Why You Need To Hire an Architect!

Unfortunately, few people have the necessary knowledge and experience to realize just how difficult the complicated rules and regulations have made the building process. These rules and regulations are a dynamic process; that is, they are constantly changing. People continue to find themselves utterly lost in complex and intricate mazes consisting of design options, costs, building systems, building codes, zoning codes, and construction options. To further complicate these matters, no two building projects are truly alike, so a “one size fits all” approach, simply does not work.

With your best interest at heart, the right architect is the real professional with the education, training, experience, and vision necessary to guide you through the entire design and construction process, while working to keep you on the right track regardless of your building’s needs. The right architect will help you from the very beginning by: (1) clearly defining what you want to build, and (2) help you get the most for your precious construction dollar. The right architect sees the big picture; they don’t just deliver products. The right architect designs total environments tailored to meet and satisfy your building needs—solutions that are Striking, Functional and Innovative.

The right architect is a sensible and wise requirement on any size building project ranging from a full business park to what may initially seem to be a simple interior renovation. The right architect will guide you along the way so that you achieve a properly designed facility. There are many important ways that this occurs:

  1. The right architect is trained in solving problems creatively, by translating your needs into real three-dimensional spaces. Architects have an extensive knowledge of design and construction techniques, always pointing out alternatives and options that may not otherwise be presented to you by non-architects.
  2. The right architect’s instrumental services are an investment made by the wise business person and here’s why: a well-conceived project will be built more effectively and more economically, helping you achieve the best value for your precious, hard-earned construction dollar.
  3. The right architect plans your project with you, helping your ideas evolve and making the necessary changes on paper where they can be done much more affordably than during the construction process, which is very costly.
  4. The right architect’s proper, thorough, and complete construction documentation makes it easier for the general contractor to accurately permit, price, and build your project.
  5. The right architect works with you and within your budget, helping you select the most appropriate materials and workmanship, which helping to ensure a fair price and a fair value.
  6. The right architect recommends the best materials and finishes that are durable, attractive, low maintenance, and the most appropriate for your project.
  7. When your project requires engineering and other services, the right architect coordinates and creates a team of superbly skilled experts.
  8. Good design sells! A well-designed workplace attracts and maintains quality employees while increasing their productivity. A well-designed ‘store’ draws and attracts precious customers.

What You Need to Know to Select the Right Architectural Firm

1. What exactly is an Architect and how are they different from an engineer?

Glen Stephens draws upon the comparison of the Architect as being the conductor in a Orchestra—First in determining what should be done and when, and second in directing each individual member of the construction team, with a particular emphasis on utilizing each team member to their full potential and to the benefit of our clients.

Architects bring true beauty and soul to your building, balancing the budget and other important “trade-offs” in maximizing the uniqueness of your special requirements.

Architects and engineers have dramatically different educational pathways and licensing requirements—and they should! An Architect’s education includes a thorough study of design, architectural history, art, colors, and the humanities. Engineering, on the other hand, focuses on mathematics. Think of it this way: Architects design and create and an engineer calculates the system. Both are important (and valuable) members of a team that works best when each focus on their expertise. Without Architects all building would be the same pre-engineered boxes—mathematically correct but unfortunately with boring looks!

2. Why is it important to hire the “right” Architect?

The right architect will assist you in getting it right the very first time. The right Architect will be your champion at every step in the journey. They will provide the information and knowledge essential to the entire development process.

Based on our knowledge and 30 years of hands on experience, Team SAA! begins by carefully listening to all of your requirements and needs. Team SAA! specializes in helping you compare all of your desires and your budget, and in developing practical and sound solutions that work the very first time.

The right architect prepares sketches, plans, models and other important visual tools so you can see your building take place, wisely evaluating your options and making informed quality decisions.

SAA Architecture LLC continually presents you with all your options. At Team SAA! we provide factual information so you can make the very best decision for each of your projects: What are you contract options with a general contractor, traditional contracts, design-build contracts, negotiated contracts? Which construction management is right for you? These are yet a small sample of the decisions we will help you make so that your building will be right the first time. Remember, too, that at Team SAA! a senior partner is directly responsible for every project! We’re large enough to get your project done right the very first time, and sensitive enough to all your needs to deliver a project that brings out the envy in all of your associates!

