Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Do You Know How to Properly Insulate a Building?

Little Diversified Architect Beth Buffington gives insight on choosing the best insulating system

With the wide variety of insulating materials and techniques on the market today, Beth Buffington, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Studio Principal for Community at Little Diversified Architectural Consulting in Arlington, Va., offers food for thought in the selection of the appropriate insulation.

She discusses the effect of local climate conditions as it relates to insulation-performance requirements, takes the reader inside the wall cavity and illustrates different exterior cladding options with post construction thermal images which reveal thermal breaks in insulation continuity.

Thermal image of Millennium Hall at CUA, a veneer
masonry building with EPS insulation in the cavity, shows
where heat can escape through penetrations in the wall cavity
Thermal image of precast concrete wall system at Opus Hall
at Catholic Univ. of America indicates that little heat is escaping.

The precast concrete walls at Opus Hall are composed of 4" of structural precast, 2 inches of polyisocyanurate insulation and 3 inches of veneer precast. The panels create edge-to-edge insulation with a Performance R-value of 26. The insulation is wrapped in a vapor barrier to prevent moisture transmission.

Click to read more about Opus Hall's well insulated high performance building design.

Click to read the entirety of Beth's article in the Fall 2011 Ascent magazine and discover how to improve building performance.

Ascent is published by The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

ENR releases Top Specialty Contractors - Gate Ranks #4 in Concrete Division

ENR released its Top 600 Specialty Contractors for 2010. Gate Precast Company consistently ranks in the top 100 annually, and this year the precast concrete manufacturer ranked #4 in the Concrete Division and #99 overall.

Dean Gwin, President, COO of Gate Construction Materials Group was interviewed in the annual report which focuses on the recession's affect on specialty contractors.
Gwin was asked about Gate Precast's relationship with general contractors and suppliers.

"GCs are facing many of the same hard-bid challenges Gate faces on a daily basis, so they can relate to the battles we fight. We still have many friends in the business and look to support them in both good and bad times," Gwin said.

When asked about his forecast for economic recovery to the sector, Gwin replied, "Our research shows it could be a minimum of three to five years before we see any substantial improvement."

Albeit this market has been difficult for several years, opportunities do exist.

"Gate Precast Company is offering more products, scrutinizing all expenditures and is willing to hang in there regardless of how long the current economic conditions last,"

For the complete report, Visit

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Precast Design Awards Bestowed Upon Gate Precast Company

National World War II Museum Phase IV Expansion, New Orleans, La.
(Architect: Voorsanger Mathes LLC)

Gate Precast is recognized excellence in 
precast design and fabrication

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) September 01, 2011
     Gate Precast Company, one of the largest precast concrete suppliers in the U.S., has been recognized in the 49th Annual PCI Design Awards Competition for precast design and fabrication on a wide variety of structures.
     Gate Precast earned Best in Class awards for its work on the following projects:
Best Stadium: IU Memorial Stadium North End Zone in Bloomington, Ind. (Architect: Ratio Architects, Indianapolis, Ind.).; Associate Architect: Moody-Nolan Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.
• Best Healthcare: Saint Joseph Regional Hospital in Mishawaka, Ind. (Architect: HOK, St. Louis, Mo.)
Best Public/Institutional: The National World War II Museum Phase IV Expansion, New Orleans, La. (Architect: Voorsanger Mathes LLC New Orleans, La.)
• Best Public/Institutional: City of Miami College of Policing/Miami-Dade School of Law Studies, Homeland Security, and Forensic Sciences, Miami, Fla. (Architect: AECOM, Coral Gables, Fla.)

     Gate received Honorable Mention recognition on the following projects:
• CTA Beach Comfort Stations, Biloxi, Miss. (Architect: Eley Guild Hardy Architects, Biloxi, Miss.)
• LSU Basketball Practice Facility, Baton Rouge, La. (Architect: Holden Architects, Baton Rouge, La.; Associate Architect: RDG Planning & Design, Des Moines, Iowa)
• Duke University Research Drive Parking Garage, Durham, NC (Architect: Ratio Architects, Indianapolis, Ind.)
• Alfred I. DuPont Testamentary Trust Corporate Headquarters, Jacksonville, Fla. (Architects: GUND Partnership, Cambridge, Mass. and Gresham, Smith & Partners, Jacksonville, Fla.)
• Marcene H. & Robert E. Christoverson Humanities Building, Lakeland, Fla. (Architect: Robert A. M. Stern Architects, New York, N.Y.; Associate Architect: Wallis, Murphey, Boyington Architects, Lakeland, Fla.)
• The Water Wall at Signature Place, St. Petersburg, Fla. (Architect: Fluidity Design Consultants, Los Angeles, Calif.)
• Colts Indianapolis Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. (Architect: HKS Inc., Dallas, Texas) 
Dean Gwin
President, COO
“Gate Precast is proud to be recognized for these projects which highlight the versatility of precast concrete systems. Our skilled craftsmen are to be commended for their continued dedication to produce superior quality work, said Dean Gwin, President, COO of Gate Precast Company.
     "Gate is known for its involvement in highly intricate architectural and structural projects. We encourage architects, owners, engineers and contractors to visit any of our state-of-the-art facilities to view our current projects which exemplify the innovative ways the design community is capitalizing on the constructability of precast concrete and on Gate Precast’s experience and knowledge to meet design challenges,” Gwin added.
     For a complete list of winners, along with detailed project information and photos, visit PCI.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prefabricated Construction Seen as Growth Opportunity

The commercial modular or prefabricated construction market has been considered a growth opportunity for the construction industry by FMI Corporation, the largest provider of management consulting, investment banking and research to the engineering and construction industry.

