Frequently Asked Questions

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General FAQs

The best way to get started is to speak with a sales representative. They will offer advice and guidance on how to design and build the structure in the most cost-effective way. A sales representative will also help with any questions about color, finishes, panel sizing, installation process, and logistics. Pre-construction is another tool used to help a client get started with precast concrete, we are able to offer a sales model and early design assist help. 

There are four (4) compelling reasons to choose architectural precast concrete for your building's exterior:

1. Architectural precast is the only cladding material that permits you, the designer, to custom design shape, color, texture, and pattern - only you control your building's unique, custom exterior look.

2. Architectural precast enables you to enclose your building's exterior in a small fraction of the time versus most all other cladding materials - this reduces construction cost dramatically and provides your client much earlier occupancy.

3. Proven low initial cost. Architectural precast concrete is used widely by office building developers nationwide. They tell us it is their cladding material of choice because it offers a high quality "look" at a very economical price.

4. Long term maintenance is almost negligible. All you need to do is re-caulk the precast joints after 15 to 20 years.

The possibilities for using precast concrete systems for building projects are nearly endless. Precast concrete checks the box for a variety of buildings such as: offices, schools for all ages, student housing, retail, prisons, government buildings, sports arenas, stadiums, data centers, and more.

High Concrete Group is recognized as a leader in its field providing over 75 years of high-quality products and award-winning structures.

While being PCI-Certified, High Concrete meets and represents premium products that are held to a specific standard that we need to continue to exceed. 

Our whole operation is conducted indoors in a temperature-controlled environment to eliminate any mishaps and inconsistencies. 

Along with high-quality products, our team provides service in every department throughout the whole process. Sales to engineering then the project management and production. We are there for every step to help you succeed in your goal. 

Structural Parking FAQs

Care should be taken in keeping the stiff elements away from the extremities of a garage, but when this is done, it is possible to build a garage up to 325 feet in length without the need for an expansion joint. Attention must also be given to diaphragm loads, and the spacing of shear walls.

When the overall height of the structure is not a problem, we recommend floor to floor heights of 10' - 4" as a minimum. This will provide a clear height of 7' - 6" for each level within the structure, and will help in making the garage feel more open as well as improving the lighting and the visibility of signage. Additional clearance is sometimes required to meet ADA requirements.

The most effective way is to ensure that the deck members are cast with good quality concrete cast in plant controlled conditions. A low water-cement ratio is extremely critical in providing a long lasting durable parking deck. We typically recommend a water-cement ratio of .36 or less. This is a more effective method than use of corrosion inhibitors. Galvanized or epoxy coated reinforcing is not recommended, and may, in fact, reduce the service life of a garage.

For most structures, shear walls are a better solution than moment frames. Shear walls can be provided with little or no cost impact to a structure, since these walls can also be designed to carry gravity loads, thus replacing beams and columns. An example of this is an interior "light" wall, which is a cost-effective way to support tees on a ramp, but also, the "light" wall in an effective shear wall to resist loads in its long direction. The "light" wall has an added benefit as well in that it is more open than a system of columns and crossing spandrels.

Yes, we typically warp tees to accoomidate drainage. 

Architectural Enclosure FAQs

Yes, but only if shapes are repetitive. It costs considerably more to create an original mold (or form) for complex shapes/profiles. However, if 20 to 30 castings are made from a single mold, the cost is amortized over all of the castings, reducing the premium to a nominal amount per casting.

There are four (4) compelling reasons to choose architectural precast concrete for your building's exterior:

1. Architectural precast is the only cladding material that permits you, the designer, to custom design shape, color, texture, and pattern - only you control your building's unique, custom exterior look.

2. Architectural precast enables you to enclose your building's exterior in a small fraction of the time versus most all other cladding materials - this reduces construction cost dramatically and provides your client much earlier occupancy.

3. Proven low initial cost. Architectural precast concrete is used widely by office building developers nationwide. They tell us it is their cladding material of choice because it offers a high quality "look" at a very economical price.

4. Long term maintenance is almost negligible. All you need to do is re-caulk the precast joints after 15 to 20 years.

Certainly! We encourage you to do so. For a minimal additional cost (some additional reinforcing and minor additional connection cost) architectural precast concrete can become a terrific load-bearing element.

