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Tilt-Up Education at Big-05, Dubai


By: Mohamed Zaid, CEng. M. ASCE, Senior Structural Engineer, Associate member – ACI-551 / ACI-423

The Big-05 exhibition is an event that is held annually in Dubai and many other cities around the world. The event attracts architects, engineers, interior designers and other key buyers.

The Big-05 includes CPD (Continuing professional development) certified workshops, and on of these workshops, covering tilt-up concrete construction, was held on November 11, 2014. The workshop was presented by Mr. Mohamed Zaid (senior structural engineer) and was reviewed by Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) technical director, James Baty. A portion of the material based on “The Architecture of Tilt-Up” was supplied by the TCA.

The presentation aimed at introducing the tilt-up method of construction to an audience of construction professionals not too familiar with the system. Almost all attendees had experience with precast concrete construction however. Identifying the differences between both construction methods and comparing them during the workshop allowed attendees to gain understanding quickly.

Contractors who attended the workshop were impressed by the tilt-up method of construction. They expressed interest following the presentation in the ability to promote the system without investing in precast factory setup. Additionally, some countries in the region have logistical and geographic difficulties working with precast. Transportation of the precast elements to cities, such as Saudi Arabia, can be difficult as some sites cannot be accessed during construction due to geographic location. For instance the boarder between Saudi Arabia and Oman presents difficulty.

The rapid construction and tight scheduling of projects in the region keeps contractors looking forward for solutions other than traditional or precast concrete solutions, wanting to avoid the use of sub-contractors that may, due to workloads and geographic location of the project, cause delays.

The key points discussed during the workshop were as follows.

  • The maximum weight of the panels that can be cast at one time using tilt-up compared to precast concrete construction
  • Panel dimensions compared to precast concrete
  • Minimum panel thicknesses according to ACI-318 compared to ACI-551
  • Skilled labor requirements for tilt-up
  • Connections between elements and the similarities between precast and tilt-up
  • Discussion of removable construction

By the end of the presentation, attendees were able to understand the main differences between tilt-up and precast and how tilt-up can be a beneficial option.


“If I was ever introduced to this construction method before, I would have saved a lot of time that has been wasted awaiting for the heavily loaded precast factory for more than two months prior to delivering the first panel to my jobsite.”  – Al Asri for concrete products representative, United Arab Emirates

“I would like to use this construction method for future projects, however as I have a project that is due to close soon, I will start concreting the boundary wall panels at site using this construction method and if it proves successful, I will definitely use it into the next project.” – The Royal guards representative, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


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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.