Capitalizing on the real estate trend towards chic, modern lofts, Hanson Structural Precast, a division of Hanson Building Products North America, is in the process of completing construction at Element, a five story residential building in Marina del Rey, Calif. Utilizing precast double tee construction, Element is one of the first multi- family housing projects in California to use a precast concrete moment frame structure.
"This is a new and expanding market in Southern California," said Richard Manning, president and chief executive officer of Hanson Building Products North America. "Having produced 100,000 square feet of Hanson product for the project and precast elements for other residential and commercial buildings, Hanson is more than prepared to service this growing segment of the precast market."
Element is among the first ventures into multi-level housing for the building's developer, Robert Megna, director of urban development for John Laing Homes. Designed by Cuningham Group Architects, including project executive Jonathan Watts, the exposed, high ceilings of the double tee floor slabs give this Class I structure an urban, industrial feel. Lawrence Ho, project engineer for Englekirk Partners oversaw the project that appeals to baby boomers and young professionals.
"Precast concrete construction has many benefits, both environmental and structural, that are a great fit for the residential market," said Ed Wopschall, president of Hanson Structural Precast. "We could not have done this without Amer Soudani, director of business development at Hanson Structural Precast Pacific and look forward to working on many more projects like Element."
This construction method allows for greater freedom in designing the layout of a unit. The double tee floor slabs are strong enough to allow for significant amounts of uninterrupted floor space with no load-bearing walls, reducing the cost of construction materials. Concrete construction also acts as a sound dampening mechanism. This natural sound barrier coupled with Enkasonic sound-control matting creates even more privacy for Element residents.
Precast concrete construction has many advantages, especially for disaster prone areas. One of the strongest building methods around, precast concrete construction is more resistant to earthquakes, hurricanes, fire, tornadoes and high winds than conventional building methods. Construction time is greatly reduced as the precast elements of the building can be manufactured off-site. The precast concrete portions of Element took only four weeks to build. The building has "green" benefits as well; since the concrete used was produced specifically for this building, construction waste was minimized. Concrete is also a long-lasting material that can be manufactured with recycled materials.
Hanson Structural Precast, based in Irwindale, Calif. is comprised of three regional components, including Hanson Structural Precast Pacific in Irwindale and Chula Vista, Calif., Hanson Structural Precast Midwest in Minneapolis and Eagle Precast with facilities in Salt Lake City and Caldwell, Idaho. The division's 600 employees produce several products, including those used for commercial, residential and department of transportation projects such as hollow-core planks, girders, columns, double tees, stairs, spandrels, walls, insulated wall panels and architectural precast.