Tilt-wall, or tilt-up construction as it's sometimes called, is a technique
in which concrete walls are poured on site. The ground floor slab of a building is poured. Using this level surface as a casting bed, the horizontal shell concrete is
poured. After drying, the wall is hoisted by crane and set in place using beams. Although tilt-wall has been in popular use for more than 20 years, it has come on strong as the preferred choice for many projects in the last 10 years. The decision to use tilt-wall versus traditional vertical wall construction
comes in the preliminary concept stage where not only defining the shape and plan of the layout but also determining the type of materials to consider. Advantages to tilt-wall include security, time and cost. Concrete formed in this method creates a very permanent type of envelope. It is very hard to break through or damage. Savings are more likely on large projects in which large amounts of exterior wall panel are needed. Initially, most projects using tilt-wall were industrial and warehouse projects. Such plain and generic buildings earned the name "vanilla boxes." Tilt-wall has
evolved. Today, we are doing a lot more architectural aesthetic-type projects. On appearance many of these look as if they wouldn't be conducive to the use of tilt-up. More ornate building are being built using tilt-wall. On many projects, tilt-wall can be used as a structural element as well as the outer surface, thus eliminating the need to use perimeter columns. Concrete cast in tilt-wall is a much better product. It's getting much closer to pre-cast concrete -- concrete that is cast in a plant and shipped out to the job site. Pre-cast concrete is much more expensive. An additional plus is that architectural detail can be added into the surface of the concrete before the wall is lifted into place. This eliminates the need for attaching a stucco finish and carving design detail into the stucco as is done when concrete block is used for regular vertical wall construction. Not only does this save time and money but the end result is much better looking because concrete is a much straighter and flatter surface. It doesn't have that wavy appearance of stucco.
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