According to FMI's fourth quarter 2010 NRCI  report, more contractors are thinking lean and looking for ways to build for less. The recession and new technologies are set to increase the use of manufacturing process and environments for construction. The NRCI report indicates that prefabricated construction is becoming more popular due to the growing use of BIM and owners wanting projects faster and for lower cost, safety, quality and the shortage of skilled labor once markets return to more normal growth.

Gate Precast has seen an increased interest in using BIM in the early design stage of projects giving owners the ability to visualize their project before it's built. Designing systems that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also act as structural walls and support floor loads, reduces material redundancies in the structure and project costs. Gate Precast BIM Experience

Watch our Video BIM Fly-through on St. Joseph's Women's Hospital in Tampa, FL.

Prefabricated precast concrete systems offer sustainable, efficient building practices. A revolutionary transition from traditional hand-set masonry construction to Brick Inlaid Precast Concrete Exterior Panels are rapidly becoming the preferred building choice among architects, contractors and owners. The panels are manufactured in a controlled plant environment where many features can be added such as encapsulated insulation which offers higher R-Values, electrical boxes and wiring, and paintable troweled finish interior walls, which eliminates the need for metal studs and sheet rock. The integration of windows into panels is an innovation in precast that is in its infancy but sure to be in high demand once markets gain momentum. Among the many benefits, this prefabricated, unitized system offers accelerated occupancy, and less jobsite disturbance with the reduction of a trade.

Owners have more than two years' worth of pent-up demand for design services. Bring Gate Precast into the design and construction process in the early stages of your new projects to provide input and offer value engineering suggestions to maximize precast concrete's many benefits on your complete structure.

For More Information on Gate's Pre-fabricated Concrete Systems:
Woodlawn Elementary School, OH: Exterior features a pre-insulated load-bearing, non-composite brick inlay architectural precast wall system.
NAS Fitness Facility & Rescue Swimmers School, Pensacola, FL: Features a total precast building system that is designed to withstand both external (hurricanes) and interior (indoor pool moisture) elements.
CitiGroup Citi Center, Jacksonville, FL: The exterior of the five-buildings in the 530,000 sq. ft. campus features 15'x32' solid precast concrete panels which met the structural integrity requirements for a hurricane zone and an aggressive construction schedule. 

Register for Continuing Education Course on BIM and Total Precast  - Earn AIA credits

Related Article
Demand for Precast Concrete Products On the Rise...
US demand for precast concrete products is forecast to rise 6.1 percent annually to $11.3 billion in 2015.

Monday, April 11, 2011

PCI Launches eLearning Center -- Continuing Education Credits on Demand

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) has launched the PCI eLearning Center, a free 24-hour online education resource providing an opportunity for architects and engineers to earn continuing education credits on demand. The PCI eLearning Center is the first education management system dedicated to the precast concrete structures industry. Individuals can create a PCI eLearning Center profile and have access to a number of online courses.
All courses offered through this system provide continuing education credit to engineers and architects. Each course includes a webinar presentation recording, pertinent reference materials, and a quiz. All courses on the PCI eLearning Center offer continuing education credit in all 50 states.

Gate Precast Company is proud co-sponsor this new program for design professionals who are interested in sustainable design and LEAN building practices. Prefabrication construction is a means of increasing quality, improving schedule and minimizing site disruption. Several of the courses offered through PCI's eLearning
Center focus on Sustainable Precast Concrete Systems.

Seven courses are now available through the PCI eLearning Center, with new courses being added frequently. The courses are free and can be completed in one hour.

Below is a list of current course offerings:
• Designing with the 7th Edition PCI Design Handbook: An Introduction (1 PDH)
• Life Cycle Assessment and how it can Contribute to Sustainable Design (1 GBCI CE/1 PDH/1 LU)
• Parking Structures: Best Practice to Design, Build and Maintain (1 PDH/1 LU)
• Quality Assurance - Your Lifeline to a Better Project (1 PDH/1 LU)
• Precast Concrete - Providing Aesthetic Versatility in Color, Form, and Texture (1 PDH/1 LU)
• Designing Building Envelopes to Meet Sustainable and Aesthetic Goals - Part I (1 PDH/1 LU)
• Designing Building Envelopes to Meet Sustainable and Aesthetic Goals - Part II (1 PDH/1 LU)
• Get in front of your current and potential customers by using a course as a lunch-and-learn.

You can access the site at any time from your computer, tablet or phone with an Internet connection.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Complex Precast Surfaces Unfold on Perot Museum of Nature & Science

Gate modeled over 100,000 sf of intricate precast panels
Ross Perot, former presidential candidate and a major donor to Dallas' new Museum of Nature & Science, attended a ceremony March 10, 2011, marking the placement of the final beam in the construction of the Perot Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas, TX. Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects designed the new 180,000-square-foot museum and was also among those who signed the beam.
The museum is designed to be viewed as a massive cube floating over the landscape. Initially, the exterior was undetermined. Gate Precast’s Hillsboro, TX division worked with the design team to define the cladding through the creation of mockups with varying horizontal striations. The panel design incorporates both convex and concave horizontal striations. The random combinations lend striking shadows and the striations give way to smooth concrete surfaces on higher levels of the building.

Horizontal Striations Visible in Four Panels Stacked Together

Gate’s BIM operators modeled over 100,000 square of precast cladding on museum's exterior which was integrated into the structure’s final 3-D model. Company-wide, Gate has 38 trained BIM users and has modeled 2,000,000 square feet of architectural precast concrete.
The museum is scheduled to open in early 2013. Watch the progress of the Perot Museum at

Contact Gate Precast for Design Assistance on Future Projects and Visualize Your Project Before It’s Built.