Design guides

During the I 970s a number of guides were produced to assist the designer to determine the panel size, shape and composition and to select the surface finish in relationship to the appropriate method of casting the panel, many of which are still relevant today. Guides were produced by the Cement and Concrete Association (now the British Cement Association) and the British Precast Concrete Federation.

1.2 Precast fin units in the manufacturer's yard, painted and awaiting transportation to the LDDC Pumping Station on the Isle of Dogs (architect: John Outram).

Useful advice based on American experience was given in the Pre-Stressed Concrete Institute (1973) guide Architectural Precast Concrete. Types of finishes related to the method of casting (face up or face down) were covered in articles in the Architects' Journal by Michael Gage (23 March 1969), later developed as a book by the Architectural Press (Gage, I 974). Gilchrist Wilson's (I 963) Concrete Facing Slabs gives examples of surface finishes, using colour

illustrations. R. A. Hartland's (1975) book Design of Precast Concrete covered all aspects of precast concrete design, including cladding. Detailing of non-loadbearing precast concrete cladding panels for concrete-framed buildings was also described by Brookes andYeomans (I 98 I) as part of the Architects' Journal's Art of Construction series.

A most useful source of guidance on panel design was produced by the PSA Method of Building

Branch (1978) as the result of a comprehensive survey of Industry methods by the National Building Agency. This gave guidance on such points as:

- panel types and size limitations;

- panel web thickness;

- design of vertical strengthening ribs;

- removal of moisture from behind panels;

- open drained joints;

- baffle strips, air seals and flashings;

- fixings for panels (cleats and dowels).

Another publication by the Architectural Cladding Association (Dawson, 1995) updated this information and showed recent case studies of the use of precast concrete. It also included a good account of the history of architectural concrete.

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