- Myth: Only certain size buildings can utilize tilt-up construction or You must have at least 20,000 square feet to make Tilt-Up economical
- Fact: Buildings with footprints less than 600 square feet and exceeding 2,000,000 square feet have been built with Tilt-Up.
Detail: Size is NOT a limiting factor!
In fact, today’s professional Tilt-Up contractors find opportunities for using the Tilt-Up process in increasing numbers. Adaptations now make, stairs, elevators, fire walls, blast walls around pad mounted transformers, signs sculptures, dumpster or screen walls more all viable options!
- Myth: There is no versatility with the corners of Tilt-Up panels
- Fact: There are at least five types of corners being used on a routine basis.
Detail: The cliché “thinking outside the box” is no longer accurate – as there is no box! Tilt-Up is a construction method where form used to follow function and now is completely defined as an industry where form can inspire function.
Alternate Casting Methods
- Myth: I can’t cast Tilt-Up panels because I have a drain in my floor.
- Fact: Although the concrete slab also referred to as the floor slab is an ideal place to cast panels, it is not the only option.
Detail: Either casting panels on top of previous panels or the use of temporary casting beds are regularly used and “reused” every day. Proper planning is essential when stack casting as well as finishing the topside surface and following bond breaker procedures. You don’t want the first panel cast to be the first panel in the erection sequence. Casting beds have been sought after on the job sites as great “staging” areas for other professions once casting in complete. Casting slabs are typically 3-inch thick unreinforced concrete. Casting slabs are either removed or paved over for the parking lot.
- Myth: Tilt-Up wall panels are all flat and rectangular
- Fact: Concrete is a flowable (liquid) medium when delivered to the formwork, anything you can form, you can pour.
Detail: Tilt-Up is the most diverse form of construction available today. Concrete is completely flowable, so anything you can form, you can pour. With the development of curved chamfer and 6 inch round corner extrusions available, curves in wall panels are becoming more and more common. The advancement of engineering technology allows the lifting/bracing manufacturer to determine the center of gravity in even the most complex panels, allowing large complex arches to be lifted as if they were a standard rectangular panel.
- Myth: I have a very small site with buildings next door, so I won’t be able to use a Tilt-Up process.
- Fact: As long as you have 35-40 feet around the perimeter of a building OR the option to lift from the interior OR the availability of a longer boom on your crane to reach out, lifting panels on a limited space job site is very doable.
Detail: A multitude of projects have been erected with very limited job site space and/or adjacent buildings or busy intersections. Proper planning allows for Tilt-Up in any job site condition. The advancement of the mobile crane has been key.
Building Panel Height
- Myth: Tilt-Up wall panels are limited to a maximum of 30 feet in height.
- Fact: Four to five story office buildings are consistently done with Tilt-Up construction and panels in excess of 90 feet have been done on several projects.
Detail: Increased advancement in bracing technology and the development of the 42 foot and 52 foot single pipe brace have allowed panels 40-90 feet to be lifted safely and repeatedly. Additionally, many multi-story projects proceed with a stacked panel approach.
- Myth: My building is not simple configured and I have odd shapes in my elevations. Tilt-Up is for rectangular panels
- Fact: Tilt-Up panels can be any shape and/or size. In fact Tilt-Up is often selected for extremely complex panels.
Detail: Tilt-Up construction is extremely economical with rectangular repetitious panels but, Tilt-Up is also typically less expensive than all other forms of construction (ie: block/brick/masonry, cast in place, etc.) when dealing with complex panels. Anything that can be formed can be poured and erected.
- Myth: Tilt-Up panels can not have large openings.
- Fact: Tilt-Up panels with openings on more than 80 percent of the panel have been lifted successfully and safely.
Detail: Experienced engineers have developed effective analysis techniques to create large Tilt-Up frames. These analyses combined with advancements in bracing and lifting technology, have allowed for the accurate determination of the center of gravity and the ability to thicken and brace on concrete legs allowing for large openings in Tilt-Up panels. Proper placement of Reinforcing Steel to strengthen the panels and reinforcing for lifting forces is necessary.
- Myth: Tilt-Up are only for warehouses and distribution centers
- Fact: Tilt-Up construction is used in many types of buildings, including offices, schools, religious facilities and more.
Detail: Architectural Treatments for Tilt-Up construction abound, including a wide variety of reveals, thin brick, thin block, cast in stone, coatings, and more. Any look is now available in Tilt-Up buildings.
- Myth: I have a very tight schedule and don’t have time for Tilt-Up.
- Fact: Tilt-Up construction is the fastest form of construction from conception to completion.
Detail: Tilt-Up construction gives the general contractor greater control of the schedule and the application utilizes readily and locally available materials. There is no waiting to be put in a schedule. Weather conditions have minimal affect of Tilt-Up panels and the building envelope can be in place by the time the structural steel arrives. A tilt-up concrete structure can often be erected faster than a precast building due to the schedule. Tilt-up Construction allows for maximum productivity of the labor force which is critical during this time of sever labor shortage. The same crew & tools (roto hammer, drill, anchors, impact wrench) that erect the panels can also install the panel anchors such as the PA 12’s and PA 18’s.
- Myth: My building needs to pay for itself.
- Fact: Tilt-Up buildings have a typical life of 100-150 years and generate significant savings in operating and maintenance expense. This offers a multitude of cost benefits.
