Tilt-up Construction – Is it a better way to build?
A cost saving approach to construction
The construction industry is a major driving catalyst for economical prosperity. When the downturn of such industry has taken place, it dragged with it the financial system and consequently affected the wellbeing of many families. Now, we are on the road to economical recovery, it is the duty of each one of us in this industry to contribute for constructing greener buildings, simpler yet aesthetically appealing, faster to construct and as importantly more feasible so that more funds are invested in our social welfare and humanitarian growth rather than spending it in construction cost, rent and maintenance.
At the Master Mason CPM, we have taken such challenge seriously and after thorough research conducted locally and internationally, we are pleased to announce the introduction of Tilt-up Construction to the Middle-East. Tilt-up is not a new technology; it is not a patent invention, it is merely a better process that uses the available resources to build in a more efficient and faster way. It consists of:
- Forming the wall panels of building façade on the ground slab near Its final position
- Spray de-bonding chemical so concrete will not stick to the ground and the form
- Install required reinforcements, lifting and bracing inserts into the forms
- Cast concrete into the forms and cure it for 1 to 2 weeks
- Lift it with a crane and fix it in place with temporary support until floor slab are constructed
- Remove Temporary supports and applies finishes.
- The process is complete.
The process is simple yet delicate. Tilt-up reliefs the construction labor force from the tedious tasks normally performed in constructing exterior walls with blocks and plaster and instead places the challenge on the engineering and planning team. The Master Mason has joined the alliance of CON/STEEL USA to ensure that the best know-how is transferred safely to the Middle and North Africa region. With CON/STEEL 30 years + experience in tilt-up, we are geared up to provide educational and consultancy support to Middle-Eastern developers, contractors, and consultants who are interested to build with Tilt- up.
Tilt-up construction has been used all over the world for residential and commercial low to mid rise buildings. Also, schools, universities, hospitals, community centers and public buildings have been built successfully with tilt- up in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand at very completive cost and in fast track approach. Therefore, I urge governmental officials to grasp on the advantages that such construction is offering and start specifying tilt-up for their future project.
Contracts’ Professionals raised few questions to Mr. ElAyache:
CP: Considering the extreme weather conditions, How Durable would tilt-up be in the Arabian Gulf region?
FEA: For the last 30 years, builders in the gulf have been constructing with reinforced concrete durable structures that have withstood the environmental challenges. Since Tilt-up uses the same ingredients and method, it will be perfectly suitable and highly durable for this region; not to mention that since it is casted horizontally, it is easier to control its quality and curing it with potable water would be more efficient and hence improves concrete quality and its durability. For heat resistance, sandwich panels with insulation infill are made with tilt-up. Concrete has an excellent fire resistance and by increasing the clear cover over reinforcing steel, its resistance to fire increases in line with requirements of building codes.
CP: The process is simple and its engineering has been around, Why has not been used in here yet?
FEA: The recent advancement in the chemical and mechanical industries have made such process achievable, now cranes with high capacity (10, 20, 30 80 tones) are easily available and can be used to lift panels, also chemical that prevent concrete from sticking to the ground are locally produced or easily imported, still careful selection of such materials shall be exercised in order to ensure its effectiveness.
CP: It looks like precast. So what is new?
FEA: It is indeed precast with the advantage of being fabricated on the Job site, i.e.: No Transportation of bulky elements is required and no constrains on size of panel for transporting it and therefore chances of being damaged during transportation have been eliminated and chances of damages from multiple loadings and unloading have been reduced also number of joints have been reduced.
CP: What does make tilt-up more feasible than precast construction?
FEA: Tilt-up and precast are not competing items they are rather complementing, certain items are produced more feasible in precast but large panels are definitely feasible in tilt-up. With tilt-up, there is no transportation cost, no capital investment cost, less risk of damage cost, less joint treatment cost, less overhead cost.
CP: What does make tilt-up competitive with traditional construction?
FEA: Incorporating items such as external columns, external textures, and internal plaster within the tilt-up panel shortens period of construction, reduces construction waste and improves quality and thus reduces overhead cost considerably and reduce maintenance cost of the building.
CP: How such a system will help the economy?
FEA: Its simplicity and consequently its feasibility will help the economy. We will be able to build at less cost than what we pay now. Productivity drives the growth of the economy. During the economical crisis, we witnessed the reduction in real estate value because we were spending so much for construction. Up till now, we don’t see the equivalent drop in construction cost. This is due to the fact that contractors are heavily dependent on labor than machine and the cost of un-productivity during their idle time is being charged to the cost of new construction. With tilt-up, the need for masons for block work and plaster will be minimized and consequently large number of contractor labor force can be reduced without affecting the contractor’s ability to construct massive projects.
CP: Any aesthetic constrains on Tilt-up?
FEA: Not at all. The photos displayed are few of the projects built with tilt-up. In fact architects are now becoming more innovative with tilt-up. It has unleashed their creative mind because whatever was difficult or not feasible to construct in the traditional way, it is easily attained with Tilt-up.
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