PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

PATH Case Study

Precast Concrete Wall Panels:

Industrial-Strength Homes for Everyday Living


Printable Version [.pdf, 2.63 MB]

[IMAGE: Scorecard image]


Brian Bock
Mustang Construction
Naperville, Illinois

Builder Type

Medium-sized Residential & Commercial Builder

The Technology:

Precast Concrete Wall Panels

The Project:

A 2,800-square-foot home built with precast concrete floor and wall panels. The home is certified by the Institute for Business and Home Safety's (IBHS) Fortified...for safer livingŪ program, which aims to raise a new home's resistance to natural disasters. The home is built to withstand an F-4 rated tornado, yet it took only four days to construct the building shell. Built in partnership with IBHS, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, this is the first Fortified home in the Midwest.

"Regardless of whether we are building a 9-story commercial building or a single-family home, the concrete strength of our structures is the same. In other words, we bring an industrial strength and quality approach to residential homes."

-- Brian Bock on building with precast concrete panels.



[IMAGE: Built with precast panels, this home is designed to withstand natural disasters, including an F-4 rated tornado.] "When compared to conventional home construction, precast concrete allows us to deliver a superior product from many standpoints," says Bock. "This newer methodology increases the speed of construction, which has made us more competitive on single-family and multifamily projects. Typical construction time ranges from 2 to 3 months, but the building shell can be erected in just a couple of days. Precast concrete wall panels can also be put up even in extremely cold temperatures. Once the building shell is constructed, crews can install the windows, and then be protected from the elements in a very short period of time while they work on framing the interior walls."

"For the client, the benefits include a home that is much more resistant to fire, hail, wind, and especially water; greater comfort due to the thermal properties of concrete; and better sound attenuation. Realtors sometimes focus on the quietness between floors because of the concrete."

"We promote our homes as double-wall, disaster-resistant homes that improve life safety, energy efficiency, and environmental friendliness. We educate homebuyers on the structure's ability to endure natural disasters while providing a comfortable and well-insulated home. We believe in building homes that will significantly outlast a conventional wood-framed house."

"It's not yet commonplace for people to do what we are doing," says Bock. "Some people are resistant to change and don't always understand the many benefits associated with new housing technologies. Homebuilding industry information doesn't always trickle down to the homebuyer very easily either. Most homeowners have never seen this technology. The greatest challenge is just getting people comfortable with the idea of doing something different, and along the way, getting the experts in architecture, concrete, and insulation to explain why it makes sense."


From affordable, workforce housing to luxury downtown condominiums, Mustang Construction uses precast concrete technology to provide a variety of housing options for its clients.

"This precast concrete system is able to address the low-end, middle-end, and high-end housing markets more than any other product I have seen throughout my building career," says Bock.

Although current economies of scale make precast concrete systems more cost-effective on larger projects, innovative builders like Mustang are having no problem selling precast concrete homes.

"Our houses sell for a premium over their wood counterparts--about 10-12 percent higher--but we find that homebuyers are more than willing to pay a premium for a more durable, safer home," says Bock.

Some homebuyers have also received a discounted insurance rate for their home's disaster-resistant features.

Next Page >>

[IMAGE: Brian Bock]

Brian Bock studied civil engineering at the University of Illinois and designed highways before becoming vice president of sales and marketing for Mustang Construction. Mustang specializes in using precast concrete panels for both single and mixed-use multifamily housing. Mustang builds between 25 and 30 residential and commercial projects a year; single-family homes range in price from $300,000 to $620,000.

Why he builds with Precast:

"Precast wall systems increase the speed of construction, which has made us more competitive. The building shell can be erected in just a couple of days, and the panels can be put up even in difficult weather conditions."

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Content updated on 9/6/2006

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