The tilt-up construction technique can be a really practical solution when build contractors are pressed for time and money. It is a tried and true method to execute large-scale projects in the shortest time span possible, plus its cost-effective nature makes it quite enticing – which goes to explain the ubiquity of buildings erected this way around the US, Australia and New Zealand. Here’s some basic, stripped down info for those of you who want to find out why build contractors should choose the tilt-up construction technique.
What is tilt-up construction?
This construction technique is all about concrete. It begins with the basic pour of the slab. Then, after the placement and the appropriate curing method, the horizontal slab – which is essentially a wall, column or another sort of structural support – is lifted up into the vertical position. Contractors typically use bulky cranes to lift these slabs up and brace them into position. Then, the next step of the process is all about securing these structural components.
How is it superior?
This is a typical method by which you can describe (and perform) tilt-up construction, which eliminates the uncomfortable step that includes casting and curing concrete slabs off sight. When these elements are created in designated factories off sight, it raises the issue of size limitation when it comes to transportation. When you account for the number of vehicles and trips needed to transport all the slabs, as well as the cumulative cost of fuel, the question of time and money is easily answered – the tilt-up method is superior. Overall, it takes around 70% of the time needed for construction through different methods.
How safe is it?
The tilt-up construction technique appeals to all the contractors due to the safety that is intrinsic to the way it’s executed. Since the pouring and casting are done on the ground level, this means the need for scaffolds and climbing to dangerous heights is effectively eliminated. Once the workers reach that final step of lifting the element into the vertical position, all they need to do is clear the location and utilize the machinery.
How secure is it?
The only access to buildings constructed by utilizing the tilt-up method is through windows and doors. Any alternative break-ins through walls or floors are significantly more difficult due to the toughness and thickness of concrete slabs. This is why the tilt-up technique is used to construct prisons and other maximum-security facilities.
Is it durable?
The tilt-up technique guarantees durability in both the physical and aesthetic realm. On the one hand, buildings erected with this technique from the early 1940s tend to show little to no signs of aging. The only things that need to be updated are their looks, paint and details on the façade – essentially the “makeup” of the building – which brings us to the second issue. When it comes to aesthetics, due to the simplicity of the building method that excludes premade materials and details, the fast and reliable tilt up construction technique also means fast and reliable stylistic updates. This stripped down modus operandi turns buildings into blank canvasses when it comes to style – due to their simple basic elements, they are easy to renovate and reconfigure according to what’s in vogue in the realm of architecture and design.
Is it convenient?
Of course, after you establish how enticing the tilt-up method is to contractors, the natural following question is – how convenient are these buildings for residents? The ultimate answer to this question begins with the consideration of the material used for the building purposes. Concrete prevails in tilt-up construction and it is known for its fire- and water- resistant qualities. Thick concrete walls will not absorb any moisture and if they are more than 6 inches thick, they can withstand the exposure to a full-on fiery blaze for up to 4 hours.
This fire and water resistance of concrete walls means the buildings erected with the tilt-up method have lower insurance rates and very reasonable maintenance costs. Typically, a new coat of paint is required every seven years, and concrete-based materials are generally very easy to clean. Furthermore, high insulation values and sustainability of concrete means low heating and cooling costs that far exceed the same value of other materials such as wood and masonry. Acoustic insulation is also superb, especially if the concrete walls are reinforced with steel.
How flexible are these tilt-up buildings?
While remodeling in terms of design is never out of the question with tilt-up made buildings, every now and then more integral retrofits are required. In this regard, these buildings are very modular. If the constructor wants to expand an already existing building erected with such a method, they will usually find that big panels and slabs can be removed or relocated thanks to detachable panel connections.
This built-in versatility is a breath of fresh air for every contractor and resident alike. If you are the type of person who likes to turn their apartments or houses into extensions of themselves and do renovations every now and then, tilt-up buildings are the best option for you.
Even though the tilt-up construction technique often requires extensive retrofits that will protect the building and its dwellers from the catastrophic consequences of earthquakes, the benefits of such building methods far outweigh the downsides. However, this doesn’t mean safety should be disregarded for cost-effectiveness and time management. In fact, the tilt-up construction technique is so enticing exactly because the safety aspect is manageable later on.