Note that The Villas of Date Palm have been taken off the market and will probably be rentals. But, you can still read about the construction of them.
I'd like to shed some light on precast concrete construction. This is also called Tilt-Up construction. In this method, buildings are constructed from cement panels that are poured either onsite or at a factory. The panels have iron loops on them for the crane to be able to lift it up and set it in place. The panels are extremely heavy as they are 5-6 inches thick. I recently watched an addition to a wine warehouse go up. It was amazing to see this crane pick up something so heavy and pivot the panel as workers guided it into place. In this case, the panels were two stories tall and about 6-8 feet wide. Panels are made to specification. Door and window openings are left open when the panel is poured. This method of construction saves a lot of time. Panels go up quickly and can cut construction time by 1/3. Once up, they are joined together with plates and bolts and the seams sealed.
There are alternative exterior options. One such option is to make it a brick pavered facade. Pavers are laid down then the wall poured on top. You can see the application via this link. http://www.tiltupnews.com/tilt-up-articles/tiltup-construction-masonry-brick-wall.asp
It's a wonderful development where the builder "did right". It's called The Villas of Date Palm. They are 3 BR / 2.5 Bath and 2 car garage. Attention to detail is obvious and a year was spent researching what buyers wanted in a townhouse such as a master on the main and a closet beyond the bathroom. There is are two laundry stations, one on each floor. Some units have elevators and thus have all the bedrooms upstairs.
The exterior walls are 6 inches thick with 3/4 inch rigid foam insulation and 5/8 inch drywall on the inside. The 3 unit building went up in four days.
The Villas of Date Palm
The end units have 2075sf, Middle unit with elevator has 2590sf.
790 LaPlaza Ave South in South Pasadena, FL 33707 ( Pasadena Ave to East on Date Palm to end of street )
The building has a wind rating of 295 mph. Let us pause and bow and say Wow. Isn't that amazing ? To "dry in" the building took half the normal time. The concrete panels make for a quiet building and provide a two hour fire rating. This type of building is also very energy efficient - R-18 to R-20 when normal is R-13. It would take more hours in the day to get the walls heated through and through by the sun...so keeping cool is easy in a concrete home. Also, you don't have to worry about termites. Yayyy ! I know when I was in the unit, it was so quiet. How nice. It is estimated that a concrete home is 5-7 percent more expensive than a block built home, but the benefits are many and would pay for itself. I'm Sold !!
If you would like to read the full article published in the St Pete Times about this project, then click on http://www.sptimes.com/2007/10/13/Homes/Precast_concrete_wall.shtml
Barry Smith, Realtor, St Petersburg, FL 727-773-6677