Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering


Dr Gary Robinson


Design and performance of precast concrete structures

Project Title

Efficient use of Pre-fabricated Panel systems

Sponsoring Company

Structherm Ltd


Prof Simon Austin
Dr Alessandro Palmeri

Dr John Cotton
Mr B Edmondson

Director of Research:
Prof Stephen Ison

Research Period

2009 - 2013

Efficient use of Pre-fabricated Panel systems

Context and Background

FASTBUILD is a rapid, flexible building system that consists of prefabricated structural concrete panels and a unique method of fixing, using special brackets and channels. It is the flexibility of the design of the panels and the speed of their erection that has made FASTBUILD a market leader in variable-size concrete panel systems. FASTBUILD is now being used for larger and taller structures with increasingly non-standardised structural layouts. In addition building regulations now categorise structures in a different manner when considering the effects of progressive collapse, with the regulations impacting significantly on the FASTBUILD designs. It is therefore intended that the research work will be undertaken to enable a more detailed understanding of the capacity and potential of the FASTBUILD and cladding products to meet these challenges, thus ensuring continued commercial success through successful project delivery.

Aims and Objectives

Aim Improved performance of FASTBUILD pre-cast concrete walling system. Performance can be taken to be associated with, structural capacity, product quality, project delivery, product flexibility ease of installation, sustainability, sales or improved market share. Objectives. To improve understanding of structural action and performance of pre-cast concrete wall panels. Specific objectives include: - Understanding implications of EC2 - Identification of critical load combinations - Exploitation of panel aspect ratios - Design of panels with openings - Design of panels for increased loading eccentricity - Design and detailing of joint capacities. Identification and development of structural and manufacturing efficiencies through improved understanding, innovation or by challenging existing design practice and overly restrictive codes. Specific objectives include: - Design of walls as equivalent columns - Interaction charts for RC panels - Review of current disproportionate collapse assessment, design methodologies and development of more suitable techniques - Review of concrete mix design and specification. Increased product and structural flexibility. Specific objectives include - Possible development of new products, uses or markets for panel systems - Exploitation of high strength concretes

Method and Current Status

Critical literature review of previous studies into testing, analysis and design of RC wall panels. Desk study in regards to implications of EC2 introduction in comparison to existing international design codes, company practice and product certification. Review of previous in house testing, product analysis, manufacturing processes and quality assurance measures. Literature review of appropriate analytical methods (LFEM, Finite Difference etc) and development of appropriate systems to allow exploitation within project delivery. Development of analytical tools to allow for parametric study regarding analysis, design and assessment processes. Use of analytical tools to inform need for future testing and to quantify potential efficiencies. Design and execution of scale and full scale testing to verify analytical and design procedures and obtain necessary accreditation.

Benefits and Expected Outcomes

Benefits. Exploitation of efficiencies possible by utilising less prescriptive and restrictive Euro-codes. More relevant design methods and detailing requirements. Justification allowing for less restrictive detailing requirements  Integration of design methods within project delivery and BIM systems Project Deliverables. EC2 Design Guidance Document.  Design guidance document allowing for improved efficiency or flexibility in design. Analytical method allowing for correct parametric assessment and optimisation. Review, approval and accreditation by British Board of Agreement

2011:- ROBINSON, G.P., GILSENAN, K.G., Benefits of Modern Design Codes and Early Supply Chain Advice, The Structural Engineer, Volume 89, Issue 4, Feb 2011, 24-27

2011:- ROBINSON, G.P., PALMERI, A., AUSTIN, S.A. Tension Softening Effects on the Buckling Behaviour of Slender Concrete Wall Panels, Proc. of  ISEC-6- Modern Methods and Advances in Structural Engineering and Construction, Zurich, 21-26 June 2011
2011:- ROBINSON, G.P., PALMERI, A., AUSTIN, S.A. Implications of EC2 on the Design of Simply Supported Precast RC Panels Under Eccentric Axial Load, Proc. of fib Symposium on Concrete Engineering for Excellence and Efficiency, Prague, 8-10 June 2011



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+44 (0)1509 222623

The Centre Administrator
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

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