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Message From the Director: The TCA Fall 2008 Convention — Rising to the Challenge

The Tilt-Up Concrete Association will hold its 4th Annual Convention this fall in Phoenix, Arizona. The theme for this year’s convention will be “Rising to the Challenge.” When you attend some of the seminars and view some of the highlighted buildings, you will understand.

We have a great line-up. Both days will start with relevant seminars: one on sustainability and another on safety. We will then get to the thematic presentations. Most of the convention will be divided into two tracks, one for construction and one for design. Some of the projects were a challenge to engineer as well as design – those will be featured in both tracks. Others might have been simple to design but a real challenge to form or erect. After seminar presentations on the challenges faced during the design or construction of a project, both days will finish with roundtables led by one or more people on the design or engineering team. The roundtables will allow you to ask those detailed questions that are better suited to a small discussion format.

Many of the featured projects will be past winners of the TCA Annual Achievement Awards. You saw photographs of the finished projects and a few photos of the projects under construction but no one told you how it was done. Laurence Smith, one of our board members, said we should subtitle the convention “What on earth were they thinking?”

Among the challenges we plan to showcase are very tall panels (60’ – 80’ tall). This will include how they are engineered as well as how they are erected. Parking garages will be another building type featured. Everyone knows how to do the walls but how do you tie them together – with precast or site cast flooring systems?

Multi-story office buildings will be yet another featured building type. We have seen several approaches including 4-5 story single panel projects, one story at a time multi-story projects and stacking of panels. These projects present a variety of engineering and construction challenges.

Then there are the South African projects. Charles Van Eck will make the trip to tell us how he converted and constructed some of the most unusual Tilt-Up projects I have ever seen – warped panels, multiple curving surfaces, cantilevered panels. It’s all there.

Projects sporting special finishes will also be highlighted. Millions of oyster shells on-end. We won’t ask why, but don’t you want to know how they accomplished this and what types of challenges they faced? What about exposed aggregate? It is a seemingly simple construction method but to execute it properly requires a lot of acquired knowledge.

This year we will return to the buildings tour on Saturday morning. There are a lot of great finished buildings in the area (remember the Thunderbird Fire Equipment trompe l’oeil building) and many others. We hope to catch one or more in the construction phase.

The hotel is the Arizona Grand Resort (formerly Pointe South Mountain), a great place to bring the family. There is a challenging golf course on property and an on-site water park. Make your plans (and your room reservations) now. This is a hot (as in popular) spot this time of the year and our room block is limited. Visit our web site at for more information. I hope to see you there.


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.