Soaring to a record height of 91 feet, 7 ¼ inches, two tilt-up concrete wall panels were used by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Nassau Bay, Texas, to frame the 117-foot-tall cross for the church's new worship center. Though standard procedures were used to form and cast the panels, their enormous size and heft called for carefully engineered rigging and bracing. Each panel weighed 163,300 pounds and required approximately 41 cubic yards of concrete.
An 8 high by 2 wide 16-point rigging was needed to accommodate the bending stresses produced during panel erection. Even with this generous rigging setup, two sets of double steel-channel stiff backs were required to keep the panels from cracking as they were lifted. Because each panel has a top that slopes nearly 38 feet, one stiff back was 82 feet long and the other, 70 feet long.
The first panel erected required seven 62-foot-long main braces, with knee bracing at two locations. The longest knee brace—at more than 33 feet—also needed bracing. After bracing the first panel, workers lifted the second one into position, holding it in place by crane while installing structural steel to tie the two panels together and to the building's main structural frame.