History of Tilt-Up Construction

 In Commercial Construction Projects, Headwaters Construction, Tilt-Up Construction

tilt-up-construction-sacramentoA History of Tilt-Up Construction

Tilt-up concrete construction is a common method of construction used today. It has given rise to many of the large buildings you see around you. However, this hasn’t always been the case. Keep reading and discover the interesting history of this construction method from its early beginnings to what it is today.

What is Tilt-Up Construction?

Tilt-up concrete construction refers to a method of building in which concrete components, such as walls and floor slabs, are cast on site before being lifted into position by cranes.

Headwaters Construction Inc., the best commercial builder in Sacramento, explains that tilt-up differs from prefab construction because, in prefab construction, concrete components are fabricated offsite in a factory. They are then transported to the construction site. In contrast, the concrete components used in tilt-up construction are cast at the construction site itself. This is before being lifted to their final positions on a building.

The very first types of buildings to be constructed using tilt-up concrete construction were warehouses and other “big box” structures due to the economies of scale that could be enjoyed on those projects.

Today, tilt-up construction can be used to put up all sorts of buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, and even homes.

The Beginning

Commercial construction using tilt-up construction as we know it was invented in 1905. Three years later, Robert Akins got a patent for this construction method.

Akins created a buzz in the construction industry when he poured wall slabs onsite and lifted them upright using tilt tables. The building he constructed was named Schindler House located in West Hollywood, California. 

Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, was so enthralled by this novel way to construct buildings that he declared that tilt-up concrete construction was the method of construction of the future. Edison constructed an entire village in Union, New Jersey, using tilt-up construction in 1908. This village is still standing to this day!

Technological advancements, such as the availability of larger cranes and concrete mixing trucks, have caused tilt-up construction to explode in popularity. The construction boom that started at the end of World War 2, together with the labor shortages caused by that devastating war, further cemented tilt-up construction’s place in society.

Recent Developments

Commercial construction using tilt-up concrete construction used to result in “boxy” exterior walls whose corners were 90-degree angles and the walls were flat.

Today, builders are no longer limited to those appearances and shapes. Instead, Headwaters Construction Inc., the best commercial builder in Sacramento, and other commercial construction companies specializing in this style of construction can deliver buildings whose window openings are elliptical or circular.

The tops of the tilt-up walls can now be curved. Several finishing options, such as exposed aggregate, stone, and brick, can all be applied to tilt-up walls. Even the color of the walls can also be customized to suit the needs of the project owner.

This variation in the structure and aesthetics of tilt-up construction shows why the method has gone beyond warehouses to buildings and homes.

Why Should You Even Consider Tilt-Up Construction?

The construction industry is very conservative, so you may be wondering why this new method of construction has caught on. Many project owners are specifically requesting for tilt-up concrete construction.

Tilt-up construction is good for building owners because the method cuts the construction duration by approximately two months. Gilmore Heating Air & Plumbing, Sacramento HVAC company explains that the method is cost-effective, efficient, safe, and quiet. It also offers architectural freedom since the onsite casting of concrete elements removes limitations due to transportation challenges and more.

These are the reason why you need to give serious consideration to tilt-up construction for your next project. If you would like to learn more about how this construction method can work for you, contact Sacramento tilt-up contractors. We can discuss with you the viability of this time-tested method for your project.

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