Decisions about the permit process must be carefully reviewed and evaluated: fast tracking, peer review, priority projects, express reviews, walk through permits, and what are the options for your project? These difficult questions and more are our specialty!

3. Other than now, when should you hire an Architect?

Our experience has demonstrated that sooner the better is the Right Answer. According to Murphy’s Law: “There is always time to do it over and never time to do it right the first time.” The right architect will assist you all the way from site selection and site evaluation, providing critical recommendations about securing geotechnical evaluations, flood plain review(s), to access traffic information and studies, and zoning information. Sadly, lots of clients are painfully unaware of what levels of environmental assessment are necessary with projects. And what about selecting surveyors? Who are the best ones to use for your job? All of these critical issues and important questions are just the kind of special things we do at SAA Architecture LLC for our clients.

4. Who should the Architect work for?


5. How does hiring the right Architect continue to save you money?

There are many important ways the right architectural firm will save you money. For starters, they can prevent you from selecting a project site that will require excessive capital and effort to develop, or from selecting a site you can’t develop at all! The right architect can help YOU avoid sites with hidden and expensive sub-surface problems, and help YOU in developing and selecting cost effective options.

After thoroughly listening to all of your requirements, the right architectural firm will make well-grounded suggestions and offer practical and effective alternatives, as well as uncover other requirements to get these items on the drawing board well before pricing.

The right architectural firm will prepare a quality set of construction documents. The right architectural firm will guide you through the selection process for hiring the all-important general contractor. They will be there evaluating change orders and pricing, saving your money and your time.

6. How will hiring the wrong architect cost you money?

The ways are numerous and the implications are absolutely staggering! At SAA Architecture LLC, we regret having seen so many clients who (unfortunately) had work performed by the wrong architectural firm, with disastrous consequences ranging from incomplete drawings to insufficient knowledge about local code interpretations and building practices. Some of these wrong firms have had the unmitigated audacity to not include construction administration services and important worksite observations in the scope of their work, effectively leaving YOU—the one paying for it all!—at the mercy of permit review officials and the general contractors.

7. Reasons you might NOT hire SAA Architecture LLC.

Glen has worked for years developing and our expertise in assisting client to achieve the best possible result when all things are considered. Our comprehensive list of referral replete with repeat business let’s us know, everyday, just how much our clients appreciate our critical role and successful championing in their innovative projects, which are, of course, designed to last. What we know and what we do, others readily confirm, we do very well!

However, we are not the firm to select for single family housing, hospitals, prisons, or stadiums. But we are the firm to call to get a like-minded referral for the right architect for these types of projects. And remember to leave prison work for the wrong architectural firms—just kidding!

SAA Architecture LLC will not be right for you if you are looking for an architectural firm that sits on their duff when a general contractor wants to take advantage of a client!

Jargon Junction


Green Building

According to the EPA, The buildings in which we live, work, and play protect us from nature’s extremes, yet they also affect our health and environment in countless ways. As the environmental impact of buildings becomes more apparent, a new field called “green building” is gaining momentum.
Green, or sustainable, building is the practice of creating and using healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition. However a friend started after his first Green building he now knew why the called them Green buildings, it was because they cost so much to build.

Green Globe

This is the 10 year old international “revolutionary building environmental design and Management tool. Green Globes offers online assessment protocol, rating systems and guidance for green building design, operation and management. It is interactive, flexible and affordable, and provides market recognition of a building’s environmental attributes through third-party verification.

Green Seal

An independent, non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the environment and transforming the marketplace by promoting the manufacture, purchase and use of environmentally responsible products and services.


Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


The acrnomin stands for the United States Green Building Council, it the nonprofit that introduced the LEED building rating systems. The USGBC organization dedicated to sustainable building design and construction. Since USGBC is NOT a government agency and has determined NOT to offer their LEED program as a Model Building Code, it remains a voluntary choice. USGBC was founded in 2002. In addition to the LEED programs for Development, Construction, renovation and maintenance of commercial and residential construction they offer testing for individuals that are interested in proving their knowledge of the LEED programs by achieving the designations of a LEED AP.


