Current site: Peikko Group Global (English). Do you want to change country or language?

Peikko Group Global (English)

From cast-in-situ to precast – new solutions and a record speed of construction

The iconic landmark El Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, is undergoing a significant expansion and reformation. When completed in 2025, it will be the highest full precast building in the Iberian Peninsula, with a building height of over 40 meters. The project was converted from cast-in-situ to precast during the design phase, which, despite the initial doubts, turned out to be an ideal solution that benefits all the parties involved.

El Hospital del Mar located by the beach in the Barceloneta area undergoes an expansion project with over 30,000 m² of the area and 180 hospital beds. The modern nine-story hospital building, equivalent to 13 floors in residential use, will be highly digitalized with flexible open space for different use cases. Altogether, the magnificent building consists of 6,300 m3 of concrete.

The design is complex; as a building of high importance, the design phase has included detailed seismic calculations, and due to the proximity of the sea, the wind exposure class is high. The entire construction project aims at material optimization and environmentally friendly solutions based on a circular economy. The building’s main architect is Pinearq y Brullet de Luna and the project is developed by Consorci Mar Parc Salut de Barcelona. The main builder is ACCIONA.

Due to the central location of the building, the construction site area is very limited with only one point of access to the site, which requires careful delivery planning, prescheduled delivery batches, and coordination with the rest of the work outside the prefabricated structure. The precast elements had to be lifted to 45 meters with cranes and platforms.


Innovations renew the market

Peikko delivered a significant number of concrete connections for the project, such as HPKM® Column Shoes and HPM® Anchor Bolts, SUMO® Wall Shoes, MODIX® Rebar Couplers, ARBOX® Plus Joint Reinforcements, WILORA® Connecting Rails, and GRIP Recess Plates. They guarantee standardized and reliable connections, meet high-capacity requirements, and solve vertical and horizontal joints of bracing panels as well as cantilevers with beams and interrupted columns.

Through the project, Peikko has introduced new products to the market, such as ARBOX® Plus, WILORA®, and GRIP, and also innovative ways to use already-known products, such as MODIX®. Following Peikko’s proposals, the project’s precaster, Hormipresa, was keen on trying new solutions for a faster construction process, which will eventually impact the conventional cast-in-situ market and modify it towards smoother future construction.

“During the construction process, we have made several visits both to the precast factory and to the construction site to support the customer in everything related to Peikko’s products. Standard products have been used in special applications and innovative products have been introduced to solve all connections between precast concrete elements,” explains Daniel Martínez Blasco, Regional Sales Manager of Peikko Spain SLU. 


''Standard products have been used in special applications and innovative products have been introduced to solve all connections between precast concrete elements.’’


Precast pay-off

The Spanish construction market has a strong tendency to utilize cast-in-situ concrete, and alternative solutions are often a target of resistance. El Hospital del Mar is a pioneer project in its market consisting of 100% precast concrete columns, floors, and bracing cores without any welded elements. Originally, the building was designed for cast-in-situ concrete but was converted to precast concrete during the design phase due to the need for faster construction. To reduce the lead time, Hormipresa became interested in less conventional solutions that could help meet the extremely strict deadlines.

The conversion was not simple as it entailed respecting the original layout and recalculating the loads and capacities required thorough technical work and attention to detail. The initial design included several elements not adaptable to precast such as cantilevers on all floors, non-orthogonal alignments of columns in plan and elevation, a high density of supported and hanging installations, and an in-situ façade system.

“This project is an excellent showcase of how smooth cooperation can be when all parties share the same values, priorities, and goals, from safety to cost-effectiveness. The support offered by Peikko as well as their innovative solutions have made it possible to solve the great complexities of converting a project from in-situ concrete to fully precast concrete,” notes Josep Mª Ruiz Fargas, CEO of Hormipresa.

The conversion to precast paid off and has eventually led to a speed of execution of 28,000 m² in 6 months, cores and staircases included. It also minimized the duration of work at height by eliminating propping and formworks, whereas Peikko's rigid connections increased the total assembly safety. Furthermore, as the building is located on the seafront, it benefits from the quality and strength of the C50/60 concrete, which is superior to in-situ concrete.

As Managing Director of Peikko Spain SLU Adrián Liste Martínez comments:

“In my opinion, this project's main takeaway is that nothing is impossible with Peikko and precast concrete. We are proud to develop construction methods that speed up the building process, are extremely safe to assemble, and are more sustainable. Despite the initial resistance to precast concrete, we have done something nobody thought possible.” 


''We are proud to develop construction methods that speed up the building process, are extremely safe to assemble, and are more sustainable.''


This article has been originally published in Connections 2023 customer magazine. You can find more Peikko's customer magazines here: Connections customer magazine