What Is Tilt Up Construction

Tilt up concrete construction process is used for building of schools, office buildings, houses etc, ranging from single story to multiple story buildings. The wall panels can be planned to droop inwards when damaged, thus minimizing the risk of collapse.

Site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place, is one of the fastest growing construction mediums available today. The method affords owners a cost-effective, energy-efficient, durable building product with great architectural versatility and appeal. The Tilt-Up Construction method is fast gaining advocates for everything from the traditional warehouse and industrial facilities to office buildings, churches, movie theaters, schools and recreation centers. Combining the advantages of low maintenance, durability, speed, minimal capital investment, and architectural appeal, more than 12.000 buildings, enclosing more than 750 million square feet of structure, are now constructed each year using Site cast Tilt-Up Construction as building method.

What Is Tilt Up Construction
Tilt-up concrete construction is not new; it has been in use for well over a century. Since the mid – 1940’s it has developed into the preferred method of construction for many types of buildings and structures around the world. In this technique, concrete components are created on a concrete block placed normally on the building floor. A provisional concrete surface near the building can be used, or the concrete elements can be produced at factories that are away from the site of construction. The elements created are walls, columns, and other structural supports. After completion of the concrete curing, the materials are tilted from the horizontal plane to the vertical plane with the assistance of a crane.

These parts are fixed into their desired position until the remaining structural components of the building, like roof, intermediate floor, and walls are safe. This technique is similar to the process used for lifting of sheds and framing of wood platforms. It is economical for buildings that are low. Tilt up construction is gradually becoming a popular construction technique in most parts of the world. Tilt up construction is different from prefabrication in that the molds are designed for a particular building and are normally not reused.

Tilt Up Construction Techniques
Considerable teamwork and organizational skills are essential at the site of tilt up construction, due to which the project complications are increased. After the casting surface or slab has cured, forms are constructed on the top. A plywood or fiber plank of superior quality is used that has one smooth surface. Steel and aluminum or forms are also used frequently. Carpenters work according to the engineering drawings for each element or panel to construct the designed forms at the construction site.

All the door and window openings are incorporated in accordance with the required style. Studs and the attachment plates are placed within the form for insertion in the concrete. The forms are generally attached with the casting surface by nails or glued, to avoid damage to the floor slabs. Concrete is filled into the forms to obtain the required thickness, and surround the steel inserts and the embedded features. The forms are detached after the curing of concrete, and the elements are tilted into the desired place.

Preparation & Pouring Concrete Floor Slab
A tilt-up construction project begins with job site preparation and pouring of the concrete floor slab. During this phase of the project, workers install footings around the slab in preparation for the panels. The crew then assembles the panel forms on the slab. Typically, the form is created with standard dimensional lumber that are joined together. The forms act like a mold for the concrete. They provide the panels’ exact shape and size, doorways and window openings, and ensure the panels meet the design specifications and fit together properly. Next, workers tie in the steel grid of reinforcing bars into the form. They install inserts and embeds for lifting the panels and attaching them to the footing, the roof system, and to each other.

The slab beneath the forms is then cleaned of any debris or standing water, and workers pour concrete into the forms to create the panels. Now comes the point where tilt-up construction gets its name.

Starting with the first concrete panel
Once the concrete panels have solidified and the forms have been removed, the crew connects the first panel to a crane with cables that hook into the inserts. The size of the crane depends on the height and weight of the concrete panels, but it is typically two to three times the size of the largest panel. The crew also attaches braces to the tilt-up panel. The crane lifts, or “tilts up,” the panel from the slab into a vertical position above the footings. Workers help to guide the concrete panel into position and the crane sets it into place. They connect the braces from the tilt-up panel to the slab, attach the panel’s embeds to the footing, and disconnect the cables from the crane. The crew then moves to the next panel and repeats this process.

Tilt-Up Construction, an impressive construction method
It’s easy to be amazed as you watch the mobile crane tilt up a concrete panel from the ground and set it into its place. Massive concrete panels weighing 50,000 to 125,000 pounds or more hang from the crane’s long lines. The crew works as a team, setting the braces and guiding the tilt-up panel with remarkable precision. The speed of the process is also remarkable; an experienced tilt-up crew can erect as many as 40 panels in a single day.

Once all the tilt-up construction panels are erected, the crew applies finishes to the walls with sandblasting or painting. They also caulk joints and patch any imperfections in the walls. From this point the crew moves to the installation of the roof system and the trades begin their work inside the building.                                       

Applications Tilt Up Construction
Tilt up construction is normally used for single story commercial buildings, including warehouses, offices, and large stores. However, multiple story buildings like hotels that use tilt up construction are also becoming popular. This technique of construction is suitable for warehouses and shopping centers because the wall panels can be formed rapidly at reasonable costs. Tilt up construction can be used to incorporate the desired architectural features. Tilt up concrete is being used economically for mass construction of buildings due to multiple advantages. The panel heights and lengths can be easily customized. Tilt up concrete can be colored, textured, and formed to meet nearly any architectural requirement using modern techniques.

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