The word concrete may invoke images of unattractive, boxy buildings that can turn a streetscape into an aesthetically cold environment. Seeking to change the way concrete is both formed and used – as well as viewed – is High Concrete Structures, Inc., which has revolutionized the manufacture of pre-cast concrete.
With the recent introductions of the new MEGA-SPAN™ construction system, clients are clamoring for the confidence of a High Concrete structure. Since 1996, annual sales have nearly tripled to over $90 million.
Breaking the Mold
High Concrete Structures was founded in 1956 as Kurtz Pre-cast. In 1977, it became part of High Industries, Inc. of Lancaster, Pa. Based in Denver, Pa., High Concrete Structures has positioned itself as a viable segment of the High Industries family of companies that includes:
• High Steel Structures, Inc., focusing on steel fabrication and erection, crane rentals, rigging and specialized oversized/overweight hauling.
• Producer Solutions, producing plastic embedment products for the precast concrete industry.
• High Steel Service Center, Inc. handling carbon steel processing and distribution.
• High Safety Consulting, Ltd., focusing on occupational safety and health consulting and training services.
• High Food Services, Ltd., an industrial/office food service supplier.
• High Employee Services, Ltd. Providing temporary, temporary-to-hire and permanent placement staffing services.
• High Real Estate Group, providing single-source, customized real estate solutions.
• High Associates, Ltd, which provides industrial/commercial brokerage, leasing, and development; asset and property management; corporate real estate services appraisal services
• High Construction, Inc., handling
commercial, industrial and institutional builder.
• Greenfield Architects, Ltd. and High Investors, Ltd.., handling real
• High Hotels, Ltd., focusing on hotel development, ownership and management.
In this diverse array of companies, High Concrete has achieved distinction by creating pre-cast concrete structures that are unparalleled in structural strength, flexibility, quality, aesthetics and, of course, cost. These components can be found across the United States in parking structures, architectural facades, wall systems, stadiums, arenas, prisons, office buildings and warehouses.
All concrete is not created equal and in the case of High Concrete, inequality is synonymous with creative design and form. Not only has the company taken the physical properties of pre-cast concrete to new levels but the aesthetic ones as well. That’s right. Concrete can be, well, pretty.
With more and more construction projects popping up in and around residential areas, High Concrete understands the importance of curb appeal. Equally, adding a variety of pigments and aggregates can provide a wide range of textures including smooth, ribbed, sandblasted and exposed aggregate finishes. Perhaps the most important part of the quality mark of High Concrete happens before the products even get to the construction site.
Quality Number One
High Concrete Structures is certified by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), which enforces the most rigid standards to assure durability, strength and performance as well as appearance. The factory conditions at High Concrete Structures allow pre-cast concrete to be manufactured with a low water/cement ratio for greater impermeability and strength and minimal shrinkage-related cracking. The conditions also allow for temperature and humidity control during the curing stage, which helps concrete quickly attain its strength, ensuring its durability and resistance to chemical attack.
High Concrete Structures’ factory pre-cast concrete is high strength, attaining a minimum of 5,000 psi and higher. Precisely controlled entrained air increases the concrete’s ability to withstand thermal contraction and expansion, preventing surface scaling and cracking.
Stronger, Faster, Better
Providing a better product simply wasn’t enough for High Concrete Structures. In January 2002, the company introduced the MEGA-SPAN system to make pre-cast office structures better, faster and even more affordable to build.
While the MEGA-SPAN system saves money, it also saves on construction time. MEGA-SPAN’s bigger bays mean longer spans with fewer interior columns, increased net usable floor area and more workspace flexibility than other kinds of office construction. Whether building four stories or 40, customers will enjoy the safety, comfort and quality of precast construction that results from outstanding fire, thermal and acoustical performance, superior strength and durability.
Precast integral structure and enclosure systems, similar to MEGA-SPAN, have been used across the country for more than a quarter century. These systems enable faster and better construction and significantly reduce construction and development costs by eliminating expensive structural redundancies and costly delays created by the multiple suppliers and trades required to furnish and install other superstructure enclosure systems. Other significant benefits of the MEGA-SPAN include:
• Reduces foundation superstructure and enclosure construction time by 40 to 50 percent.
• Eliminates hassles and delays caused by multiple trades.
• Saves even more time if used with High Concrete’s fast-track design support service.
• Speeds time to occupancy by 20 to 30 percent.
• Saves 10 to 30 percent on foundation, superstructure and enclosure costs.
• Reduces operating costs such as insurance, energy and maintenance.
Another important feature of MEGA-SPAN is that it increases net usable – and rentable – floor areas. Larger bays dramatically reduce the number of columns within the interior of the building, making MEGA-SPAN’S unique, column-free, open floor plan of high value to architects, space planners and facility managers who need maximum flexibility when configuring workstations.
The MEGA-SPAN system ultimately beat all other forms of commercial construction in cost and time savings including steel and brick, steel and pre-cast and cast-in-place methods. MEGA-SPAN can reach completion on a project nearly 15 weeks faster than the cast-in-place method.
The “building blocks” of the MEGA-SPAN system include the 15-foot-wide MEGA TEE, structural spandrel, exterior column, interior column, girder, shear wall and stair system. Twenty-five to 50 percent wider than conventional tees, the MEGA TEE has been adapted for use as an office floor and dual-depth plenum system. MEGA TEE significantly reduces the number of pieces it takes to construct a building. As a result, pre-cast is now a superior choice, with faster on-site erection times and lower first costs than conventional building systems.
Additionally, the shallow depth of the MEGA-TEE – only 22 inches – yields a clear plenum depth of 45 inches in one direction and 26 inches in the other. Regularly spaced openings in MEGA TEE legs and load-bearing MEGA-TEE girders enable unobstructed runs for plumbing, sprinkler, electrical and data systems in the plenum area above HVAC ductwork.
Seeking to redefine the way in which concrete structures are built – and seen – High Concrete continues to build a future using the old adage “form follows function” to create durability as well as curbside appeal. “We Set the Highest Standards” is part of the High Concrete philosophy, a mentality that is embedded into the company’s business culture and will no doubt enable High Concrete to extend its expertise well into the 21st century.