Cutler Relocates More Than 1,700 Tons of Concrete Panels

Wed July 14, 2004 - Northeast Edition

Cutler Associates has relocated 680-linear ft. (207 m) of existing concrete panels for a 346,800-sq.-ft. (32,219 sq m) addition to an existing 653,000-sq.-ft. (60,684 sq m) facility owned by Liberty Property Trust. The new 1-million-sq.-ft. (92,903 sq m) warehouse facility located at 650 Boulder Dr. in Breiningsville, PA, will serve as two tenant spaces.

The undertaking required very close sequencing between the structural steel contractor, the concrete tilt-wall contractor, crane operator and Cutler Associates. Because the original south wall of the existing building served as the lateral load resistance, the panels could only be moved four at a time.

The 10.5-in. (27 cm) thick panels were “walked” 500 ft. (152 m) to their new location. The panels are 47 ft. high and 14 ft. wide (14.3 by 4.2 m) and weigh 42 tons (38 t) each.

New columns were constructed to support the existing and new joists, framing, decking and bracing were required to be in place to support the existing structure before the next four panels could be moved. All activity moving panels ceased if the winds blew above 25 mph (40 kmh). In all, 42 panels were moved.

While the “panel walking” was in-process, the existing structure had to be temporarily shored.

When asked if this was a common method of adding onto a tilt-wall concrete building, Cutler’s superintendent on the project said, “Tilt-wall concrete construction is our expertise, so it isn’t a stretch for us, but this isn’t done everyday, especially in the middle of a windy winter.”

In tilt-up construction, reinforced concrete wall panels are cast on site, using the floor slab as a casting surface. The panel is then tilted into position and held in place with temporary bracing until the roof framing is installed to tie the entire structure together.

Cutler Associates has built seven tilt-up concrete warehouse/distribution facilities, more than 3.7 million sq. ft. (343,741 sq m) in the Boulder Industrial Park for Liberty Property Trust.

Cutler Associates services clients in corporate/industrial, education and elder care markets from its locations in Allentown, PA; Worcester, MA; and Tampa, FL.

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