DOES FABCON MAKE THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE PRECAST AND THE STEEL?If the temporary shore or permanent steel system(s) is used and the structural steel is in place prior to erecting the precast, then Fabcon crews will make the welded connections between the steel and precast systems. In the case where the precast is installed first, either Fabcon or the steel erector may make the connections which will be resolved, typically at the time of bidding, pending individual projects requirements.
DOES THE STEEL HAVE TO BE ERECTED PRIOR TO THE PRECAST INSTALLATION?With the Fabcon precast system, either the steel or precast can be erected first. In the case where the structural steel is erected prior to precast, this is referred to as a temporary shore system. In the case where the precast is erected prior to the steel, referred to as "freestanding", wall braces are installed to support the walls until the diaphragm is complete.
DOES FABCON SET THE STEEL AND/OR POUR THE FOOTINGS?Fabcon does not set structural steel other than miscellaneous sections which attach to our wall panels. Neither does Fabcon install footings. We only design, manufacture, and install the precast wall panels.
WHAT IS FABCON’S DEFINITION OF A KEYWAY?A keyway is a trough created in the footing into which the panel is set. The inside edge of the keyway determines the interior building line as panels with standard finish are set tight to the inside edge of the keyway. The depth of the keyway is typically 3", allowing shim space to adjust the panels to align bands and/or height of openings. The keyway is a minimum 15" wide for 12" Versa Core panels and 11" or 12" wide for 8" or 8½" Versa Core panels. Fabcon typically fills the keyway with grout after the panels have been erected.
WHERE DOES FABCON USE GROUT, AND WHAT TYPE OF GROUT IS USED?Typically, we use grout at a keyed or flat footing connection. When setting on top of a foundation wall, Fabcon uses shims in lieu of grout. Fabcon utilizes a standard 3:1 sand/mix grout to fill the keyway/grout space to lock the wall panels in place. This cementious mix fills the shim space between the footing and wall panel to lock the panel in place, thus preventing lateral movement. It is not necessary to use a non-shrink grout and is not designed to be waterproof.
WHERE DO YOU PRODUCE FABCON WALL PANELS?Fabcon currently has four plant locations: Savage, MN; Grove City, OH; Mahanoy, PA; and Pleasanton, KS.
WHAT IS PRESTRESSING?Prestressing refers to the steel tendons reinforcing the wall panels. Steel tendons are placed in the form and exert tension (stretched) prior to the concrete being poured. This pretensioning takes advantage of steel's inherent tensile strength. The concrete is then cast around these pretensioned strands and is allowed to cure prior to the strand being released. The result is that the concrete bonds continuously along the strand's length, holding the steel in tension, while the steel holds the concrete in compression. The net result is the synergy of steel and concrete presenting a much stronger cross section than either product is capable independently.
HOW IS PRECAST CONCRETE DIFFERENT OR SIMILAR TO SITE CAST?Precast and site-cast panels are both concrete products and offer advantages over both CMU and metal. However, there are differences. Fabcon's precast concrete is manufactured in a controlled environment with highly skilled workers that specialize in the manufacture of precast concrete products. Precast concrete can be manufactured year round with consistent, documented quality. Site-cast concrete is subject to variable weather conditions and restrictive pouring conditions. Site-cast manufacturing limits access of other trades to the construction site and often impacts construction schedules. Site-cast requires pouring on the slab, and introduces possible damage or use of casting-beds on site, which further disrupt the site and add to cost and schedule.
WHAT KIND OF PRECAST DOES FABCON MAKE?Fabcon specializes in design, manufacture, and installation of structural precast concrete wall panels. These wall panels can be used in either a load bearing or non-load bearing configuration and are available in a variety of R-values as well as finishes. Fabcon also manufactures other concrete sections such as columns, traffic barriers, soundwalls and retaining wall systems.
WHAT SOUND WALL PRODUCTS DO YOU MAKE?Fabcon manufactures SentryCast reflective sound walls utilizing a vertical casting system, which allows finishes on both faces of the panels as well as wrapping the finish on the columns. Sound walls are available in a variety of textures simulating stone and masonry walls. This system offers the speed, efficiency, and durability of precast at more competitive prices than natural stone walls.
WHAT IS LEED?LEED stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" and is a voluntary green-building rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection and indoor environmental quality.
