Precast concrete sandwich panels are particularly suited to special requirements for energy conservation and security.
Cast with a core of high-performance insulation sandwiched between two layers of reinforced concrete, the layers of concrete are securely connected by special composite fibre ties (e.g. Thermomass system) that are set through drillings in the thickness of insulation to form a single panel.
The outer layer of concrete may have a reconstructed stone or an exposed aggregate finish or may otherwise be faced with natural stone, brick or tiles. The thickness of the core of insulation can be varied to suit project-specific requirements for overall thermal resistance. However, it’s the inner layer of concrete that is particularly valuable for energy conservation, due to its inherent thermal mass, and for security, due to its inherent density and robustness.
Whilst often in the form of a large wall cladding panel that is capable of spanning between the building frame’s floor slabs or structural columns, its inner layer of reinforced concrete can be designed to provide load-bearing support to the floor slabs, in which case the sandwich panel becomes a structural element that may also be stacked.
The further benefits of precast concrete sandwich panels include:
their delivery on a just-in-time basis from an off-site store of completed and QA-inspected units to suit site progress, thereby dispensing with the need to double-handle material through temporary on-site storage areas;
their safely and efficient installation without the need for an external scaffold;
the option for their delivery with off-site framed and glazed window apertures.
The use of large precast cladding panels also enables the structural frame to be enclosed rapidly and efficiently, thereby facilitating an earlier start-on-site by following trades and, consequently, the project’s earlier practical completion. This affords the building owners valuable opportunities to reduce interim funding costs and to realise an earlier return on their overall investment.