If the job is big enough, if there is enough repetitive design, and if contractors has manpower that is sufficiently skilled and flexible, they can compete successfully with factory precasting for major multi-building development projects. This was the case on a recent project that had been designed to use the plant facilities of a particular precasting firm.
Before Corbetta Concrete Corporation came on the job as managing general contractor the design had been set for factory precasting because the owner and his architect assumed the cost of on-site precasting would be prohibitive. But when the bids were summed up for the various sub-trades it became apparent that total cost would be appreciably above the limitation set on the project and the precast package was the principal culprit.
Discussion with the chosen precaster and other in the area made it clear that the quoted price could not be bettered in a plant. Corbetta Concrete then began to investigate the feasibility of site-precasting and doing the project itself. The solution was the use of factory-type equipment-battery forms and tilting tables similar to those used in the factory. Within weeks it had been determined that the necessary equipment was available form England and it was decided that the company could, indeed, produce the structure more economically than would be possible with factory precasting.
For a number of reasons the job was brought in within the proper cost and on time, even though workers with the building trades average $13 an hour as compared with $5 an hor for factory labor. One primary factor favoring site precasting was that the job was big enough to justify the expense of the right kind of forming equipment and cranes; moreover, it lasted long enough for supervisors and workers to learn how to use the equipment with maximum effectiveness.