What Building Contractors Should Know About Tilt-Up Panels

Posted on

Tilt-up panels are concrete walls that are cast onsite and then tilted up and put into place. Using tilt-up panels can mean less cost than using many other construction materials, and may also mean a faster construction than a standard stick-built frame. If you've never used tilt-up panels in construction before, you might note some facts about the material and the construction process so you can know if it's the right choice for any upcoming projects you have scheduled.

Site restrictions and constraints

When panels are tilted up and put into place, you need to have a crane onsite that can manage the weight and size of the panels; your crane operator or provider will note the size and type of crane needed. You would then also need to note any site restrictions and constraints, based on the type of crane required. Very soft soil that won't support the crane, a small construction site such as in the city, overhead lines, and other such constraints might make a site a poor candidate for tilt-up panels, depending on the size of panels and size of crane needed. Be sure you take this into account when considering tilt-up panels for a project.

Roof support

The roof itself acts as a support for the panels, holding them together horizontally. The footing is then also the support at the bottom. The panels are not generally connected to each other as they're put into place, so that they can expand and contract more readily as they're exposed to moisture. You will need to ensure you work with a tilt-up contractor to find the right type of roof needed to support the panels properly, and not forego or overlook their requirements for the roofing type you'll need to keep the panels in place.

Comparing costs

When comparing building materials for a project, be sure you note the finish on the outside of the building as well as the building's frame. Be able to easily add an aggregate, stain the concrete, or stamp it to look like brick or stone can make tilt-up panels much more affordable than adding stone or another material to the outside of a stick-built building frame. Concrete is also very fire-resistant, so you can usually forego special coatings to make the building fireproof, as you would need to add for stick built frames. When comparing costs, ensure that you've taken into account all these other factors with using tilt-up panels versus stick built frames.