homeowners – and with sustainability credentials as well, architects and designers will be specifying them more often.
Prescast concrete flooring for upper floors: 4o years ago, precast concrete was only used in about 5 per cent of the ground floors constructed for homes. However, following changes to the building regulations in 1974, precast concrete suspended floors experienced an surge in usage, to the extent that around 70 to 80 per cent of all ground floors constructed in houses are now precast concrete.
However, the same cannot be said for upper floors in houses which are predominately timber. But according to the Precast Flooring Federation, this could be set to change.
For housebuilders, the use of precast flooring can improve safety on site. There is a well-established code of practice for the safe installation of precast flooring and with the in introduction of safety nets and decking, this construction activity has become safer. In addition, precast flooring provides an early, secure and broad platform which subsequent site activities can be undertaken.
For homeowners, precast upper floors have several advantages over timber. Firstly, due to its density, precast concrete flooring is effective at reducing the transmission sound between rooms – when did you las hear a concrete floor creak or squeak? Secondly, the flooring is fireproof. Precast concrete floors very easily exceed the a one-hour fire rating protecting against the spread of fire between rooms. Thirdly, precast flooring has a high thermal mass. Employed correctly, this thermal mass can assist with smoothing our temperature gains and losses, thereby reducing the need for space cooling and heating in the home.
The use of precast flooring cuts down on transport and the associated carbon footprint. Precast flooring can be made locally, using local materials and skills and hence travel distances from factory to site are reduced.
Furthermore, by using precast flooring there is no need to import materials such as structural timber from overseas.