The association for the manufacturers of architectural cladding and structural precast concrete

Cornish Concrete Products

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Cornish Concrete Products (CCP) achieved these objectives with twin-wall construction to the rear of the building to act as a retaining wall, and a mixture of beams, Demidec (a thin precast concrete plate with a projecting steel lattice girder system to provide permanent formwork and integral tension reinforcement for concrete toppings) and hollow-core flooring acting as the transfer slab. This approach reduced the overall floor zone to 300mm, instead of the planned 700mm in some areas, thereby reducing material consumption. In addition, because having the in-situ floors in a 500mm floor zone conflicted with planning restrictions on height, CCP came up with an innovative solution using steel Deltabeams to reduce the zone to 300mm including ceilings and finishes. Delta beams, which are double-flanged with minimal downstands with voids to allow in-situ concrete stitching and reinforcement ties, have much greater span/depth ratios than conventional beams.

The whole front elevation of the apartments was glazed to make the most of the magnificent sea views across Torquay, with curved precast concrete cantilever balconies to the external facade.


The basis of the frame was crosswall construction, including the stair cores combined with the Deltabeams and hollow-core floor, punctuated with columns and demidec lattice girder floors to the west end where the apartments are designed to be as open as possible to make the most of the panoramic sea views.


To the rear of the building is a multi-storey car park for residents and commercial tenants principally designed on precast columns, with Deltabeams and hollow-core flooring stitched together on site by the company’s installation team. The approach adopted saved five weeks on the commercial units and around 15 weeks overall from the contract period, which further contributed to cost advantages. The early collaboration with CCP gave the contractor all the advantages of precast concrete, including a staggering 80% secondary content in all of the precast elements, which were made with ‘ecocrete, the company’s environmentally friendly concrete made from a minimum of 80% secondary sourced products.


For the residents of Torquay, the impact of the building work was dramatically reduced, thanks to the shorter time, fewer lorry movements and much quieter operation – all very welcome.



Situated on the site of the burnt-down Palm Springs hotel in Torquay, the Abbey Crescent development is located in a prime spot on the seafront and the main gateway into the town centre. Its development has attracted much local interest, particularly in the light of the method of construction which had originally been planned as an in-situ concrete frame, but by demonstrating significant programme advantages was altered to a hybrid precast frame.


With commercial use a pedestrian level and residential occupancy for the five storeys above, the contract was far from straightforward. For example, a transfer slab was needed over the retail development and retaining walls were required to the rear of the building adjacent to the cliff face.

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