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Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle

Precast Concrete Structures

Hubert Bachmann/ Alfred Steinle
Precast Concrete
Dr.-Ing. Hubert Bachmann, Department Manager
Ed. Zu blin AG
Structural Engineering (TBK-S)
Albstadtweg 3
D70 567 Stuttgart
Dr.-Ing. Alfred Steinle
Alte Weinsteige 92
D70 597 Stuttgart
Translated by Philip Thrift, Hannover/Germany
Cover photo: The Dancing Towers, Hamburg/Germany; two office towers of 80m and 70m height,
under construction.
(Photo: Ed. Zu blin AG)
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the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie;
detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at
c 2011 Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, Verlag fu r Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH & Co. KG,
Rotherstr. 21, 10245 Berlin, Germany
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from the publisher.
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ISBN 978-3-433-02960-2
Electronic version available. O-Book ISBN 978-3-433-60096-2
in memoriam
Volker Hahn 10 April 1923 1 May 2009
The authors would like to dedicate this English edition to Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Hahn,
their mentor and for many years their boss at Zu blin, and also co-author of the first Ger-
man edition.
Volker Hahn began his career at Ed. Zu blin AG in 1949 and in his role as development
engineer established the main engineering office, which is still the technological heart
of the company. He was one of the pioneers as computers were introduced into construc-
tion and with great farsightedness initiated important developments in precast concrete
construction, transportation, specialist civil engineering, turnkey projects and environ-
mental protection technology.
He was a member of the Board of Directors at Ed. Zu blin AG from 1971 to 1987. It was in
his capacity as board member that he made major contributions to the dynamic growth of
the company, its ongoing economic success and its position as a technology leader. Young
engineers were able to benefit from Volker Hahns superlative specialist knowledge
through his lectures at the University of Stuttgart, where he was honorary professor.
Zublin House was built under his leadership, a project that lent new momentum to precast
concrete construction.
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
Building with precast concrete components is as old as building with concrete itself. It
was only in the second half of the last century, however, that this form of construction
took on its industrialised form. Factors that contributed to this were, in particular, the de-
velopment of heavy lifting equipment, the use of mechanised steel moulds and, more re-
cently, automated manufacturing systems, for suspended floor elements especially.
This work on precast concrete construction was first published in 1988 as part of the
Beton-Kalender. A second version by the authors Alfred Steinle and Volker Hahn appea-
red in the same publication in 1995. These essays were turned into a book which was pub-
lished in 1998 as part of the Bauingenieur-Praxis series of the Ernst & Sohn publishing
house. A further treatise appeared in the 2009 edition of the Beton-Kalender, this time
with Hubert Bachmann joining the original authors, and it was that version that became
the second edition of the book in German.
Inevitably, there have been some changes to the standards over the past 10 years. For
example, the publication, following a long period of preparation, of the new DIN 1045
Concrete, reinforced and prestressed concrete structures.
This standard has been approved by the building authorities for use in the Federal Repub-
lic of Germany since September 2002 and since 1 January 2005 is the only standard that
may be used for concrete works. It was drawn up on the basis of the Euronorm EN 1992-1
Design of concrete structures (previously known as Eurocode 2) and therefore repre-
sents the translation of this Euronorm into national German practice.
Furthermore, we are witnessing a fundamental change in the design of precast concrete
The creation of the European Single Market led to the publication of the Construction
Products Directive, which has been in force in Germany in the form of the Construction
Products Act (Bauproduktengesetz) since 1992 and in the meantime has become part of
the building regulations of the federal states which were revised to take account of this le-
gislation. The directive renders it necessary to establish harmonised product standards
specifically for the various precast concrete products so that in the end it will be possible
to use all such components labelled with the CE marking throughout the European
With modern methods of construction making use of industrial methods of manufacture,
which includes construction with factory-precast concrete components, the design of the
individual elements, and also the entire structure, is heavily influenced by the factory pro-
duction. On the manufacturing side, the growing trend towards mechanisation and auto-
mation in production is evident.
The development of high-performance concrete provides us with the chance of em-
ploying these for precast concrete construction in particular because factory production
presents excellent conditions for their use. For example, the first precast concrete compo-
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
nents made from ultra-high-strength concrete for bridges and facades have already been
produced. Besides the industrial production of batches and series of components, we
are seeing more and more one-offs being produced, which take advantage of the excellent
production options in order to achieve a high standard of quality. These tendencies will
become even more obvious as more and more progress is made in the development of
concrete as a building material.
The authors aim in writing this book is to map out the boundary conditions of factory
prefabrication for architects and structural engineers and also to demonstrate the opportu-
nities presented by this method of construction in the expectation that this will contri-
bute to the ongoing development of precast concrete structures.
Stuttgart, November 2010 A. Steinle H. Bachmann
Ed. Zu blin AG
VIII Preface
Alfred Steinle (b. 1936) turned Hahns lecture notes into a manuscript in the early 1970s,
which then became the starting point for this book. After a number of years in bridge-
building, Alfred Steinle also became heavily involved in precast concrete construction
at Zu blin. His theoretical work covered bridge-building with torsion and section defor-
mations in box-girder bridges and in precast concrete structures within the scope of the
6M system with corbels, notched beam ends and pocket foundations. In addition, he
was a key figure in many precast concrete projects such as the 6M schools, the University
of Riyadh, schools with foamed concrete wall panels in Iraq, Zublin House and the
construction of a modern automated precasting plant. Alfred Steinle retired in 1999 and
by that time he had risen to the post of authorised signatory in the engineering office at
Zublin headquarters.
Hubert Bachmann (b. 1959) began his career in 1976 with a training course on concrete
and precast concrete construction in a precasting plant. After studying construction engi-
neering and completing his doctorate at the University of Karlsruhe, he accepted a post in
the structural engineering office of Ed. Zu blin AG, where he has worked since 1993. His
duties include the detailed design of structures of all kinds plus research and development
in the civil and structural engineering sectors. He has been presenting the series of Hahn
lectures at the University of Stuttgart on the subject of the prefabrication of concrete com-
ponents since 2003.
The authors were or are also intensively involved in construction industry associations,
numerous technical bodies plus national and international standards committees dealing
with precast concrete construction.
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VII
Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IX
Preliminary remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Standards, leaflets and directives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1 The advantages of factory production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.2 Historical development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
1.3 European standardisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
2 Design of precast concrete structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.1.1 Production process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.1.2 Tolerances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
2.1.3 Transport and erection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
2.1.4 Fire protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
2.2.1 Arrangement of stability elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
2.2.2 Loads on stability elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
2.2.3 Distribution of horizontal loads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
2.2.4 Verification of building stability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
2.2.5 Structural design of floor diaphragms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62
2.2.6 Structural design of vertical stability elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
2.2.7 Design of perimeter ties to DIN 1045-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
2.3 Loadbearing elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
2.3.1 Suspended floor elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
2.3.2 Floor and roof beams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
2.3.3 Columns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
2.3.4 Walls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97
2.3.5 Foundations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
2.4 Precast concrete facades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
2.4.1 Environmental influences and the requirements of building physics . . . . . . . 102
2.4.2 Facade design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
2.4.3 Joint design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112
2.4.4 Facade fixings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
2.4.5 Architectural facades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
2.5 Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
2.6 Current design issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
2.6.1 Additions to cross-sections, floors with concrete topping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
2.6.2 Corbels and notched beam ends . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
2.6.3 Lateral buckling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
2.6.4 Pad foundations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
2.6.5 Design for fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167
3 Joints between precast concrete elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
3.1 Compression joints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
3.1.1 Butt joints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
3.1.2 Zones of support to DIN 1045-1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
3.1.3 Elastomeric bearings to DIN 4141 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181
3.1.4 Elastomeric bearings to DIN EN 1337 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
3.2 Tension joints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
3.2.1 Welded joints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
3.2.2 Anchoring steel plates, dowels, studs and cast-in channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
3.2.3 Shear dowels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
3.2.4 Screw couplers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
3.2.5 Transport fixings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
3.2.6 Retrofitted corbels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
3.3 Shear joints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
3.3.1 General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203
3.3.2 Floor diaphragms and wall plates in-plane shear forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204
3.3.3 Joints in suspended floor slabs out-of-plane shear forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
4 Factory production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
4.1 Production methods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
4.2 Types of concrete in precast concrete construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
4.2.1 Processing properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
4.2.2 Strength . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220
4.2.3 Self-compacting concrete (SCC) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
4.2.4 Fibre-reinforced concrete . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
4.2.5 Coloured and structured concrete surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
4.3 Producing the concrete in the factory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
4.3.1 Heat treatment and curing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
4.3.2 Working hardened concrete surfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
4.3.3 Coating and cladding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
4.4.1 Round bars and meshes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
4.4.2 Prestressing beds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
4.5 Quality control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
XII Contents
Preliminary remarks
Chapter 1 contains general information about precast concrete construction, its history
and the status of the relevant Euronorms. Chapter 2 explains the design of structures based
on precast concrete elements and the design of the precast concrete elements themselves.
Chapter 3 deals with joints. And to conclude this book, chapter 4 takes a look at the actual
manufacture of precast concrete elements so that the reader gains a full understanding of
this form of construction and can take into account the needs and intricacies of production.
All this is seen from the viewpoint of the German construction industry. But with a view to
the European Single Market and the activities of German companies abroad, the status of
precast concrete construction in other countries is also considered to a certain extent.
The authors have confined themselves in the main to structures in general. However, the
fact that precast concrete construction has been able to secure sizeable market shares in
many other areas of construction through the development of economic bespoke solu-
tions should not go unmentioned. The following are just some areas where precast con-
crete construction has had considerable impact:
Tunnelling (tunnel segments)
Pipes, pipe bridges, towers, masts, piles
Detached houses
Prefabricated basements, retaining walls
Room modules, prefabricated garages
Noise barriers
Railway sleepers, slab tracks, guided bus tracks
Agricultural structures
Cooling tower trickle fill structures
The reader is referred to the specialist literature dealing with these specialist areas. This
book also only describes structural or architectural precast concrete elements for build-
ings and structures and not concrete products, i.e. small-format components manufac-
tured and stocked in great numbers and available from trade outlets, e.g. sewage pipes,
paving stones, etc.
The list of references has been extended since the previous edition. The references in the
text have been retained on the whole because they contain potential solutions to funda-
mental problems that are still relevant today.
Earlier articles on the theme of precast concrete construction worth consulting are those
in the Beton-Kalender [13]. By the same token, reference to the general literature on re-
inforced concrete construction has been omitted and the reader is referred to the corre-
sponding articles in the Beton-Kalender, unless they concern areas that also touch on the
specific problems of precast concrete construction. Readers who wish to obtain a com-
pressive overview of this subject are recommended to consult Konczs three-volume
work dating from the 1960s [4] and the brochures published by the Fachvereinigung
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V. [58]. As well as covering small-format concrete pro-
ducts, the Beton- und Fertigteil-Jahrbuch [9], which is published annually, also contains
articles on various structural and architectural aspects of precast concrete construction,
different in each edition. Comprehensive information on mass-produced concrete pro-
ducts can be found in [12], and a number of fundamental and general thoughts on indus-
trialised building methods using precast concrete elements are to be found in [10, 11]. The
books [1316] are based on the lecture notes of a number of university professors. The
DIN standards most relevant to this subject, in the editions on which this publication is
based, are listed below. Also listed here are the directives of the Deutscher Ausschuss
fur Stahlbeton relevant to precast concrete construction and the leaflets published by
the Deutscher Beton- und Bautechnik-Verein e.V. and the Fachvereinigung Deutscher
Betonfertigteilbau e.V. Section 1.3 deals in more detail with the status of the development
of Euronorms. Directives or leaflets containing further information are referenced sepa-
rately in the text.
Standards, leaflets and directives
2 Preliminary remarks
Table 1 DIN standards of NA 005 (NABau, Building & Civil Engineering Standards Committee)
