In 1990, the chairman of the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF), Mr Geoff Brigginshaw, asked me what level of teaching was carried out in British universities in precast concrete construction for multistorey buildings.
The answer, of course, was very little, and remains that way today in spite of considerable efforts by the BPCF and sections of the profession to broadcast the merits, and pitfalls of precast concrete structures.
Having given lectures at about 25 UK universities in this subject, I estimate that less than 5 per cent of our civil/structural engineering graduates know about precast concrete, and less than this have a decent grounding in the design of precast concrete structures.
Why is this? The precast concrete industry commands about 25 per cent of the multi-storey commercial and domestic building market if frames, floors and cladding (facades) are all included.
In higher education (one step away from the market), precast education commands between zero and (about) 5 per cent of the structural engineering curriculum. This in turn represents only about 1/8 of a civil engineering course.
The 5 per cent figure claimed above could indeed be an over estimate. The reasons are two-fold:
1. British lectures are holistic towards structural engineering.
2. British lectures have no information in this subject.
This Precast Concrete Structures by Kim S. Elliott book aims to solve these suggestions simultaneously. Suggestion no. 2 is more readily solved. This Precast Concrete Structures by Kim S. Elliott book is, unfortunately, one of very few text books in this subject area aimed at students at a level which they can assimilate in their overall structural engineering learning process.
It does this by considering design both at the macro and micro levels - global issues such as structural stability, building movement and robustness are dissected and analysed down to the level of detailed joints, localized stress concentrations and bolts and welds sizes.