When it comes to big dollar industries like mining and construction, small improvements in efficiency can lead to massive overall savings. A recent advancement in concrete construction has helped to collectively save millions of man-hours on construction work and is reducing the costs of building commercial and large-scale residential projects around the world.
Tilt slab construction; also known as tilt up or tilt up slab is a relatively new technology when it comes to building with concrete. The slabs are manufactured on-site on a horizontal concrete slab. Once the concrete has cured the large solid panels are tilted to sit in their vertical positions using a crane and held there until other supporting panels or structural components are put into place.
This technology is gaining popularity due to its economic and time benefits and is now being utilized regularly throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand. Many other areas of the world are embracing this new construction technology as well, however Europe and the majority of Asia have been slow on the uptake, and tilt slab construction is still fairly uncommon there.
One of Australias leading tilt up slab construction companies, Vati Projects, have been working on commercial developments using the technology since it was founded. We spoke with them about the benefits and problems associated with this sort of technology.
The biggest issue with tilt up is the need for significant organization and collaboration on the building site as the slabs are molded and positioned. In order for a tilt slab project to be completed successfully there are a number of steps that need to be taken. These are (in chronological order):
- Evaluation of the worksite
- Laying floor slabs and footings
- Construction of the tilt slab panels
- Placement of structural steel
- Embeds and inserts
- Placement of the panels
- Panel erection
- Finishing the panels
The completed panels can be extremely heavy, in some cases weighing as much as 150 tons. A skilled team of construction workers are always necessary to ensure the development and erection processes all run smoothly.
Early tilt-slab construction was boxy and boring, however newer methods have expanded the range of shapes and changed the aesthetic possibilities. As this technology improves even further we expect its use to increase throughout developing nations and into Europe reducing the cost of large commercial building.
For more information on tilt slab construction and its uses take a look at the variety of articles, case studies and photos at Tiltup.com.