If you’ve ever visited Chicago, you might have done one of the city’s favorite activities for tourists: the architectural boat tour. This 90-minute long ride on the Chicago River focuses on the unique structures of many of the city’s most famous and historic landmarks, such as Willis Tower, Navy Pier, the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower.
Though you probably don’t usually pay much attention in your everyday life to the way the buildings around you were constructed, a mixture of styles and methods were most likely utilized. One such technique is tilt-up construction.
If you’re not sure what it is, the American Concrete Institute defines tilt-up as “a construction technique for casting concrete elements in a horizontal position at the job site and then tilting them to their final position in a structure.” Basically, the tilt-up approach is utilized these days to construct low- to mid-rise and large commercial buildings. As one of the United States’ quickest growing industries, tilt-up construction has been used on structures for schools, office buildings, warehouses, retail developments and more.
According to the Tilt-up Concrete Association, more than 15 percent of all industrial buildings in this country are built using tilt-up methods, and over 10,000 buildings enclosing more than 650 million square feet are constructed annually using it. There are multiple reasons for the popularity of tilt-up construction, which has been around for many decades. For example, because concrete panels are constructed on the ground and tilted up into position using a crane, installing them can be done faster than other methods. This is especially beneficial in projects with a tight schedule.
A few other advantages include cost containment, increased safety, dependability and durability and design versatility.
In addition to being more cost-effective to erect than many other forms of construction, most buildings made using the tilt-up method require less maintenance overall. Due to the fact that it uses concrete, which offers a higher level of insulation and soundproofing, the tilt-up technique enables buildings to have lower energy costs, including both heating and cooling.
No scaffolding or vertical formwork is necessary in tilt-up construction, so builders don’t have to use as much equipment, and their employees can focus on other project tasks. Plus, costs are reduced by eliminating the need for pre-bought materials, including painting and other outside design choices. The concrete can be manipulated to form a unique design without outside materials.
Without the need for scaffolding to construct a building, the tilt-up method is safer for workers. It reduces risks from climbing on higher surfaces and spending multiple hours around heavy machinery. Plus, the concrete used in this approach meets specific standards for fire resistance.
Not only are buildings made using tilt-up construction more dependable and long-lasting because of the use of concrete, they also are very durable. They can weather natural disasters, an influx of water, an insect infestation and heavy storms, even those with large hail. The airtight enclosures they offer ad another level of safety and efficiency – all with lower costs than other construction methods.
Tilt-up buildings are not constructed in a pre-fabricated manner, so they can be designed to fit a specific form and function. The number of stories and shapes used can be customized without adding extra costs to the design due to the inclusion of a variety of materials.
Although PierTech isn’t the only company to use the tilt-up method for construction, we’re the only one doing it with helical pier technology and our patented Tilt-Up, Insta-Brace Anchor. A unique design consisting of three helix plates welded to a 1 ½” square bar shaft, it’s crafted from superior-strength steel and expedites the entire process. Our tilt-up brackets are removable and reusable for future projects, provide rapid installation and loading capability, offer minimal soil disturbance and are part of a pre-engineered system with verified load capacity.
Contact us to learn more about our approach to tilt-up construction or to find out about our customized line of helical piers, piles, anchors and helical piering accessories.