HOW CAN FABCON HELP ME QUALIFY FOR LEED CERTIFICATION?Various levels of LEED certification are based on a points system. The use of Fabcon's panels would qualify the building for a specific number of points based on the panel's recycled material content, energy efficiency and project location in relation to the location of the raw materials supplied on the specific building.
ARE FABCON’S WALL PANELS SUSTAINABLE?Yes. Concrete in general is a very green, or sustainable, product. Fabcon has taken sustainability to a new level with VersaCore technology, which replaces the hollow cores with EPS billets, increasing the energy efficiency of the panel while allowing cast-in openings. The evolution continues with VersaCore+, which further enhanced the energy efficiency and uses less raw materials through more efficient structural design. VersaCore+ Green uses higher recycled content while further increasing the energy efficiency, making it a contributing component in a project's qualification under LEED. Compared to conventional composite panel designs, VersaCore+ Green weighs 32% less than conventional composite panels while offering a 30% increase in R-values.
ARE FIRE RATINGS AVAILABLE?Yes. The Precast Concrete Institute (PCI) outlines calculations to determine various fire protection levels. VersaCore+ Green can be modified for "solid" areas to meet Fire Manual requirements for fire ratings up to four hours. Note that special treatment (fire stop material) of panel to panel joints is required for ratings beyond one hour.
WHAT SEISMIC RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE?Seismic design is a complex issue and is site specific; your engineer of record will need to determine the classification of your site. "B" and "C" ratings can be accomplished with the wall panels with additional reinforcing and connections. Seismic "D" is also available; however, the engineering and manufacturing changes are more substantial; and panels need special reinforcing "grids" which need additional lead-times. In most cases, the panels need to be solid concrete, which reduces energy efficiency and increases costs.
WHAT KINDS OF FINISHES DOES FABCON OFFER?Fabcon manufactures a wide variety of textures (rakes, ribs, imprint, flat, etc.) including both extruded and formside finishes with formliners. Exposed aggregate finishes can be accomplished as water-washed, formside exposed and different levels of sandblasting. Local and specialty aggregates are available on standard width (8') and special widths (up to 12' in MN & OH and 13'-6" in PA). A unique and popular finish is to cast brick into the precast wall panels. By casting brick into precast concrete wall panels, you eliminate the masonry grout of traditional brick construction. This eliminates "tuck-pointing" maintenance issues for the life of the building; it also eliminates the environmental impact and site disruption of brick construction. Cast-in brick is done with liners on the steel formside of the panels. Cast-in brick is available in several materials including traditional clay-fired concrete from various suppliers and a 100% recycled brick by VAST Manufacturing.
WHAT COLORS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE WALL PANELS?The standard finish on our precast concrete wall panels is a natural gray concrete, which will vary in color due to a variety of factors. Fabcon strongly recommends that they be painted or stained for aesthetic purposes. This application is not required to seal or protect the panels from air or moisture infiltration nor is it included in Fabcon's scope of work. The exposed aggregate and sandblasted panels are available in a variety of aggregates, typically local to each plant location. The matrix of exposed aggregate finishes will be tinted to compliment the natural color of the rock. The owner may select a different tint if so desired. Exotic aggregates can be shipped in from non-traditional sources at additional costs. However, aggregates not previously approved must be tested for compatibility and long term viability; this testing may impact the project lead-times. White cement is another color option for expose aggregate and sandblasted finishes.
ARE SANDBLASTING OR ACID-ETCHED FINISHES AVAILABLE?Custom finishes are available from Fabcon including sandblasting and acid etch. There are limitations to these finishes, please consult your sales engineer. Both finishes are available on the structural form side surface of the wall panels.
WHAT IMPRINT PATTERNS ARE AVAILABLE?Fabcon's top-finish process allows different imprint patterns applied to the exterior face. Patterns that simulate brick and/or block patterns are available; the flexibility extends to custom finishes that maximize the advantages of precast. Imprint patterns include 4" x 8" with a 1/2 running bond, 4" x 12" with a 1/3 running bond, 4" x 16" with a ½ running bond, 8" x 8" stack bond, 8" x 16" with a ½ running bond, and 16" x 16" stack bond. Also available are 4" on-center and 8" on-center horizontal imprint lines. Please consult your Fabcon sales contact for more information.