relevant to precast concrete construction (many available in English)
DIN Edition Parts/Title
488 2009 Parts 17 Reinforcing steels
1045 2008 Parts 14 Concrete, reinforced and prestressed concrete structures
1048 1991 Parts 15 Testing concrete
1055 2002-2007 Parts 110 & 100 Actions on structures
1164 2003-2005 Parts 1012 Special cement
EN ISO 17660 2006-2007 Parts 1 & 2 Welding Welding of reinforcing steel
4102 1977-2004 Parts 14 & 22 Fire behaviour of building materials and building
4108 1981-2009 Parts 110 Thermal insulation in buildings
4109 2003-2006 Parts 1 & 11 Sound insulation in buildings
4141 1984-2008 Parts 13 & 13 Structural bearings
EN 1337 2005 Part 3 Structural bearings Elastomeric bearings
4149 2005 Buildings in German earthquake areas Design loads, analysis and
structural design of buildings
4212 1986 Reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete craneways; design
and construction
4213 2003 Application in structures of prefabricated reinforced components of
lightweight aggregate concrete with open structure
4223 2003 Parts 15 Prefabricated reinforced compliments of autoclaved aer-
ated concrete
2008 Parts 100103 (draft) Application of prefabricated reinforced com-
ponents of autoclaved aerated concrete
4226 2002 Part 100 Aggregates for concrete and mortar Recycled aggregates
EN ISO 9606 1999-2005 Parts 25 Approval testing of welders Fusion welding
EN 10088 2005-2009 Parts 15 Stainless steels
18 057 2005 Concrete windows Dimensioning, requirements, tests
18 065 2000 Stairs in buildings Terminology, measuring rules, main dimensions
18 162 2000 Lightweight concrete wallboards unreinforced
3 Preliminary remarks
DIN Edition Parts/Title
18 200 2000 Assessment of conformity for construction products Certification
of construction products by certification body
18 202 2005 Tolerances in building construction Buildings
18 203 1997 Part 1 Tolerances in building construction Prefabricated compo-
nents made of concrete, reinforced concrete and prestressed con-
18 230 1998-2002 Parts 13 Structural fire protection in industrial buildings
18 500 2006 (pre-standard) Cast stones Terminology, requirements, testing, in-
18 515 1993-1998 Parts 1 & 2 Cladding for external walls
18 516 1990-2009 Parts 1 & 35 Cladding for external walls, ventilated at rear
18 540 2006 Sealing of exterior wall joints in buildings using joint sealings
18 542 2009 Sealing of outside wall joints with impregnated sealing tapes made of
cellular plastics Impregnated sealing tapes Requirements and
18 800 2008 Parts 14 Steel structures
18 801 1983 Structural steel in building; design and construction
Table 2 DBV leaflets and status reports (Deutscher Beton- und Bautechnik-Verein e.V., German
Concrete & Building Technology Association) (some available in English in the DBVs Concrete Best
Practice publication)
Edition Title
Building technology
2005 Multi-storey and basement car parks
2006 Structural carcass/building services interfaces 2 parts
2006 Limiting cracking in reinforced and prestressed concrete
2002 Concrete cover and reinforcement
Concrete technology
2001 Steel fibre-reinforced concrete
2002 High-strength concrete
2004 Self-compacting concrete
2004 Concrete surface concrete boundary zone
1996 Unformed concrete surfaces
2007 Special methods for testing wet concrete
Construction works
2004 Fair-face concrete
2004 Avoiding problems in placing concrete
2006 Concrete formwork
Construction products
2002 Spacers and chairs for reinforcement
2008 Bending back reinforcing bars and requirements for bar casings
1996 Sealing materials for joints in buildings
1997 Release agents for concrete part A: advice for selection and use
1999 Release agents for concrete part B: tests
Construction works in existing buildings
2008 Guidelines
2008 Fire protection
2008 Concrete and reinforcing steel
4 Preliminary remarks
Table 3 FDB leaflets (Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V., German Precast Concrete
Construction Association) (No. 1 available in English, all others in German only)
No. Edition Title
1 2005 Fair-face concrete surfaces (surface appearance) of precast elements made
of concrete and reinforced concrete
2 2005 Corrosion protection for inaccessible steel connecting elements (cast-in
parts) in precast concrete components
3 2007 Design of precast concrete fac ades
4 2006 Fixing methods for precast concrete fac ades
5 2005 Checklist for precast concrete component drawings
6 2006 Fit calculations and tolerances for cast-in parts and connecting elements
7 2008 Fire protection requirements for precast concrete components
Table 4 DAfStb directives (Deutscher Ausschuss fu r Stahlbeton, German Reinforced Concrete
Committee) (available in German only)
Edition Title
1989 Heat treatment of concrete
1995 Production of concrete using residual mixing water as well as concrete and mortar
2000 Loading tests on solid structures
2001 Protection of and repairs to concrete components (parts 14)
2003 Self-compacting concrete (SCC directive)
2004 Concrete construction in connection with substances hazardous to water
2004 Concrete to EN 206-1 and DIN 1045-2 with recycled aggregates to DIN 4226-100
2006 Concrete with prolonged working time (retarded concrete)
2006 Production and use of cement-bonded grouts
2007 Measures to prevent damaging alkaline reactions in concrete (alkali directive), parts
1 General
1.1 The advantages of factory production
The corporate goal behind the use of a production method that is to establish itself in the
marketplace must be: to produce a product better or cheaper or faster than the competition.
The optimum situation would be if each or could be replaced by and. So what is the
situation with construction using precast concrete elements?
a) Improved quality
Production in an indoor environment results in better working conditions with corre-
spondingly better productivity than would be the case on a building site, and that
has an effect on quality, too.
In the factory production situation, training makes it easier to compensate for the on-
going severe shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry.
Steel moulds can be used for standard elements or large batches, which enables a high
degree of dimensional accuracy to be attained.
Factory production enables a specific concrete quality to be achieved.
Only through factory production is it possible to produce concrete components with
architectural textures and colours, especially for facade designs.
As with other branches of industry outside the construction sector, factory production
results in more efficient quality management.
b) Lower production costs
The main purpose of precast concrete construction is to reduce the cost of the formwork.
Several components can be produced in the same formwork, i.e. mould. And of
course, large batches are advantageous. Although mould types suited to the method
of production (e.g. rigid moulds with few fold-down parts) demand a design approach
that suits the production, this does lead to high mould reuses.
Another reason for precast concrete construction was undoubtedly the reduction or to-
tal elimination of scaffolding costs.
Factory production enables the use of mechanisation and automation, which in turn
can result in a substantial reduction in the number of working hours necessary. However,
if a factorys capacity is not fully exploited, this can be a disadvantage because of the
ensuing high proportion of fixed costs.
Material savings arise from the possibility of using thin component cross-sections cor-
responding to the structural requirements, i.e. double-Tor T-sections instead of rectan-
gular sections. The advantage of the (possibly) lower weight of the concrete is in many
cases only made possible through the higher quality of the concrete due to the factory
production methods. One typical example of saving material and weight is resolving a
solid slab into a hollow-core slab. And this is only possible with precast concrete con-
Prestressing is easy to achieve in the form of pretensioning in the prestressing bed.
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
One considerable cost factor for a precasting factory is of course the cost of transport,
which limits the radius of activities and consequently the potential market for a pre-
casting plant and hence its size. This does not represent a hindrance for the precast
concrete market as a whole because there are now proficient precasting works within
economic reach of any location.
c) Faster construction
One big advantage of precast concrete construction is the potential to shorten the con-
struction time. For example, wall and suspended floor elements can be produced simul-
taneously, even while the foundations are still being built. Production, and to a large
extent erection as well, can take place during the winter.
No extensive, elaborate on-site facilities are required. The structural carcass is dry and
ready for immediate loading immediately after erection.
The financial savings associated with a shorter construction time and the chance of gen-
erating revenue at an earlier date are important, often underestimated, reasons for pre-
cast concrete construction, particularly for industrial buildings.
However, it should not be forgotten that structures made from precast concrete compo-
nents often require a higher planning and design input. On the other hand, this input can
be substantially reduced by using a standardised precast component system. The first
CAD applications in reinforced concrete construction originated in precast concrete.
1.2 Historical development
Prefabrication, i.e. the building of components remote from their intended location in the
structure, followed by subsequent erection is a method of construction that is as old as
building with reinforced concrete itself. However, the development of modern construc-
tion with precast reinforced concrete components from its origins to a form of industria-
lised building only took place over the past 60 years. Ref. [20] contains a detailed descrip-
tion of the development of prefabricated housing in Germany up to 1945.
Even though we might not be able to designate the first reinforced concrete flower tubs or
boats of Joseph Monier or Joseph Louis Lambot in the mid-19th century as prefabricated
components (Fig. 1.1), the first serious trials with structural precast reinforced concrete
components did take place around 1900 (e.g. Coignets casino building in Biarritz,
France, in 1891, and the prefabricated railway signalman and gatekeeper lodges of Hen-
nebique and Zu blin in 1896, Fig. 1.2) [17].
This development continued in the first half of the 20th century throughout Europe and
the USA, albeit only tentatively. The main reason for this was the lack of larger and flex-
ible lifting equipment during this period.
The real breakthrough did not come until after the Second World War [18]. In a first phase
from 1945 to 1960 it was the extraordinary demand for housing that presented the build-
ing industry with a huge challenge. During this period it was the French (e.g. Camus, Es-
tiot) and Scandinavian (e.g. Larsson, Nielsen) systems that provided decisive momentum
6 1 General
for construction with large-format panels. Their patents through licensees also domi-
nated the German market.
In the second phase, about 1960 to 1973 (see also [18]), growing prosperity led to a rise in
demand for owner-occupied housing with a higher standard of comfort. Inflationary ten-
dencies resulted in a huge amount of investment in property, and the increasing shortage
of skilled workers was another reason that forced production to be transferred to factories,
which in turn helped precast concrete construction to achieve a breakthrough.
Alongside housebuilding, the increased need for more schools, colleges and universities
led to the establishment of fully developed loadbearing skeletal frame systems with col-
umns, beams and long-span floors (7.20 m/8.40 m). Buildings for industry and sports
centres resulted in standardised product ranges for single-storey sheds made from precast
columns and prestressed rafters and purlins or sawtooth roofs.
The third phase, about 1973 to 1985, was marked by a serious crisis for the German con-
struction sector, first and foremost housebuilding. This was compensated for to a certain
degree by increased demand in the oil-exporting countries. Housing, school, university
and office building construction projects were carried out in those countries, which
opened up completely new dimensions in the industrialisation of precast concrete struc-
tures. However, the fall in the price of oil led to this compensatory business almost drying
up in the early 1980s.
In the years after 1985 a general economic upswing resulted in colossal improvements for
the construction sector as well. However, the high wage and social security costs forced
precasting plants to switch to mechanised and automated methods of production.
Since late 1989 Germany has seen renewed demand for housing to meet the needs of im-
migrants plus migrants from former East Germany. The opening of the border with the
former German Democratic Republic in 1990 resulted in major challenges for the build-
ing industry in the ex-GDR.
7 1.2 Historical development
Fig. 1.1 Joseph Monier (c. 1850) [17]
Fig. 1.2 Prefabricated signalmans lodge (c. 1900) [17]
New noise abatement legislation is one of the results of the growing awareness of envir-
onmental aspects, which has led to an increased demand for products such as noise bar-
8 1 General
Fig. 1.3 Concrete products and prefabricated elements in Germany: concrete products in total
compared to large-format precast concrete elements (top); large-format prefabricated elements for
structures (bottom)
But the increased demand for building work after German unification was short lived. In
the period from about 1994 to 2004, the construction sector experienced almost 10 years
of decline, coupled with a drastic reduction in the number of employees and a rise in the
number of insolvencies, even of large companies. This fact is also revealed by the produc-
tion statistics for concrete goods and precast components, which are shown in Fig. 1.3.
Fortunately, we have seen a change in fortunes since 2005.
1.3 European standardisation
The creation of the European Single Market has been accompanied by the vigorous devel-
opment of European codes of practice. Most important here is the adoption of the Con-
struction Products Directive (CPD) by the European Commission. This has been in force
in Germany in the form of the Bauproduktengesetz (Construction Products Act) since 1992
and is crucial to the building industry. In the meantime, the building regulations of Ger-
manys federal states have been updated because the individual states will continue to
be responsible for building regulations. The CPD defines essential requirements to be
satisfied by construction works (and not just the construction products) in a general
These are:
1. Mechanical resistance and stability
2. Safety in case of fire
3. Hygiene, health and the environment
4. Safety in use
5. Protection against noise
6. Energy saving and heat insulation.
These requirements are concretised in six base documents, which are intended to form
the foundation for mandates for preparing harmonised European standards (or direc-
tives for European approvals). These mandates must also include requirements for cate-
gories and performance classes for individual products (e.g. for static loads only, fire
safety rating, etc.). The Euronorms (EN) then have to be drafted by the European Com-
mittee for Standardisation (CEN, based in Brussels). Products for which conformity
with these harmonised Euronorms can be verified will in future be labelled with the CE
marking (see also section 4.5). To date, the European Commission has issued the CEN
with mandates for the standardisation of 30 product families.
The standardisation work is carried out in so-called Technical Committees (TC) or Sub-
committees (SC) and their associated Working Groups (WG) or Task Groups (TG).
Once a CEN standard has been adopted by the qualified majority of the EEC and
EFTA member states, all member states are obliged to adopt this standard, even if it
was not mandated by the European Commission. In the case of mandated standar-
dised Euronorms, no changes or additions are then possible when these are incorporated
into the building legislation of Germanys federal states (a situation that is different from
the DIN standards in the past) because that would lead to new trade barriers.
9 1.3 European standardisation
One key new development is that the supreme building authorities of the federal states
have now published the Construction Products Lists A, B and C standardised docu-
ments compiled by the Deutsches Institut fu r Bautechnik (DIBt, German Institute of
Building Technology) [28].
Construction Products List A Part 1 contains construction products that have to comply
with building authority requirements (e.g. suspended floor slabs, reinforcing steel, etc.).
This corresponds to the building authority approval of the past.
10 1 General
Fig. 1.4 Systems for attestation of conformity procedures according to the Construction Products
Directive (CPD) [29]
Construction Products List A Part 2 contains construction products that require only a
National Test Certificate (e.g. non-loadbearing lightweight partitions).
Construction Products List B contains all those construction products that may be placed
on the market and traded according to EU regulations and which carry the CE marking.
Every mandated product standard includes an annex ZA, which defines the requirements
regarding the CE marking and the procedure for the attestation of conformity [2931].
Attestation of conformity procedure 2S applies to precast concrete products: initial
type-testing of the product, factory production control and certification by an approved