The most important thing you can do is call 1.800.PRECAST to involve your HCG representative as early as possible in the development of your project's architectural precast application. Our sales representatives are trained to help designers maximize the value of their precast design. For example, how a precast exterior is panelized can affect cost significantly with little or no difference in appearance. Also, a designer can employ important features such as reveals, rustication joints, medallions, form liner patterns, etc. at very little additional cost, but only if such features are used repeatedly (avoiding costly, frequent form changes). It's important to know what design techniques to use and when to use them. Contact your High sales representative.

Small precast pieces usually cost much more per square foot than large pieces (pieces 100 sq. ft. or larger) because handling costs (i.e., stripping, finishing, yarding & loading, hoisting and connections) are similar for small and large pieces. The cost for handling small pieces is distributed over fewer square feet per piece than in large panels so that the handling cost per square foot for small panels is greater than for large panels. Where possible, combine small pieces with adjacent precast pieces.

Multiple mixes will increase cost. Consult your High representatives before finalizing your design, because some mix and/or finish combinations require more additional labor than others.

We are certain that you, as well as your client, expect your building's exterior to become the high quality realization of your design's intent. And the best assurance that your project will be a high quality result is to rely upon the industry's only truly independent certification program - PCI's plant certification program.

There are numerous ways in which precast color uniformity can be enhanced.

Use a retarded finish. This exposes the coarse aggregate, permitting the coarse aggregate's uniform natural color to "carry" the panel's color. In doing so, be certain to use a color compatible matrix (sand/cement/pigment), in order to mask any uneven coarse aggregate dispersion.

Use white cement instead of gray cement whenever possible. White cement's color control is excellent. Gray cement manufacturers do not attempt to control color. Thus, gray cement color can vary widely even within a single SUPPLIER, causing significant precast color variations.

Remove a sufficient amount of the as-cast concrete's surface. All concrete is blotchy when left as-cast. The surface "paste" or "skin" must be removed in order to reveal the true concrete color. For example, light acid etching is apt to result in a blotchy or shaded appearance because the acid does not remove all of the surface "paste" or "skin". Therefore, acid-etched finishes should be deep enough to reveal the tips of the coarse aggregate. Likewise, lightly sandblasted finishes should reveal some coarse aggregate, in order to appear reasonably uniform.

Avoid large planes of smooth, uninterrupted surfaces. If the eye has nothing to focus upon except large expanses of plain, smooth concrete surfaces, it will perceive minute panel to panel color differences. If instead, such large surfaces are interrupted by rusticated joint patterns, plane changes, and/or mix/finish changes, the eye will be drawn to these features making slight color variations, panel to panel, almost indistinguishable and unimportant.

Avoid using pigments in very small dosages. Pigment content, as a percentage of the total ingredients in a concrete batch, is very small. As that percentage diminishes, the likelihood of increased pigment content variation, batch to batch, goes up dramatically causing noticeable color variation.

Cost Consideration FAQs

Multiple mixes will increase cost. Consult your High representatives before finalizing your design, because some mix and/or finish combinations require more additional labor than others.

Yes, but only if shapes are repetitive. It costs considerably more to create an original mold (or form) for complex shapes/profiles. However, if 20 to 30 castings are made from a single mold, the cost is amortized over all of the castings, reducing the premium to a nominal amount per casting.

The most important thing you can do is call 1.800.PRECAST to involve your HCG representative as early as possible in the development of your project's architectural precast application. Our sales representatives are trained to help designers maximize the value of their precast design. For example, how a precast exterior is panelized can affect cost significantly with little or no difference in appearance. Also, a designer can employ important features such as reveals, rustication joints, medallions, form liner patterns, etc. at very little additional cost, but only if such features are used repeatedly (avoiding costly, frequent form changes). It's important to know what design techniques to use and when to use them. Contact your High sales representative.

Small precast pieces usually cost much more per square foot than large pieces (pieces 100 sq. ft. or larger) because handling costs (i.e., stripping, finishing, yarding & loading, hoisting and connections) are similar for small and large pieces. The cost for handling small pieces is distributed over fewer square feet per piece than in large panels so that the handling cost per square foot for small panels is greater than for large panels. Where possible, combine small pieces with adjacent precast pieces.

Precast is a product that is aesthetically versatile, thermally efficient, low maintenance, environmentally friendly, and resilient.

Very little information is needed to start an estimate. Please provide a sketch, rendering, or early design documents. While not much information is needed the more information that is provided enables us to be able to provide you with a tighter and more accurate estimate. Additional items that will help to determine an estimate are; color, finish, applied finishes, location, site access, and over all building size (precast SF). 

