One of the iconic sayings attributed to Benjamin Franklin is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While this adage is often used in relation to health management, a similar concept can be applied to building ownership and new building construction.
Industry studies have proven that construction cost is only a fraction of the total cost of building ownership. One study by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International estimates that the capital cost of construction accounts for only 11% of the total. Energy, maintenance and alterations each have more than twice the impact on total cost.
Building owners who focus solely on minimizing construction costs are wasting an opportunity to positively impact 80-90% of their future costs. Unfortunately, the cost of short-sighted upfront decisions is only realized once a building is occupied—when it’s too late to make changes.
Tilt-up construction allows building owners to positively impact the total cost of the building in three ways – reducing capital costs, energy costs and maintenance costs.
Reducing Capital Costs
In the August 2011 issue of The Construction Specifier , Jeffrey Brown, co-founder of Powers Brown Architecture states that in most suburban markets, a tilt-up office building averages $7 to $10 per square foot less for the exact project built conventionally.
The economy of design that makes tilt-up cost effective for office building construction – replacing the construction of perimeter structural framing and non-structural veneer cladding with a singular tilt-up panel – provides the same capital cost advantages when applied to other markets as well.
Reducing Energy Costs
As evidence of tilt-up construction’s advanced air barrier and thermal performance, SiteCast Construction (CON/STEEL AllianceTM member) has gathered data from two elementary schools built in Cumberland, Ontario. The first school is 49,000 square feet and was built in 1996 with masonry walls. The second school, constructed by SiteCast, is 55,000 square feet and was built in 1999 using insulated tilt-up concrete wall panels. Despite being 6,000 square feet larger, the second school benefits from a tilt-up envelope and uses 23% less electricity and 35% less natural gas daily.
Reducing Maintenance Costs
Building maintenance costs are challenging to quantify, especially when comparing one method of exterior envelope construction to another. Historically, though, the durable nature of tilt-up has proven to reduce maintenance costs.
Tilt-up can provide a variety of truly “maintenance-free” finishes such as cast-in-brick. Compared to traditional brick veneer construction, the cast-in-brick eliminates the future risk—and costly repair—of tuck-pointing or cleaning efflorescence.
This post is an excerpt from the Fall 2012 edition of The Alliance Times. To read the full story, please click here.