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Building with Tilt-Up

Basics of Tilt-Up Construction

A successful Tilt-Up project begins long before concrete is placed.

The Construction of Tilt-Up | Version en español

Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. At least 10,000 buildings enclosing more than 650 million square feet are constructed annually. This is due, in part, to the economics of Tilt-Up, which combine reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction, and minimal capital investment.

As with any project, the key to success is thorough planning. An experienced Tilt-Up contractor can be successful on a wide variety of projects. The beginner, however, should choose more carefully. These pages explain the basic methods and skills required for successful Tilt-Up construction.

Site evaluation

Planning begins with an evaluation of the site. A large, flat, open site is ideal, but not common. Therefore, evaluate the site with regard to slab layout and the movement of materials and equipment around the slab. Read more...

Engineering

Engineering is a critical phase of each and every Tilt-Up project. Consult an engineer with experience or familiarity with Tilt-Up construction and current design methods. Current recommendations for many aspects of Tilt-Up, particularly engineering, are presented in ACI 551R (Ref. 1). Read more...

Footings and floor slabs

Once planning is complete, construction can begin on the floor and footings. Locations, heights and dimensions should be checked and verified for correctness. Crane time is expensive if modifications must be made while a panel is suspended over an incorrect plate or footing. Read more...

Panel forming

There are a number of ways to form individual panels - each with its own advantages. Read more...

Surface treatments

It is popular to impart a pattern or texture to the face of Tilt-Up panels using reveal strips. Typically, these strips are anchored to the base slab after side forms are erected, but before reinforcement is placed. Read more...

Reinforcing

The steel grid for reinforcing Tilt-Up panels is typically tied in-place after the side forms are erected. The use of plastic support chairs instead of steel chairs is recommended to avoid rusting. Read more...

Embeds and inserts

The installation of embeds and inserts comes next. Embeds are pre-fabricated steel plates with lugs that are cast into the panel to attach it to the footing, other panels, or the roof system, or for attachment of building accessories after the shell is completed. Read more...

Concrete placement

Concrete placement methods for Tilt-Up panels are the same as those for floor slabs. Direct chute placement is the most economical method, but pumping and bucket placement also work. Read more...

Panel erection

The panel lifting sequence should be determined well in advance, but it's a good idea to review it immediately before panel erection. Read more...

Panel finishing

The finish of a panel is limited only by the creativity of the architect and the abilities of the contractor. Common sandblasted or exposed aggregate finishes can be done immediately after panel erection. Read more...

Insulated panels

Insulated Tilt-Up panels are a rapidly growing market. Several proprietary systems enable contractors to insulate panels during their construction or after the building is erected. Read more...

About the TCA

Founded in 1986, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) strives to improve the quality and acceptance of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. At least 10,000 buildings, enclosing more than 650 million square feet, are constructed each year using this construction method.

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