There are many benefits of working with precast. Including: working with a one trade, non-union labor for manufacturing, speed of construction, durability which requires less maintenance, and a quality product. Pre-stressed panels offer the ability to span greater distances than most building materials, in turn, reducing the number of pieces needed to complete your project.

Design Consideration FAQs

There are four (4) compelling reasons to choose architectural precast concrete for your building's exterior:

1. Architectural precast is the only cladding material that permits you, the designer, to custom design shape, color, texture, and pattern - only you control your building's unique, custom exterior look.

2. Architectural precast enables you to enclose your building's exterior in a small fraction of the time versus most all other cladding materials - this reduces construction cost dramatically and provides your client much earlier occupancy.

3. Proven low initial cost. Architectural precast concrete is used widely by office building developers nationwide. They tell us it is their cladding material of choice because it offers a high quality "look" at a very economical price.

4. Long term maintenance is almost negligible. All you need to do is re-caulk the precast joints after 15 to 20 years.

There are numerous ways in which precast color uniformity can be enhanced.

Use a retarded finish. This exposes the coarse aggregate, permitting the coarse aggregate's uniform natural color to "carry" the panel's color. In doing so, be certain to use a color compatible matrix (sand/cement/pigment), in order to mask any uneven coarse aggregate dispersion.

Use white cement instead of gray cement whenever possible. White cement's color control is excellent. Gray cement manufacturers do not attempt to control color. Thus, gray cement color can vary widely even within a single SUPPLIER, causing significant precast color variations.

Remove a sufficient amount of the as-cast concrete's surface. All concrete is blotchy when left as-cast. The surface "paste" or "skin" must be removed in order to reveal the true concrete color. For example, light acid etching is apt to result in a blotchy or shaded appearance because the acid does not remove all of the surface "paste" or "skin". Therefore, acid-etched finishes should be deep enough to reveal the tips of the coarse aggregate. Likewise, lightly sandblasted finishes should reveal some coarse aggregate, in order to appear reasonably uniform.

Avoid large planes of smooth, uninterrupted surfaces. If the eye has nothing to focus upon except large expanses of plain, smooth concrete surfaces, it will perceive minute panel to panel color differences. If instead, such large surfaces are interrupted by rusticated joint patterns, plane changes, and/or mix/finish changes, the eye will be drawn to these features making slight color variations, panel to panel, almost indistinguishable and unimportant.

Avoid using pigments in very small dosages. Pigment content, as a percentage of the total ingredients in a concrete batch, is very small. As that percentage diminishes, the likelihood of increased pigment content variation, batch to batch, goes up dramatically causing noticeable color variation.

We are certain that you, as well as your client, expect your building's exterior to become the high quality realization of your design's intent. And the best assurance that your project will be a high quality result is to rely upon the industry's only truly independent certification program - PCI's plant certification program.

The most important thing you can do is call 1.800.PRECAST to involve your HCG representative as early as possible in the development of your project's architectural precast application. Our sales representatives are trained to help designers maximize the value of their precast design. For example, how a precast exterior is panelized can affect cost significantly with little or no difference in appearance. Also, a designer can employ important features such as reveals, rustication joints, medallions, form liner patterns, etc. at very little additional cost, but only if such features are used repeatedly (avoiding costly, frequent form changes). It's important to know what design techniques to use and when to use them. Contact your High sales representative.

Small precast pieces usually cost much more per square foot than large pieces (pieces 100 sq. ft. or larger) because handling costs (i.e., stripping, finishing, yarding & loading, hoisting and connections) are similar for small and large pieces. The cost for handling small pieces is distributed over fewer square feet per piece than in large panels so that the handling cost per square foot for small panels is greater than for large panels. Where possible, combine small pieces with adjacent precast pieces.

The possibilities for using precast concrete systems for building projects are nearly endless. Precast concrete checks the box for a variety of buildings such as: offices, schools for all ages, student housing, retail, prisons, government buildings, sports arenas, stadiums, data centers, and more.

Precast is the most versatile of building systems. Its ability to adapt to many different functions makes it a favorite of architects, engineers, and contractors alike.

The Architectural Certification Categories are differentiated by the
the complexity of the architectural elements and the allowable
dimensional tolerances.

For more detail go to this matrix to clarify. 

Engineering Consideration FAQs

Certainly! We encourage you to do so. For a minimal additional cost (some additional reinforcing and minor additional connection cost) architectural precast concrete can become a terrific load-bearing element.