The letters stand for Leadership Energy Environments Design. USGBC has developed a series of Programs to rate construction projects. The Commercial categories include:
LEED for New Construction (NC) – New Construction and Major Renovation is for complete projects        including, site selection, site work and construction. School are included n this category.
LEED for Core and Shell (C&S) – Core and shell for new building and major renovations that do NOT include the interiors.
LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI) – Commercial Interior this option allows a tenant or user to achieve LEED Certification in a building that may or may not be a LEED Certified project.
LEED for Existing Buildings (EB)
Other Categories include, LEED for Homes and LEED for Neighborhood Development.
USGBC intends to upgraded the various programs on a regular basis, continuing the raise the bar.

ADA Americans with Disabilities Act:

The first federal legislation affecting building design in the history of our country. Part of the federal civil rights legislation it applies not only to new construction but also to existing buildings that need to be brought into compliance with the Act.


Organic Gases (Volatile Organic Compounds) Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solution. (As defined by the EPA)


Term refers to a specific way components are put together in wall, roof or floor to meet code requirements for fire or load ratings.

Bad Dirt

All the dirt you want for your garden; dirt full of organic materials such as leaves, roots, twigs, etc. that will ultimately break down and become good fertilizer or a bad foundation for your building.


The stone or gravel cushion installed under a floor slab or paving.

Bearing Wall

Certain wall assemblies can be used both as structure as well as the thermal envelope. Any time we can take advantage of one system to do two jobs we are saving you money. Tilt, masonry, and stud constructions are good possible candidates.

Big Box

A large warehouse building shaped like a box and used for anything from discounted retail to distribution and manufacturing. Think Target, Wal-Mart, or Home Depot. Big in the eye of the loan holder!


Building Officials and Code Administrators: The building code that’s prominent in the northeastern part of the United States.

Build To Suit

A facility built to meet the specific the needs and requirements of a predetermined tenant or purchaser.

Building Code

Costly, limiting interference to the imagination of your architect, and the sucking sound in your wallet while setting minimum requirements.

Catalog Cut

A manufacturer’s prepared literature to show you how the contractor will comply with the drawings.


Constant Air Volume: This is the most typical of the air distribution systems used in one and two story commercial facilities. All supply registers are either “on” or “off” and, when “on,” they add a predetermined air velocity that is moving through the supply register. Balancing is accomplished by adjusting dampers that will increase or decrease the flow to various areas.

Change Order

Once a building’s cost has been established, anything that affects the price of the construction or the time frame of the construction needs to be approved by a change order. Change orders can either increase/decrease construction costs or increase/decrease the construction time frames. Weather and
other delays can cause change orders that will add to the time and drive-up the general conditions. Change orders are not fun things.

Clear Height

In a distribution building, the unobstructed vertical space from the floor to the underside of the roof structure. Well designed distribution buildings are 18, 24, 32 or 36 foot clear height—why? Ask Team SAA!

Construction Type

Building codes require classification of your building. These classifications reflect the combustibility, non-combustibility or elements, whether they are masonry, steel, fireproof, fire-resistant, sprinklered, or unsprinklered buildings.

Design/Build/Bid Format

The oldest and most traditional approach to construction. Under this format, the design team is selected by the owner who produces a set of plans and specifications. These plans and specifications are used to solicit competitive bids from multiple general contractors or builders. The contract is generally awarded to the lowest bidder and the construction begins. In this approach, the owner has direct contractual relations with
both the architect and general contractor.

Negotiated Bid Format

Under this format, the owner and the design team select a general contract contractor who will build the project. The general contractor then solicits multiple bids from various sub-contractors and then the contractor, the owner, and the design teamwork in conjunction to select the best sub-contractors to build the job. This allows the comparison, timing, and quality of the various sub-contractors to be evaluated.

Design/Build Format

In this form of construction contract, the owner contracts only with the general contractor who selects and hires the design team the same way sub-contractors are selected. One of the features of this approach is saving time and allowing the owner, at an earlier stage, to know their construction costs. There is the big promise of reduced change orders, but this is not always the case. This is a general contractor’s preferred approach.

Controlled Fill

In order for fill dirt to be suitable for building and for parking lots to be success fully built on top of the fill dirt, the dirt need to be inspected by a Geotechnical Technician, who will verify that it is “Good Dirt.”

Cut To Haul

If the ultimate grading of your property will result in a condition where material needs to be removed from the site.

Cut To Fill

If the ultimate desired grade of your property will require more dirt than what is available at the project site. This term also applies to a situation when dirt is moved from one area of the site to another area of the site.


