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Message From the Director: Market Transition

We are putting the final touches on Tilt-Up growth figures for the year 2005. It appears that Tilt-Up, as an industry, will surpass 1⁄4 billion square foot of wall and 3⁄4 billion square feet of building in the United States for the year ending December 31, 2005. While we have accurate numbers on the square feet of panel and building constructed, the breakdown as to the amount in the various building types is unknown. We know, based on the distribution of award submittals received every year, that Tilt-Up continues to expand both geographically and in diversity of uses.

TCA estimates that at least 1⁄2 of the total volume is still big boxes – distribution centers and similar structures. Tilt-Up, however, is making great strides into other areas of construction. Most notable are retail facilities, schools, religious facilities, and office buildings. The transition into other building types is a sign of maturity of the concept in regions where these advances are taking place. It is the logical next step for contractors and designers when the competition makes turning a profit on big boxes too difficult. Branching out into other building types gives industry participants an opportunity to differentiate themselves, and their product, from the masses.

This pattern is quite common. A forward thinking contractor convinces a local developer or client to build with Tilt-Up. If things go right, the owner and contractor are both happy, leading to other buildings of a similar specification, whether for the same owner or a different one. Eventually, other contractors (and owners) jump on the bandwagon and pretty soon everyone wants a piece of the action. This is where early innovating contractors take advantage of their learned skills and knowledge and attempt more challenging buildings. High-end finishes such as exposed aggregate and thin brick, complex shapes, large openings, and larger panels are just a few of the advancements made in the industry over the past couple of decades. What used to be possible only in a factory is now being carried out on a daily basis on the job site.

Denver, Colo., the site of this fall’s convention is one of those markets. Big boxes abound, but higher-end buildings are popping up every day. The Tilt-Up market is maturing.

There are many parts of the country, however, where even the big box has not gained a foothold. This is due in part to competition but the greater challenge is availability of experienced or trained contractors and designers. This fall’s convention, as did last year’s, will have something for everyone. The “pre-conference” will give those new to the industry an opportunity to be brought “up-to-speed” before the start of the main conference allowing us to get “in-depth” instead of spending time explaining the basics.

This year’s convention will be held October 4-7 at the Inverness Conference Center just southeast of Denver, Colo. Mark your calendar for this event and stay tuned to our web site for detailed program and registration information. On-line registration is available. We plan to add some on-site demonstrations to the mix of seminars, round tables, trade show and buildings tour making this the biggest, and best, Tilt-Up educational event yet.


Ed Sauter, Executive Director

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.