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Achieving Even Greater Heights with Insulated SiteCast Tilt-Up Concrete Panels

Feb 13, 2014

Witness a concrete panel being tilted into place and you are struck by the ease with which a building can be erected. It’s a simple concept: construct walls horizontally and lift them into place. What if we were to stack these concrete panels, or challenge the industry to design and construct panels that were 90 feet or higher?

That challenge has been met. The tilt-up industry responded and has provided architects a new fluid construction form for multi-storey or extremely tall structures. 92 foot tall churches, 80 foot clear warehousing and nine storey structures -- owners are benefiting from the superior cost-efficient shell that tilt-up construction has provided the industry.

While there is a growing library of articles on the use of tilt-up with various architectural treatments, not much has been written about the growing height achievements, even though the industry has been constructing multi-storey buildings for more than a decade.

The construction industry often perceives tilt-up panels as being limited to single storey structures; however tilt-up panels work extremely well in multi-storey structures and provide a level of versatility not seen with conventional construction techniques. Take for example a five-storey building: one can stack single storey panels on top of each other, or one can use full height panels, or one may have two two-storey and a single or any combination thereof. This flexibility provides architects the creative freedom to arrange and assemble panels to suit even the most novel design, in shape, colour, treatments and depths.

Kanata Research Technology Park, constructed by SiteCast
Courtesy of SiteCast Construction 
Kanata Research Technology Park, constructed by SiteCast
Courtesy of SiteCast Construction

                  

Other advantages to using tilt-up in taller or multi-storey panels include the following:

SPEED: Tilt-up is known for speed in design and construction. This is multiplied as the buildings grow taller.

                         Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co. 

RENTABLE AREA: A significant increase in rentable area is realized as the perimeter columns are deleted. Translation: The same footprint yields higher rentable area compared to other forms of construction. 

INCREASED FLEXIBILITY: Designers and tenants appreciate the benefits of not having bulky perimeter columns that limit space layouts and circulation routing around the perimeter.

FIRE RESISTANCE: Measured both from a property line distance combustibility issue, to the floor-to-floor ratings and costly fire separation details of traditional construction methods.

QUALITY: Adding high-end finishes is simplified as most of the work is completed at grade, not at elevated platforms that are cumbersome and costly.

THERMAL PERFORMANCE: Insulated panels have proven to provide cost savings of 30%+ in energy use.

MAINTENANCE: With tilt-up, water and air infiltration concerns are resolved. Compared to conventional construction that uses silicones, sticky papers and membranes, tilt-up provides a building envelope that is structural concrete in a monolithic application.

Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co.                                       
Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co. 
Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co.                                       
Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co. 
Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co.
Courtesy of Woodland Construction Co


                                          

Despite the great advances, the height potential of tilt-up construction has not been realized, rather this story is just beginning.



 
 

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