body (see Fig. 1.4).
Construction Products List C contains those construction products that have only a minor
significance (e.g. gutters, screeds, etc.). They may not carry the mark, the German
symbol of conformity.
Annex ZA permits the use of a simplified label for the CE marking according to Fig. 1.5.
The details of the product must be stated in an accompanying document according to Fig.
1.6. The design documents mentioned in this are the drawing of the element and the struc-
tural calculations.
At the time of preparing this chapter (late 2007), only two precast reinforced concrete
components may be marketed with the CE marking:
Prefabricated reinforced components made from lightweight aggregate concrete ac-
cording to DIN EN 1520
Prefabricated reinforced and prestressed concrete hollow-core slabs according to DIN
EN 1168
Consequently, only these currently appear in Construction Products List B Part 1 (edition
2007/1), in section 1.1.6.
In addition, the German building authorities now require NABau (Building & Civil Engi-
neering Standards Committee) to draw up a so-called National Application Document
(NAD, DIN 20000-XXX) for every harmonised standard so that the respective Euronorm
11 1.3 European standardisation
Table 1.1 Application of the product standard for precast concrete floors
Level General
Product standard Design
Concrete Reinforce-
Europe DIN EN 13369
Common rules for
precast concrete
DIN EN 13747
Precast concrete
products Floor
plates for floor
EN 1991-1-1
Eurocode 2
EN 206-1 EN 10080 Steel
for the reinfor-
cement of con-
Germany DIN V 20 000-120
Application of
building products
in structures
Part 120: Applica-
tion rules for
DIN EN 13369
DIN V 20 000-126
Application of
building products
in structures
Part 126: Applica-
tion rules for
DIN EN 13747
DIN 1045-1 DIN1045-2 DIN 488 Rein-
forcing steels/
National Tech-
nical Approvals
for lattice
can be used with and is compatible with building regulations in Germany. When an EN
standard is introduced, a period of co-existence is defined during which both the DIN
standard and the EN standard may be used.
A precast concrete floor, and its allocation to national and international design and mate-
rials standards, is given here as an example of the practical application of a product stan-
dard (see Table 1.1). The period of co-existence for this standard ended on 1 May 2008.
Its incorporation in Construction Products List B is imminent [32].
On the national level, the work of the CEN is accompanied by so-called DIN mirror com-
mittees, which in the main supervise the work of a TC. There are currently about 80 CEN/
12 1 General
Fig. 1.5 Example of a simplified
Fig. 1.6 Example of the asso-
ciated accompanying document,
see Fig. 1.5
TCs active for the construction sector. Those CEN/TCs currently active and relevant to
precast concrete construction are listed below together with the standards for which
they are responsible.
CEN/TC 250 is working on the design standards (Eurocodes), with SC 2 playing the lead-
ing role for concrete construction. Since late 2007 all Eurocodes have been available in
trilingual editions. Ref. [26] reports on the current status of European standards for con-
crete, and ref. [27] on the situation regarding reinforcing and prestressing steels. Accord-
ing to the current state of knowledge (late 2008), it will first be possible to use EC 2 with
the corresponding German application rules in 2010.
CEN/BTS 1 Technical Sector Board for Construction
CENTCs (Technical Committees) and the ENstandards for which they are responsible and
which are relevant to precast concrete construction
13 1.3 European standardisation
Object Subcom.
Working Gp.
Task Group
Status EN No. Year Subject/designation
CEN TC 229 Precast
WG1 TG1 DIN EN 1168 09 Hollow-core slabs,
parts 1 & 2 (CE marking!)
relevant to
EC 2
TG2 DIN EN 12794 07 Foundation piles
TG3 DIN EN 12843 04 Masts and poles
TG4 DIN EN 13747 09 Floor plates for floor
TG5 DIN EN 13224 07 Ribbed floor elements,
amend. 05
TG6 Ribbed slabs
TG7 DIN EN 13225 06 Linear structural
TG8 DIN EN 14992 07 Wall elements
Products only
partly relevant
to EC 2
WG2 TG1 DIN EN 14843 07 Stairs
TG2 DIN EN 12737 07 Floor slats for livestock
TG3 DIN EN 12893 01 Elements for fences
TG4 Vehicle crash barriers
TG5 Noise barriers
TG6 Concrete window
TG9 DIN EN 14258 09 Retaining wall elements
TG10 DIN EN 13693 09 Special roof elements
TG11 DIN EN 14844 Box culverts
TG12 DIN EN 13978-1 05 Precast concrete
garages, part 1
TG13 DIN EN 14991 07 Foundation elements
TG14 DIN EN 15050 07 Bridge elements
TG15 DIN EN Silos
Other concrete
TG2 DIN EN 1169 99 General rules for the
production control of
glass fibre-reinforced
ECISS European Committee for Iron and Steel Standardisation
14 1 General
Object Subcom.
Working Gp.
Task Group
Status EN-No. Year Subject/designation
DIN EN 1170 9809 Test method for glass
fibre-reinforced ce-
ment, parts 1-8
WG4 DIN EN 13369 07 Common rules for pre-
cast concrete products
CEN TC 250 Eurocodes for structural engineering
EC1 Safety DIN EN 1990 02 Basis of structural
SC 1 Actions DIN EN 1991 0295 Actions on structures,
parts 1-4
EC2 SC 2
DIN EN 1992 Design of concrete
part 1-1 05 General rules and rules
for buildings
part 1-2 09 Structural fire design
part 2 04 Concrete bridges
part 3 07 Liquid retaining and
containment structures
EC3 SC 3 Steel
ENV 1993
part 1-1 05 Design of steel
part 1-2 05 General rules and rules
for buildings
Structural fire design
EC8 SC 8
ENV 1998 0405 Design of structures for
earthquake resistance
Object Subcom.
Working Gp.
Task Group
Status EN-No. Year Subject/designation
ECISS TC 10 Structural
TC1 DIN EN 10025 09 Hot-rolled products of
structural steels, parts 1-6
DIN EN 10210 06 Hot-finished structural hol-
low sections of non-alloy
and fine-grained steels,
parts 1 & 2
DIN EN 10219 06 Cold-formed welded struc-
tural hollow sections of non-
alloy and fine-grained
steels, parts 1 & 2
ECISS TC 19 Concrete re-
inforcing and
TC1 DIN EN 10080 05 Steel for the reinforcement
of concrete, parts 1-6
DIN EN 10088 05 Stainless steels, parts 1-3
TC2 DIN EN 10138 00 Prestressing steels, parts
1 & 2
2 Design of precast concrete structures
Designing a building made from industrially prefabricated parts calls for certain princi-
ples to be adhered to during the planning work (see also [33, 34]).
It is important to be familiar with the particular features of precast concrete elements that
result from their method of production. Modular dimensions should be defined for the
structure and the interior fitting-out and the building divided up into horizontal and ver-
tical grids [35]. The transport dimensions and the loads to be lifted in the factory and
on the building site are critical factors for precast concrete buildings. The fire protection,
thermal performance and sound insulation requirements as well as the imposed loads for
the structural design are all governed by the use of the building.
The horizontal stability of multi-storey buildings calls for early coordination, not only
with the structural engineer, but with the manufacturer as well. The provision of stiffening
cores or walls made from precast concrete components or in situ concrete has far-reaching
consequences for the design sequence and on-site construction times.
It is advisable to use standardised elements for the loadbearing structure, especially for
smaller buildings. Large construction projects tend to generate their own rules and also
permit the use of their own systems, although it is then very important to consider the pro-
duction engineering requirements if an economic design is to be realised.
The design of the interfaces between the individual elements is influenced by the struc-
tural requirements, but also by the routing of building services. Sensible use of the stan-
dard openings provided in the structural carcass or appropriate beam notches is usually
only achieved when the structural carcass and the interior fitting-out can be built by the
same contractor, i.e. in a turnkey project [10].
The design of the facade determines both the form and the architecture of the building as a
whole. In addition, the facade, the external skin of the building, must satisfy all the
building physics requirements that the environment places upon it. One key design deci-
sion is: To what extent does the facade contribute to the loadbearing function? Or is it
only a curtain wall?
In this book, all these points can only be dealt with in outline.
Early planning and coordination of all those involved in the construction project are cru-
cial in order to achieve an optimum building design in terms of architecture, functionality
and economics. This begins with the architect and includes the building services and
building physics consultants, structural engineers and designers plus the fabrication and
erection personnel.
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
2.1.1 Production process
The production process for precast concrete components is in many ways fundamentally
different to the production process on the building site. For example, columns are mostly
cast in horizontal moulds, which means that one side of the column is exposed to the air. If
all sides are to have a fair-face finish, then this fourth side requires additional work.
Where the column has corbels facing in different directions, then coordination with the
factory is required to establish from which side the column can or should be concreted.
Walls are mostly cast horizontally on tilt-up moulds, which means that one side is in con-
tact with the mould, the other side is floated. Only in the case of walls produced vertically
in battery moulds are both sides in contact with the mould.
Facades are generally produced horizontally in a so-called negative mould, i.e. the facade
surface is on the underside in contact with the mould. Using this method it is easy to pro-
duce textured and exposed-aggregate finishes. Please refer to section 2.4 for the produc-
tion of sandwich panels (facade panels with integral thermal insulation).
As the side panels of moulds on the ground are moved or tilted clear upon demoulding,
this joint must be properly sealed for concreting. This is generally achieved with triangu-
lar plastic battens, which means that the bottom edges (bottom in the sense of the pro-
duction process) of precast elements are chamfered. There must be a clear indication on
the drawings if the top edges are to be chamfered as well.
But in many cases beams or T-beams are produced in rigid moulds. In these cases the
sides of rectangular beams or the webs of double-T sections are slightly inclined out-
wards so that such elements can be lifted out of the mould once they have hardened with-
out having to move the side panels. This is generally unimportant where the elements will
later be concealed behind a suspended ceiling, but where the elements remain exposed,
these production-related characteristics of precast concrete elements will need to be con-
sidered at the design stage.
2.1.2 Tolerances
The production process gives rise to dimensional deviations of the actual size from the
nominal size [36, 37]. For example, dimensional deviations in precast concrete compo-
nents ensue due to inaccurate transfer of the design dimensions to the mould, deformation
of the mould during concreting, deterioration of or wear-related flaws in the mould.
However, the production process for a building also includes the erection work, which re-
sults in additional positioning tolerances that essentially depend on the methods of mea-
surement employed.
In addition, dimensional deviations occur as a result of the deformations of the individual
components or the entire structure. These deformations may be load- or time-related (e.g.
as result of shrinkage and creep).
16 2 Design of precast concrete structures
DIN 18202 Tolerances in building construction Structures specifies permissible tol-
erances that apply to the structural carcass and the interior fitting-out irrespective of the
building materials. The permissible limits of size for building materials are specified in
the materials standards, e.g. DIN 18203-1 Tolerances in building construction Part
1: Prefabricated components made of concrete, reinforced concrete and prestressed con-
crete, and these must be taken into account as well. According to these standards, there
are no longer any accuracy classes as in the past. It has been recognised that the only rea-
son for specifying tolerances in standards should be to guarantee the proper assembly and
functionality of components in the structural carcass and interior fitting-out without re-
working, i.e. their fitness for purpose, and not, for example, aesthetic demands, e.g. the
exact alignment of external wall joints. Fitness for purpose means satisfying, for exam-
ple, the loadbearing function in the case of short bearing lengths for floor units, or the
waterproofing function of an external wall joint.
The tolerances laid down in the standards represent the accuracy achievable within the
scope of normal diligence. Where greater accuracy is required, then this must be included
in the specification, possibly together with the necessary methods of testing and inspec-
tion. Greater accuracy causes disproportionately higher costs (see [39, 40] and Fig. 2.1).
Tolerances specified in standards should only be understood as production tolerances due
to manufacture and assembly. The load- and time-related deformations, just like the fit-
ness-for-purpose requirements (e.g. limit values for the permissible movement of a joint
seal), must be limited in other specifications or related to the particular building and taken
into account in the structural calculations if necessary. Otherwise the tolerances would
only apply for very specific boundary conditions such as the time and date of handover
with defined temperature and loading conditions.
The tolerance range is the difference between the maximum and minimum sizes. Permis-
sible dimensional deviations of e10 mm therefore translate to a tolerance range of
20 mm (Fig. 2.2). For example, DIN 18202 Table 2.1 specifies permissible limits of
size for buildings on plan and elevation (e.g. lengths, widths, grid and storey dimensions)
generally applicable to buildings and somewhat higher values for clear opening dimen-
17 2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
Fig. 2.1 Costs of horizontal building
tolerances [39]
18 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Table 2.1 Tolerances for prefabricated components of plain, reinforced and prestressed concrete
according to DIN 18203-1
a) Limits of size for lengths and widths
Line Component Limits of size in mm for nominal size in m
J 1.5 i 1.5
J 3
i 3
J 6
i 6
J 10
i 10
J 15
i 15
J 22
i 22
J 30
i 30
1 Lengths of linear-type
components (e.g. col-
umns, beams)
e6 e8 e10 e12 e14 e16 e18 e20
2 Lengths and widths of
floor slabs and wall
e8 e8 e10 e12 e16 e20 e20 e20
3 Lengths of pre-
stressed components
e16 e16 e20 e25 e30
4 Lengths and widths of
fac ade panels
e5 e6 e8 e10
b) Limits of size for cross-sections
Line Component Limits of size in mm for nominal size in m
J 0.15 i 0.15
J 0.3
i 0.3
J 0.6
i 0.6
J 1.0
i 1.0
J 1.5
i 1.5
1 Thicknesses of floor
e6 e8 e10
2 Thicknesses of wall
and fac ade panels
e5 e6 e8
3 Cross-sectional
dimensions of linear-
type components
(e.g. columns, beams,
e6 e6 e8 e12 e16 e20
c) Angular tolerances
Line Component Angular tolerances as perpendicular measurements in mmfor length L
in m
J 0.4 i 0.4
J 1.0
i 1.0
J 1.5
i 1.5
J 3.0
i 3.0
J 6.0
i 6.0
1 Wall panels without
finished surface and
floor slabs
8 8 8 8 10 12
2 Wall and fac ade pa-
nels with finished sur-
5 5 5 6 8 10
3 Cross-sections of lin-
ear-type components
(e.g. columns, beams,
4 6 8
sions (e.g. between columns) plus limits of size for window or door openings depending
on the nominal sizes.
Limit values are also specified for angular and flatness deviations and also out-of-plumb
deviations for columns, checked by way of permissible perpendicular measurements
(DIN 18202; see Tables 2, 3 and 4). These may no longer be added to the limits of size.
This corresponds to the box principle of ISO 4464 (now withdrawn), according to which
the actual dimensions of a component or an opening must always lie within the limit di-
mensions (Fig. 2.3).
The permissible flatness deviations do not include the flatness of the components with re-
spect to each other, which must be considered additionally. For example, the steps be-
19 2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
Fig. 2.2 Terminology of tolerances
Fig. 2.3 Illustration of the box principle using the
example of permissible dimensional deviations of
openings (permitted deviations and angular toler-
ances) [37]
tween adjacent prestressed concrete planks are often unavoidable and the admissibility of
such steps must be regulated separately.
By contrast, DIN 18203-1 (see Table 2.1) specifies the manufacturing tolerances for the
precast concrete components themselves, divided into limits for length, width and
cross-sectional sizes of linear elements or floor, wall and facade panels. The angular tol-
erances for planar panels and slabs and the cross-sections of linear components are also
Ref. [36] is a commentary on DIN 18201 and DIN 18202. It contains advice for planners
concerning tolerances and also proposes a method for checking the alignment of columns
in frame structures and single-storey sheds.
Structures with accuracy requirements according to DIN 18202 should always be
checked and monitored using surveying techniques. Conventional measurements by the
foreman using a profile board, line and extending tape measure are by no means ade-
quate! However, the German standards do not include any details about permissible de-
viations for measurements.
According to ISO/DIS 4463, limits of size of e2K

