Before you start your next data center project, consider these 7 factors in tilt wall and precast concrete construction methods.
Every owner has experienced the pressure associated with reducing costs while meeting schedules during a construction project. The reason most owners feel overwhelmed is because projects are complex and each one is different. This makes a cookie-cutter approach to project and construction management impossible. So, it’s not surprising, the decision to use precast concrete walls or tilt walls is based on the project’s complexity and unique needs.
But don’t just take our word for it. Verity asked two recognized leaders in tilt walls and precast concrete construction methods. Here’s what they have to say.
Southland Concrete, a leader in concrete contracting, and tilt walls are synonymous. They have completed more than 100 data centers in the Washington DC Metro Area which have consisted of either tilt wall design or precast shell.
“When people think of tilt wall construction method, they think of Southland Concrete,” says Brent Wells, Executive Vice President with Southland Concrete. “Tilt wall projects come in many forms ranging from one-story to four-story projects, blast-proof, and progressive collapse designs. Tilt wall construction offers more design flexibility and creativity in building height and panel design due to the site-cast nature of the method. Tilt wall is not limited in this respect to the width and length of panels. The speed at which quality panels are casted and erected has long been the attraction to this method.”
Tindall, a leading expert in precast concrete, has over 50 years of experience delivering precast concrete solutions that precisely meets their client’s needs. Whether you’re an architect, builder, contractor or owner, Tindall has provided smart solutions to the most complex challenges in a wide range of construction projects.
“Versatility, efficiency, and resiliency are just three characteristics that make precast concrete a high-performance solution,” says Tim Gainey, Business Development Manager – Commercial Applications at Tindall. Some of the most experienced and well-known providers and builders in the data center space prefer precast over other methods due primarily to its enhanced quality control aspect in addition to the speed of erection, lack of disruption to the jobsite, and the flexibility to erect the panels after the steel structure is already erected.”
Both methods offer dependable exterior walls and hard-wall interior with energy efficient options and a variety of finishing features. However, there are differences.
Precast Concrete Panels are cured and cast at a manufacturing facility, and then transported by truck to the job site to be lifted in place. Precast is created in a controlled environment so it can be made in extreme and unpredictable weather. One fallacy in the industry is precast concrete’s inability to handle late design changes. Precast has adapted to the fast-paced nature of data centers and developed ways to minimize design restrictions through designating very minimally sized “no drill/cut zones” allowing the design team enormous flexibility to continue altering design extremely late in the design process. Also, due to the lack of disruption to the jobsite, precast concrete solutions work better than any other system in highly congested and high land cost areas.
Tilt Wall Construction refers to when concrete panels are cast on-site and, like the name, walls are then tilted up to form the exterior walls of a building. Since tilt wall is created on the job site, walls can be completed quickly. Tilt wall construction is only limited to the raw material availability which can be a benefit to production and scheduling. Because it’s site cast, and uses existing aspects of the permanent structure, it has cost advantages too. It can provide owners in the highly competitive data center digital revolution a distinct edge from design to tilt wall erection thus speeding up project completion. Bad weather is often seen as a downside to tilt wall but the truth is only extreme weather patterns could delay casting. Typical seasonal weather patterns won’t affect timing with a little bit of planning. Tilt wall is largely dependent on whether the site is big enough for casting; although, most expert contractors have many workable options to overcome a small site.
When it comes to choosing between structural precast concrete and tilt wall construction methods for data centers, one method is not better than the other. Deciding which method is best of your project starts with the project needs. Verity Commercial’s project and construction managers advise owners through the project planning and decision-making process. Here is a list of 7 factors that Owners need to consider.
These are some key factors to consider in deciding which method is right for your project. Both are demonstrated and reliable construction methods. Look at your unique project needs to determine which is right for you.
If you need help deciding whether tilt wall or precast construction is right for your project or if you’d like to connect with an expert contractor that specializes in one of these methods, such as Southland Concrete and Tindall, contact Verity’s construction managers today.