This is one of those words that have more than one meaning in construction. It can be the floor elevation of a bearing elevation. When used in this context, it refers to the height on the location from sea level, indicated in feet and tenths of feet. Elevation also refers to the drawings that reflect a vertical face of the building either exterior walls or interior walls: in simpler terms the picture of what it will look like.

ESFR Early Suppression, Fast Response

A fire sprinkler system technology for high cube, narrow isle distribution facilities. These systems eliminate the need for costly and hazardous in-rack systems. They require fire pumps and an abundant supply of water.

Fast Track Permit Program

Call Team SAA! NOW!

Fire Rating

Normally indicated by an amount of time and letter 1-hour (A labeled), 2-hour (B labeled), 3-hour (C labeled). These ratings refer to walls or assemblies that separate one area from another—a room from a hallway, a room from a floor above, a stairway or shaft from the room surrounding it. These areas are
generally required to have a fire rated wall or floor assembly.

Flood Plain

The engineered high water mark on property during a hundred-year storm. No building construction is allowed in the flood plain. Some jurisdictions allow for extremely limited grading and parking in these areas.


The gross first floor or ground floor area of a building.

Free Lunch

There is no free lunch.

General Conditions

This is most easily understood if you consider it the General Contractor’s “job site overhead.” It includes the Superintendent, trailer, electricity, and other numerous items. It is directly related to the length of the project, or the construction period.

Geotechnical Report

This is a report that includes recommendations about the suitability of the dirt on a particular site to support construction of buildings and parking areas. Test borings of 15 feet, 20 feet or deeper are drilled and samples of the dirt collected for analysis to form the basis for the report. The report states bearing capacity in PSF and the suitability of on-site material for controlled fill. We highly recommend that you complete this report during the feasibility period of a land purchase. Helps to avoid very costly problems!

Good Dirt

This is dirt that you would not want in your garden; it is completely free of organic materials such as roots, vines, twigs or leaves. Organic materials break down and decompose over time and the soil will collapse. Good dirt must be in place under buildings, their floor slabs, foundations and parking lots to insure good life span.

High Cube

Advances in material handling equipment and flatter concrete floors, have lead to an increasing demand for high cube buildings with a clear height of 24 feet or more.


Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning: The acronym normally used in the construction industry.

Low Architectural Fees

See “Free Lunch.”


A model or sample to represent what pieces of the project will ultimately look like.


National Fire Protection Association: Their codes establish the criteria for almost all fire related activities in buildings from sprinkler systems to fire pumps, to types of walls and assemblies.

Pallet Racking

The steel storage systems used to store pallet-type loads in distribution and some warehouse-type retail. “Selective pallet” is the most common. However, many other type exist double-deep, drive-in, drive-through, push back, flow rack and other types depending on the products and the turns.


Pounds (Per) Square Foot.

Reflected Ceiling Plan

The drawing that is a mirror image of the ceiling reflecting acoustical grids and patterns, lighting, HVAC diffusers and other features.


Right of Way: A legally binding commitment to allow, generally, a utility (water, gas, sewer, electric, telephone) to run over or under your property without a utility having title to the property. It is the giving up one of your rights of ownership of a property.


Standard Building Code (previously the Southern Building Code): This code is used in most south eastern states. The North Carolina Code is a modification of the SBC.

Shell Building

Generally, a building developed by an investor for an unknown tenant or buyer with no interior work that will later be customized to meet their unique individual requirements.

Shop Drawings

These are one of the submissions that the design team will receive from the contractor and subcontractors, to show how they intend to comply with the intent of the construction drawings. Shop drawings can also include catalog cuts, samples, or even mock-ups. Shop drawings let the design team know what products and models the contractor intends to use.


Heavy aluminum window frames used to build larger window openings and they generally include doors.


This is the dirt surface below the gravel or stone cushion that is installed under paving or concrete floors. The quality of the sub-grade will control the overall performance of the paving or concrete during the life of your project.


Storm Water Management: Codes in all jurisdictions require the developers of a property to take into consideration the impact of rain waters leaving the property. Storm Water Management today also deals with the quality of water leaving the property.


Uniform Building Code: This is the code used in the Western United States.