[mm] (distance L in m) at inter-
vals of i 4 m are permissible (see also [37]),
K w 5 for earthworks, and
K w 2 for structural works.
For many situations, defining minimum requirements for tolerances according to the
standard is adequate in practice. However, this does not necessarily mean that this is ade-
quate for the fitting together. That can only be established following an appropriate fit
calculation which, however, presumes knowledge of the production accuracy achievable.
And the tolerances specified form the foundation for this. Whether the manufacturer of
the precast concrete components also erects and assembles these is also a crucial factor.
Where this is not the case, all subcontractors would insist on the inaccuracies to which
they are entitled and only the additive method remains if disputes are to be avoided.
Fit calculations taking into account the law of the propagation of uncertainties can cer-
tainly yield savings, e.g. in jointing materials, for contractors who have the entire produc-
tion process (measuring, production and erection of the precast concrete components) un-
der control in terms of tolerances. Examples of such calculations can be found in [37, 41,
Furthermore, with structures built from precast concrete elements, the tolerances at the
supports are especially important. It must be guaranteed that the as-built tolerances match
those on which the structural calculations were based. Permissible tolerances that influ-
ence stability must therefore be specified on the working drawings. The tolerances of
built-in items and connectors are specified in [38] together with a simple method for a
fit calculation.
20 2 Design of precast concrete structures
2.1.3 Transport and erection
Dividing a structure into prefabricated elements is to a large extent governed by the trans-
port restrictions and the erection weights of the individual components.
The aim should be to make the elements as large as possible because every subdivision
doubles the handling activities necessary in the factory and on the building site. The
higher the quality of an element, i.e. the more fitting-out components it contains (e.g.
windows, doors or building services in a wall panel) or the more functions it has to per-
form (e.g. a facade element providing loadbearing, thermal insulation and architectural
functions), the lower is the percentage cost of the transport.
It is the permissible road transport dimensions according to Germanys Road Traffic Act
(StVZO, Straenverkehrs-Zulassungs-Ordnung) that have led to todays typical widths for
floor units of 2.40 or 2.50 m and wall panel heights of I3.60 m [43]. Where dimensions
or total weights exceed those given in Table 2.2, then a special permit according to StVZO
cl. 29 must be applied for, and a police escort may even be necessary. Such permits can be
issued by the respective authorities (e.g. local government departments) for each indivi-
dual case or as a general permit valid for several years.
Individual permits will be necessary where the dimensions of the precast concrete com-
ponents exceed the dimensions given in Table 2.2. In such situations it is essential to es-
tablish the potential transport route at an early stage and also the duration and time of the
delivery (maybe only during the night). And when an oversize load has to travel through
more than one federal state, then a travel permit must be applied for in each state and the
various permits coordinated. This can prove to be extremely complicated in some cases,
with negative repercussions for costs and delivery times. The vehicle types given in Table
2.3 are generally used for road transport.
Transport by rail is relatively rare apart from projects for the railways themselves be-
cause the transfer from road to rail and back again before the building site is reached is
usually unavoidable. And the prerequisite in every case is that the factory itself has a di-
rect railway link. Transport in containers, in which width and height are limited to approx.
2.30 m and the length to 12.00 m, are hardly relevant for structural precast concrete ele-
ments. The reader should refer to [48] for information on the problems of transport across
national and international frontiers.
21 2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
Table 2.2 Maximum permissible dimensions and total weights for road transport (depends on par-
ticular approving authority)
Without special permit
(to StVZO cl. 32)
With annual permit
(StVZO cl. 29)
Width 2.55 m 3.00 m
Height 4.00 m 4.00 m
Length 15.50 m 24.00 m
Total weight 40 t 48 t (tractor unit with self-steering trailer)
It is also vital to consider every detail of the erection sequence when designing the ele-
The type of erection must be taken into account: horizontal, i.e. elements positioned
storey by storey with a tower crane, or vertical, i.e. bay by bay over the full height of
the building with a mobile crane (Fig. 2.4).
Typically, tower cranes can handle only relatively light loads, albeit at a large radius and
through a full 360h. However, the largest tower crane used in Germany to date was able to
handle a load of 30 t at a radius of 40 m.
Mobile cranes can lift heavy elements, but only from a position with a firm, stable base.
And owing to their limited working radius and restrictions on the slewing circle with out-
riggers extended, they often have to be repositioned during the work. These days, mobile
cranes with a capacity of 400 t are relatively inexpensive. This is because it is the hire per-
iod and not the actual cost of the crane itself that governs. For example, it takes almost a
whole day to reposition a 500 t crane. Cranes mounted on crawler tracks are used where
even greater lifting capacities are required. Although crawler-mounted cranes with lifting
capacities of up to 1300 t take approx. 12 weeks to set up, their crawler tracks mean that
22 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.4 Types of erection and typical crane dimensions with loads
Table 2.3 Vehicle types for road transport
Type of component Type of transport
Columns and beams I 16 m long Tractor unit with (extending) semi-trailer
Columns and beams j 16 m long Tractor unit with trailing bogie
Fac ade panels Low-loader with frame for panels
Ground floor panels and ground beams Tractor unit with (low-bed) trailer
Bridge beams Tractor unit with trailing bogie
precast concrete elements are easily transported and positioned anywhere on the building
site, provided adequate manoeuvring space is available.
Of course, both types of erection can be combined on one building project, and adapted to
suit the conditions, with the tower crane remaining on site for the duration of the entire
works and mobile cranes being hired by the day as required.
One interesting example of such a detailed coordination of both forms of erection can be
seen in Fig. 2.5, Zu blin House. On this project, erection was divided into four phases (see
also Figs 2.125 and 2.149) [44].
Precast concrete components are being increasingly incorporated into composite precast/
in situ concrete designs. In this approach it is possible to exploit the advantages of prefab-
ricated production (complex geometry, surface finish, formwork savings for large series,
etc.) and build the precast concrete elements into an in situ concrete structure. Attention
should be given to making sure that the elements are not too heavy to be positioned
with a tower crane. If this is not possible, then the use of an additional mobile crane
should be concentrated into one period because otherwise the cost of having two cranes
on site will make itself felt.
2.1.4 Fire protection
Besides ensuring adequate stability, durability, thermal performance, moisture control
measures and sound insulation, it is also vital to verify the fire resistance, especially for
the loadbearing and enclosing components. This is carried out with DIN 4102 Fire beha-
viour of building materials and building components, which is discussed in detail in
[45]. The design rules are based on an internationally agreed standard temperature curve
used in many countries.
DIN 4102-1 allocates building materials to classes according to their reaction to fire
(Table 2.4). Building materials class A1 is for those materials that are incombustible in
the classical sense, e.g. concrete and steel. Class A2 covers newer building materials
that contain combustible constituents to some extent, e.g. the majority of gypsum-based
boards or polymer concretes.
23 2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
Table 2.4 Building materials classes to DIN 4102-1
Building materials
Building authority designation
Incombustible building materials
Combustible building materials
Not readily flammable building materials
Flammable building materials
Highly flammable building materials
24 2 Design of precast concrete structures
(1a) (1b)
Fig. 2.5 An erection sequence divided into four phases using the example of Zu blin House.
Phase 1: Vertical erection of columns with mobile crane; (a) section through building, (b) positions of
tower cranes and slewing circles for horizontal erection. (1a) Erection of fac ade columns, (1b) erection
of internal columns.
25 2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
(2a) (2b)
(2c) (2d)
Fig. 2.5
Phase 2: Horizontal erection of perimeter beams, inverted channel section floor units and floor planks
with four tower cranes. (2a) Erection of L-shaped perimeter beams on fac ade columns, (2b) erection of
inverted channel section floor units on internal columns, (2c) positioning the floor planks, (2d) con-
creting the floor slabs.
Fig. 2.5
Phase 3: Vertical erection of curtain
wall fac ade bay by bay.
Fig. 2.5
Phase 4: Vertical erection of underground car
park, atrium lift/stairs tower, atrium walkways
and roof frame with two heavy-duty telescopic
cranes and one tower crane.
One typical example of a not readily flammable building material (class B1) is the light-
weight wood-wool board. Certain testing regulations for furnace tests apply for the clas-
sification of the building materials.
Joint sealing compounds or strips belong to class B1 or B2 depending on their composi-
tion. They may be incorporated between concrete components in certain minimum depths
and maximum joint widths. Elastomeric bearings fall into class B2. Only class A1 mate-
rials may be used for the sealing materials in expansion joints that must satisfy fire protec-
tion requirements, e.g. mineral-fibre boards, asbestos foams or fibres and aluminium sili-
cate fibres (see Fig. 2.13).
Components are classified according to their fire resistance; the fire resistance ratings are
given in Table 2.5. The fire resistance of components is therefore specified according to
fire resistance rating and building materials class. For example, the abbreviated form
for a fire resistance of 90 minutes is F 90.
Suffixes A, B, or AB are added to designate the combustibility:
F 90-B: general
F 90-AB: essential components incombustible (loadbearing structure and enclosing
F 90-A: all components incombustible
The current regulations for multi-storey buildings generally specify an F 90 rating for
loadbearing components. The commonest requirements for building components are F
30-A and F 90-A. The loadbearing structure of a high-rise building must comply with
F 120-A above a height of 60 m. And even F 180-A above a height of 200 m (see also
the High-Rise Building Directive of the Hessen Ministry of the Interior).
DIN 4102-3 contains further requirements (e.g. additional impact loads) for fire walls
and non-loadbearing external walls, which include spandrel and fascia panels as well as
room-high, room-enclosing external walls.
Parts 5 to 8 of DIN 4102 mentioned here for completeness although they apply less to
concrete construction and more to building services and interior fitting-out deal with the
fire protection of fire stops, lift enclosures, glazing and ventilation ducts and assign them
appropriate fire resistance ratings (e.g. T 90, G 90, L 90, K 90, where T w door, G w
glass, L w ventilation and K w flaps). The resistance of roof coverings to flying sparks
is another aspect covered by these parts.
In Germany the fire protection requirements are generally defined in the building regula-
tions of each federal state together with the provisions for their implementation. How-
ever, the terms fire-retardant, fire-resistant, etc. are used here, which must be allocated
to the respective DIN 4102 terms in the introductory decrees, as listed in Table 2.5.
The federal state building regulations only cover standard buildings for standard uses
(e.g. housing and offices) and therefore special facilities for special uses are dealt with
in special legislation. The following are just a few examples:
26 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Geschaftshauserverordnung (GhVO, Business Premises Act), which covers, for in-
stance, department stores, supermarkets, etc.
Versammlungsstattenverordnung (VStatt-VO, Places of Assembly Act), which covers,
for instance, lecture theatres, sports halls, etc.
Garagenverordnung (GarVO, Garages Act), which covers, for instance, small garages,
multi-storey car parks, etc.
Schulhaus-Richtlinien (SHR, School Buildings Directive)
Industriebaurichtlinie (IndBauR, Industrial Buildings Directive)
The last of these refers to DIN 18230 Structural fire protection in industrial buildings.
Part 1 of this standard contains a method of calculation that allows industrial buildings
with definable fire loads to be designed with respect to the theoretically necessary fire re-
sistance of their components if required a different approach from that in the Industrial
Buildings Directive. As precast concrete components by their very nature provide a high
level of fire resistance, such verification is generally unnecessary.
Further information on fire protection for industrial buildings can be found in [46].
There are also special tall building and school building directives which, however, are not
legally binding in all Germanys federal states.
Where reinforced concrete components are subjected to compression, it is the concretes
reaction to fire that is particularly relevant [49]. But where components are subjected to
bending or tension, it is primarily the strength and deformation behaviour of the reinfor-
cing steel. According to DIN 4102- 4, the critical steel temperature critT is the tempera-
ture at which the yield strength of the steel drops below the steel stress in the component;
critT w 500 hC for reinforcing steel, and all the design rules are based on this. For pre-
stressing steels (e.g. cold-drawn strands with critT w 350 hC), please refer to DIN
4102- 4 Table 1 (see also [47]). The compressive strength of the concrete is also depen-
dent on the temperature: it drops to approx. 70 % at 200 hC, and at 750 hC is only about
20 % of its strength at 20 hC.
However, knowledge of the temperature distribution within the cross-section is important
for reinforced concrete components because the edge distances for the reinforcement are
based on this (Fig. 2.6 shows an example).
27 2.1 Boundary conditions for precast concrete design
Table 2.5 Fire resistance rating F and building authority designations
Fire resistance rating
to DIN 4102-2
Duration of fire
resistance in minutes
Building authority designation according
to introductory decree
F 30
F 60
F 90
F 120
F 180
i 30
i 60
i 90
i 120
i 180
highly fire-resistant
Section 2.6.5 deals in more detail with the design of individual precast concrete elements
to meet fire protection requirements.
2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
The fundamental considerations regarding the stability of frame building structures are
described in detail in [50]. A number of general thoughts on this subject are summarised
below and the problems specific to precast concrete construction examined in more de-
2.2.1 Arrangement of stability elements
Stability in residential and office buildings is generally assured by stair shafts and/or en-
closing shear walls. By contrast, in precast concrete single-storey sheds intended to house
production processes and some precast concrete frame structures with one or two storeys,
the horizontal stability is provided by the columns. The columns of such buildings
usually extend over the full height of the building and are fixed at their foundations; the
beam-column connections in such buildings are pinned. Such systems are classed as
sway, or unbraced, frames and must be designed according to second-order theory taking
into account the deformed system (Fig. 2.7). Structures with more than two storeys re-
quire additional shear walls, frames, girders or torsion-resistant service cores to ensure
their horizontal stability. The connection of series of pinned-end beams and columns to
the stability components is achieved via the relatively rigid floor diaphragm.
28 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.6 Isotherms in hC for a T-beam
exposed to fire [45]
Fig. 2.7 Sway systems (design according to second-order theory)
When planning stabilising shear walls or cores, the aim should be to create a statically de-
terminate arrangement on plan in order to prevent restraint forces in the floor diaphragms
as a result of shrinkage or temperature changes. In addition, it is essential to ensure that
the stabilising cores or shear walls are positioned in a way that minimises the rotation
of the building on plan in the case of a uniformly distributed horizontal load due to
wind and eccentricity. Shear walls must be positioned in at least two non-parallel direc-
tions and on at least three axes (Fig. 2.8).
With statically determinate bracing systems, it is the deformation capacity of the columns
that governs the maximum building size for a frame structure. According to [50], lengths
of 100 m and more are possible without expansion joints in a frame structure. The defor-
mation capacity of the columns depends on the accuracy of the representation of the stiff-
nesses in the cracked condition. Critical here are the cross-sectional values but, first and
foremost, the magnitudes of the axial forces to be carried by the columns [52].
The deformation capacity of the columns can be increased by including pinned supports
for the columns or sliding bearings for the first floor slab above the underside of the foun-
dation, although such measures only need to be provided at the columns furthest from the
core (Fig. 2.9).
In the case of statically indeterminate bracing systems, non-uniform temperature changes
