Tilt-Up Construction: Is It Your Best Alternative to Precast?

Tilt-Up Construction Is It Your Best Alternative to Precast

Precast concrete construction is well known in the industry, but tilt-up concrete construction is the breakout method for constructing buildings of tomorrow.

Forward-thinking developers foresee tomorrow’s needs, and are continuing to create buildings faster, better and more affordably using earth’s most versatile construction material: concrete. Whether concrete is cast on site or precast in production facilities, no other building material offers the benefits of concrete.

Precast has long been a popular choice among contractors for large-scale concrete construction, but innovation in the industry has led to the popularization of alternatives like tilt-up construction, also referred to as site-cast construction. This is especially true when constructing distribution warehouses and high-density affordable housing complexes, whose need is growing exponentially as our societies continue to evolve.

Precast Concrete vs. Tilt-Up Concrete

Both methods have the obvious similarity of concrete being poured, molded and cured, but apart from that there is much confusion about the similarities and differences of these two concrete construction methods.

Developers must weigh the similarities and differences, and decide for themselves if they stick with the familiar precast construction, or choose to ‘tilt’ their thinking.

Concrete Construction Timelines

Precast’s popularity has resulted in construction timelines that are beyond the realm of many developers. Waiting years for walls to rise is simply not an option, especially with the need for developers to have a return on their investment sooner. Precast panels also need to be ordered in advance, resulting in unnecessary stress and lack of flexibility in the design process.

Now is actually the best time to seek out concrete construction alternatives such as tilt-up concrete. With less time spent planning and manufacturing each piece in a factory setting, project execution can begin in as little as three months, with essential changes occurring sometimes only days before installation.

Precast Factories vs. Tilt-Up Job Sites

As its name suggests, precast concrete panels are constructed in advance of construction commencement, then warehoused and transported to job sites. This leads to high transportation costs, but allows components to be made in sheltered buildings, avoiding extreme weather conditions that can affect the construction timeline. Precast is also limited to the distance that trucks would need to travel to reach the construction site. Costs could greatly increase beyond a certain travel range.

Site-cast concrete eliminates most transportation costs and even allows for construction in winter months with proper planning.

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Precast Concrete vs. Tilt-Up Concrete Panel Sizes

When a flatbed trailer is required to transport your product, you’re obviously limited to its size. That means the maximum size of a precast panel is often a paltry 60 feet x 12 feet.

Tilt-up concrete is only limited by the size of the job site. Some panels can stretch 100 feet tall! Since there are fewer panels to erect, architects and general contractors enjoy more flexibility with design and site plans.

Precast Concrete vs. Tilt-Up Concrete Energy Efficiency

Built of concrete, precast panels have energy efficiency similar to tilt-up panels. The major difference between the two is that precast panels can only be in 12-foot widths, potentially creating numerous thermal leaks along a long wall. Tilt-up’s larger panels drastically decrease the amount of panels required on site, resulting in fewer thermal breaks and reduced energy consumption for decades to come.

Tilt-Up Makes Sense as the Leading Alternative to Precast Concrete Construction

Now is the best time for developers to learn more about construction alternatives. There are many similarities between precast and tilt-up, but the additional benefits of tilt-up concrete construction make it a viable solution for an industry that needs faster, better and more affordable building techniques.

Tilt Wall is Ontario’s tilt-up construction leader, providing cost-effective, energy-efficient, quickly constructed wall solutions for Canadian developers. For more information on how Tilt Wall can benefit your upcoming business or agricultural project, contact us today.

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