Tilt-up Concrete vs. Steel for Industrial Construction

23 Mar 2021 Pre-Engineered Buildings, Precast Concrete

When it comes to industrial construction, tilt-up concrete and pre-engineered steel are the two most prominent methods for building a facility. Each method offers its own sets of advantages and disadvantages, making them suitable for some jobs but not others. When comparing tilt-up concrete vs. steel for industrial construction, it is important to understand the unique characteristics of each to make the best choice.

At Twin Maple Construction, our team understands the challenges associated with industrial and commercial projects. That is why our experts have outlined the key differences between tilt-up concrete and pre-engineered steel to help you make an informed decision.

Tilt-Up Concrete

Tilt-up concrete involves the lifting of large concrete walls to form the outer structure of a building. These walls are often lifted via a crane and then stabilized via multiple supporting beams. Tilt-up concrete is typically used in the construction of large retail stores and warehouses.


Some of the benefits of tilt-up concrete include:

  • Often faster and more efficient than steel.
  • Can be a more cost-effective solution for larger buildings.
  • The concrete walls act as a weather-resistant, durable shell. This shell often needs to be added to pre-engineered steel structures.
  • Concrete is fireproof.
  • The completed buildings are often cheaper to heat and cool due to the thicker walls.
  • Increased durability and resistance to impacts.

Potential Disadvantages

Some of the potential disadvantages of tilt-up concrete include:

  • Often requires the use of a crane rental to lift the walls.
  • Highly susceptible to damage from earthquakes.
  • More difficult to create a specialized external design.
  • Not a cost-effective choice for smaller buildings due to the cost of labour.

Pre-Engineered Steel

Also known as prefabricated steel, this method involves the use of steel building components that are manufactured in a factory before delivery to a job site. These components are then assembled using various nuts and bolts to join the pieces together. Steel bars are often added to these components to increase stability and durability.


Pre-engineered steel offers the following advantages:

  • More resistant to earthquakes.
  • Exceptional flexibility for the design of the building.
  • Can use more windows on the exterior of steel-based buildings, increasing natural light and cutting energy costs.
  • Highly versatile and can be used for nearly any type of building.
  • Easier to assemble and often does not require the use of a crane.

Potential Disadvantages

Pre-engineered steel can have some potential disadvantages:

  • Slower than tilt-up concrete.
  • Can cost more than concrete, especially for customized designs.
  • More susceptible to fire.
  • Buildings will need an additional external shell added.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages associated with tilt-up concrete and pre-engineered steel is crucial for choosing the most suitable option. If you would like to learn more about either method or need assistance choosing the best option for your needs, reach out to our experts at Twin Maple Construction.