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Building with Tilt-Up | Project Profiles

Outdoor Education Center Simulated Mine

TCA Tilt-Up Project Profile - Special Projects Division

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When creating a simulated mine within a hill at the Outdoor Education Center in Orange County, Calif., realism and safety were the top priorities. Initial designs had called for a poured-in-place structure supported by an unshored dirt embankment, which posed safety risks to construction crews. Switching to a Tilt-Up design allowed the center to keep the project’s aesthetic value intact while providing a safer and more cost-effective construction plan.

Slopes and lay-back distances were carefully planned and dug to maintain safe work areas, and the safety of workers removing braces between the wall panels and the dirt slopes was carefully monitored. To mimic the look of an underground tunnel, crews cast the irregularly shaped panels into formwork placed directly on the dirt. Integral color was used to help the concrete blend with the dirt once the panels were erected. A cast-in-place ceiling built over an extensively shored deck covered with dirt duplicates the effect of the walls while Styrofoam filler pieces helped reduce weight on the shoring.

The simulated mine allows visitors to the Outdoor Education Center to learn about the area’s geological history and mining heritage in an authentic yet safe environment.


Project Specifics

Total Panels (Single Building)
29 panels
Project Wall Area
4,250 sq ft
(395 sq m)
Project Floor Area
1,970 sq ft
(183 sq m)
Project Footprint
1,970 sq ft
(183 sq m)
Tallest Panel
14 ft 0 in
(4.27 m)
Widest Panel
25 ft 6 in
(7.77 m)
Largest Panel
358 sq ft
(33.3 sq m)
Heaviest Panel
26,800 lbs
(12,156 kg)

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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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