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Innovations E-Newsletter

Featured Projects

Fortis Data Center, Norwalk, CT

Fortis Data Center

Developers of a new property planned for a data-processing tenant needed to construct a facility that met all of the tenant’s specialized needs while also meeting tight schedule and budget requirements. To achieve these goals, designers created a two-story, 167,691-square-foot building using a total-precast concrete structural system and insulated architectural precast concrete walls. The design provided not only all of the functional needs but helped create dramatic aesthetics as well.

“We looked at a lot of options for the structure,” says Jonathan Metz, senior associate with Perkins Eastman, the architect of record. The long building features a 50-foot-long section flanked by two 150-foot sections, and designers wanted to keep these as open as possible, which was aided by the long spans of the double tees.

The precast concrete sped up construction by fabricating components while site work began, notes Sabu Abraham, an associate with WSP Cantor Seinuk, the engineer of record.

Blakeslee Prestress Inc. of Branford CT is the precast concrete manufacturer of the 851 components for the project. They worked closely with Fortis Property Group, LLC (owner) and WSP Cantor Seinuk (engineer)

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NEXT Beam Instrumental in CONRAC Bus Platform, Boston, MA


Consolidating the rental-car, bus and taxi services at Logan International Airport in Boston required constructing a 1.2-million square-foot parking facility with open interiors to provide flexibility for the seven rental-car facilities using it. A bus-platform bridge connecting this structure to bus drop-offs and spanning a busy roadway also was created using precast concrete Northeast Extreme Tee (NEXT) girders.

The NEXT Beams used for the bus platform are bridge double-tees with 13-inch-wide tee legs that are beefier but stouter than those used in parking structures. This shape produces greater strength and shallower depths. The designers included the NEXT Beam as a design alternative, following recent approval of the shape by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

“It turned out to be the right way to build it,” says Camille Bechara, Project Manager and lead designer with Parsons Brinckeroff, the architectural and engineering firm on the project. “The NEXT Beams were lighter and quicker to erect than alternatives, all of which also were significantly more expensive to build.”

Blakeslee Prestress Inc. of Branford CT is the precast concrete manufacturer for the project. They worked closely with Parsons Brinckeroff (designer/structural engineer).

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Building Survivability: Designing for Seismic and Blast Resistance

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The integration of structural and envelope systems is a primary concern in building design. Dissimilar materials, load paths, multiple contractors, attachment of the skin, and the list of challenges goes on. Since precast concrete is both a structural and an architectural material, it can be used to combine both of these systems into one, often called a total precast system. This can result in saving materials and time, as well as reducing the number of trades involved and associated risk. It also helps increase the useable floor space, design versatility, adaptive reuse options and long-term durability. This presentation will provide an overview of total precast systems, and explain design options from shear-wall concepts to moment-frame structures. It will also address issues that designers should consider when working with these systems such as planning, design concepts, connections, and utility integration.

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Tentative PCI Webinar 2013 Schedule

June 27 – Driving Profitability through High Performance Parking Structures
July 25 – It’s the Law: High Performance through Envelope Code Requirements
August 29 – Back to the Future: Relearning Passive Fire Resistant Design
October 24 – Artist’s Palette: The Aesthetic Versatility of Precast Concrete
November 21 – The New Sound of IEQ: Indoor Comfort & Acoustic Design


High Performance Architectural Precast Wall Systems

High Performance Architectural Precast Concrete wall systems have gained incredible recognition from sustainability practitioners who herald its durability, energy efficiency, mold/mildew resistance, use of recycled materials, construction waste, and improved construction IAQ. Due to this recognition, these wall systems are being specified in K-12 school construction, condominiums, hospitals, university dormitories, science buildings, office complexes, and many other LEED-certified projects throughout the U.S. Topics that are covered in this workshop include: appearance options; sandwich-wall design; thermal performance; material R-values and assembly R-values; moisture management; and LEED credits to which precast concrete can contribute.

Length: 1.0 Hour | Credits: AIA HSW 1.0 LU | PDH: 1.0

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PCI Announces New Blast Design Manual

PCI’s Blast-Resistant Design Manual, First Edition (MNL 141-12) is now available as an ePub at This manual describes the basic process of blast-resistant structural design for precast/prestressed concrete components. It includes calculating blast loads on the component, determining the dynamic response of the component, checking the response against specified performance criteria, designing the component connections, and checking the component for adequate shear capacity. The emphasis in this manual is on blast loads from exterior explosions and the dynamic analysis of blast-loaded structural components idealized as equivalent single degree of freedom systems. These assumptions simplify the blast-resistant design procedure discussed in this manual, but they apply to many cases of practical interest for anti-terrorism and force protection design. For more details and purchasing information, visit

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Curved Precast Concrete Bridges State-of-the-Art Report

This publication details the application of curved precast concrete bridge design, fabrication, construction techniques, and considerations through the study of twelve related projects and constitutes a state of the art report on this topic. The document was written and intended to provide bridge owners, designers, fabricators and engineers an up-to-date reference in developing precast concrete bridge solutions for curved geometric situations. The topics include: Straight Girders chorded from Pier to Pier, Straight Girders Segments with Splices within the Spans, and Curved Precast Girders.  Each case study reviews project specific information, the structural system selected, construction techniques used and the lessons learned. For more details and purchasing information, visit

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Updated Fire Publication Now Available on PCI's e-Publication Site

PCI/ICC's Design for Fire Resistance of Precast Prestressed Concrete, Third Edition (MNL 124-11) is available as an electronic publication at

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Seismic Design of Precast/Prestressed Concrete Structures, Second Issue

This new manual assists in the design of precast concrete structures using the seismic design provisions of the 2006 edition of the International Building Code. These provisions are discussed in detail and illustrated with examples of typical building and parking structures located in regions of low-, moderate-, and high-seismic hazard.

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Ascent Magazine

Subscribe to PCI's Ascent Magazine (It's FREE!) or if you prefer read it online.

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PCI eLearning

Parking PCI is proud to offer the first education management system dedicated to the precast concrete and precast structures industries, the PCI elearning Center. All courses offered through this system satisfy the continuing education requirements of engineers in all 50 states! As an AIA provider, PCI is able to offer architects approved Learning Units to satisfy their continuing education requirements. Be sure to bookmark us and visit often as we populate this interface with more and more free, easy-to-access, always-available coursework.

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Executive Director: Rita Seraderian | | © 2012 PCI Northeast

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