result in restraint forces between suspended floors and stability components (Fig. 2.10)
(see section Joints are usually the most appropriate means of avoiding restraint
forces provided simple and clearly arranged joints are possible (Fig. 2.11). Fig. 2.12
29 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.8 Arrangement of building stability elements on plan
shows possible joint arrangements, and Fig. 2.13 shows joints that satisfy fire protection
requirements, where such are necessary. Expansion joints always represent a source of
potential damage details that require substantial input to rectify. Their design should
therefore be carefully thought out and the appropriate drawings and installation instruc-
tions must be prepared. Quality control on the building site is essential for guaranteeing
proper construction. Damage often occurs as a result of unintentionally filling the entire
joint with concrete (constructional measures to prevent loss of grout) and incorrect instal-
lation or the installation of the wrong bearings.
30 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.9 Measures for increasing the deformability of columns and walls
for horizontal floor expansion
Fig. 2.10 Restraints caused by
the prevention of horizontal floor
31 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.11 The principles for positioning joints
Fig. 2.12 Building joints
Fig. 2.13 Joints complying with fire protection
requirements [45]
Therefore, constructing buildings without joints is something that should always be con-
sidered. Where a building is to be constructed without joints, then the following aspects in
particular must be considered:
The actual expansion due to temperature changes and shrinkage
The deformability of the stability components (including horizontal precast concrete
floors), especially in the cracked state
The creep deformability of the concrete
The conditions during construction
A careful study of the problem using modern methods of calculation often leads to expan-
sion joints being omitted.
At the very least a check should be carried out to ascertain whether the joints need to be
continued over the full height of the building or whether the upper floors of tall buildings
could be built without joints (Fig. 2.14) [53]. It is always only the lowest floors that are
affected most by restraint forces (if we neglect the fire loading case in the upper storeys).
In Zublin House (Fig. 2.15) each of the two 94 m long blocks is divided by one joint. This
positioned the cores somewhat off centre and so these were strengthened by two cross-
walls on the two central axes. The two floor diaphragms were connected together near
one of these two walls by means of a shear key (joggle or castellated) joint that is able
to move in the longitudinal direction of the building, which means that both floor dia-
phragms can be supported on the cross-walls. The topmost floor of the building was built
without any joints. The ensuing restraint forces can be accommodated by this floor slab
and the cores.
Stiffening shear walls can also be offset storey by storey, although in that case the shear
forces in the walls will have to be transferred via the corresponding floor diaphragms
(Fig. 2.16). The forces, and the floor deformations in particular, must be taken into ac-
count in the structural calculations. It must be guaranteed that the forces can be trans-
ferred between the vertical and horizontal stability elements. Openings in the floor are
common at shear walls and service cores in particular, and these hinder the transfer of
forces. The shear wall moment cannot be carried via the floor diaphragm acting as a mem-
32 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.14 Expansion joint positioned in the lower storeys
brane, instead must be transferred to the foundations via the neighbouring columns in the
form of a couple. Shear walls offset in different storeys must therefore match the struc-
tural grid.
2.2.2 Loads on stability elements Vertical loads
The vertical loading due to dead and imposed loads is carried by the columns, walls and
service cores.
The cores and stiffening walls should carry permanent vertical loads wherever possible in
order to do justice to their function (Fig. 2.17). Asymmetrical load transfers result in ver-
tical loads acting eccentrically, which leads to moments being applied at the underside of
the foundation. Eccentric loads on columns can also lead to horizontal loads being ex-
erted on the core as a result of tie forces (Fig. 2.18). These can be avoided by cantilevering
the beams beyond the columns, as shown in Fig. 2.19.
33 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Stiffening walls
Building joint with shear key
Horizontal forces from atrium roof beams in floor above 5
Post-tensioned prestressed concrete for walkways above 5
Service cores for stability
Fig. 2.15 Building stability
and joint positions
for Zu blin House [44]
Fig. 2.16 Offset positioning of shear walls Wind loads
Wind loads are determined according to DIN 1055- 4. In contrast to previous editions of
DIN 1055, the provisions now also apply to buildings susceptible to vibration up to a
height of 300 m. Almost all engineered structures (with the exception of bridges, but in-
cluding chimneys) are now covered as well. The classification of wind speeds on the Eur-
opean wind map also guarantees pan-European continuity with respect to the loading as-
sumptions. Besides improved aerodynamic coefficients, there is now a distinction be-
tween inland and coastal regions, and the influences of terrain roughness and turbu-
lence-induced transverse vibrations are also dealt with.
Cyclic wind loads can induce vibrations in structures. Such vibrations lead to an increase
in the loads due to wind pressure or suction. The susceptibility to vibration does not need
to be considered when the increase in a deformation due to gust resonance does not ex-
ceed 10 %. DIN 1055- 4 specifies simplified determination criteria for this. As a rule, re-
sidential, office and industrial buildings up to 25 m high, and other buildings similar in
form and type of construction, can be assumed to be not susceptible to vibration, and se-
parate verification is unnecessary. However, buildings whose stability relies on fixed-
base columns are relatively flexible and their susceptibility to vibration should be
checked even for building heights I 25 m.
The main calculation steps for these buildings are summarised below. The special provi-
sions of the standard must be taken into account for buildings with a special form, taller
buildings or buildings in exposed locations (e.g. coastal sites).
34 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.17 Core wall, subjected to vertical and
horizontal loads
Fig. 2.18 Horizontal loads on core due to
restraining forces caused by eccentric column
Fig. 2.19 Centring eccentric column loads
With an orthogonal arrangement of the stability elements, i.e. the normal case, the wind
loads are examined separately for the two main axes of a building. These add up to the fol-
lowing for the entire structure:
q z
aerodynamic force coefficient
reference height
reference area for force coefficient
q dynamic pressure
The pressure coefficient c
, which depends on the reference area, should be used for c
This figure can be read off from the table in Fig. 2.20, which depends on the area of the
building on the windward side and the ratio of building height to building depth (h/d). In-
termediate figures between 1 and 10 m
can be obtained by linear interpolation (Fig.
The reader is referred to DIN 1055- 4 for suction loads perpendicular to the direction of
the wind.
In the normal case and when assuming a mixed terrain profile in categories II and III
(mixture of individual structures and suburban development, also industrial areas), the
following pressure profile can be assumed for the velocity-related wind pressure q(z
35 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.20 Pressure coefficients to DIN 1055-4
Fig. 2.21 Interpolation of pressure
coefficients depending on reference area
to DIN 1055-4
q z
w1,5 q
for z J7 m
q z
w1,7 q
_ _
for 7 mIz J50 m
The reference pressure q
is 0.32 kN/m
for wind load zone 1 and 0.39 kN/m
for zone 2.
Wind load zones 3 and 4 must be considered for sites near the coast. For locations i
800 m above sea level, the wind pressure should be increased by 10 % for every 100 m
rise in altitude.
For simplicity, the wind pressure may also be assumed to be constant for buildings J
25 m high. The values given in Table 2.6, which is based on Table 2 of DIN 1055- 4,
then apply.
The example of a 20 m high building in wind load zone 2 shown in Fig. 2.22 indicates
that the simplified assumption of a constant wind pressure results in higher wind loads.
Generally, but especially for buildings with asymmetrically arranged shear walls, it
should be noted that the wind load must be applied eccentrically, with an eccentricity of:
e w
This can lead to appreciable torsion loads in the case of stiffening service cores.
36 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Table 2.6 Simplified dynamic pressure assumptions for buildings up to 25 m high to DIN 1055-4
(only wind zones 1 & 2 shown)
Wind zone Dynamic pressure q in kN/m
for building height h
h J 10 m 10 m I h J 18 m 18 m I h J 25 m
1 Inland 0.50 0.65 0.75
Inland 0.65 0.80 0.90
Baltic Sea coast and islands 0.85 1.00 1.10
Fig. 2.22 Comparison of simplified dynamic pressure assumption q and standard case Out-of-plumb loads
As a substitute for dimensional deviations of the system during construction and uninten-
tional eccentricities of the load application, DIN 1045-1 specifies that an out-of-plumb
deviation for the centroid axes of all columns and walls can be taken into account. This
loading case must be calculated with the full load. It is regarded as an independent load-
ing case and must be considered for the ultimate limit state except for accidental actions.
This means that loads due to wind or earthquake must be added into this calculation.
The effect of the dimensional deviation may be replaced by the effect of equivalent hor-
izontal forces.
The out-of-plumb deviation for floor diaphragms may be considered by an angled posi-
tion a
corresponding to Fig. 2.23. This approach has been used in DIN 1045-1 (in
turn taken from [54]). In the latter publication it was established that a uniform inclination
of the columns becomes less and less likely as the number of columns increases. This was
made clear by measurements carried out on precast concrete frame structures. Anyway,
the approach according to DIN 1045-1, which assumes storey-high pinned columns, is
not a realistic theoretical model for the continuous columns normally used in precast con-
crete construction. For that, a column system line without kinks would be more reason-
The resulting forces H
are transferred to the floor diaphragms and via these to the shear
walls. But their further transfer to the vertical stability components does not need to be
verified by calculation.
For the design of the vertical components, an inclined position a
is to be assumed for all
vertical components, i.e. the stabilised and the stabilising components, according to
Fig. 2.25.
DIN 1045-1 quite rightly takes into account the fact that it is unlikely that construction
inaccuracies would continue uncorrected to the top of the building. As already mentioned
37 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.23 Out-of-plumb loading case to
DIN 1045-1 (for floor diaphragms)
above, the decreasing likelihood that all adjacent columns have an identical inclination
means that the angle may be reduced by a coefficient a
. However, this means a maximum
reduction of only a little less than 30 % (Fig. 2.24).
38 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.24 Inclined position and reduction factor as functions of the number of columns
Fig. 2.25 Out-of-plumb loading case to DIN 1045 (for vertical stability components) Seismic loads
Most earthquake damage is caused by seismic activities near the earths surface (tectonic
earthquakes). The jerky movements in the earths crust cause energy to be released in the
form of seismic waves. Damage to structures is caused by vibrations transferred from the
ground to the structure [55].
Whereas vertical ground movements increase the vertical loads only marginally and
therefore can be ignored, horizontal ground accelerations can cause a comparatively large
increase in the horizontal loads. These horizontal loads depend on the magnitude of the
ground accelerations in the subsoil, the natural frequencies and, primarily, the mass of
the building.
The publication of DIN 4149 in 2005 adapted the 1981 edition of the same standard to the
European design approach. In Germany itself, horizontal loads as a result of earthquakes
only need to be considered in a few regions. But the increase in the overseas activities of
Germanys construction industry has added more significance to the issue of protection
against earthquakes. Compared to the previous edition of the standard, the new DIN
4149 takes a more differentiated look at the following aspects:
The construction of the structure
Ground and subsoil influences
The significance of the structure itself
Torsional vibrations
The ductility of the structure
Methods of calculation
The seismic loads on the structure are therefore now higher than was the case according to
the old edition of the standard in some cases noticeably higher than the horizontal loads
due to wind.
This in turn results in both favourable and unfavourable aspects for the design of struc-
tures made from precast concrete elements. The favourable aspects are the lower masses
of precast concrete structures compared to in situ concrete ones and also the lower loads
due to a relatively flexible stability system with fixed-base columns. On the other hand,
rigid stability systems with shear walls lead to higher horizontal loads. Also unfavourable
are the low-ductility connections between the precast concrete components. As a rule,
precast concrete structures have only a few energy-dissipating components available,
which means that they practically elastic behaviour must be assumed during earthquakes,
which in the end leads to relatively high equivalent loads.
The procedure for verifying stability under seismic loads does not essentially differ from
the procedure used in the past. For simplicity (and this is generally the case), a static
equivalent load may be assumed to replace the dynamic vibration processes. This results
in the following:
T M (3)
39 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
where the static total load F
and the design acceleration S
are functions of the natural
period of vibration of the structure. The design acceleration (design response spectrum)
is obtained from the elastic response spectrum taking into account the non-linear, or
rather ductile, behaviour of the structure. The response spectrum here describes the mag-
nitude of the maximum response (e.g. acceleration) of a linear elastic single-mass vibra-
tor, with period of natural vibration T, to the design earthquake. Fig. 2.26 shows the ex-
ample of a design acceleration plus the influence of the structures ductility.
The response spectrum for determining the accelerations of the structure is generally the
governing factor. It is principally dependent on the following parameters:
Seismic zone and resulting ground acceleration
zone 0 0 m/s
ground acceleration
1 0.4 m/s
2 0.6 m/s
3 0.8 m/s
Subsoil and ground classes
classes A, B, C and R, S, T
Importance category of building
category I e.g. agricultural buildings
category II residual buildings
category III schools, department stores
category IV hospitals, safety/security facilities
Structure ductility behaviour classes 1 and 2
The corresponding ductility (behaviour) factor is defined as follows:
q w
40 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.26 Response spectrum for different
ductility values
and corresponds to the quotient resulting from the elastic component resistance and the
non-linear (ductile) resistance. For reinforced concrete structures this value lies between
q w 1.5 (e.g. stability provided by walls) and q w 3.0 (e.g. stability provided by frame).
DIN 4149 lays down appropriate constructional rules for this. A lower ductility (q w
1.5 or even 1.0) should be assumed for structures built from precast concrete elements.
In particular, a value of q J 1.5 should always be assumed for the design of foundation
The total seismic load determined in this way can be apportioned according to the eigen-
mode or, for simplicity, linearly, taking into account the respective storey mass (Fig.
2.27). This simplified approach only applies to regular systems that can be calculated
as plane systems in both directions. A three-dimensional calculation is necessary for irre-
gular systems.
The torsional vibrations of the building must be considered in addition to the horizontal
loads. If the system is almost symmetrical on plan and on elevation and it can be assumed
that the centre of gravity of the mass coincides approximately with the centre of gravity of
the stability elements (centroid of horizontal loadbearing elements), then an accidental
torsion load may be considered in the following simplified form:
d w1 S0,6
Here, the horizontal load of the individual stability components must be increased by the
factor d. Fig. 2.28 illustrates the calculation graphically.
41 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.27 Distribution of total seismic load
over height of building
Fig. 2.28 Determination of factor d for taking into
account torsional vibration
All methods of calculation based on the response spectrum method are permissible. The
methods can be subdivided into the simplified response spectrum method, which is based
on a single-mass vibrator and must comply with certain application rules, the multi-modal
response spectrum method, which is based on a multiple-mass vibrator and takes into ac-
count several eigenmodes and mass participations (modal masses), and the three-dimen-
sional modelling of the building, taking into account the true mass distribution and the ac-
celeration values for the individual stability elements. The delayed occurrence of indivi-
dual maximum loading values can be taken into account in this last method. Fig. 2.29
shows an example of the first eigenmode of a building based on a three-dimensional ana-
The equation for determining the period of natural vibration given in the 1981 edition of
DIN 4149 can still be used for the simplified method:

