Tilt-up Construction Articles

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

An introduction to tilt-up construction and how it is different than traditional concrete construction.

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.

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 tilt-up 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.

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.

Tilt-up construction (also called tiltwall or tilt wall construction) has been used for bguildings as small as 5,000 SF. Tilt-up panels are typically one to two stories high but can be used for multi-story buildings; the tallest panels to date were 96 feet high.

Tilt-up construction has a long history, but its widespread use is a relatively new phenomenon thanks to technical innovations and ongoing education efforts by leading industry organizations like the Tilt-up Concrete Association. In spite of its comparitively new appearance on the commercial construction landscape, tilt-up 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.