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Welcome to grcuk one of Europe's leading manufacturers of glass reinforced concrete products.

Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) or Glassfibre Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) is used on many of the world's largest and most prestigious construction and infrastructure projects. The ability of the material to be formed into virtually any size, shape or finish and it's unique combination of high strength, low weight and environmental benefits ensure it's growing popularity with many internationally renowned architects and engineers.

History of GRC
Experiments to reinforce concrete with glass fibre were first carried out in the late 1940s at the same time as research to reinforce resins and plastics with the same material.These were unsuccessful due to the alkaline nature of the cement attacking and breaking down the fibres. The problem was solved in the mid 1960s with the development of alkaline resistant glass fibres containing a high level of zirconium dioxide. As with most modern composites the process of blending the fibres throughout the matrix provided substantially increased tensile, flexural and impact strength. This allowed manufacturers to produce very thin (10-15mm) sections with resultant savings in component weight. GRC was primarily used as a cladding material however its development coincided with the decline in the UK of this type of construction and a return to more traditional architecture. As a consequence the primary application of the material in the UK was in civil engineering and rail applications. Throughout the rest of the world GRC became more widely accepted as an expression of architectural design.

GRC Today
Today GRC is used by many of the world's leading building designers with internationally renowned architects such as Fosters & Partners and Zaha Hadid regularly specifying the material. The advantages of GRC are obvious. Products can be made in virtually any size, shape, colour and texture. Both rectilinear and complex curvilinear profiles can be created which would, simply either not be possible, or prohibitively expensive in more traditional forms of pre-cast concrete. The relatively lightweight of GRC components mean they can be easily installed and reduce considerably the imposed dead weight on a building structure. Sustainability is also an area where GRC can provide significant benefits. World production of cement accounts for approximately 5% of the world's Co emissions. Although GRC is cement rich in composition the lightweight nature of the composite reduces actual cement content considerably. As a result most building constructed with GRC claddings rather than traditional pre-cast concrete deliver significantly lower BREAM or LEED ratings. With such obvious advantages it is little wonder many of today's largest construction projects feature the use of GRC. In the UK the Olympic Village has featured extensive use of GRC and the material will feature on all the new stations being constructed as part of the massive Crossrail development.

Manufacturing Process
There are two methods of producing GRC components as classified in BS EN 1169 and BS EN 15191. Premix Process As the name suggests cast pre-mix is a process where the fibres are added to the concrete slurry during the mixing process. The mix is then poured or pumped into a mould using very similar methods to precast concrete. Moulds are generally two-part to create hollow core items or encapsulate a lightweight core such as polystyrene. Because the mix is required to be relatively viscous, fibre content is at the lower end of the scale. The lower strength of the material generally means it is generally only suitable for smaller architectural details such as band courses, copings etc. Slightly higher strengths can be achieved using pre-mix which is sprayed into open moulds. This process can offer cost savings as moulds are much simpler to manufacture. Spray Process Sprayed GRC is recognised throughout the world as being the ultimate production method in terms of performance and flexibility. Considerably higher ultimate bending strengths are obtained by the use of a higher fibre content, longer fibres and a lower water/cement ratio. The increased ductility of this material allows designers to utilise panels which can be as large as 1015m.

Because of the high fibre content the cement slurry and fibres are applied directly to the mould surface using a simultaneous spray technique. This is a highly skilled operation which unlike Premix GRC has little in common with most other forms of pre-cast concrete. As a result it tends to be only manufactured by specialist GRC producers such as GRCUK.

Product
Engineering
GRC has numerous applications in the civil engineering, rail and water industries. These include:

Permanent formwork in corrugated and flat format. Cable channelling Water channelling and sampling chambers Rail and tram track infill panels

The lightweight nature of GRC allied to high durability, resistance to fire, resistance to rusting and rotting, and the fact it can be manufactured in virtually any shape or size, make the material ideal for a variety of applications. At GRCUK we are always happy to discuss the manufacture and supply of engineering grade GRC for specific projects.

Coadecast
yesterday's tradition, tomorrow's technology.
Cast stone has come a long way since Mrs Coade first manufactured imitation stone in the 1700s. Originally only used on the most prestigious properties. The material is now a mainstream building material specified and used by most of the UK's leading architects, contractors and house builders. coadecast is an evolutionary material which is manufactured as a high performance wet cast architectural concrete. Advanced concrete admixtures and batching technologies allow the manufacture of products defined by crisp, clean and, most importantly, durable edges and corners. Low water absorption ensures supplied appearance is maintained far beyond that expected of traditional "semi dry" cast stone. The material is specifically formulated to match our Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) products and can safely be used on the same buildings/elevations without any noticeable differences other than those expected with natural or traditional cast stone.

Architectural Cladding
GRC is an ideal facade cladding material and it's principle use throughout the world is in this application. Unlike rain screen panel cladding systems our GRC can easily be moulded into virtually and shape or size allowing the ultimate in architectural expression. Returns, curves and multi dimensional faces are all possible in sizes ranging from 1-20m. As such we can offer not only walling panels but column claddings, balcony cladding panels, spandrel panels etc. In truth there's not much we can't clad. The major advantage of our GRC is to offer a relatively light weight cladding system when compared to either natural precast or cast stone products and yet when installed our products are virtually identical in both look and touch to natural stone. Due to the inherent characteristics of the material and the use of acrylic polymers within the mix designs both water absorption and carbonation are reduced thus allowing components to retain their supplied appearance longer. The lower weight of our GRC claddings not only makes installation easier and more cost effective but structures and support systems can be designed from the outset to carry less imposed loading again further reducing cost.

Architectural Dressings
Our architectural dressings are used by many of the countries leading house builders and developers. Virtually identical in finish and appearance to both cast and natural stone our GRC products offer the additional benefits of being lightweight with far stronger edges and corners. These attributes ensure lower installation and subsequent repair costs. The material also retains it's supplied appearance for much longer due to significantly lower water permeability. We manufacture a range of cills, heads, string courses, copings, door surrounds and canopies and are happy to produce bespoke components where required. For further details please visit the downloads section of this website.