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Precast Concrete Structures

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Precast Concrete Structures

Kim S. Elliott


Butterworth-Heinemann An imprint of Elsevier Science Linacre House, Jordan Hill, Oxford OX2 8DP 225 Wildwood Avenue, Woburn, MA 01801-2041 First published 2002 Copyright # 2002, Kim S. Elliott. All rights reserved The right of Kim S. Elliott to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying or storing in any medium by electronic means and whether or not transiently or incidentally to some other use of this publication) without the written permission of the copyright holder except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd. 90 Tottenham Court Road, London, England W1T 4LP. Applications for the copyright holder's written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Elliott, Kim S. Precast concrete structures 1. Precast concrete construction I. Title 693.50 22 Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress ISBN 0 7506 5084 2 For information on all Butterworth-Heinemann publications visit our website at

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In 1990, the chairman of the British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF), Mr Geoff Brigginshaw, asked me what level of teaching was carried out in British universities in precast concrete construction for multi-storey buildings. The answer, of course, was very little, and remains that way today in spite of considerable efforts by the BPCF and sections of the profession to broadcast the merits, and pitfalls of precast concrete structures. Having given lectures at about 25 UK universities in this subject, I estimate that less than 5 per cent of our civil/structural engineering graduates know about precast concrete, and less than this have a decent grounding in the design of precast concrete structures. Why is this? The precast concrete industry commands about 25 per cent of the multi-storey commercial and domestic building market if frames, floors and cladding (facades) are all included. In higher education (one step away from the market), precast education commands between zero and (about) 5 per cent of the structural engineering curriculum. This in turn represents only about 1/8 of a civil engineering course. The 5 per cent figure claimed above could indeed be an over estimate. The reasons are two-fold: 1 2 British lecturers are holistic towards structural engineering. British lecturers have no information in this subject.

This book aims to solve these suggestions simultaneously. Suggestion no. 2 is more readily solved. This book is, unfortunately, one of very few text books in this subject area aimed at students at a level which they can assimilate in their overall structural engineering learning process. It does this by considering design both at the macro and micro levels global issues such as structural stability, building movement and robustness are dissected and analysed down to the level of detailed joints, localized stress concentrations and bolts and welds sizes. Suggestion no. 1 is more complex. Having been acquainted with members of the FIB* (formerly FIPy) Commission on Prefabrication, it has come to my notice
* FIB (Federation International du Beton), born from a merger of FIP with CEB. An international, but predominantly European organization for the welfare and distribution of information on structural concrete.
y FIP (Federation International de la Prefabrication) is an international, but predominantly European, organization for the welfare and distribution of information on prefabricated concrete.



the differing attitudes towards the education of students in certain forms of building construction precast concrete being one of them (timber another). In continental Europe, leading precast industrialists and/or consultants hold academic posts dedicated to precast concrete construction. Chairs are even sponsored in this subject. In South America, lecturers, students and practitioners hold seminars where precast concrete is a major theme. It is not uncommon for as many as 10 Masters students to study this subject in a civil engineering department. In the United States of America collaborative research between consultants, precast manufacturers and universities is common, as the number of papers published in the PCI JOURNAL testifies. The attitude in Britain is more holistic and less direct. Firstly, basic tuition is given in solid mechanics, structural analysis and material properties. Students are required to be capable of dealing with structural behaviour independent of the material(s) involved. Secondly, given the fundamental principles of design (and a reminder that code equations are often simulations and their data conservative) students can assimilate any design situation, with appropriate guidance. This may be true for structural steelwork and cast in situ concrete structures where the designer may (if he wishes) divorce themselves from the fabricator and contractor. It is not true for precast concrete (and timber) structures where the fabricator and site erector form part of the `design team'. Precast concrete design is an iterative procedure, linking many aspects of architecture, design, detailing, manufacture and site erection together in a 5-point lattice.
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Site n erectio

Figure i

De ing tail
Major links


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Many students will be familiar with these names, but few will see or hear them in a single lecture. Some of the links are quite strong. Note the central role of `designing' (this does not mean wL2/8, etc.) in establishing relationships with architectural requirements, detailing components and connections, etc., manufacturing and erecting the said components at their connections. Could similar diagrams be drawn for structural steelwork or cast in situ concrete structures? Further, there are a number of secondary issues involving precast concrete construction. Prefabrication of integrated services, automation of information, temporary stability and safety during erection, all result from the primary links. Some of these are remote from `designing'. The illustration reminds us of their presence in the total structure. The design procedure will eventually encompass all of these aspects. This book is aimed at providing sufficient information to enable graduates to carry out structural design operations, whilst recognizing the role of the designer in precast concrete construction. Its content is in many parts similar to but more fundamental than the author's book `Multi-Storey Precast Concrete Framed Structures' (Blackwell Science 1996). The Blackwell book assumed a prior knowledge of

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