Building Up with Precast Concrete Panels – Part II
In our last blog, we explored the use of Superior Walls Xi PlusTM panels in the construction of a 35-unit independent living residence for seniors in Canada. But that’s only part of the story.
One of the most beneficial aspects of using precast concrete panels on the 51 Kaatz Drive project came in the construction of the four-story elevator shaft.
While concrete block construction has been the industry standard for elevator shafts in years past, the fast installation of Superior Walls products speeds up the construction schedule. As well, these walls remain non-combustible and heat transfer is minimized as they are insulated panels.
“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,” says Ray Wentz, special projects manager at Superior Walls by Magnis. “A zone delineated by concrete within a building can provide escape routes during a fire by maintaining structural integrity and allowing people to get away 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.”
Constructing an Elevator Shaft
During the construction of 51 Kaatz Drive, the Superior Walls precast concrete panels were placed in the elevator shaft with the concrete side faced inward and with a fire guard facing outside. The exterior facing wall was covered with 5/8” drywall providing the structure with its appropriate fire rating.
“The new technology in precast concrete panel construction is now better suited to Canadian conditions,” says Wentz. “We are able to apply an integrated rigid foam insulation component to the panels that brings it up to a R24 rating. Combined with the speed of installation on the job site, this is a real win for the construction industry.”
In 2012 the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) declared that Superior Walls precast concrete insulated wall panels were evaluated for use in Canada.