What is Tilt-Up Construction?

If you have noticed that new commercial buildings are being built in what seems like weeks, you’re not crazy. You are probably witnessing a building being constructed by way of the tilt-up construction method. Tilt-up construction is an innovative method that is used for all building types: office buildings, retail centers, warehouses, distribution centers, call centers, laboratory facilities and more. Currently, more than 650 million square feet of tilt-up buildings go up every year.


What is tilt-up construction?

With tilt-up construction, the exterior walls of a building are created at the work site using wood frames, rebar and ready-mix concrete. The building’s walls are poured directly at the job site in large slabs of concrete called “tilt-up panels” or “tiltwall panels.” When the walls are ready, a crane raises the panels into position around the building’s perimeter forming the exterior walls. All building entrances and window openings are shaped into the wall forms.


What are the alternative methods?

Steel-frame construction

  • Better suited for high-rise buildings.
  • Exterior walls are created in a time-consuming, multi-stepped process.


Precast Concrete

  • Similar to tilt-up construction.
  • Addresses challenges with weather.
  • Workers precast concrete panels at large manufacturing facilities.
  • Precast panels are trucked to the job site and assembled similarly to tilt-up buildings.

Wood-frame construction

  • Leaves buildings vulnerable to fire and insect infestations.



What are the benefits of tilt-up?

Speed is a major benefit of tilt-up construction. Construction of exterior walls can be completed very quickly. Depending on the size of the building, you can have walls up with in a week.


The cost of labor is another benefit to tilt-up. This method requires fewer skilled laborers than other methods.


With tilt-up construction, access to materials is often much more manageable. Ready-mix concrete and rebar are typically available from nearby suppliers. This is a better alternative to waiting months for steel beams and complex components.


Reinforced concrete is an excellent insulator, making tilt-up construction energy efficient. You can create walls with an extra insulating layer to maximize energy savings.


Tilt-up construction allows for a customized and flexible design. Computer software is used to design your building to your exact specifications.

Watchdog Real Estate Project Management
Watchdog Real Estate Project Management is a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Management as well as additional blog posts can be found at www.watchdogpm.com
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