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PCI Northeast

Innovations E-Newsletter

Featured Projects

Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA

Broad Institute

Designers for the new Broad Institute headquarters building in Cambridge, MA, kept the building’s envelope all in the family by specifying architectural precast concrete panels to clad the structure’s steel framing. The products were supplied by sister companies in the OSCO Construction Group.

The 250,000-square-foot building is part of the firm’s 480,000-square-foot research campus that serves as a genomic medicine research center. The 15-story building, consisting of research and office space, connects to the existing 7 Cambridge Center via walkways on six floors. Ground-level retail space also was provided.

Strescon, Ltd., Massachusetts provided the 32,000 square feet of architectural precast concrete panels for the structure.

Photo courtesy of Strescon, Ltd.

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Hungerford Street Bridge, Pittsfield, MA

Hungerford Street Bridge

Officials at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation wanted to replace the two short bridges on Hungerford Street over the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the most cost-effective way possible. To do this, they reused one of the existing alignments, replacing only the superstructure. Both bridges made use of prestressed, precast concrete spread box beams to complete construction.

“We used precast concrete box beams for two reasons,” says Paul Harrington, project designer for Fay, Spofford & Thorndike Inc. “They gave us the span lengths that we needed and provided the shallow profile that allowed us to maintain the hydraulic opening that the owners required. We only had so much latitude without chasing out the bridge many more feet.”

Dailey Precast of Shaftsbury, Vermont manufactured the precast concrete pieces for the structure.

Photo courtesy of Dailey Precast, Shaftsbury, VT.

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Hanover Pier 4 Luxury Apartments, Boston, MA

Hanover Pier 4 Luxury Apartments

The development, at 21-stories and 369 residential units, features an L-shaped tower on a three-story rectangular base. The upper level of the base includes a swimming pool and other amenities. Precast concrete slabs and structural walls also were specified to provide support for the pool.

The panels feature a ribbed pattern with a combination of light and medium sandblast to provide texture and shadow. The lower floor so of the base feature precast panels with embedded granite and marble veneer. “Our goal with the design was to balance between the owner’s goals and the city’s rigorous design-review process,” explains James Gray, principal in charge of the project at ADD Inc. “The city wanted a contemporary look, while the owners wanted something more transitional. We’ve used precast concrete on a number of high-rise, multifamily projects, so we knew we could be successful in finding the right balance to meet everyone’s needs.”

The precast concrete components were fabricated by Coreslab Structures (Conn) Inc.

Photo courtesy of Coreslab Structures (Conn) Inc., Thomaston, CT.

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RISD Students Visit Blakeslee

RISD Students

Approximately 50 students from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, R.I., recently visited Blakeslee Prestress in Branford, Ct., to see how a precast concrete manufacturing plant operates and to learn the basics of prestressed precast concrete design.

The class visit was arranged through the PCI Foundation, which is sponsored by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute with the goal of fostering educational and research initiatives involving precast concrete. The School is one of six participating in the Foundation’s Studio program and the only one in the New England. The studio’s visit, overseen by Prof. Brett Schneider, was open to third-, fourth-, and fifth-year undergraduates.

“The program is a great opportunity for students at one of the most prestigious design schools in the country to learn about a material that often is overlooked in architectural-design classes,” says Robert Vitelli, vice president of Blakeslee Prestress. “We were happy to work with the school and PCINE to give them a better understanding of processes, so they recognize precast’s benefits.”

During the half-day program, the students toured the plant to see how a variety of precast concrete products are fabricated. They were able to view procedures for casting concrete and setting steel for architectural panels, double tees, columns, beams, and stairs. They were given a demonstration of the company’s Tekla 3-D modeling software. Rita Seraderian, executive director of PCI’s Northeast Region, also gave a presentation on the basics of prestressed precast concrete design.

To learn more about the Foundation’s Studios, visit and click on Programs & Partnerships. To learn about arranging plant tours, contact Rita Seraderian at

Photos courtesy of Blakeslee Prestress, Inc., Branford, CT.

Upcoming Events

Submit for PCI 2014 Design Awards


Deadline May 19th

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) has opened its submission site for the 52nd annual PCI Design Awards. The purpose of the PCI Design Awards program is to recognize design excellence and construction quality using precast concrete. There is no entry fee to make a submission. All winners will be showcased at the 2014 PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference and be included in a summary article that appears in PCI Journal, Aspire and Ascent magazines.

Entries are accepted in two primary categories: buildings and transportation structures. In order to qualify, the structure must be substantially constructed using precast concrete. For buildings, this includes precast concrete cladding systems (architectural precast), structural systems, or combinations of both. For transportation structures, this includes all types of bridges and other related components; however, the precast concrete must have been manufactured in a permanent precast concrete manufacturing plant.

See more details on awards submission requirements on the PCI submission page.

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Precast Concrete: Reduces Risk and Professional Liability


Greg Winkler, AIA

April 29 and May 1

Description: According to CNA/Schinnerer, a major professional liability carrier, as many as 21% of architectural firms faced professional liability claims over a ten year period. According to Encon, another insurer, 67% of these claims are made by private and public sector owners, and 55% of the claims allege design error by the architect. The process of converting construction documents to habitable facilities carries substantial professional liability risks for design professionals. Even the best detailing and most tightly-written specifications can fall prey to poor coordination among subs, inadequately checked submittals by the contractor, and installation oversights and mistakes in the field. Built-up facades utilizing a number of products and trades (such as cavity wall construction) are particularly susceptible to these problems.

This webinar reviews how the precast concrete construction process can eliminate some of the most mistake-prone aspects of construction and reduce the professional liability of architects. It also addresses the benefits of utilizing a design assist approach early in the design process.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the major sources of risk affecting design professionals and owners in construction.
  • Define how precast concrete construction affects those risk factors.
  • Discuss the design assist role of precast concrete producers.
  • Review the role of precast producers in assisting with schedule & budget conformance.

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Slide-In Bridge Construction From the Engineer/Designer Perspective

Jeff Dobmeier, Jacobs Engineering

Thursday, April 3, 2014
1:00 p.m. Eastern

Description: Second offering of the "SIBC from the Engineer/Designer Perspective" webinar. Jeff will be discussing the sliding of two different types of bridges with two different bridge slide methods near the town of Rocky Ford, Colorado.

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Precast Hollowcore Floors and Walls for Housing

Lunch & Learn-Hollowcore

In this program, participants will understand the basics of hollowcore plank flooring systems. Hollowcore is a common method of building multi-family and student housing, condominiums, and many other building applications. Fabrication and installation procedures will be discussed, along with proper detailing requirements. Building envelope considerations for energy efficiency, including fire resistance and acoustical benefits, will be reviewed. Several case studies will be presented. After viewing this program, participants will be able to identify the hollowcore plank systems and explain the benefits of using hollowcore plank systems with owners and other designers.

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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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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116 Radcliffe Road, Belmont, MA 02478, IL 60173-4758 -- Phone: 888.700.5670 -- Fax: 617.489.5810
Executive Director: Rita Seraderian | | © 2014 PCI Northeast

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