Feasibility Assessment of Tilt-Up Construction in Commercial Buildings

Chipozya Tembo Silungwe 1  and Festus C. Luwaya 2
  • 1 Department of Construction Economics and Management, Kitwe, Zambia
  • 2 Zambia

Abstract

Construction projects are much appreciated by both client and contractor when completed on schedule and within budget so as to avoid cost overruns. The Zambian building sector normally experiences time and cost overruns. This study investigated the feasibility of using tilt-up construction in the construction of commercial building walls. The methodology used consisted of a literature review, a questionnaire survey and a scenario analysis consisting of a hypothetical 4900 square meter commercial building with a height of 8 meters. Sixty-six questionnaires were administered to design professionals operating in the Zambian building sector using simple random sampling and thirty-six were returned giving a response rate of 55%. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Cost analysis was done on a hypothetical building as no contractor was found using tilt-up construction in the construction sector. The study established that tilt-up was, in fact, more expensive than the conventional methods (concrete blocks and in-situ reinforced concrete walls), but it was faster, hence, making it viable in respect to time and not cost in the Zambian construction industry (ZCI). Additionally, necessary expertise was available with the exception of a certified tilt-up practitioner and a sealant sub-contractor in cases where a sealant contractor is needed. The study has identified that currently in the Zambian building sector tilt-up construction can be used when time is more important than the cost. However, challenges such as site size (limited space), the unavailability of building regulation for tilt-up construction and the economic capacity of the client or capacity need to be addressed for enhancing the practical application of tilt-up construction in ZCI.

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