Tilt-up construction involves site-casting the
concrete walls of a building on its floor slab or on a separate
casting bed and then tilting and lifting them into position by
crane. The result is rapid construction arising from a well-planned
process more akin to a factory production line, but retaining the
flexibility of in-situ concrete work.
Tilt-up panels can be plain and smooth or
visually rich. Grooves, texture and colour can be employed
creatively by the architect, while plain-finished or painted panels
are used for a more subtle effect.
Tilt-up is highly competitive with traditional
construction for a wide range of buildings types. The inherent fire
resistance and security of tilt-up may also result in lower
insurance premiums for owners and occupiers.
Tilt-up walls can be insulated economically to
give the required U values, from a normal building to cold stores.
Sandwich tilt-up panels incorporate insulation and minimise
follow-on trades. This combination of concrete and insulation
builds into thermal mass which can reduce temperature fluctuations
and provide a durable internal and external finish.
Tilt-up is sealed easily, making it ideal for
controlled environments. The low number of joints in a tilt-up
building means exceptional air tightness is achievable.
The mass of the concrete walls absorbs the
sound rather than letting it through as can occur with lighter
forms of construction. Noise can be isolated within a building and
for airborne sound, tilt-up walls can provide a sound reduction
index of at least 52dB compared with about 20 – 30dB for
Tilt-up panels can be designed easily for up
to four hours resistance and are particularly cost-effective
as fire separation/compartment walls.
Tilt-up panels are frequently used for
security walls and prisons because they are virtually impossible to
A key benefit for using tilt-up is the fast
programme to complete a project. After the floor slab is placed,
the typical elapsed time from starting to form panels until the
building shell is completed may be only four to five weeks.
Materials for wall panels are procured easily with minimal lead
times, allowing a fast start to this process, which progresses
while any products with a longer lead-time are being
Health and safety
With a tilt-up building, much of the work is
on the ground; there is no vertical formwork, no scaffolding, and
since the floor slab is poured first, workers have a safer working
Maintenance and durability
The wider panels minimise the number of joints
and length of sealant, thus reducing maintenance costs. Visual
concrete (fairfaced, textured, profiled, tooled and exposed
aggregate finishes) and cast-applied facings (inlaid stone, brick
etc) require little attention, and modern paints have long life
spans. Concrete surfaces are resistant to mechanical damage, and
are easily washed down.