It’s been more than 115 years since the start of modern tilt-up concrete construction techniques. Just after the beginning of the 20th Century, Robert H. Aiken, Tilt-Up Construction Inventor cast his first concrete target walls using tilt-up procedures for use at Camp Logan. Recognizing the benefits of his invention, Aiken applied for and received patent approval.
In 1909, Aiken’s invention earned the title "the novelty of the show” of the 2nd Annual Cement Show held at the Coliseum in Chicago from the Chicago Tribune. His company, the Cement Home Company, earned the honor by demonstrating their patented approach to construction by constructing a concrete tilt-up home inside the Coliseum.
The leadership at the Tilt-up Concrete Association is working hard to keep Aiken’s spirit of innovation alive.
In 2021, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) established Tilt Lab, a focused effort to harness the innovation demonstrated by concrete tilt-up research and design professionals around the world. As TCA’s philanthropic partner, Tilt Lab encourages and cultivates emerging techniques, technologies, and design approaches with promising applicability for the tilt-up concrete construction industry.
“One of the greatest benefits of these types of organizations is their power to facilitate collaboration,” said Mitch Bloomquist, Executive Director for Tilt Lab and the Tilt-Up Concrete Association. “While many research projects can be executed by one single entity (a university for instance) others benefit from the perspective and contributions of a broader team. For the construction industry, in practice, this is always the case as buildings are realized by a design and construction team of professionals from different backgrounds, different expertise and most always, different organizations.”
A Three-Pronged Initiative
Tilt Lab is a focused effort to shape concrete tilt-up construction for the next century. The initiative is directed by an experienced assemblage of industry practitioners with a focus of research and engineering.
The first aspect of the Tilt Lab’s efforts is industry outreach. TCA members have been encouraged to offer insights from their experiences of the knowledge gaps limiting the growth and development of tilt-up construction. In addition, Tilt Lab encourages industry involvement by hosting events such as the upcoming Tilt-Up Future Think 3.0, scheduled on May 16, 2022, in Chicago, Illinois.
As these key research needs are identified and prioritized, Tilt Lab’s board is actively inviting researchers to take on the key challenges. The board maintains a list of research, from which qualified institutions and organizations choose to tackle. Supporting this effort, Tilt Lab’s board has the capacity to fund approved research proposals.
Tilt Lab’s cementing element will be the gathering of ongoing research and data. The library will contain reports from Tilt-Up Future Think events, formal reports summarizing sponsored studies, and access to the TCA Journal for consideration as a peer reviewed publication, which will be edited by Timothy W. Mays, Ph.D. A NEW PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL
A Request for Industry Support
Important initiatives such as Tilt Lab require strong industry financial support. Fortunately, members of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association answered the call. Tilt Lab has received pledges approaching $400,000 providing a strong start to its important mission.
Those engaged in the tilt-up construction industry are encouraged to support Tilt Lab’s mission by contributing to the 501(c)(3) foundation.
More information can be found at Tilt Lab.