When having any type of building or home constructed, you may be given some choices from your contractor as to the materials and even the type of construction methods they choose. This might be done to allow you to save money or save time on construction. Tilt-up concrete panels are becoming a very popular option for construction and if they've been offered to you for your new building, you might have a few questions about how they work. Note some of those questions here and then discuss these with a builder or contractor if you still need more information.
1. What's the difference between tilt-up panels and precast concrete?
Tilt-up panels are built onsite; forms are set down and fabricated to allow space for windows, doors, and the like. The concrete is poured into the forms and once it's set, the panels are titled up or raised up by a crane and put into place. Precast concrete slabs are different in that they are made in a factory or production facility and then trucked to the site. They are then assembled together to create the frame of the building.
While each of these may have their own advantages, note that using tilt-up panels means no potential delay because of trucking or traffic issues. If there is not a precast concrete production facility near your new build site, this can mean requiring quite a bit of time for transport alone, and this can cause delays in your construction schedule.
2. Is there a limit as to the size of tilt-up panels?
The only size limit when it comes to tilt-up panels is that of the crane available to put those panels in place, but note that several panels can be fitted together to create taller buildings and buildings as wide as you prefer. Don't assume that tilt-up panels are only good for one-story or two-story buildings or that the panels you need will be too wide to lift, as you can shape and form several panels of any manageable size for just about any construction project.
3. When is it more cost-effective to consider tilt-up panels?
Each construction project will be different but note that concrete is usually a more affordable raw material than steel. This can be an especially important consideration for larger buildings where raw materials for the building's frame can become very costly. You might also be offered a tilt-up kit, meaning forms that have already been shaped a particular way to create a particular style and size of building. This might be more affordable than having a steel framed building created from a personalized design.