UL Approved

Underwriters Laboratory: Both the fire-rated assemblies that have been tested and approved for use in the United States and are UL Approved. When reflected on the drawing, it will list a UL number, which will allow the contractor or subcontractors to check in a UL Manual to see the exact details of the assemblies, right down to how many screws per inch.

UL Underwriters Laboratory

A (the) major testing company in the United States.

Use Group

The occupant classification required by the various building codes to determine the ultimate use of the building. These groups include business, warehousing, assembly, education, manufacturing, retail, medical, construction, etc.

Value Engineering

A concept where the design team in conjunction with the contractor or sub-contractor present alternate construction, materials, assemblies and approaches in an effort to either reduce the project costs or provide shorter construction schedules, better construction schedules, better performance for the same price or some combination of the above.

Vanilla Box

The retail term that refers to the way developers deliver space to prospective tenants. The walls are paint ready, the ceiling and lighting systems are in place, the sprinkler heads have been dropped through the grid (if applicable), and the air conditioning is installed. Generally, bathrooms are not included. Sanitary sewage is running under the floor slabs and potable water is available at the ceilings.


Variable Air Volume: A significant upgrade from a CAV System that allows for individual temperature adjustments in different rooms or areas. Separate thermostats adjust an air volume box that will increase or decrease the flow into those areas, to accommodate changes in the temperature of a specific
room or area. They are about 70% higher in cost than a CAV system.

Walk-Through Permitting

Many jurisdictions will allow simple building permits to be issued the day they are applied for using a procedure that has the applicant’s representative hand carry the drawings between the various plans reviewers.

Tilt-Up Advantages

Reasons you should be evaluating Tilt-Up concrete wall construction for your next commercial project.

1. Tilt-up concrete construction saves time.

  • The exterior walls are made from readily available local material like ready-mix concrete, conventional reinforcing steel and framing lumber. Therefore, framing for wall construction can begin as soon as the sight is cleared and the floor slab poured.
  • The walls are ready and erected when the steel for the roof assembly arrives at the site, allowing a shortened construction sequence.
  • Panels may be lifted into place only a few days after casting.
  • Because the wall panels are fabricated on the floor slab and erected from the floor slab, poor weather conditions have less effect on the construction sequence then other construction systems.
  • High wall heights do not slow down the construction when compared to exterior wall systems which require scaffolding or in-place forming.

2. Tilt-up concrete construction saves money.

  • Shorter construction periods lead to lower construction costs and less construction loan interest.
  • This is important to clients generally looking at onebuilding.
  • Concrete wall panels cost less per square foot then masonry and other durable exterior wall materials.
  • Load-bearing tilt-up perimeter walls generally eliminate the need for exterior columns and beams thereby reducing steel costs.
  • Concrete tilt-up wall panels provide exceptionally good shear walls, reducing the requirements for bracing normally necessary to resist wind and seismic forces.
  • The natural fire resistance of concrete eliminates fire rated lintels over openings for doors and windows.
  • A wide range of exterior textures, stains, paints and finishes may be used, creating dramatic architectural features at greatly reduced costs.

3. Tilt-up concrete construction allows distribution spaces to have thin exterior walls.

  • The incredibly thin walls (as thin as 5 1/2″ for heights below 25′ and 7 1/4″ for up to 30′ clear height buildings) of tilt-up provide an attractive ratio of usable to rentable floor area.
  • Walls are generally continuous thickness throughout, rarely requiring the pilasters or piers associated with masonry construction.
  • Due to the elimination of exterior columns, usable office and warehouse space is increased.

4. Tilt wall concrete panels are compatible with any structural grid.

  • Because Tilt-up panels provide a continuous load-bearing perimeter for the building, interior column placement is much less critical, eliminating the frequent conflicts between columns and window placement associated with other forms of construction.
  • Exterior bearing panels provide an excellent support system for girders, joists, beams, and floor or roof decks.

5. Tilt-up construction provides architectural flexibility and advantages.

  • Tilt-up construction has been used for over 100 years, yet, is still viewed as a modern, “ state-of-the-art” construction method.
  • Tilt-up is easily maintained, looking like new for much longer than other construction materials.
  • Dramatic features like ornate reveal patterns, simulated or cast in exterior finishes and striking color effects may be used at a fraction of the cost generally associated with such high level appearances.
  • Because concrete is a moldable, wet cast product, the shape and architectural aesthetics of the structure is very versatile, allowing the imagination to run wild.

