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Destroying the Box



The judging of the 2014 Tilt-Up Award winners is complete and the winners will be unveiled at the fall convention in San Jose. I have been a judge in this event since its inception, first as a TCA board member and then as your executive director, reviewing close to a thousand projects. The program has developed tremendously through the past 20+ years, as has the industry. New products, new techniques, new approaches – they have nearly destroyed the perception that tilt-up is just for boxes, at least for those of us who work in the industry. In the beginning, the awards program had as few as a dozen entries. In recent years that number has jumped to between 60-100 entries. Projects that won at the inception of the awards program were innovative for their time, but would likely not even get honorable mention today. This is testament to just how far we have come.

Panels are now taller, wider, and heavier. There is greater variety in form and texture; there are new surface finishes and treatments; there have been innovations in engineering such as BIM; and, there are many new products for handling and construction of panels – all have contributed to the advancement in tilt-up. Forthcoming innovation will make tilt-up safer, faster, and more appealing. We still have a long way to go, however, to make tilt-up the preferred building system. A huge number of owners, architects and developers are still either unaware of the potential of tilt-up construction or, sadly, unaware even of its existence – or at least the difference between site cast tilt-up and precast.

Where are we headed? The improving economy has helped jump-start renewed innovation. No longer must architects and contractors focus only on trying to make ends meet, they can now think, what is possible? What can I do with this medium?  What can set me apart from the competition?

The big box stereotype still exists, however. I ask all of you who are simply satisfied with doing the boxes (yes, they still comprise a majority of tilt-up buildings and square footage) to challenge yourselves. Whether architect, engineer, contractor or developer, help us destroy the myth that tilt-up is only for boxes. Help the TCA spread the word and make tilt-up the preferred building solution. You needn’t go far to find examples of what is possible. If they are not in your area then search the Internet. The TCA site is full of innovative projects. Tilt-up has been used successfully in virtually every type of building or structure as well as many non-building uses. We now need to make it commonplace.

I hope that you will submit an example next year that will help us destroy the box perception. Not just in California or Florida or Texas, but everywhere. Tell us about your innovation and show us your advancements. Then let us tell the rest of the tilt-up world. That, after all, is why we have a trade association. Help us help you help the industry.

Ed Sauter,  Executive Director, Tilt-Up Concrete Association


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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.