Tilt-up concrete gets its name from the manner in which construction occurs: by lifting or tilting panels with a crane to form the walls of buildings. Panels can be produced in many shapes and sizes, including flat and curved sections. Concrete placement is fast and easy because it is done on the ground. Floor surfaces serve as casting beds or sometimes separate casting beds are built. Because the panels are cast on site, their size is not limited by trucking considerations. Panels are typically rather large in size so that there are relatively few joints in buildings.
Tilt-up structures are built at reasonable cost, require little maintenance, and provide long term durability and speed of construction. Panels usually serve as structure and finish and can be insulated as needed for energy efficiency.
The following points describe tilt-up concrete panels for low-rise buildings:
- Manufacturing and Physical Properties
- Installation, Connections, and Finishes
- Sustainability and Energy
- Building Codes
- Comparative Cost
Uninsulated panels are typically seven to 12 inches thick. Insulated panels are sandwich-type construction. The outer face is two to three inches thick, the insulation is two to six inches thick, and the inner layer is the structural portion of the wall with a thickness similar to uninsulated panels. Connectors are inserted through the insulation to tie the two concrete faces together.
Advancements in lifting inserts means that there are fewer limitations on panel size: 50-foot- tall panels are common. The floor footprint may be one constraint on size. And since panels must be lifted into place by a crane, their weight versus crane capacity is another limiting factor and the crane should have a safety margin of three to one for this purpose. But panels do not have to be shipped to a site by truck, so this is not a limitation on size.