Article tools: Share:

The Industrial Market and Tilt-Up as an Effective Build Method

Español | Translation Sponsored by TCA

By Michael Gullickson (president of Valor Contracting) and Ben Meland (cofounder and CEO of construction at Enclave)

The pandemic-induced e-commerce boom has propelled the industrial warehouse market. With the popularity of last mile delivery and the desire for packages to be delivered as affordably, quickly, and accurately as possible, markets are seeing a need for industrial buildings—such as Amazon, Frito-Lay, and others—located near international airports.

Fargo-based Enclave has been monitoring the industrial sector and is a pioneer in catering to the underserved market, with several industrial projects in Fargo and others planned for Sioux Falls and the Twin Cities metro area. 

“We’re seeing large national manufacturers and logistic companies, who bring great economic value to our community, finding they don’t need to own their real estate,” said Ben Meland, cofounder of Enclave. “As a developer and general contractor, it’s opened an opportunity for us to create sound investment opportunities and produce an efficient product to fill this void.”

And building efficiently is the name of the game…

Many of the industrial buildings built by Enclave and its strategic partner, Valor Contracting, are being constructed using sustainable tilt-up concrete, a building method in which large concrete panels are cast on-site and then raised into position with a crane. The building system, which was conceptualized in the early 1900s, is used throughout North America and across the globe. Speed of construction, economy, and durability are all benefits of the tilt-up concrete build method. 

  • Local sourcing: Components for a tilt-up structure can be sourced locally, reducing the resources needed to haul materials to a job site.
  • Efficiency: Tilt-up buildings have a tighter structure and less air infiltration compared to other systems. Concrete’s natural ability to absorb and store energy delivers maximum thermal performance.
  • Maintenance: With a lifespan of 100 years and a low maintenance profile, costs and product consumption are kept low. 
  • Price: Materials such as wood and steel have more than doubled in price since the start of the pandemic. While tilt-up concrete still utilizes steel reinforcement, the amount of steel needed adds a relatively small amount to the overall cost of tilt-up concrete construction. The cost of concrete materials has only experienced modest increases over the past two years, making it a very competitive option in today’s market. 

Furthermore, in the event of a building renovation or addition, tilt-up panels can be repurposed, adding to their sustainability. 

“Being in control of our own concrete wall fabrication schedule is a huge advantage,” said Michael Gullickson, president of Valor Contracting. “With lead times on traditional precast concrete walls being 12 months or more, having the ability to fabricate walls in as little as six weeks provides our clients with a streamlined schedule.”

Since 2019, Enclave has developed 11 industrial buildings totaling more than 1.35 million square feet, seven of which (895,000 SF) used the tilt-up concrete method. 

The new Sign Solutions USA building, a division of Dakota Fence, broke ground in May of 2021 in West Fargo. The 100,000 SF building will allow the company to manufacture and distribute traffic signs and related traffic products on a nationwide basis. Expected to be complete in 2022, the tilt-up concrete building will also be home to the sales force of Dakota Playground, which is Dakota Fence’s parks and recreation division. 

The building itself will not only support the company’s expanded sales across the US, but will help to establish Dakota Fence and its affiliated companies as an employer of choice. 

“Through projects like 3D Specialties and others, we’ve proven that tilt-up concrete buildings are not only a sustainable and smart construction method but that they can truly offer distinct and inspiring workplaces,” said Gullickson. “If you can imagine it, we can build it, and that’s very attractive to businesses who not only want the best in a manufacturing or distributing center but in a space that inspires those who visit and work there.” 

Interior Rendering of Sign Solutions, USA, 3D Specialties – a Dakota Fence company

Valor Contracting erects panels at Sign Solutions, USA, 3D Specialties – a Dakota Fence company

Variant1, an ENCLAVE project built by Valor Contracting, is a 94,600 SF concrete tilt-up building in North Fargo. The initial spec building, which has since been leased by a Fortune 500 company, features 16 loading docks and eight drive-in concrete ramps, and sits on 6.1 acres of land. 

Leave A Comment

Get Connected

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Connect with us on LinkedIn
Subscribe to us on YouTube


About us

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.