Tiltwall Construction Articles

Tiltwall Construction: A General Contractor's Approach to Innovative Commercial Building Construction

An introduction to tiltwall construction and how it is different than traditional concrete construction.

Tiltwall Construction: A General Contractor's Approach to Innovative Commercial Building Construction


Have you ever driven past a construction site and seen massive cranes lifting huge panels of concrete in the air? Have you watched with amazement as a new commercial building seems to spring into place, almost overnight? What you have witnessed is tiltwall construction, an innovative method for building office buildings, retail centers, warehouses, distribution centers, call centers, manufacturing facilities and other commercial / industrial structures with amazing speed, safety, and cost benefits.

So what is the difference between tiltwall and other types of construction?

In traditional forms of wall construction, the walls can be built with CMU blocks or blocks faced with brick. For some types of buildings, the exterior wall is made up of structural steel columns with heavy gauge metal studs covered with gyp sheathing, which is then faced with brick or stucco. Regardless which traditional approach is used, building the exterior walls is a time-consuming, multi-stepped process. A tiltwall building's walls are created horizontally in large slabs of concrete called panels. The panels are then lifted, or tilted up, into position around the building's slab. This means the tiltwall structure's exterior wall is virtually finished when it is tilted into place.

Have you ever driven past a construction site and seen massive cranes lifting huge panels of concrete in the air? Have you watched with amazement as a new commercial building seems to spring into place, almost overnight? What you have witnessed is tiltwall construction.

Tiltwall construction (also called tilt-up or tilt wall construction) has been used for buildings as small as 5,000 SF. Tiltwall panels are typically one to two stories high but can be used for multi-story buildings; the tallest panels to date were 96 feet high.

Tiltwall construction has a long history, but its widespread use is a relatively new phenomenon thanks to technical innovations and ongoing education efforts by leading industry organizations like the Tilt-up Concrete Association. In spite of its comparitively new appearance on the commercial construction landscape, tiltwall construction is fast becoming the method of choice for constructing modern warehouses, call centers, distribution centers, retail stores, office and storage buildings and other types of industrial and commercial facilities.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about tiltwall construction. For more information about tiltwall construction, visit GeneralContractor.com or the TCA's website at tilt-up.org. You might also like to learn more about concrete contractors. Concrete Contractor.com has historical articles about concrete and tilt-up construction, along with profiles of some of history's most important concrete construction projects, including the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam and the first reinforced concrete high rise building ever constructed, the Ingalls Building in Cincinnati, Ohio.