_ _

i w1

Therefore, the influence of foundation rotation can also be taken into account approxi-
mately for pad foundations. The dynamic subgrade modulus which is much higher
than the static subgrade modulus must be used as well as the moment of inertia of the
foundation. Foundation rotation does not normally have to be considered for buildings
that rely on service cores and shear walls for their stability.
Using this period of natural vibration it is possible in the simplest case, with the asso-
ciated response spectrum and ductility factor, to determine the static equivalent load
and apportion it to the storeys according to Fig. 2.27.
The (internal and external) stability must be verified for the static equivalent loads calcu-
lated. The earthquake loading case combination according to DIN 1055-100 must be ap-
plied here. Reduced imposed loads must be considered in addition to the dead loads. The
combination coefficient c
(DIN 1055-100) can be further reduced by the factor f (DIN
42 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.29 Eigenmode for a building calculated with the help of an FEM analysis
4149). The snow loading case must also be considered among the variable loads when
carrying out the seismic design.
The most unfavourable combination is required when considering seismic actions in two
planes (x- and y-directions): 1.0 E
with 0.30 E
or 0.30 E
with 1.0 E
. This is gener-
ally only critical when stability is provided by fixed-base columns.
The factor of safety for the actions is g
E w1.0, whereas the factor of safety for the materi-
als should be taken as g
w 1.5 for concrete and g
w 1.15 for reinforcing steel.
Where stability is provided by way of fixed-base columns, these should be checked for
buckling, also for the earthquake loading case. For simplicity, this analysis is not essential
when the horizontal load due to seismic actions is dominant, i.e. when the following con-
dition is satisfied:
u w
J0,10 (7)
vertical load
associated shear force due to earthquake
h column height in storey
relative horizontal deformation in storey due to earthquake
The latter can be calculated from the horizontal deformations assuming elastic material
behaviour, increased by the ductility factor q used earlier.
Great attention must be paid to the detailed design of the structure. The following points
are especially important for precast concrete elements:
Structural connections at all supports for precast concrete components (e.g. pin shear
Securing of non-loadbearing components.
Floors designed as horizontal diaphragms.
Structural and preferably ductile connections to bracing and stiffening components.
Structural connections between foundation components so that no relative deforma-
tions ensue between foundations; exceptions are possible depending on the subsoil
(see DIN 4149 section 12.1.2).
Ductile and load-carrying design of core walls with openings, soft storeys in parti-
cular, which can lead to a storey-by-storey failure of the entire stability element,
should be avoided.
Use of highly ductile steel in the tension zones of stability elements; walls and floors
may be reinforced with steel of normal ductility, likewise shear links and lattice beams
in the floors.
43 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures Restraint loads (shrinkage and temperature)
Shrinkage and temperature changes in the floor diaphragms can cause restraint action
effects in vertical loadbearing elements (columns, cores, walls) where the latter prevent
unrestricted deformation of the floor diaphragms.
According to DIN 1045-1 section 7.1, shrinkage deformations must be taken into account
when they are significant for the loadbearing structure. In doing so, it should be noted that
shrinkage stresses are considerably dissipated by creep and so only a very much reduced
rate of shrinkage can be considered. Furthermore, the rate of shrinkage should be distin-
guished according to part of building and use of building. In particular, components bur-
ied in the ground with a damp climate exhibit smaller shrinkage strains, whereas a higher
rate of shrinkage should be assumed in very dry climatic conditions, e.g. on permanently
heated retail premises.
In addition, in the case of precast concrete structures, by the time the floor diaphragms are
grouted in place, a large proportion of the shrinkage has already taken place. Whereas
with exclusively precast concrete structures the deformations can be primarily accommo-
dated in the resilient joints, in composite precast/in situ concrete structures it should not
be forgotten that because of the different concrete (shrinkage) ages, the semi-finished
component restricts the shrinkage of the in situ concrete. Shrinkage cracks are therefore
generally found in the joints between the semi-finished components. The disadvantage
of this is that the entire shortening collects in single cracks, but the advantage is that
the location of the cracks is very likely to be known and appropriate anti-crack reinfor-
cement can be provided in the joints between the semi-finished components.
When analysing the internal forces or deformations caused by temperature changes,
which may be necessary with very long structures, DIN 1055-7 specifies that for build-
ings the temperature may be assumed to be constant throughout the entire loadbearing
For those components protected against temperature changes, as is the case for suspended
floors in thermally insulated buildings, average temperature fluctuations of max. e7.5 K
may be assumed for simplicity. Special considerations regarding the temperature differ-
ences to be assumed are necessary for external components (e.g. parking decks). The
coefficient of thermal expansion of normal-weight concrete should be taken as a
, that of lightweight concrete a
T w 0.8 10
The restraint action effects caused by shrinkage and temperature fluctuations (the short-
ening of the components is critical) essentially depend on the stiffness of the stability
components and the floor linking these. The greater the resilience of the stability compo-
nents, the lower are the restoring forces generated. Expansion joints must be introduced if
the restraint action effects can no longer be accommodated. In any case, however, it is es-
sential to consider the deformations and restraint effects as realistically as possible. De-
signers always try to use the stability elements to accommodate the restraint effects and
thus avoid expansion joints. Normally, the restraint forces are calculated taking into ac-
count the cracked components. In doing so, the highly stressed force transfer zones and
the local cracking at these points must be especially considered.
44 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Temperature loads are variable action effects according to DIN 1055-100. With an elastic
calculation of the restraint forces, the factor of safety according to DIN1045-1 section
5.3.3 may be taken as g
Q w 1.0. If the analysis is carried out taking into account the
cracked components, a factor of safety of g
w 1.5 should be used.
2.2.3 Distribution of horizontal loads
The development of powerful computers and the availability of FEM programs mean that
these days complete buildings can often be calculated as a whole. All the loadbearing
components of the building can therefore be modelled in detail. Openings in shear walls
can be taken into account, likewise the distribution of the horizontal loads depending on
the stiffnesses of the walls. However, care is required because only a few programs can
model the conditions during construction properly. Cracking and the redistribution of
loads as a result of creep and shrinkage are generally not taken into account, and restraint
action effects due to hydration of the concrete, temperature loads and settlement of the
structure are usually totally ignored. A plausibility check of the results often does not
even allow extensive combination of individual loading cases to form complex action ef-
fect situations.
Three-dimensional calculations of complete buildings therefore involve considerable
risks for the design of the components if the plausible and traceable derivation of the ac-
tion effects is not possible, and checking the results is totally impossible. An understand-
ing of the loadbearing behaviour and the experience of the engineer are therefore gradu-
ally disappearing.
Therefore, the recommendation is to distribute the horizontal loads as described below
an approach that helps the understanding of the loadbearing behaviour of the stability sys-
tem so that it is at least possible to check the results by means of simple manual calcula-
tions or single computer programs. The following calculation principles are extremely
helpful for preliminary sizing or the design of stability systems. General procedure for the calculations
When calculating the distribution of horizontal loads across the stability components, it is
usually assumed that the floors distribute loads in the form of rigid plates. This assump-
tion reduces the number of degrees of freedom per storey to three, i.e. two horizontal dis-
placements and one rotation about a vertical axis.
In the case of vertical stability components, the contribution of relatively soft components
(e.g. columns) is neglected if the stiff components can provide the necessary stability
alone. The distribution of the loads is determined according to the following scheme:
1. Reducing all stability components to one linear member with cross-sectional values
changing for each storey.
2. Calculating the deformation of the rigid floor diaphragms as a result of the horizontal
3. Calculating the deformations of the individual stability components.
4. Calculating the internal forces for the individual stability components.
45 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
The method of analysis is considerably simplified if the stability components are ar-
ranged symmetrically on plan. The following cross-sectional values are assumed for the
individual stability components:
1. Flexural stiffnesses EI
, EI
2. Shear stiffnesses GA
, GA
3. Torsional stiffness GI
), made up of
a) St. Venant torsional stiffness
b) Bredt torsional stiffness
4. Warping stiffness EC
and A
designate the shear area. The following generally applies:
_ _
dA (8)
For rectangular cross-sections this simplifies to:
(A w solid cross-section)
46 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Table 2.7 Stability elements for skeleton structures
Element Load carried...
in y-direction in z-di-
via rotation about x-axis
A) Shear wall Flexural stiffness EI
Shear stiffness GA

