Tilt-up or tilt-wall construction in Houston utilizes concrete panels to construct low-cost buildings that can be completed in a short period of time. There are many benefits to choosing this type of construction over traditional construction methods.
The Basics of Tilt-Wall Construction
Tilt-wall construction involves pouring a concrete slab and footings to guide the wall panels that will be constructed when the slab is completed. The slab and footings work as a base for each panel. Cutouts are included in panel molds to allow for doorways and windows. Preparing the molds for the panels allows the design of each panel to be carefully reviewed before the panels are poured. Steel reinforcements are used during this process to maintain the integrity and strength of the panels.
The way that the panels are put into place gives tilt-up construction its name. The panels are removed from their mold and cranes are then used to lift the concrete panels and tilt them into place during the construction process. Lifting and placing the panels is a process that goes quickly compared to other construction methods. Industrial construction speeds can reach up to 30 panels per day.
The Measurements of Tilt-Wall Construction
There are some restrictions in the dimensions of a building that is constructed using tilt-wall construction. The minimum thickness for walls using tilt-up construction is 5.5 inches.
This construction type is not always financially beneficial. It is generally not worth using tilt-up construction for buildings that are less than 5,000 square feet, but buildings that are more than 5,000 square feet can be economically built using tilt-wall construction.
The maximum recommended height for buildings is 30 feet, and it is advised that the height of adjacent buildings that are constructed using the same method be the same for the most economical results. Entrances must be strategically placed to ensure that panels are able to adequately support the roof load associated with concrete construction.
Cranes that are used to lift the concrete panels should be able to lift at least twice the weight of the heaviest panel. The contractor that is providing crane construction services should decide whether this weight difference will be sufficient to support the panels while they are being put into place.
The construction site should be as flat as possible, and obstacles that could interfere with crane operations should be considered when the site is being chosen. Sites that are close to other buildings are not always ideal for tilt-up construction.
Preparing For Construction
One of the major benefits of tilt-wall construction is that the entire construction project takes a short amount of time compared to other construction methods. Preparing for office building construction requires a floor plan blueprint. Soil reports are needed for compliance purposes, and businesses must consult with the local planning commission or zoning board to gain approval for construction. This process takes approximately four weeks, but snags in any step of the planning process could hold up construction.
Benefits of Tilt-Wall Construction
There are many advantages to choosing tilt-wall construction for office or industrial buildings.
- Cost savings for labor and materials
- More durable than traditional construction methods
- Shorter construction duration
- Low emissions from concrete reduces the impact that construction has on the environment
- Many customization options
- Panels are fire resistant for safety and compliance
- Thick panels provide extra insulation that reduces the cost of heating or cooling the building
Tilt-Wall Construction in Earthquake Prone Regions
The primary issues with this type of construction was that it was not strong enough to withstand earthquake damage. Tilt-wall construction has made engineering advances so this construction method can be used in areas that are susceptible to seismic activity, and this cost-effective commercial construction method is ideal in most geographic regions.