The construction industry has always been a fertile ground for innovation and versatility. Throughout the ages, by moving to locations with different ground quality, seasonal seismic movements and living conditions that are hardly accessible, humans were forced to adapt and overcome different challenges.
One of these challenges was the cost-efficiency of concrete construction. Although not that great as a technique in locations where earthquakes are a common occurrence, it is simple, elegant and cost-effective. Here are several things you need to know about tilt-up construction and concrete construction in general.
1. How old is this method?
First of all, it’s important to understand that this method wouldn’t be possible without the combined construction material known as reinforced concrete. This is due to the fact that the concrete slabs of this size, volume and weight need support, often in the form of metal rods. The method itself traces back all the way to the early 1900s and Robert Aiken. In 1908, Thomas Edison used this same method to create an entire village of tilt-up homes made of concrete, that’s still standing more than a full century later. This method was particularly popularized during the 1940s, while in 1980s it has undergone a major boom, once curved tilt-up walls became a predominant trend.
2. What it tilt-up construction?
The next thing we need to discuss is the nature of tilt-up construction by default and the way in which these concrete buildings are made. First, the crew makes the footing and assembles a concrete slab on the ground. This is done by using wooden pieces that are joined together in order to act as a mold for the cement panels. Here, they’re supposed to form the shape and size of the side of the building that’s constructed, alongside with slots for doorways and window openings. This is a particularly complex scenario, seeing as how, once the slabs are erected, there’s no room for error (or at least not one that’s easy to fix).
3. The placing operation
Before one starts making the frame, they need to have a full layout of the building in mind, as well as full possibilities of this technique. First of all, the maximum size of the building ever achieved through this construction method is about 10 stories. However, in practice, two-story buildings are by far the most common occurrence. Aside from this, planning is everything. In order to make this money-saving construction method even more frugal, you need to think about the correct placement order, seeing as how this can minimize your necessity to unnecessarily move heavy machinery around.
Before even placing the concrete, there are several considerations that you absolutely must make. First of all, the panel height and width have to be adequate. Second, you need to ensure that the frame you’ve made is actually a square. Then, the openings need to be in the right place, perimeter forms should be secure and straight and the bond breaker is applied. This last part is particularly important for reasons we’re going to discuss later on. Once all of this is covered and you ensure that all depressions and joints in the floor slabs are covered, you’re finally ready to place the concrete.
4. The lifting
The issue surrounding the lifting of slabs is a bit tricky, due to the fact that it involves heavy machinery in form of cranes and highly trained construction crew. In other words, there aren’t as many construction companies capable of constructing a building using this method as you would expect. This is why veteran concreters from Sunshine Coast usually operate even outside of borders of their own state, even as south as Northern NSW.
The way in which this works is fairly simple. The top side is, logically, the interior of the building. The greatest skill-related problem that numerous construction workers encounter here is the issue of bond breaking. With a quality bond breaker, nevertheless, there’s no risk that the panels will stick to the slab. After this, one needs to proceed with utmost care and take this as easy as possible.
The reason why the cost-efficiency of this method is so important is due to the fact that the lack of affordable housing inevitably leads to a real estate crisis. The figures in favor of millennial homeowners are fairly low as it is and if this trend carries on, things aren’t bound to get much better. On the other hand, with more and more people turning towards the solution offered by tilt-up construction and similar frugal construction methods, we might finally see a turn for the better.