ARE FABCON PANELS FINISHED ON THE INSIDE?When the exterior finish is specified as ribs, rakes, water-washed exposed aggregate, imprints, etc., the interior building finish is the steel form side of the panel. However, when the steel form, smooth surface, is turned to the exterior, the interior finish can be a broom texture or a troweled finishes. In either case the steel form surface is high-density concrete and may contain small pit holes, which may require patching prior to finishing.
ARE FABCON WALL PANELS BETTER THAN BLOCK?Precast wall panels are superior to block construction in a variety of aspects. During construction, precast wall panels can be erected faster and under harsher weather conditions. Precast concrete is capable of handling greater structural loads, and offers greater energy efficiency while reducing long term maintenance costs. Fabcon precast concrete wall panels are also advantageous in terms of air and moisture infiltration.
HOW IS VERSACORE+GREEN DIFFERENT FROM VERSACORE+?VersaCore+Green builds on the success of the castellated design of VersaCore+, which is similar in concept to the steel industry. Fabcon determined that the webs, which are concrete "columns", are redundant in their structure and by removing concrete in specific areas (called drop-ins) reduce material without compromising structural performance. Each project, and in fact each panel, is designed to meet the specific requirements of your project, there is no set pattern of drop-ins. The result is an increase in the amount of face area that is insulated resulting in higher R-values. Also, the removal of concrete allows for the reduction in weight saving on freight and handling costs.
HOW TALL ARE FABCON’S WALL PANELS?Fabcon has designed, manufactured and installed wall panels more than 62 feet (varies from plant to plant) in length as a load bearing unit. For multi-story structures, we have erected precast, load bearing structures of sixteen (16) stories. Our load bearing units are a unique advantage to Fabcon's system of going to greater heights and carrying greater loads than competitive products.
HOW WIDE ARE FABCON’S PANELS?Fabcon’s precast concrete wall panels are available in widths up to 11'–11½" from the MN, OH and KS plants; and panels up to 13'–5½" are available in the PA plant. Majority of the volume is 7'–11½" width to most efficiently take advantage of freight. All panel widths are designed to accommodate a ½" caulk joint, resulting in an actual center-to-center dimension of 12', 13–6" and 8'–0" respectively.
HOW THICK ARE FABCON’S WALL PANELS?Panel thicknesses are available from 8" to 12" in depth depending on product type, finish, and amount of insulation. The 8" VersaCore+ Green wall panel incorporates the billet technology, creating the core in the panel. The cross section contains structural webs of concrete, which are continuous from the outside to interior surface. The 12" VersaCore+ Green insulated sandwich panel uses the same 8" VersaCore structural section but adds 2½" of continuous insulation and a 1½" finish facade. The advantage of the 12" insulated panel is the continuous insulation and isolation of the structure from thermal affects.
WHAT IS FABCONFabcon is an expert in precast and prestressed concrete products. Fabcon was first started in 1970 with incorporation in 1971. The first plant location was in Savage, Minnesota. In 1986, Fabcon, Inc. purchased the Span-Deck technology and became the franchise holder. In 1995, Fabcon expanded operations through the acquisition of American Precast plants near Indianapolis, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio. In 2001, Fabcon built a new, state of the art plant in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania to service the East Coast market. In 2001 Fabcon developed VersaCore technology. In 2015, FABCON opened a new state of the art plant in Pleasanton, Kansas to service the south central market.
IS FABCON A GENERAL CONTRACTOR?Fabcon is not a general contractor and typically subcontracts to general contractors. We will also work directly with owners who are acting as their own general contractor, or wish to use a construction manager to coordinate their work.
WHO ERECTS FABCON’S PRODUCT?Fabcon has historically erected all of our own products. Our field crews are union members and can work on any job site. Since they are Fabcon's employees, the same people are available to erect product on an open shop job site. Field erection crews are highly experienced and specialized in Fabcon products. Field crew can ensure a timely and quality installation of Fabcon products on your job. It also creates one-party responsibility (Fabcon) for the design, fabrication and installation of the wall panels.
WHAT QUALITY ASSURANCE PROGRAMS DOES FABCON HAVE?
Fabcon is a member of PCI (Precast Concrete Institute) and is subject to PCI's plant certification program. Fabcon is a PCI certified producer, an ISO (International Standards Organization) 9001, 2008 certified company and complies with ACI 318. In addition, Fabcon's field crews are PCI Certified Erectors. Please request a "Manufacturing and Installation Guidelines and Guide Specification" from your sales engineer.