Browse By

Precast Concrete Panel Technology – A Vast Improvement in Elevator Shaft Installations

Cheaper, faster AND better! Sounds like exactly what you want to see as a construction contractor right?

According to Ray Wentz, Special Projects Manager at Superior Walls by Magnis, that is exactly what you can achieve with precast concrete panels as a replacement for concrete block construction. “This is a revolution in elevator shaft construction. The precast concrete panels don’t require the construction of a scaffold system inside a heated temporary structure in order to install them. With concrete blocks it can take weeks to have brick masons build the elevator shaft walls and that must be done in a heated area with scaffolding to reach the upper sections of the walls. It’s expensive, time consuming and it must be completed before the rest of the construction work can begin. This alone can save weeks of effort on the job site, saving money on energy costs because our system doesn’t require the warm, dry, tarped-in area that concrete block/mortar construction demands. With our precast concrete wall system we pull up and install the entire elevator shaft in approximately one day. We move the custom-made panels into place with a crane and use a very strong; winter safe caulking to seal the seams. Done!”

Fern Doucet (President of Superior Walls Manitoba) in front of an elevator shaft being constructed with insulated precast concrete wall panels.

There are additional benefits to the precast concrete system that make it super easy to use:

More work done offsite
The precast concrete panels are built in the factory and arrive on the jobsite ready to install by trained, professional installers.

No seasonal limitations
Precast panels can be installed any time of year – spring, summer, fall or winter doesn’t matter because the system includes easy to seal seams and weather proof caulking so there is no mortar to keep warm until it is set.

Meeting the Spec
Prior to site work; the spec for each elevator shaft is carefully reviewed to ensure our shop drawings exactly match the requirements noted within the engineered project drawings and the elevator suppliers’ shop drawings. In the production process, the walls are precisely measured and accurately built prior to being poured in our factory under climate-controlled conditions.

Dimensional Precision
Precast wall panels allow for very precise dimensional accuracy for the elevator shaft – the shafts need to be very precise for the elevator installation to be accurate and to work properly. The elevator car frame and shaft components are precisely engineered metal components and have to fit snug within the shaft from top to bottom for maximum support and operational safety. There is a less than 4 inch leeway allowed by elevator installers in the shaft’s column top to bottom plumb and for some concrete block construction that can be a difficult thing to achieve.

Lower labour costs
Precast panels decreases the need for skilled labour on job sites. Brick work or concrete block construction requires very skilled labourers and supervision for an extended length of time on site – the precast panel construction system eliminates skilled labour costs on the work site and can allow for faster installation with better use of the construction contractor’s time as other tasks on the site do not have to wait for the elevator shaft installation before proceeding with the rest of the construction – result = labour, energy and time savings especially on more remote sites.

Proven Structural Integrity
The structural strength of the precast concrete panels is proven. Superior Walls has found excellent results with two and three story structures. The strength is inherent in the concrete mix design specific to the wall system, and is rebar reinforced during manufacturing for added strength.

Fire Safety Attributes
A major concern for building manufacturers is fire safety. A concrete stairwell or elevator shaft can give building occupants additional time to escape from a burning structure because the material resists the movement of the fire. A zone delineated by concrete within a building can provide escape routes during a fire by maintaining structural integrity and allowing people to escape from the building. At the same time, this allows firefighters to more safely enter the structure and fight the fire from multiple locations and levels.

Integrated R24 Insulation
In the factory, a layer of styrofoam insulation is integrated into the precast concrete panels solidly when concrete is poured over the insulation layer during manufacturing.

Elevator shaft built with insulated precast concrete panels on the floor level

“I have been working in the construction industry for approximately 35 years now”, says Ray Wentz who has been a building contractor and an R2000 builder, “and I am really impressed with the new precast concrete panel technology. I think it will revolutionize the design and building of elevator shafts and stairwells. It’s simply easier to use, quicker and less expensive to install. The new technology in precast concrete panel construction is also now better suited to Canadian conditions because we are able to apply an integrated Styrofoam and insulating component to the panels that brings it up to a R24 rating. This new precast concrete panel technology is a real win for the construction industry.”

Three storey seniors complex constructed using insulated precast concrete wall panels as the building envelope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *