Tilt-Up Concrete Association represents world-wide industry

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            Members advocate for lower costs, certification, and tilt-up’s energy and labor-saving advantages

Canadian Design and Construction Report special feature

The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) supports the acceptance and improved quality of  tilt-up’s time, energy and money-saving construction process. The Iowa-based association, established in 1988, with members around the world, has achieved recognition as the industry’s advocate.

TCA president Glenn Doncaster indicates that the association’s many committees serve as tilt-up’s grass-roots voice. “Our engineering committee helps set the standards for design and construction, creating design manuals for engineers,” he said.  “Our technical committee is made up of some of the best voices in the industry.”

For example, Ottawa resident Shawn Hickey, president of SiteCast Construction, travels around the world to speak about tilt-up’s benefits.  Concrete Construction Magazine has named him as one of the 10 most influential people in concrete.

“Shawn has done a lot for the industry around education and the certification process now in place,” Doncaster says. “The certification and education raises the bar for tilt-up construction and provides a measure for demonstrating knowledge and skill.”

Doncaster says tilt up combines economical construction costs with other benefits that many don’t yet understand. “Tilt-up is no more difficult than masonry to build in the winter,” he said.  “All winter construction is going to be a bit more costly but tilt-up saves man hours so can actually be better as a winter option.”

“In the U.S., the average cost of construction is 78 per cent labor,” says TCA president-elect Kimberly Corwin. She says tilt-up “is the fastest construction method from conception to completion and the man-hour savings has a big impact.”

Corwin, president of A H. Harris & Sons Inc., a tilt-up supplier/distributor, says in tougher economic times many projects get moved to the back burner pending funding, resulting in complex scheduling challenges once they are ready to go. “Tilt-up supports this kind of construction need because it satisfies both economy and speed,” she said. “Companies like ours support the effort by providing value added products – things like tilt up braces and forms contractors can rent as they are needed, instead of carrying them in their own inventory.”

Doncaster says tilt-up combines lower construction costs with less-expensive maintenance, supporting better lifecycle returns for building owners. Tilt-up has been proven to stand up better in bad weather. “Buildings tend to depreciate over time but tilt-up construction (projects) tend to appreciate,” he said. As well, “the energy efficiency of tilt-up buildings is over and above that of most other construction methods, including steel and precast and it requires very little maintenance.”

Tilt-up also enhances building functionality, especially in disaster relief situations.  “When you’re looking at communities and investment in schools and churches, these are buildings that will be part of the community for the long-term,” Corwin said. “By their nature as community gathering places, and the added benefit of tilt-up construction, these buildings also serve as emergency shelters and safe gathering places in times of severe weather and natural disaster. The ability to serve this purpose is one of their best advantages.”

Besides being president of TCA, Doncaster is also president of Citadel Contractors Inc., a company with more than 35 years of experience in tilt-up construction. “Some people think of tilt-up as warehouse construction. Looking back at our recent portfolio, we’ve done churches, schools, retail spaces, offices, medical buildings and movie theatres. I can’t recall the last time we did a warehouse.”

Doncaster says, for its part, the TCA is stronger than ever and focused on changing the industry’s awareness of tilt-up construction. “The association has the capability to grow and grow thanks to the staff and members. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge here and this is the place to come for information and support.”

TCA co-ordinates events including an annual convention, this fall scheduled for Sugar Land, TX, featuring educational components for participants at all levels, including engineers, architects, supervisors and labor. “This is a great venue to learn, explore and exchange ideas,” he says.

The convention includes the TCA Awards Gala, which recognizes achievement in projects, professional accomplishments, and student design.

For more information, visit tilt-up.org.

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