IS PRECAST MORE EXPENSIVE?
At the study on the Singapore & Malaysia’s construction industry, there is a whole range of factors including quality of materials and finishes, price fluctuation, tendering environment and contractor’s efficiency that will affect construction cost. Allegations of higher cost in the past were usually associated mainly with precast construction when the demand for precast components was much higher than supply. It was also a period when the precasters were mainly focusing on the market. In addition, higher cost was partly attributed to conversion of original design to precast construction. However, the situation has changed drastically in the past ten years; prices of precast components are currently very competitive.
On the other hand, the savings were often ignored or unreported. Precast construction results in faster construction and leads to reduced overheads for contractors. The savings in interest due to shorter construction period, fewer number of workers, cheaper housekeeping and environment protection all added up to a significant amount and must be taken into consideration.
The shorter construction period also means lower interest paid on construction and development loans. This enables early occupancy and quicker investment returns for the developers.
In the long term, buildable projects will be more cost competitive as designers and contractors become confident in adopting buildable designs and use precast components more widely.