B) Frame (gir-
Equivalent shear stiffness GA*

C) Segmented
shear wall
Equivalent flexural stiffness EI*
Equivalent shear stiffness GA*

D) Open section Flexural stiffness EI

Shear stiffness GA
(Torsional stiffness GI
Warping stiffness EC
E) Closed sec-
Flexural stiffness EI
Shear stiffness GA
Torsional stiffness GI
(Warping stiffness EC
F) Closed seg-
mented section
Equivalent flexural stiffness EI*
Equivalent shear stiffness GA*
Equivalent torsional stiff-
ness GI
(Warping stiffness EC
The following can serve as stability elements (Table 2.7):
Closed cross-sections
Open cross-sections
Plates made up of precast concrete components
The general arrangement on plan and the definition of the axes can be found in Table 2.7
and Fig. 2.30.
The theoretical principles for systems made up of frames and plates are presented in [58
60]. However, manual calculations are too complicated without applying simplifications.
It is normal these days to use computer programs specially developed for calculating the
service cores of high-rise buildings. Such programs perform the aforementioned calcula-
tion scheme. With only three degrees of freedom per storey, the computer processing time
is minimal. The programs normally require the plates and cores with their cross-sectional
values to be entered. The cross-sectional values can be determined by including an up-
stream program for calculating thin-wall cross-sections. Such a program included down-
stream calculates the bending and shear stresses in all the individual parts of the stability
Computer programs for designing the stability components are also available. In the case
of thin-wall sections, it is appropriate to use programs for designing any reinforced con-
crete sections subjected to biaxial bending. However, such programs generally only allow
the design for biaxial bending and not for torsion. Stability elements rectangular on plan
(individual shear walls) can also be designed as columns.
47 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.30 Plan of and general designations for building stability
48 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Abandoning the idea of assuming that floor diaphragms are rigid increases the number of
degrees of freedom considerably. The greater computing requirement is only justified in
the case of especially soft floor diaphragms (e.g. large openings). In such cases it will be
necessary to make use of universal linear-member programs for calculating three-dimen-
sional frames, or FEM programs. And the disadvantage of grillage programs [61] is that
stability elements positioned transverse to the loading direction cannot be taken into ac-
count. Equations for rough preliminary design
The following simplifications are possible at the rough preliminary design stage:
1. The torsional stiffnesses of the stability components themselves can be ignored in the
case of open sections provided the stiffness with respect to rotation is essentially pro-
vided by the warping stiffness of the total system. According to [50], where
J0,25 (9)
the torsional stiffness GI
theoretically no longer has any influence (h w height of
2. Ignoring the warping stiffnesses EC
of several stability components is always possi-
ble if they are low compared to the total warping stiffness of the system. This is mostly
the case with stability elements held apart by struts. The total warping stiffness EI
a stability system is calculated as follows:

i w1
_ _
3. The shear deformation of beams is low compared to their bending deformation. There-
fore, the shear stiffness of the stiffening plates can assumed to be infinitely large where
several storeys are involved. Provided the stiffness and loading are constant over the
height, the transverse distribution of the loads is then also constant over the height.
However, comparative calculations indicate that the shear deformations of the walls
in the case of stocky stability systems or in the lower storeys of tall buildings can
lead to a considerable redistribution of shear forces.
4. The main axes of the stability elements are assumed to be parallel with or perpendicu-
lar to the loading direction. Torsional moments (I
) are not considered.
The simplifications 14 above mean that the equations according to [50] apply:
Coordinates of the shear centre M
of the total system:

i w1

i w1
, z

i w1

i w1
Load apportioning for bending action effects:

i w1
, q

i w1
Load apportioning for torsion action effects:
, q
Warping resistance of total system:

i w1
_ _
Designations (see Fig. 2.30):
, q
horizontal load on total system
torsion load about torsional axis of total system
moment of inertia with respect to bending about y-axis of element i
moment of inertia with respect to bending about z-axis of element i
, z
coordinates of shear centre of element j
n number of stability elements
Exploiting symmetries is appropriate for these equations. The calculation becomes espe-
cially easy when the load passes through the torsional axis. It is remarkable that with the
stiffness distributed constantly over the height, the torsional axis is then only a vertical
straight line when either only bending deformations or only shear deformations are en-
tered. In the case of combined precast/in situ concrete systems, the torsional centres lie
on a curved line. It therefore becomes clear that the equations given above can only apply
to composite systems when the shear deformations are neglected. Interaction of shear walls, shear walls with series of openings and
Where stability elements with different deformation behaviour, such as shear walls, seg-
mented shear walls and frames, are designed to act together, then the relationship between
their flexural and shear stiffnesses must be sensibly organised before the distribution of
the horizontal loads can be calculated. Equivalent cross-sections for frames and segmen-
ted shear walls must be determined beforehand when the computer programs used for
checking the stability of the building permit only solid plates or thin-wall cross-sections
as stability elements.
a) Segmented shear walls
The structurally equivalent shear wall is determined in such a way that its deformation un-
der horizontal loads matches the deformation of the segmented shear wall as closely as
possible. The calculation can be carried out in two steps as follows:
49 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
1. Determination of the deflection at the top and further deflection by means of manual
calculations or computer.
The usual manual methods for segmented shear walls [50, 62, 63] are based on a
method of calculation that replaces the single rail with a continuous row of lamellae
(Fig. 2.31). Therefore, the flexural stiffness of a segmented shear wall lies between
that of a solid shear wall (rigid anchors) and two separate shear walls. The magnitude
of the rails moment of inertia is specified in [50] or [63] for a rail at floor level. A crit-
ical study of the use of an equivalent frame model for shear walls and high-rise build-
ing cores can be found in [81].
Special programs for plates now allow plane systems to be calculated on desktop com-
puters. They permit almost all conceivable geometrical irregularities to be taken into
Individual linear-type elements
Different thicknesses
Internal forces and design proposals can be output for all elements.
2. Determination of the unknown I* (moment of inertia) and A* (shear area) for the
equivalent solid plate from equations (1) and (2) according to Fig. 2.32.
b) Plates with large openings
Openings in shear walls are common in the lower storeys, i.e. in the zones with the high-
est shear forces. Such openings considerably diminish the stiffness of any shear wall.
Fig. 2.33 shows an example of a shear wall with a large opening at ground floor level.
The equivalent shear wall is divided into two areas with different cross-sectional values.
The calculated cross-sectional values of the equivalent shear wall can be entered directly
into a program for determining the horizontal load distribution.
50 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.31 Segmented shear wall and calculation models
with continuous horizontal members (rail forces), and with FEM
c) Frames and girders
Frames and girders can be replaced by shear-equivalent plates when calculating the load
distribution. The shear area of such plates is chosen so that the deflection at the top due to
horizontal loads corresponds to that of the frame or girder (Fig. 2.34). The bending and
strain deformation of the plate is set to zero, i.e. theoretically, the shear-equivalent plate
has infinite flexural and strain stiffness.
51 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.32 Segmented shear wall and associated equivalent shear wall
Fig. 2.33 Shear wall with large open-
ing at ground floor level
Fig. 2.34 Equivalent shear wall for
frame or girder
(More accurate calculations with FEM programs for plates and determination of equiva-
lent cross-sectional areas according to Fig. 2.32).
d) Three-dimensional systems
Manual calculations for three-dimensional stability elements with series of openings are
only possible when a corresponding plane system can be found by exploiting symmetries.
But everyday FEM programs should be used for general systems.
One common case is the perforated hollow box. If this is symmetrical about its axes on
plan, the bending action effects can be dealt with by means of a plane system. However,
in the case of torsion action effects, a realistic model must be found that lies between the
two extreme cases of
two U-sections, and
one closed hollow box-section (Fig. 2.35).
As the closed hollow section yields far less under torsion loads than the two open sec-
tions, it is necessary to design the rail to be as stiff as possible in order to come as close
as possible to the closed section. With a suitably stiff rail (rigid anchors), the warping
stiffness can be neglected, although this represents an approximation. In this case the
Bredt torsional resistance of the section can be calculated easily in two steps:
1. For a plate of thickness d with regular openings, an equivalent plate of thickness t* (I
d) without openings is first determined based on the assumption that both plates ex-
hibit the same shear stiffness (Fig. 2.36). In doing so, the system length l
or h
ciated with the weaker cross-section can be reduced according to the principle of
St. Venant if the depths of the rail and post cross-sections are very different.
The equations given in Fig. 2.37 can be used for calculating the symmetrical case.
An evaluation of the equations shows that the equivalent wall thickness is very low
when either the rail depth or the width of the plates adjacent to the opening, i.e. the
posts, is small.
52 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.35 Howthe load is carried
in a segmented hollow box
2. The Bredt torsional resistance is calculated as follows:

