MaCAPA Members Attend Tilt-Up Construction Presentation

Staff | September 28, 2010

The Massachusetts Concrete & Aggregate Producers Association (MaCAPA) recently hosted a presentation about the progress of tilt-up construction in New England.

More than 55 attended, including concrete contractors, ready mix producers and cement and admixture professionals. The meeting was a general quarterly membership meeting for MaCAPA members.

During the evening, a tilt-up presentation was given by Kim Corwin, business development manager for A.H. Harris. Corwin gave an overview of tilt-up projects in New England and increased demand across the region for this type of construction.

Also in attendance were PJ Lampasona and Devin Harnett of Lindsay Lampasona — a tilt-up contractor serving the New England market for over 35 years. Lindsay Lampasona uses tilt-up construction for many different types and sizes of buildings.

During the presentation, Corwin reviewed processes and benefits of the tilt-up construction process. Corwin talked about tilt-up as a form of construction in which concrete building panels are cast on site. The panels are erected into position via crane to form the shell of a building. Involving thorough planning and site evaluation to smooth the building process when panels are erected, tilt-up has grown in popularity and has been used as the construction method in an estimated 15 percent of all industrial buildings.

Features of tilt-up include "Fast Construction Schedule" tilt-up projects that enable owners to close the gap between construction and occupancy.

In many cases, tilt-up buildings are sufficiently sturdy to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornados. Additional benefits are increased fire resistance, lower initial cost of construction, lower maintenance costs, and lower financing costs due to the compressed construction schedule.

Tilt-up construction also satisfies the Sustainable Building or Green Building requirements in the present construction market. The tilt-up panels are energy-efficient wall systems. Tilt-up construction uses concrete that is a regionally produced material, including recycled products or supplementary cementitious materials such as fly ash or slag. The life cycle cost of a tilt-up building is based on as much as a 100-year life cycle.

As concrete technology evolves, the stereotype of a "concrete box"-type structure no longer applies. Tilt-up construction is one of the flexible methods of using concrete as a building material. A variety of shapes and architectural features can be incorporated into structure design and construction.

PJ Lampasona and Devin Harnett also provided input to the attendees on the tilt-up construction process. Lindsay is a Canadian company that saw an opportunity to enter the New England market by joining forces with a Lampasona Concrete Construction, a local contractor and one of the region's largest formwork/flatwork companies. As a merged company, Lindsay Lampasona is marketing tilt-up projects throughout the northeast, and the company's expertise in concrete floor construction is an important component of the its tilt-up business.

In addition to discussing jobsite applications of tilt-up construction, Corwin also discussed the change in trade availability in the northeast, where masons are not as prevalent as they once were. According to Corwin, the average age of a mason has increased, yet training of new masons has dropped off. Tilt-up construction is one construction method that can address the growing demand for a limited workforce.

Tilt-up construction offers general contractors flexibility in the scheduling because a building is cast on site; thus, the general contractor is not reliant on the production schedule of a manufacturer that may be located in another state or country. On-site construction saves money, as it does not require high shipping costs to get large components to the site nor a large staging area to unload building materials.

At the end of the presentation, certificates of appreciation were given by MaCAPA to Corwin and Hartnett for their presentation.

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