Tiltwall Construction Process
What is Tiltwall Construction? How Are Tiltwall Buildings
A tiltwall project begins with job
site preparation and pouring the slab. During this phase
of the project, workers install footings around the slab
in preparation for the panels.
tiltwall panels are poured into forms that
provide the exact size, shape and door openings
to meet the design specifications. The tiltwall
panels can be massive; this panel at a Fort
Worth, Texas commercial building project
weighs about 50,000 pounds. The largest
panel used for a tiltwall construction project
weighed six times as much, over 150 tons.
The crew then assembles the panel forms
on the slab. Normally, the form is created with wooden
pieces that are joined together. The forms act like
a mold for the panels. They provide the panels' exact
shape and size, doorways and window openings, and ensure
the panels meet the design specifications and fit together
properly. Next, workers tie in the steel grid of reinforcing
bars into the form. They install inserts and embeds
for lifting the panels and attaching them to the footing,
the roof system, and to each other.
The slab beneath the forms is then cleaned
of any debris or standing water, and workers pour concrete
into the forms to create the panels.
Now comes the point where tiltwall construction,
or tilt-up construction, gets its name.
Once the panels have solidified and
the forms have been removed, the crew connects the first
panel to a large crane with cables that hook into the
inserts. The size of the crane depends on the height
and weight of the panels, but it is typically two to
three times the size of the largest panel. The crew
also attaches braces to the panel. The crane lifts,
or "tilts up," the panel from the slab into
a vertical position above the footings. Workers help
to guide the panel into position and the crane sets
it into place. They connect the braces from the tiltwall
panel to the slab, attach the panel's embeds to the
footing, and disconnect the cables from the crane. The
crew then moves to the next panel and repeats this process.
It's easy to be amazed as you watch
the mobile crane tilt up a panel from the ground and
set it into its place. Massive panels weighing 50,000
to 125,000 pounds or more dangle from the crane's long
lines. The crew works as a team, setting the braces
and guiding the panel with remarkable precision. The
speed of the process is also remarkable; an experienced
tiltwall crew can erect as many as 30 panels in a single
Once all the panels are erected, the
crew apply finishes to the walls with sandblasting or
painting. They also caulk joints and patch any imperfections
in the walls. From this point the crew moves to the
installation of the roof system and the trades begin
their work inside the building.
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