6. Tilt-up wall panels provide a high degree of fire rating.

  • Concrete wall panels of only 7 1/4″ thick provide a three hour fire rating without needing additional materials or coatings.
  • Reinforcing steel in the areas over windows and doors are naturally fire rated lintels which don’t require additional protection.

7. Tilt-up wall panels provide a high degree of security.

  • Unlike sheathing and studs or masonry, reinforced concrete panels are resistant to break-ins from all but the most sophisticated construction equipment and tools.
  • High degrees of fire resistance and strength provide an increased level of security without additional costs.

8. Tilt-up construction offers many foundation advantages.

  • Tilt-up wall panels are compatible with numerous foundation systems and well suited for sites with difficult bearing problems.
  • Tilt-up wall panels act essentially like deep structural beams which can bear on and distribute loads over virtually any type of footing or foundation.
  • Concrete panels can span from isolated footing to isolated footing making them ideally suited for use on caissons, pilings, drilled piers or other special foundation systems which are appropriate and required for less than ideal soil conditions.

9. Tilt-up wall panels allow for higher building clear heights without significant cost considerations.

  • Because all work performed during the construction of the panels is done on the ground, the ultimate height of the panel does not create significant difficulty during the fabrication process.
  • Exterior painting treatments may be performed with the use of bucket trucks which can easily work to 30′ or 40′ heights.
  • Dramatic increases in interior clear heights may be obtained with only slight increases in the wall thickness thereby maintaining the cost, speed and time benefits of tilt-up construction.

10. Tilt-up wall panels have long life cycle savings.

  • oncrete panels are much less susceptible to damage from moisture penetration and spalling than most other wall systems.
  • The majority of the panels are coated with paints and other finishes that can easily be repaired or re-coated over time to completely change or renew the appearance of the building.
  • Additional windows and doors can be created or eliminated and the panels repainted without the appearance of a patch.
  • Concrete actually strengthens with age, as opposed to most materials which eventually deteriorate and crack, creating ugly maintenance nightmares.

Almost convinced? Need more information or have questions?

Please contact Glen Stephens at Phone 1-888-4-TILT-UP (1-888-484-5887)or

Fax 301-513-0155 or E-mail glen@designtolast.com and we will be delighted to respond to your inquiry.

Tilt-Up FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions About Tilt-Up Concrete Construction

1. What is tilt-up concrete constructions?

  • Tilt-up or Tilt-wall is a concrete exterior wall system using site cast concrete slabs for the exterior walls, both bearing and non-bearing.
  • Site casting, using the building floor slab as the casting bed, allows very large, single piece wall panels to be produced. These are significantly larger than could be plant cast and shipped to the site over local highways with standard trucks.

2. What are the cost advantages of tilt-up?

  • Shorter construction period.
  • Low per square foot wall cost.
  • High fire resistance ratings of reinforced concrete.
  • The building weather envelope and perimeter structure are from a single system.
  • Excellent life cycle cost.
  • Majority of labor to make the panels is performed on the ground. Therefore, increased clear height does not dramatically increase construction costs.
  • Concrete’s high fire resistance allows large openings without additional measures to protect structural members or lintels.
  • Tilt-up construction makes it easy to add future additions and modifications that match or appear to be part of the original construction.
  • Panels are cast in place and moved only once to the final wall location, resulting in low handling costs.

3. What are the scheduling advantages of tilt-up?

  • Tilt-up panels are produced on site from readily available, common construction materials.
  • All wall panels are fabricated on the site.
  • Wall panel construction can commence as soon as enough floorslab is in place to start form work.
  • All panels are generally formed and poured completely before erection. Therefore, erection can proceed in an uninterrupted continuous process, right through installation of the roof structure.
  • The walls are erected and in place ready to accept the roof structural system when it arrives on the construction site.

4. Why are the panels cast face down?

  • Cost saving by reducing the amount of reinforcing steel (midpanel lifting points reduce stresses during the erection process).
  • Eliminate exterior wall patching (lifting points).
  • Provide safer lifting with smaller, economical, rubber tired ‘truck’ cranes.
  • The items can be placed on the casting surface to create designs, patterns and architectural details.

