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Precast builds houses in 10 days

Published on Thursday, 11 July 2013 00:00
Malaya Business News Online - Philippine Business News | Online News Philippines
Mass housing developer 8990 Housing Development Corp. (8990 HDC) has been refining its precast concrete  construction method for the past two decades. It has been using the technology in the Philippines primarily under the brand name Deca Homes.
Construction using precast concrete involves casting and curing reinforced concrete in a controlled environment, before transporting them to construction sites for lifting, assembly, and finishing. The whole process allows the construction of housing units in just 8 to 10 days, compared to the traditional method of piling hollow blocks on top of each other, which requires around 45-60 days.
“One of the reasons behind the adoption of precast technology is to ensure quality of the houses,” said Jesus Atencio, president of Deca Homes.
In keeping up with Deca Homes’ strict quality assurance protocols, the concrete walls are cast in onsite factories. Quality control and quality assurance protocols are applied and followed in every activity, to ensure quality in both aesthetics and structural integrity.
The streamlined process allows different processes to be done simultaneously—while the concrete walls are curing, work already starts for the installation of foundation and ground slabs, where provisions for water and sanitary lines are already in place. After 24 hours, the load-bearing precast walls are placed in position via hydraulic cranes. Welding, roof framing, and roof installation are also done on the same day.
Work on plumbing and electrical fixtures, counters, and wall finish takes a bulk of the construction time. Bathroom fixtures, electrical finishes, windows, and door knobs are usually installed before the sixth day ends. The last day is used for interior and exterior cleaning, as well as for any finishing touches that might be required.
Aside from being considerably faster than conventional building methods, one of the advantages of Deca Homes’ precast building system is concrete strength. Compared to conventional hollow block walls that can withstand around 800 pounds of force per square inch (psi), precast walls are designed to withstand about 4,800 psi.
“This degree of strength lends numerous structural benefits to the finished house” says Engr. Ace Sotto, Deca Homes GM for Construction. “But the real reason why it has to be that strong, is for it to survive being lifted in one piece.”
The amount of labor necessary to build a house is also greatly reduced—precast technology eliminates the need to manually construct beams and columns, since they are already embedded in the precast walls. Manual work on masonry and plastering is also lessened, further trimming labor costs.
By significantly saving on time, material, and labor, Deca Homes is able to reduce the price of its housing units.
With the systemic building and pricing strategies, the company has turned over more than 41,000 housing units to date. In 2013, the company aims to build an additional 7,800 units nationwide.
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