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Message From the Director: Expanding Tilt-Up Applications

Tilt-Up construction has long been recognized as THE solution for distribution centers, manufacturing operations, and big box retailers. These building types comprised over half of the nearly 750,000,000 square feet of structures enclosed by Tilt-Up in 2005. Early projections show a continued trend in market expansion in 2006 and beyond as contractors build larger and more diverse structures while designers and owners show a desire for Tilt-Up on a greater variety of project types. This changing environment has been undergoing a gradual transformation over the past decade that has now resulted in an explosion of opportunities.

As contractors gain more experience and competition increases, they apply their knowledge and expertise to an increasing variety of structure types. Many try to carve out a market niche where they can promote their expertise to a focused audience. These expanding uses include retail centers, life-style malls, churches, schools, office buildings, and residential applications. If you would like to see examples of these uses, browse through past award winners on our web site or pick up a copy of our recently published manual, the Architecture of Tilt-Up.

Other factors beside competition and expertise are contributing to this transition. New architectural finishes have fueled the growth of Tilt-Up in many of these markets. Thin-brick finishes have opened up the school and historic preservation markets to Tilt-Up construction, markets that traditionally have been the stronghold of hand-laid masonry. Tilt-Up can do masonry faster, and less expensive.

Exposed aggregate finishes, made possible with sandblasting and ever improving an flexible retarders, provide another low-maintenance alternative for high-end buildings. Inexpensive one-use formliners are a perfect match for Tilt-Up allowing for replication of other materials (such as masonry if that is what you want) or a host of other deep relief textures. Coatings and stains can transform a plain concrete wall from a gray mass to a subtle, soft hue or a brightly colored and textured surface. Combining many of the above finishes provides an infinite number of possibilities.

The biggest reasons for the expansion of Tilt-Up, however, are still the benefits of value, durability, and speed of delivery. In today’s economy, savvy owners know the value (or cost) of saving one day on a construction schedule. They know the value of reduced maintenance, of energy performance, and durability. Tilt-Up continues to excel in all of these areas. The future looks bright for those who can deliver a broad spectrum of finishes to a wide range of building types.

The Tilt-Up market is maturing to where is will at least be an option, if not the solution of choice, for nearly all building types in most parts of the country. We are honored to represent the interests of the professionals, contractors, owners, and suppliers who make the industry possible. It the goal for all of us to see this vision realized.


Ed Sauter, Executive Director

TCA Board of Directors

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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.