March 25, 2014

Cast-In Place the Latin American way

I was last week in one Latin American larger city watching the building site next to my hotel. There were several building sites on-going in the neighborhood and certainly precast solutions were NOT used in one of them.
I counted a total of 23 workers working in the city center of this large city, working on one floor slab in one of the first floors of the building. The workers were like ants going around this cast-in-place/ in-situ floor slab, and during the week I stayed in the city I saw no casting of concrete; just endless reinforcement works. 

My estimate is that it would take minimum 25 weeks for this crew to finish the frame of one floor in this building. When the total will be around 30-40 levels high at the end of the day it takes some 30-40 weeks more assembly time compared to pre-cast alternative. Why could hollow-core floor blanks not be used, with an assembly team of some 5 persons involved, with one floor up within 1 week?  I became to wonder whether the factor of time was not a part of the exel-sheet of the investor of this building.

It is amazing to see the efficiencies and the inefficiencies in the construction sites around the world. Labor is nowhere cheap anymore, neither is time.  What is wrong with this industry when it is using always the method of "how we have always done"?

March 4, 2014

Peikko NIRO - efficient balcony connection in Russia

Peikko recently announced a project in St.Petersburg, with more than three kilometers of insulated balcony connections. Goodbye cold bridges and cool bursts of air during winter in the floors near balconies!
Some weeks back I was happy to visit one of the precasters which were making the balcony elements for this particular project. Feedback was positive, the product made by Peikko Russia factory was production friendly at the precasters premises.
Way to go, our dear end-customer of Lemminkäinen, in the effort to fundamentally change the building culture of St.Petersburg !