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What is Tilt Up Construction?

Tilt up construction is a common method used in Commercial Construction that simply means pouring onsite. Box shutters are generally used to form and pour concrete into the desired height, shape and thickness. There is no transportation costs involved as they are manufactured onsite but weather conditions need to be considered on every project.

Pros
  • Tilt up concrete life is up to 100 years
  • Concrete has high potential for reuse and relocation
  • Provides more flexibility in creating and designing buildings
  • No transportation costs
  • Builder has control over site
  • Height of panel is not restricted
Cons
  • No control over weather conditions
  • Continuous bad weather can delay project
  • Floor space can be limited
  • Cannot commence any other building works until this is completed
Onsite Considerations:

Ensure the construction site has the capabilities to pour concrete panels. A flat surface area is ideal, so be sure to evaluate all sites prior to commencement. A tight area may restrict how many panels can be poured.

Engineering:

It is vital that every tilt up concrete panel is engineered in accordance with the Australian Standards. A qualified Engineer should make the final determination of the thickness and height of each panel. The panel connection to the footings must be built in accordance with the engineers specifications as the footings play a vital role when erecting panels. The builder must ensure they follow the Engineers bracing schedule at all times. The Engineer must provide written sign off prior to any props being removed.

Click this link to find out more about Certified Engineers in Australia: https://www.engineersaustralia.org.au/Engineering-Registers/National-Engineering-Register

Worksafe:

In Australia work safe plays a very important role in ensuring all Building Contractors are adhering to the Occupational Safety and Health act. An Occupational Safety and Health file must be up to date and onsite for each project. Prior to manufacturing panels, Worksafe must be informed of your intent to do so.

To view the require form click on the link: (https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/notification-manufacture-concrete-panels-and-faqs)

All other states please visit Worksafe in your area.

Panel layouts:

A proficient builder will also ensure they complete a panel layout prior to manufacture. By being stringent in this procedure it will allow the Riggers and Crane driver to view the position of panels. Crane hire can be very costly so ensuring the layout is correct will minimise any unforeseen expense. The panel layout can also help identify any issues the site may have prior to manufacture. A copy of the panel layout should remain onsite.

Footings and Slab:

As mentioned the footings play a vital role for concrete panels, always check footings are level and all required materials are in place. The floor slab should be smooth and designed to support crane loads during erection. Care needs to be taken when pouring panels on the floor slab, damage can occur during lifting if the correct method is not applied.

Blinding Slab:

A blinding slab is a temporary concrete slab built to minimise any damage to the main concrete floor slab and also to provide extra room. This slab should also be a smooth finish. This method will incur extra costs for the concrete pour followed by removal and disposal. The use of blinding slabs will eliminate the need to repair holes in the main concrete slab.

Weather:

One of the cons of tilt up concrete panels is weather. Depending on your location the climate conditions can be challenging for many builders. Tilt up in WA is probably the most preferred method as our climate conditions allow for this method. In cities where it is mostly cold and rainy precast may be the preferred option.

Weather conditions must be noted on every pour. Aside from not being able to pour in very windy or cold conditions, extreme heat conditions should be avoided also. Most build contracts allow for weather inclement. If you are commencing a project in the winter months, your construction programme and contractual agreement with the client should take this into consideration when setting a Practical Completion date. This can eliminate any liquidated damages should the weather significantly delay the schedule.

Panels:

Concrete tilt up panels are poured outdoors, box out shutters are commonly used and are formed up onsite, generally on or around the concrete slab. It is vital to apply bond breaker to the manufacturer’s specification to avoid panels sticking to the concrete slab and/or each other.

To view the national code of practice for tilt up panels click here: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/code_tiltup_precast_.pdf

Riggers:

All Riggers must be fully qualified and carry all their credentials whilst onsite. JSA’s must be completed for each project.

Click the link for example: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/job_safety_analysis_0.pdf

Worksafe regularly appear onsite to ensure procedure is followed. Penalties can apply or even closure of sites if laws are not followed. High vis gear must be worn at all times with no exceptions. During the lifting times onsite no other sub-contractor should be present and all safety signs must be clearly visible.

Further reading:

https://infostore.saiglobal.com/en-au/Standards/AS-3850-2003-304811/

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/tilt-construction

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/code_tiltup_precast_.pdf

http://www.ccaa.com.au/imis_prod/documents/Library%20Documents/CCAA%20Technical%20Publications/CCAA%20Briefings/Concrete%20Panel%20Buildings.pdf