5. Why does the crane sit on the floor slab?

  • Using the floor slab provides a stable and safe base for the crane.
  • Using the floor slab allows the use of smaller, economical rubber tired cranes.
  • Using the floor results in a safe erection process avoiding the “suicide,” exterior lifts.
  • Working from the slab allows construction close to property lines.
  • Working from the slab reduces the impact of wet conditions and other poor soil conditions.

6. Won’t the crane damage the floor?

  • A properly designed and installed floor will handle a crane that is appropri- ated sized and moved correctly on the floor. The crane must not extend the boom too far when picking up panels.
  • The crane will ‘uncover’ inadequate floor areas allowing them t be replaced prior to occupancy.
  • New crane mobility techniques further the potential for floor damage.

7. What exterior finishes are available?

Tilt wall panels are an extremely flexible design material. Exterior treat ments are only limited by imagination. Several popular options follow:

  • Coated or painted with or without texture
  • Exposed aggregate
  • Sand blasted
  • Concrete staining
  • Laminations or inlayes of marble, granite, tile or stone
  • Full or partial masonry veneers
  • Glass
  • Form lining materials are available to produce a variety of effects, textures and appearances

8. What roof systems are compatible?

  • Steel beam and bar joists with either metal or plywood deck are the most common
  • All types, including: wood trusses with asphalt shingles, or pre-engineered metal panels

9. What types of building uses are appropriate for tilt-up concrete?

  • The market share of tilt-up buildings continues to grow in the one story industrial and distribution market.
  • Low rise office, and research & development
  • Commercial strip centers
  • More and more big box retailers are choosing tilt-up’s speed and cost savings
  • Mini storage buildings
  • Churches and Motels

10. Can I build 2nd floor or mezzanine space internally?

  • Tilt-up wall bearing’s structural capacity easily accommodates 2nd floor or mezza nine, either initially or pre-planned for future construction.
  • 2nd floor and mezzanine floors can also be easily and affordably added to those buildings not pre-planned to accommodate them.

11. What size buildings are feasible?

  • Any size building can be built with this exterior wall system
  • Generally buildings from 20,000 square feet and larger will benefit the most from the cost saving aspects of tilt-up
  • Small buildings can use stack casting, casting beds or concrete parking surfaces for casting pads.

12. What types of foundation systems are required for these panels?

  • The panels are structural elements, these deep beams can span their full width, which makes them very adaptable to most foundation systems.
  • Which ever type of foundation is indicated by soil conditions and local con struction techniques can be used.
  • Tilt wall panels can be erected on:
    – continuous footings, or spread footings– pilings

– drilled footings, piers or casions

13. How long will the exterior paint last?

  • Generally the architectural coating consists of a textured basecoat and a color coat. Only the color coat is renewed over time.
  • Colors can be changed whenever desired, but should last 7 to 12 years if properly applied over a clean prepared panel surface.

14. Can you make changes to the building after all the walls are concrete?

  • New or enlarged openings for windows, doors or other openings can be cut into the panels with conventional concrete cutting equipment.
  • Abandoned windows or door openings can be filled with masonry then parged to produce a smooth surface to match the adjacent concrete panels.

15. How does concrete tilt-up effect design fees from architects and structural engineers?

  • Since each individual wall panel needs to be designed, engineered and reviewed during the shop drawing process, fees will be somewhat higher than masonry or pre-engineered building design fees to cover the additional time involved.

16. How do the walls perform from a thermal perspective?

  • Tilt-up construction produces energy efficient buildings
  • The roof is the main area of heat loss and gain on a one or two story building, not the wall areas.
  • The mass of the solid reinforced concrete provides a thermal heat transfer resistance similar to adobe.
  • Office areas and other spaces with higher levels of heat and air conditioning will normally have drywall and metal studs along the exterior walls. These can be insulated with economical fiberglass, foam or cellulose insulation.
  • If desired, the interior surfaces of warehouse walls can be insulated with vinyl faced fiberglass insulation applied to stick-clips bonded to the inside face of the exterior walls.
  • Hard (durable) surface options are available for interior insulation of the panels.
  • Did we answer your questions? If not Just call or contact Glen Stephens at Ph. 1.888.4-TILT-UP or Fax 301.513.0155 or E-mail glen@designtolast.com and we will be pleased to respond to your inquiry.