about tilt-up

Tilt-Up History

Tilt-up construction traces its roots back as far as the early 20th century when Thomas Edison built tilt-up residences for his lab technicians in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Then during the 1920s, architect and contractor Robert Aiken constructed platforms to cast panels, embedded pre-cast architectural elements in the fresh concrete, raised the panels with screw jacks, and supported them with a series of wooden braces.

Then, the Great Depression struck and hurt the tilt-up industry. Very little tilt-up construction was performed because no one was interested in its labor saving benefits.

A dramatic commercial advancement developed after World War II. Contractors in southern California began using plywood as a form and a bond-breaker between the floor slab and the surface. They then simply attached a jib and winch to tilt the panel to its vertical position.

The tilt-up method spread quickly up the West Coast and into Canada from 1955 to 1970. Concrete manufacturers developed products specifically for tilt-up, including lift hardware and pipe braces, while the chemical industry improved bond-breaker products.

In 1970, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) developed design tables allowing panels to be load bearing.

The rapid expansion of tilt-up construction induced the formation of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) in 1986. The organization represents the interests on code bodies, educates the design and construction professions, and promotes the concept to building owners.