Brief

Precast concrete is an ideal material for college housing projects due to the need for accelerated construction, low cost, fire resistance, soundproofing and insulation, writes Peter Aranyi, principal and senior vice president at Clark Nexsen. Aranyi outlines the role of precast in various projects at Clemson University, Western Carolina University and Virginia Tech.

 

Insight

When it comes to designing and building new student housing, speed is typically of the essence as colleges and universities are eager to get those beds online as quickly as possible. For schools in regions with inclement winter weather, speed takes on additional meaning: getting dried in before cold temperatures and bad weather arrives ensures construction can keep moving forward despite outdoor conditions.

A variety of material solutions are emerging to accelerate construction timelines, and precast concrete has become an attractive option. The stacking nature of living units make precast and student housing uniquely well-suited to each other.

Alongside the need for speed is the importance of ensuring an engaging student life experience, which is critical for student success and retention. The most effective student housing design works with these systems to create the open, inviting social spaces that are fundamental to fostering connections between students.

CAPITALIZING ON SPEED, COST, AND OTHER SIDE BENEFITS

Precast concrete systems offer a number of advantages: the building(s) go up faster, the overall project cost is often lower, and side benefits like inherent fire rating, sound proofing, and insulation add extra appeal. No system is perfect – concrete is rigid, gets poor marks for embodied carbon, and has limitations in terms of spans and floor-to-floor height – but the product offers an undeniable value in the multi-unit housing world.

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