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Building the Future – Students Participate in Tilt-Up Demonstration

Over 140 students at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas, participated in the nation’s first college-level “tilt-up” concrete panel demonstration over the last two semesters at the Kansas Technology Center.

Seth O’Brien, an instructor in the Department of Construction Management and Construction Engineering Technologies, organized the lab activity as part of his concrete methods courses. He was assisted by representatives from Crossland Construction and B&R Crane Services.  The Kansas Department of Commerce provided a Workforce Developement Grant to develop the lab activities.

During the lab activity students engaged in the tilt-up method of building construction, which uses concrete panels that are poured on-site. They erected and placed seven concrete panels with various openings, joints, and bracing – a variety of details that represent the scenarios students will encounter in a professional work setting. Saturday’s set-ups allowed the students to handle the rigging and operate other equipment associated with the placement process.

Tilt-up construction was pioneered by Thomas Edison, O’Brien said, but was first used widely on the West Coast before spreading east and eventually around the world. Panels can weigh more than 300,000 pounds, he said. The panels used Saturday weighed about 5,000 pounds.

Nelson Plumb, who is an NCCER trainer for Crossland Construction, said that in Texas nearly 50 percent of medium- and low-rise building are constructed with tilt-up material.

“It takes about 20 percent of the time to construct them over masonry (brick and mortar) construction,” said Plumb, who helped construct the KTC with prefabricated tilt-up panels. “And you save a lot of money on transportation as well.

“It also has the advantage of being made on-site, so you can adjust to your needs,” he continued.
O’Brien said the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA), the international trade association for tilt-up concrete construction, verified that PSU is the first school nationwide to demonstrate the placement of panels

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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.