554th RHS adapts durable, cost effective tilt-up construction technique
on Thursday, 04 December 2008

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by Airman 1st Class Courtney Witt
36th Wing Public Affairs

11/24/2008 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Keeping in mind Guam's stringent construction codes designed to withstand intense winds and earthquake, engineers from the 554th RED HORSE Squadron here adapted a time-proven tilt-up construction technique that's extremely durable and cost effective. 

Tilt-up construction describes the process where engineers cast slabs of concrete, which will become the wall sections, horizontally on a casting slab. Then, after attaining sufficient strength, the walls are lifted with a crane and set on prepared foundations to form the exterior, and sometimes, interior walls. 

When the 554th RHS realized tilt-up construction was the best practice to use on Guam, they turned to industry leaders in Las Vegas for a week-long course and on Guam for additional instruction.

"My Airmen went through the American Concrete Institute training and certification program then partnered with Black Construction and Rocky Mountain Precast to learn the 'tricks of the trade," said Lt. Col. Anthony Davit, 554th RED HORSE Squadron commander.

"We are the first RED HORSE unit to regularly employ tilt-up as a construction method," said Capt. April Bowman, 554th RHS engineer. "We have gone with tilt-up as opposed to the more common poured-in-place walls because this reduces the amount of wood we need for formwork, which is quicker and more economical." 

Colonel Davit said tilt-up construction is the most prevalent form of construction used at Northwest Field 

"We have tilted-up two full buildings," added Captain Bowman explaining that more are currently under construction. "The largest panel so far was 22 tons and 26.5 feet tall."

Tilt-up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States due to the economics of the technique which combines practical cost with low maintenance, durability, and speed of construction.

According to concretecontractor.com, the technique was developed in the early 1900s and the first tilt-up building constructed was a concrete factory near Zion City, Illinois. Soon after, Thomas Edison realized that tilt-up construction was the way of the future. In 1908 in Union, N.J., he created an entire village of tilt-up concrete houses that are still standing 100 years later.

The construction technique became prominent after World War II with the advent of ready mix concrete, mobile crane, concrete pump, improved lifting and bracing hardware, and new finishing techniques.

Since the 1940s, tilt-up construction has undergone several innovations and improvements and many top concrete and general contractors in the commercial construction industry have adopted the technique.

Web version: http://www.andersen.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123125415 

Last update: Thursday, 04 December 2008

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