Tindall Building Systems engineers hollow core and cast-in-place concrete floor slab alternative
BY DON MARSH
After shedding a legacy organization structure drawn around precast concrete solutions for building and nonbuilding markets, Tindall entered 2022 with two namesake business groups, both maintaining Spartanburg, S.C. headquarters. The change to Tindall Infrastructure and Tindall Building Systems coincided with major plant capacity and production technology investments that have spurred growth opportunities and innovations across the groups’ architectural, structural and underground precast offerings.
“This realignment allows us to pay that much closer attention to what we do well and what sets us apart as we aggressively seek ways to continue to serve our customers and deliver innovative solutions to numerous market segments,” says Tindall President and CEO Greg Force. “Because of the strength and tenure of our team and their commitment to bring passion and ingenuity to every challenging opportunity, Tindall distinguishes itself as more than a provider of precast concrete products. We’ve become an industry leader in developing cutting-edge building system and infrastructure solutions.”
Leading into the realignment, Tindall Infrastructure dedicated the premier North American installation of Afinitas Prima automated wet cast technology for underground structures (Concrete Products, September 2021). Construction of its new home, a 115,000-sq.-ft. operation plus office on 42 acres, enabled expansion of sister precast, prestressed operations at Tindall headquarters and the Building Systems South Carolina location a mile away.
Enter Tindall Superior Lightweight All-Purpose Beam (T-SLAB), a structural product of long-line casting methods developed in Denmark by licensor Abeo A/S with an assist from dry cast concrete machine specialist KVM A/S. Tindall Building Systems has ushered Abeo’s SL-deck technology into North America under the T-SLAB brand; its license covers deliveries across or parts of 10 states: Alabama, the Carolinas, Florida (Panhandle), Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
“Tindall can develop nearly every precast product imaginable, but T-SLAB is the missing piece in achieving our cost-competitive, total precast system,” explains Force. “The system’s benefits ultimately reduce construction time and costs, crucial factors to consider when it comes to choosing a construction partner. T-SLAB offers superior performance and constructability over both cast-in-place and prestressed hollow-core plank in a single, completely precast concrete solution.”
Fabricated in lengths to 60-plus feet for multi-span elements and widths to 12 feet, T-SLAB capitalizes on arch engineering principles by using dry, lightweight mix blocks over which self-consolidating, structural concrete is poured. Prestressing strand is embedded in a base SCC mix course, whose smooth, uniform surface characteristics offer finished, or paint-ready, ceilings. Mix placement in the T-SLAB cross section leverages the arch effect for load distribution; longitudinal prestressing imparts total span capability.
T-SLAB floor elements provide superior fire resistance and sound insulation, along with greater design flexibility than cast-in-place slabs and prestressed hollow core plank. Beyond engineering properties, Tindall Building Systems promotes T-SLAB for cost effectiveness and schedule-friendly attributes, hence its suitability to mixed-use, multi-family residential, office or hotel construction and many other potential development categories.
The system provides a streamlined process for general contractors, project owners and developers, architects and engineers seeking a single, total precast solution source. Constructing with T-SLAB benefits customers through accelerated schedules with fewer trades on site, resulting in less congestion and easier coordination. With elements at roughly three times the width of typical hollow-core slabs and greater span capability, a T-SLAB specification assures shorter construction windows.
LONG LINE, SHORT SCHEDULE
Tindall Building Systems announced T-SLAB production in mid-2020. Spartanburg headquarters crews erected a new enclosure, 72- x 400-ft. with twin 25-ton bridge cranes and 25-ft. hook height, on space formerly used for wall panel storage. Like the new Tindall Infrastructure home, T-SLAB production line work progressed with some pandemic response disruptions, yet paced a schedule bound by handful of initial contracts.
Confidence Tindall has earned among architectural, engineering and construction interests throughout the Southeast is reflected in approvals and permits behind the largest of the charter T-SLAB jobs: The Icon, a 12-story, 189-unit apartment building in Richmond, Va. When it acquired the project’s centrally located site, local developer SWA Construction sought the right building solution for a February 2021-December 2022 timeline.
A greenlight for The Icon’s ambitious T-SLAB specification and remaining precast package came on the heels of Tindall Building Systems’ delivery of several parking decks for SWA Construction. The latest project brought traffic and congestion challenges typical of a metropolitan location; a tight schedule warranted a structure and enclosure solution nearly immune to weather disruptions. The Tindall South Carolina (T-SLAB) and Virginia locations (beams, stairs, insulated architectural wall panels) and Tindall Infrastructure (stairs, stair tower boxes) teams worked seamlessly with SWA Architects-VA to lay out a plan, model and delivery sequence for a total precast solution.
The Icon’s 692-piece schedule was erected in just under 16 weeks. After initial picks, crews from SWA and Pikesville, Md.-based E&B Erectors accelerated their pace, completing an entire building level per week. Finishing the structure and enclosure on target made way for interior build out sooner than anticipated.
“With ‘heads to beds’ such a critical item for our projects, Tindall Building Systems was able to get The Icon operational and set to generate revenue significantly faster than other options we analyzed,” observes SWA Construction Vice President Louis Salomonsky. “While there were many challenges throughout the process, from design to logistics and construction, the company has worked seamlessly with us to solve any obstacles and keep our project on schedule.”
The Icon T-SLAB elements traveled up Interstates 85 and 95 from South Carolina. Future orders in Richmond and points north will be served from new long-line casting at the Tindall Building Systems Virginia location. The Petersburg, Va. T-SLAB line will serve Commonwealth, Washington, D.C. and Maryland markets. A third production line for the value-added floor system is scheduled for startup by year’s end at Tindall Building Systems Mississippi, Moss Point.