Small precast pieces usually cost much more per square foot than large pieces (pieces 100 sq. ft. or larger) because handling costs (i.e., stripping, finishing, yarding & loading, hoisting and connections) are similar for small and large pieces. The cost for handling small pieces is distributed over fewer square feet per piece than in large panels so that the handling cost per square foot for small panels is greater than for large panels. Where possible, combine small pieces with adjacent precast pieces.

Yes, but only if shapes are repetitive. It costs considerably more to create an original mold (or form) for complex shapes/profiles. However, if 20 to 30 castings are made from a single mold, the cost is amortized over all of the castings, reducing the premium to a nominal amount per casting.

There are many benefits of working with precast. Including: working with a one trade, non-union labor for manufacturing, speed of construction, durability which requires less maintenance, and a quality product. Pre-stressed panels offer the ability to span greater distances than most building materials, in turn, reducing the number of pieces needed to complete your project.

Sustainability FAQs

The United Nations Brundtland Commission Report (1987) defined sustainable development and urged the world to take note: “Sustainable development is that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” A growing global population is straining the finite resources available on the planet. Sustainability seems to balance the economic, social, and environmental impacts, recognizing that population growth will continue. Sustainable development brings this evaluation to the design and construction industries, which have significant potential to reduce the negative impact of human activities on the environment.

Most project teams perform a comprehensive life-cycle cost assessment (LCC) prior to defining their sustainable goals for the project. The LCC predicts how long it will take to recoup the additional first cost.

More and more local, regional, and national government agencies require sustainable building practices or LEED certification. The General Services Administration (GSA), U.S. Army, Department of State Department of Energy (DOE). And Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adopting LEED or similar green-building standards. Twenty-five states including California, New York, Washington, and Oregon have adopted LEED as have over 100 municipalities.

Precast concrete contributes to green building practices in significant ways. The lower water-cement ratios possible with precast concrete (in the range of 0.36 to 0.38) mean that it can be extremely durable. The thermal mass of concrete allows the shifting of peak heating and cooling loads in a structure to help reduce mechanical-system requirements. Because precast concrete is factory-made, there is little waste created in the plant (most plants employ exact-batching technologies) and it reduces construction waste and debris on site, reducing construction indoor air quality concerns. The load-carrying capacities, optimized cross-sections, and long spans possible with precast concrete members help eliminate redundant members, and concrete readily accommodates recycled content.

About High Concrete FAQs

High Concrete covers the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-West territories for precast concrete elements. That would include the below states:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Michigan

We also offer our ThinCast Rainscreen panel system, unlike the precast concrete panels that are large and too costly to ship, ThinCast services all states east of the Mississippi River. 

We produce both structural and architectural precast concrete at High Concrete Group. This means we produce precast concrete elements that are used for architectural facade needs (load-bearing, non-load-bearing, insulated, decorative), structural internal elements that support and can be used to produce a building or parking structure, and in addition to the project, we would also add elements like signage and bollards for safety and cohesiveness.

That includes a wide variety of products that you can reference on our components page

If you need assistance on a project, you would first want to reach out to the sales representative that covers the territory of the project you are working on. They will be able to assist you and provide you with answers or the best contact needed.

Sales Representatives

High Concrete Group is recognized as a leader in its field providing over 75 years of high-quality products and award-winning structures.

While being PCI-Certified, High Concrete meets and represents premium products that are held to a specific standard that we need to continue to exceed. 

Our whole operation is conducted indoors in a temperature-controlled environment to eliminate any mishaps and inconsistencies. 

Along with high-quality products, our team provides service in every department throughout the whole process. Sales to engineering then the project management and production. We are there for every step to help you succeed in your goal. 

Types of Aggregate

Colors & Finishes

With precast concrete, the aesthetic versatility of the product leads to endless possibilities for your next design. 

Go from one applied finish to exposed aggregate back to the applied finish all within the same panel!

Learn More
Structural concrete beams

Components

Descriptions for each element and what purpose it is utilized for can enhance your drawings and expectations for your project. 

Learn More
Touching graphic concrete panel

Graphic Concrete®

Impart patterns, branding, or signage on large-scale precast concrete surfaces is just the beginning of what this product can offer for your next project.

Learn More
AugmentedRealityBIM

BIM

Augmented reality can help bring your project to life before construction even starts. See what your project looks like in 3D with our top of the line team at High Concrete.

Learn More

TAKE YOUR PROJECT HIGHER

Have a question? Need assistance with how precast can meet your needs? That's what we are here for. Fill out this form to provide our team with a few details about your project and we will get back to you.

Thanks for your interest. We'll be in touch should your experience and interests be a match.