Construction White Papers and Articles

Tilt-up Construction: A General Contractor's Approach to Innovative Commercial Building Construction

Have you ever driven past a construction site and seen massive cranes lifting huge panels of concrete in the air? Have you watched with amazement as a new commercial building seems to spring into place, almost overnight? What you have witnessed is tilt-up construction, an innovative method for building office buildings, retail centers, warehouses, distribution centers, call centers, manufacturing facilities and other commercial / industrial structures with amazing speed, safety, and cost benefits.

This article begins a series of articles on tilt-up construction.


Introduction

Workers help to guide a large mobile crane as it lifts a tilt-up panel into place on this Fort Worth, Texas warehouse building project.

Have you ever driven past a construction site and seen massive cranes lifting huge panels of concrete in the air? Have you watched with amazement as a new commercial building seems to spring into place, almost overnight? What you have witnessed is tilt-up construction, an innovative method for building office buildings, retail centers, warehouses, distribution centers, call centers, manufacturing facilities and other commercial / industrial structures with amazing speed, safety, and cost benefits.

So what is the difference between tilt-up and other types of construction?

In traditional forms of wall construction, the walls can be built with CMU blocks or blocks faced with brick. For some types of buildings, the exterior wall is made up of structural steel columns with heavy gauge metal studs covered with gyp sheathing, which is then faced with brick or stucco. Regardless which traditional approach is used, building the exterior walls is a time-consuming, multi-stepped process. A tiltwall building's walls are created horizontally in large slabs of concrete called panels. The panels are then lifted, or tilted up, into position around the building's slab. This means the tilt-up structure's exterior wall is virtually finished when it is tilted into place.

Tilt-up construction (also called tiltwall or tilt wall construction) has a long history, but its widespread use is a relatively new phenomenon. In spite of this, tiltwall construction is fast becoming the method of choice for constructing modern warehouses, call centers, distribution centers, retail stores, office and storage buildings and other types of industrial and commercial facilities.

Next: Tilt-up Construction: An Old Idea With New Innovations

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