A tilt-up construction company Old Forge works with gave us the opportunity to witness the “lift” process in person (video below). I was surprised with the countless value-adds of opting into a tilt-up building, but before I delve into that – here’s some basics for the folks who aren’t as familiar.
What is Tilt-Up Construction?
Tilt-Up is a technique where concrete panels are poured, dried, and lifted to form the exterior shell of a building in a vertical position with a crane. Once lifted, they are braced with metal poles until the remaining elements of the building like roofing and walls are secured. The position of these panels is a blank slate on which several diverse sidings, claddings or veneer can be added for aesthetic. For many, it’s a no-brainer with the durability and economic benefits.
Why Opt for Tilt
There is a specific niche where this method makes the most sense. Buildings 10,000 sf or more with a 16-ft or higher height allow for a cost-effective construction process. The cost efficiency is a product of several factors: lower labor costs from the smaller teams required, and the ability to source local materials with more stable pricing. Even post-construction, there are energy efficiency benefits with heating/cooling in a concrete structure, as well as superior fire/weather resistance leading to lower insurance costs.
Items to Be Mindful Of
There is ample up-front coordination required, as changes to design once panels are already constructed is extremely challenging. It’s best to have all parties aligned prior to any work beginning to ensure that there is little room for error.
As the size of a building becomes bigger, tilt-up produces increased cost savings. However, the reverse is also true as the square footage reduces, so you should discuss with an expert the cost implications of using this method if you intend to construct a smaller-scale facility.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a shout-out to our partner, Bedrock Concrete Corp. who has brought Old Forge up to speed on all the intricacies and benefits of tilt. As construction continues to evolve, this is a huge realm of opportunity that is very interesting to keep an eye on.