Movable Studcast Walls are Good Design-Build Concrete Option By Aaron Chusid
Add tight schedules on which a design-build project will operate and the importance of project completion on time and under budget, and the pressure is even greater. With a few adjustments and alternatives, however, de- sign-builders have some options when faced with a project that demands a freestanding concrete wall.
When addressing the needs of such walls, a new system of lightweight, relocatable and reusable concrete wall panels can meet the need, eliminate downside risk and reduce waste. This cost-effective option meets needs such as jobsite fencing, traffic control, security barriers, storage and a host of other applications that, in the end, can save design-builders time and money.
The Idaho National Guard, for example, recently purchased such a system of lightweight, movable wall pan- els made of studcast concrete. Developed by Ecolite Concrete USA Inc., the wall panels were supplied by DBIA member RQ Construction, an Ecolite licensee in Carlsbad, Calif., and fabricated at their manufacturing facilities in Moreno Valley, Calif. The 3,000 linear feet of panels are a reconfigurable system being used for a variety of troop training exercises.
“The Guard needed a system that was easily relocatable and extremely stable without permanent foundations,” says George Rogers, RQ Construction CEO. The freestanding units are each six feet wide, 0 feet long and 7.5 inches thick. They stand on steel feet that can be rotated entirely underneath the panel, allowing the units to be shipped and stored flat, then moved into position quickly. Made of a special lightweight concrete, each unit weighs only 2,00 pounds, just 35 pounds per square foot or 20 pounds per linear foot of wall.
“The Guard considered a tall, modified Jersey barrier, similar to ones being used in Iraq,” Rogers says, “but that option was far too heavy.” Even a conventional Jersey barrier — only 2.5 feet tall and two feet wide at the base, tapering to six inches wide at the top — weighs about 600 pounds per linear foot. A 6’ x 0’ x 7.5” slab of conven- tional concrete would weigh approximately 5,400 pounds and would require an additional heavy support system.
The range of uses the Guard has found for these walls illustrates the possibility for increased design-build use in a variety of applications such as site fences, security, screen walls, fire safety, traffic control, crowd control and more.
Originally, the units for the Idaho project were specified purely as perimeter wall. As the project developed, how- ever, performance specifications expanded to require panels that would be stable as troops climbed them. On the training range, they have been configured as a maze-like controlled entry point, to train troops in vehicle-search procedures.
The studcast wall panels can deploy with little or no site preparation. And with the land borrowed from the Bu- reau of Land Management, the Guard must return it to the owner in its original condition with no permanent foundations installed.
D AT E L I N E
Published in Design-Build DATELINE November 2008
A durable and secure freestanding concrete wall is often necessary, but the time and expense of building one can be prohibitive. This is especially true if the need is temporary, as additional costs to demolish and dispose of the wall can add up.
Reprinted with permission of the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Visit www.DBIA.org for more info