Thinking Inside The Box

In 2003, Ed Anderson took an educated risk that he would be able to convince Denver city officials that there was an alternative to their requirement

Steven Prokopy

In 2003, Ed Anderson took an educated risk that he would be able to convince Denver city officials that there was an alternative to their requirement that stormwater work using box culverts be limited to cast-in-place concrete. Using his 25 years of industry experience, Anderson founded Precast Concepts with his wife (and company CEO) Roxanne Fie Anderson, a Denver native.Their aim was to bring the market lines of elliptical pipe and box culverts, both featuring gasketed joint design.

In August 2004, Precast Concepts’ brand new plant and offices in Henderson, Colo. (just outside of Denver), produced its first piece of pipe and began serving the Colorado Front Range, an area that runs as far north as Cheyenne, Wyo., and south to Colorado Springs. An experienced staff, managed by Geoff Parrington and Don Grzesiek, oversees production and sales, respectively.

The Andersons partnered with gasket manufacturer Hamilton Kent to utilize the Tylox Superseal prelubricated gasket, which addressed leakage issues at the forefront of the city’s thinking on precast culverts. We teamed up with Mid-America Manufacturing to make the equipment to generate gasketed joint forms, says Precast Concepts President Ed Anderson. Our mission was to create a larger precast market in this area, and a product that could replace cast-in-place box. We’ve been so successful that now other companies are copying us, if that tells you anything.

After a series of box culvert samples was created and shown to Denver officials, it didn’t take long for the city to accept this new box design, and surrounding towns were soon to follow. The smaller cities around Denver tend to mirror its codes and specifications, explains Anderson. So it was only a short time until our business extended outside the city limits.

An additional feature Precast Concepts introduced to its market was the use of lift anchors to eliminate lift holes that rarely seal properly and are prone to leakage.

Anderson says that every job that has some form of storm drainage can use Precast Concepts pipes. Pipes go into public works jobs, residential, commercial, you name it, he adds. We have also developed underground storm detention reservoirs, in which several of our box culverts are placed end to end underground at a site that might be particularly vulnerable to flooding, such as a large parking lot. The culverts essentially form a storage tank, and water can be pumped out over time into the city’s storm sewer, so as not to overflow the system.

Precast Concepts’ elliptical pipe business is of particular interest because, according to Anderson, it is the only one of its kind using gasketed joints in the western United States. The oval-shaped pipes are typically used when there are clearance issues with nearby utilities. Anderson said it was a priority for the company to be American Concrete Pipe Association Q-Cast certified for storm sewer and culvert pipe as soon after the Henderson plant opened as possible. In addition, ASTM committee members are paying special attention to Precast Concepts’ work with gasketed joint box culverts for possible revised product standards.


Located on a 35-acre site, the 60,000-sq.-ft. plant is operating a Besser A-60 bi-directional Advantage machine to turn out profile gasket pipe in diameters from 12 to 60 in. in 8-ft. lengths for storm drainage use. Besser also supplied wet-cast horizontal flared-end form sets to make the elliptical flares in sizes 18 to 60 in. (equivalent) and round flares 12 to 72 in. (equivalent). All flared-end sections incorporate a profile gasket joint and are cast with self-consolidating concrete (SCC).

The plant uses a Mid-America machine for its dry-cast round pipe work (66- to 120-in. diameter). The dry-cast operation uses vibrators, which are attached to the inner core and outer jacket of the product forms. The company also uses the dry-cast process to produce its box culvert product line, which ranges in size from 4 _ 2 ft. to 20 _ 12 ft.

Anderson added that Precast Concepts also has a fairly profitable custom precast product business, which includes everything from wet-cast jacking pipe with steel end rings to colored concrete with acid-etched design (currently being used for a large fountain project). The company’s product line also includes bollards, meter pits, signs, light pole bases, custom flat panels, roof pavers and splash blocks.

The company recently finished one of its biggest jobs, supplying 4,000 lineal feet of 120-in.-diameter pipe to the 30th & Magnolia Street outfall project for the city of Denver. That was a major replacement job, during which we also increased the capacity of the stormwater system, says Anderson.

The company is currently working on the Arvada (Colo.) Channel project, supplying 3,800 lineal feet of box culvert (ranging in size from 12 _ 6 ft. to 14 _ 6 ft.) to convey stormwater safely under the community. Storm flows have been a growing problem in Arvada due to upstream development and a high water table.