Detail: Tilt-Up buildings generate a complete schedule of owner savings. Beginning with savings from reduced construction schedules, reduced construction loans which save contract monies. Concrete is durable and offers reduced insurance rates for fire and theft. Additionally, savings from the energy-efficiency of Tilt-up sandwich panels and thermal mass along with significantly lower maintenance costs for durable concrete walls inside and out, line the investment of the owner with substantial RFI’s. Concrete Structures have a multitude of benefits.
- Myth: I want a building that is not a drain on the economy.
- Fact: Tilt-Up construction is a smart and sustainable delivery method.
Detail: Site casting concrete elements offers many advantages for sustainability. Concrete has the ability to absorb and store energy (Mass Effect). Concrete is locally produced and Tilt-Up panels are formed on site reducing the amount of fuel used to haul product to the job site. Tilt-Up buildings have a life span of 100-150 years with limited maintenance reducing the annual building cost substantially. Cradle to grave, Tilt-Up buildings offer a complete sustainable profile.
- Myth: Concrete buildings are bland and unappealing with little aesthetic variety.
- Fact: Tilt-Up concrete buildings have some of the most diverse and inviting forms and finishes available in construction today.
Detail: More variations for the finished appearance of Tilt-Up panels exist than any other building method. The basic concrete mix is certainly gray in appearance and many designers find this of great appeal. However, the economics of the construction method also make finished brick, flat and textured paint, complex and intricate façade detailing, window variety, exposed aggregate, integral or stained coloring and many more options, more than viable.
Tilt-Up in Winter Months
- Myth: I see all the Tilt-Up in the southeast and southwest where conditions are perfect for Tilt-Up year round. We can’t do that here as it is too cold for most of the year.
- Fact: Concrete can be poured any day the temperature reaches 32 degrees. Furthermore, protection systems with varying economic impact can be employed when schedule plays a significant role in the driving force for a project.
Detail: The heat of hydration of concrete allows concrete to cure in temperatures below freezing. Stack casting of panels, use of concrete curing blankets, use of radiant floor heated casting slabs or floors allows for concrete casting in any temperature. One of the most dominate areas of Tilt-Up construction is Nova Scotia Canada where they have below freezing temperatures an average of five months a year. Ask a mason how advantageous it is to set a brick or block wall when the temperatures is below freezing. Productivity with Tilt-Up is better.
- Myth: My crews are afraid of Tilt-Up construction.
- Fact: Tilt-Up construction is one of the safest forms of construction being utilized today. The floor is the working surface.
Detail: All the work for Tilt-Up construction is done on the ground level. Panels are formed, concrete is poured, and braces are applied. There is no need for crews to work on scaffolding or from lifts until the panels are securely braced and conditions are safe.
Enhanced Moisture Control
- Myth: We have had problems with mold and mildew in the past and I don’t see how you stop moisture that condenses in the wall.
- Fact: Tilt-Up panels provide enhanced moisture control because the wall itself is a highly-impermeable layer.
Detail: Some of the toughest climate conditions are the most successful markets for Tilt-Up. Florida offers constant vapor drive from the high humidity and high temperature differential. Highly-effective coatings are the norm in this market where the moisture is stopped before it reaches the concrete or the join design. Panel joints are protected on both the inside and outside. Where substantial evidence suggests that moisture in joint cavities exist, these are easily insulated to the fill the joint 100 percent and weep systems can be easily installed at the base of these joints. Insulated concrete sandwich panels are also utilized to maximize thermal performance.
- Myth: My community mandates a brick façade for my building and I can’t afford Tilt-Up with a full masonry wythe.
- Fact: Why stop at just brick as a requirement? Tilt-Up buildings are built regularly with thin brick, thin block, exposed aggregate and even more costly and difficult finishes like tabby (oyster shells).
- Myth: I have a large concrete sculpture to build. Can I use Tilt-Up?
- Fact: Yes, Tilt-Up construction has already been used and would be an ideal construction methodology for sculptures of all kinds.
Detail: Anything you can form you can pour. Tilt-Up construction is an ideal application for art work or sculptures. The fact that they can be poured on site and erected into place make Tilt-Up ideal and decreases the likelihood of cracking during transportation. The use of fiber mesh and high performance concrete reinforcing mesh have aided in the advancement of high end finishes often required for sculptures and works of art.
Stairs/Elevators/Towers & More
- Myth: I have run into construction delays waiting for the expensive elevator and stair shaft, can Tilt-Up help?
- Fact: Yes, Tilt-Up construction for use in elevator shafts, towers and stairs is ideal and eliminates waiting and often delays caused by other construction trades.
Detail: Many of the tallest Tilt-Up structures to date are actually sub-structures where stair and elevator core towers are put up in a few Tilt-Up panels and then the rest of the building is built around it. This significant advancement has proven time and time again to put dollars back into the project and time on the schedules.
- Myth: I need firewalls in my building.
- Fact: The building code recognizes that 7.2 inch concrete wall provides a 4-hour fire rating.
Detail: Interior concrete walls are often erected using Tilt-Up construction and the durability of concrete allows for a maximum fire rating. This leaves the panel joints as the weak point that are simply designed with fire-proofing materials to raise their performance level to match the thick MFL concrete walls.