Tilt-Up for Hospitality Buildings: A Case Study of the Muskoka Bay Resort Expansion

New five-story condominium requires 381 panels, 13.4 million pounds of concrete, and one of Ontario’s largest cranes

In 2020, the Muskoka Bay Resort in Gravenhurst, ON will finish its latest expansion and open its new multi-unit condominium to the public. Already known for its private residences and its championship 18-hole golf course, the resort’s newest addition will further boost its luxurious offerings.

The condominium project was a massive undertaking that demonstrated Tilt Wall’s ability to deliver durable, safe and visually striking buildings, regardless of the circumstances.

Tilt-up construction meets budget and timeline expectations

The Muskoka Bay Resort’s new condominium was originally designed as a cast-in-place concrete building. However, cast-in-place concrete has extensive labour requirements and uses a construction process that can significantly extend the length of a project. Considering the resort owners’ timeline expectations and the unique demands of the job site, tilt-up construction was viewed as a more viable solution.

Tilt Wall received the contract on October 24, 2018, and the process moved quickly from there. Panel construction began during the first week of March 2019. The foundation was completed by the end of April, and all underground and floor slabs were completed at the end of May. The Tilt Wall team started erecting panels on June 3 and installed the last one on July 18.

Tilt-up construction ultimately saved time on the project’s schedule. Additionally, Tilt Wall provided sandwich panels, which resulted in a fully insulated building right away and will help reduce energy costs over time. Compared to the owners’ original choice of cast-in-place concrete, tilt-up was clearly a more effective choice. “We ended up being more economical,” said Len Overbeek, Tilt Wall’s head of Business Development.

Pouring and lifting panels into place at the Muskoka Bay Resort condominium project

Tilt Wall adjusts its process for a massive building

Tilt Wall has experience with a wide array of projects, ranging from schools to industrial facilities, but the five-storey Muskoka Bay Resort condominium was an especially large undertaking. From the footing to the top of the walls, the total height of the building was 86’ 9”. Approximately 13.4 million pounds of concrete were used to create the floor and wall slabs, resulting in 381 pieces. The building’s panels totalled 111,928 square feet, with 51,769 square feet for the walls and 60,159 square feet for the floors. And, the building required a sixth storey on each of its three staircases for roof access.

To accommodate the size of the condominium, Tilt Wall had to adjust some elements of its process. In a typical build, the team installs panels that are the full height of the entire structure. But in this case, that would’ve meant pouring and erecting panels that were nearly 87’ tall. Instead, smaller panels were used.

We did panels one floor at a time,” Overbeek said. “And each panel was the height of a single floor.” The floor-by-floor installation came together like a gigantic puzzle, with the team stacking walls on top of each floor that was poured and also lifting floor panels on top of walls.

In executing this kind of fast, effective problem solving, Tilt Wall was able to keep the project on track while also ensuring the highest level of safety and efficiency. The team’s willingness to adjust its process also spoke to Tilt Wall’s commitment to top-notch service.

Approximately 13.4 million pounds of concrete were used to create the floor and wall slabs, resulting in 381 pieces.

Tilt Wall uses one of Ontario’s largest cranes to erect panels

The sheer enormity of the Muskoka Bay condominium required some major lifting power.

The condominium’s walls and slabs were quite large. The heaviest floor slab weighed in at 144,720 pounds and spanned 890.15 square feet. The largest wall weighed in at 123,500 pounds and measured 60’ 10” wide – a company record for the widest wall installed, but only by a few feet. Even the lightest wall still weighed 1,700 pounds. To erect these panels, Tilt Wall used the Liebherr LG 1750 lattice boom from Sure Span.

The LG 1750 is one of the largest cranes available in Ontario. It boasts a maximum load capacity of 750 tons and was well-suited for the project. The team also used the 350-ton Booster mobile crane to move panels close to the LG 1750 for seamless installation.

During this stage of the construction process, the LG 1750 lifted the panels to their required heights. Then, workers braced the panels in place.

The heaviest floor slab weighed in at 144,720 pounds and spanned 890.15 square feet. The largest wall weighed in at 123,500 pounds and measured 60’ 10” wide – a company record for the widest wall installed.

Tilt Wall solves on-site weather and location problems

The Muskoka Bay condominium’s location presented some unique challenges, each of which Tilt Wall was able to solve.

The structure was built in the middle of the Canadian Shield. This meant the structure was centred in the middle of a tight construction site with limited space. It was also surrounded by rock outcropping. To overcome these constraints, Tilt Wall stacked cast panels. The highest stack reached 9 feet.

Crane access was also limited by the Canadian Shield conditions. Thus, the LG 1750’s flexibility and mobility made it the ideal choice for the project.

Aside from the site’s unique circumstances, weather was another concern. Some stages of panel construction happened during the winter months. Temperatures during Ontario’s winters can reach as low as -30°C. Cold weather can significantly impact the strength, quality, and overall performance of concrete. For the best results, Tilt Wall used numerous ground heaters to cure and protect the concrete during these times.

The foundation was completed by the end of April, and all the floor slabs were completed at the end of May. The Tilt Wall team started erecting panels on June 3 and installed the last one on July 18.

An impressive entry to Tilt Wall’s portfolio

Despite the size of the Muskoka Bay Resort condominium and the specific issues caused by its location, Tilt Wall was still able to push forward, overcome obstacles, and deliver the project on schedule.

Though the building isn’t slated to open until 2020, Muskoka Bay Resort is already a satisfied client. By using tilt-up construction, the resort will be able to accommodate more guests while maintaining the aesthetic standards that it’s known for. As one of the highest ranked golf courses and vacation destinations in Canada, Muskoka Bay Resort needed a subcontractor that could deliver. Tilt Wall exceeded expectations and exhibited the true power of tilt-up construction.

To find out more about Muskoka Bay Resort, visit muskokabayresort.com.
To learn more about Tilt Wall’s services, contact us today!

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