A w (b - d) (bl - d)
s w length of one wall with constant thickness t
Assuming that post shear forces are distributed continuously over the height, a general
method of calculation was developed in [64] for perforated high-rise building service
cores which also takes the warping stiffnesses into account. This method serves as a basis
for a computer program [65] which also permits the coupling with other stability ele-
53 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.36 Determining the equivalent thickness t* for a hollow-box wall with a series of openings Shear walls of precast concrete components
A shear wall made up of storey-high precast concrete components (Fig. 2.38) is not as
stiff as a solid shear wall of the same size because displacements in the vertical joints
can occur under horizontal loads. The prerequisite of course is that the horizontal joints
possess sufficient shear resistance. We must distinguish between the following cases
when determining the stiffness:
a) The vertical joints are profiled and subsequently filled with grout.
b) The vertical joints are smooth, the anchorage of the individual shear walls is achieved
exclusively via the floors (see [36]).
c) The shear walls are connected in the vertical joints by steel plates at individual points.
The determination of the wall thickness for case c) is described in [82], and case a) is
described in detail in [67].
54 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.37 Equivalent wall thickness of symmetrical hollow-box wall with a series of openings
Fig. 2.38 Shear wall assembled from precast concrete components
For reasons of economy, however, walls of precast concrete components are installed
without grouting the joints afterwards case b). During design, the anchorage effect of
the floors is frequently totally neglected and therefore the wall reinforcement is overde-
signed. The example below explains a method of calculation that takes the anchorage ef-
fect of the floors into account. There is no grout in the vertical joints of the wall shown in
Fig. 2.39. The wall elements are supported on the floors and the horizontal joints are
packed or grouted. However, the vertical loads are generally not sufficient to cancel out
the tensile stresses in the horizontal joints, which means that it often becomes necessary
to include longitudinal reinforcement at the edges of the plate to bridge over the horizon-
tal joints.
In this example the vertical load is ignored and the wall calculated for the given horizontal
load only. The system acts like a multi-ply cantilever beam connected by individual an-
chors. Aseverely deformed zone develops in the vicinity of the anchors due to the transfer
of the anchor shear forces into the two adjoining shear walls. According to the principle of
St. Venant, this disruption decays at a distance from the point of transfer roughly equiva-
lent to the depth of the floor diaphragm.
55 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.39 Example of a shear
wall assembled from precast
concrete components
A computer program is used to design the shear wall. Fig. 2.39 shows the chosen element
mesh. In the vicinity of the anchors, the element mesh is refined to square elements with a
side length equal to the depth of the floor. The powerful elements used can also cope with
the abrupt transition to the quite large elements shown here. The result indicates that only
about one-third of the total moment at the base of the wall (1752 kNm) is transferred to
the three plates in the form of bending moments. The axial forces transferred via the an-
chors into the outer plates form a couple that carries about two-thirds of the total moment.
The maximum anchor force of 86.7 kN can be resisted by shear reinforcement in the floor
With knowledge of the horizontal deformations, an associated equivalent shear wall can
now be determined easily according to the previous section (see Fig. 2.32):
0,198 20 12
(3 1,084 s4 0,519) 30000
w2,33 m
0,198 20 12
(0,519 s0,354 1,084) 13000
w0,32 m
The ratios of the cross-sectional values of the equivalent shear wall to the solid shear wall
are given in brackets (h qb qd w12.00 q7.24 q0.20 m; l w6.33 m
; A
w1.21 m
With a grouted vertical joint and an assumed joint stiffness of K w4500 MN/m
, accord-
ing to [67] the reduced moment of inertia and the shear area are as follows:
Il w
6,33 0,93
3 S0,25
_ _
70% (15)
If the anchor effect of the floor slab or the grouted vertical joint were to be totally ignored,
the equivalent cross-sections would be the totals of the individual cross-sections:
IL w
3 2,40
w0,69 m
AL w
3 2,40 0,2
w1,20 m
56 2 Design of precast concrete structures Example of horizontal load distribution
A five-storey building, stiffened by a central service core and two shear walls at the gable
ends, will be used as an example (Fig. 2.40). Firstly, the shear walls will be assumed to be
solid (a) and then by way of a comparison, openings at ground floor level will be intro-
duced (b). In order to illustrate the differences in the horizontal load distribution, the lat-
eral wind load will be reduced to a single point load Wapplied at the top of the building.
57 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.40 Example of the distribution of a horizontal load
One further simplification is the assumption that the elements are arranged symmetrically
about the axes, which means that the wind load does not cause any rotation.
The calculation of the horizontal load distribution is carried out with a computer program.
The storey height is 3 m, the thickness of the stiffening shear walls 0.25 m.
Equivalent cross-sectional values were established beforehand for the wall with the open-
ing according to Fig. 2.33. The increase in the shear force proportion in the outer shear
walls in case a) as we proceed down the building is clear from the diagrams. If the shear
deformations were to be ignored, then the shear force proportion would remain constant
over the height. In case b), on the other hand, the weakening of the shear wall cross-sec-
tions at the bottom of the wall mean that almost the entire shear force is allocated to the
2.2.4 Verification of building stability Stability analysis for stiffening cores and walls
When analysing the stability components of a precast concrete structure, according to
section 2.2.2 the following loading cases must be investigated:
Out-of-plumb effects
The combination of the loading cases is carried out according to DIN 1055-100. In doing
so, the design situations permanent and temporary (wind and out-of-plumb) plus
earthquake (earthquake, wind, out-of-plumb) must be examined. It may be necessary
to consider horizontal forces resulting from residual foundation rotation (as a result of
permanent eccentric core loading). The effect of the vertical loads on the deformed sys-
tem gives rise to an additional horizontal action effect (Fig. 2.41). This is evaluated
with a second-order theory calculation. The general procedure for the calculation accord-
58 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.41 Calculation according to second-order theory
ing to second-order theory is based on determining the horizontal force distribution ac-
cording to the previous section.
1. Distribution of the horizontal loads due to wind, earthquake, foundation rotation and
eccentricity over the stability elements (shear walls, cores, frames).
2. Analysis of the individual stability elements under horizontal and vertical loads taking
into account the horizontal deformation. Here, about 5570 % of EI
according to [50]
or [68] can be assumed for EI
. The additional loads resulting from the second-order
theory calculation are applied to each individual stability element; however, this
ignores the influence of the coupling through the floor diaphragms for the additional
loads. The buildings stability is verified by proving the stability of each individual
stability component. The influence of foundation rotation is taken into account by
elastic fixity in the ground. The torsion spring constant should be assumed to be as fol-

p ([71], S. 527) (16)
torsion spring constant (MNm)
moment of inertia of base area (m
subgrade modulus (MN/m
base area (m
coefficient of compressibility of soil for short-term loading (MN/m
The analysis according to second-order theory can be omitted when it is established be-
forehand that the system is stable. DIN 1045-1 specifies stiffening criteria (previously la-
bility coefficient or its inverse) to ease the assessment of the stability. These provide in-
formation on the yielding capacity of the stability components. However, strictly speak-
ing, the use of these criteria is linked to further restrictive conditions as well as the as-
sumption of rigid floor diaphragms:
1. The centroid axis on plan and the stiffness axis of the total stability system coincide
2. Stability components have thin-wall cross-sections and their properties are constant
over the height.
3. Vertical loads are identical in all storeys and run longitudinally along the centroid axis
on plan.
4. All storeys are equal in height.
5. Foundation rotation is neglected.
Even if not all of these conditions are met, a rough analysis of the building stability is still
possible. In cases of doubt, however, a more accurate analysis will be needed.
59 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Accordingly, the analysis according to second-order theory is unnecessary when the fol-
lowing applies:

j1= 0,2 S0,1 m for mJ3
j1=0,6 for mj4 (17)
Similarly, an assessment criterion for the rotational stability was derived in [69] and [50].
The following applies to systems with highly asymmetrical arrangements of stability ele-
ments or where torsional rotations cannot be neglected:






j1= 0,2 S0,1 m for mJ3;
j1=0,6 for mj4 (18)
With a uniform load distribution on plan, the value

can be replaced by N i
i w

_ _
The following applies for buildings rectangular on plan:
i wd

O 0,289 d
m number of storeys
height of loadbearing structure from top of foundation or a non-deformable re-
ference plane
distance of column j from shear centre of total system
sum of design values of vertical loads, with g
F w 1.0
design value of vertical load on column j, with g
F w 1.0
sum of nominal flexural stiffnesses of all vertical stability components
sum of nominal warping stiffnesses of all components providing stability against
rotation which act in the direction considered
sum of torsional stiffnesses of all components providing stability against rotation
(St. Venant torsional stiffness)
Generalisations for torsion, such as considering mixed torsion and the calculations for
non-coaxial systems, are described in [69, 70]. Foundation rotation can change the result
of the stability criterion substantially. The stability condition has been extended in [68]
depending on the moment of inertia of the base area and the subgrade modulus of the sub-
60 2 Design of precast concrete structures Stability analysis for columns and frames
In structures with adequate stability provided by cores and plates, the columns may be re-
garded as non-sway. DIN 1045-1 calls for the standard design of columns for the internal
forces of the non-deformed system. A buckling analysis is required beyond a certain max-
imum slenderness. The model column method according to DIN 1045-1 is suitable for
this analysis, provided the cross-section and axial force in a non-sway column remain
constant in each storey.
In more general cases it is often difficult to determine the buckling length required for the
model column method. The reinforcement calculated as a result can be seriously overde-
signed. Such cases are:
Change of cross-section within free storey height
Considerable load applications within storey height
Vertical cantilevers, i.e. sway columns
Staggered reinforcement
Columns with elastic fixity at the base
Suspended pinned-end columns
Sway frames
In these cases the designer is recommended to carry out a buckling analysis on the de-
formed system (see also DAfStb booklet 525 [147]). As in this situation deformations, in-
ternal forces, the reinforcement required and the effective flexural stiffness are all mu-
tually dependent and must be improved iteratively, calculation by computer program is
usually the only option. Nowadays, programs are available for PCs which perform the
buckling analysis according to second-order theory and carry out the design of the rein-
forced concrete sections, also for columns with biaxial bending, and include all transport,
erection and final conditions.
Unintentional eccentricity of the load application according to DIN 1045-1 section 8.6.4,
=2 (19)
must be considered in the buckling analysis. In doing so, it is important to investigate
whether inclination of the total system compared to inclination of the individual column
results in a less favourable value. When considering the total system, the deformed shape
according to Fig. 2.42 must be considered.
The experience to date shows that even with extremely slender and heavily loaded col-
umns, creep usually has only a minor influence. A significant increase in the reinforce-
ment required as a result of creep is only to be expected when a considerable portion of
the bending moment critical for the design acts permanently (large permanent horizontal
load; large intentional eccentricity of permanent vertical load).
When carrying out a buckling analysis for sway systems according to second-order the-
ory with the help of a computer program, the horizontal forces from pinned-end columns
61 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
or individual, very soft but it rigidly connected columns are taken into account automati-
cally. Performing the deformation analysis for the total system avoids the shortcomings of
the model column method for linear members and results in a much better assessment of
the real situation (see also [72]).
2.2.5 2.2.5 Structural design of floor diaphragms
The individual elements of a suspended floor must be interconnected to form a floor dia-
phragm and connected to both the cores, which provide restraint, and the columns, which
require restraint. In the case of composite plank floors and double-T floor units with
structurally effective in situ concrete topping and shear reinforcement, this reinforcement
with all the necessary connections can usually be laid in the concrete topping without any
problems (Fig. 2.43).
According to EC 2, even suspended floors made from prestressed hollow-core planks
without shear reinforcement can achieve a plate effect by including a 5 cm deep concrete
topping reinforced with welded mesh which is only connected to the loadbearing struc-
ture in the region of the perimeter and centre beams.
However, where the floor diaphragm consists exclusively of precast concrete elements,
these must be interconnected with a compression-resistant grout filling in the joints
apart from the fact that they must form a coherent planar element. The horizontal loads
acting on the floor diaphragm are carried by truss action, with the ties necessary for this
being provided by the longitudinal reinforcement in the joints or the perimeter members
or by welding together the reinforcement forming the perimeter ties cast into the floor ele-
62 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.42 Different approaches to the de-
formation of stepped single-storey shed
Fig. 2.43 Floor diaphragms with concrete topping
ments during production. The disadvantage of the latter is that it can increase the number
of different production positions substantially (Fig. 2.44).
The longitudinal reinforcement in the joints acts as the tensile bending reinforcement for
the plate or as the tension hangers of a truss model. The compressive forces in this truss
are generally carried away diagonally via the joints. In order to transfer this shear in the
plate it is sufficient when the joints can transfer shear forces in the longitudinal direction
of the joint, acting like a hinge (Fig. 2.45a). This is achieved through the use of an appro-
priate shear key, in the case of very high loads by welding the edges of the joints together
via cast-in steel items. If the joints also have to transfer load-distributing out-of-plane
shear forces, then a shear key must be formed in both directions (Fig. 2.45b). Accommo-
dating the ensuing horizontal expansion forces can likewise be achieved via the longitu-
dinal reinforcement in the transverse joint (Fig. 2.46).
Transferring thrust and shear forces in the diaphragm joints can also be via achieved
looped reinforcement in the joints. However, this is a nuisance during production because
then the side panels of the floor unit moulds are penetrated by the loops and, in addition,
threading the longitudinal joint reinforcement through the loops on site is laborious. One
remedy is to use specially developed looped wire rope connections which can transfer
both in-plane and out-of-plane forces (see also section 3.3).
63 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.44 Floor diaphragms as-
sembled from precast concrete
components, without concrete
topping but with welded joints
The horizontal component of the diagonal compressive forces resulting from the shear
force action effect is carried via the floor diaphragm to the longitudinal reinforcement
in the transverse joints.
It is certainly the case that with floor diaphragms made up of individual precast concrete
units, far more favourable loadbearing and deformation behaviour is achieved when in-
stead of just one perimeter tie, longitudinal reinforcement is positioned in every joint,
which of course must be suitably anchored in the perimeter member. Besides their func-
tion as tension hangers, i.e. as shear reinforcement (links or stirrups) in the floor dia-
phragm, the longitudinal reinforcement in the joints also has to accommodate the wind
suction loads and the tie-back forces due to eccentricity. This is why they must be an-
chored in the outer columns or with a structural grid offset internally must incorporate
these with loops. For in the end these have the task of holding the structure together ade-
quately in the event of accidental loads (earthquake, explosion).
The design of the floor diaphragm also essentially depends on whether it transfers the hor-
izontal loads to the vertical stability elements (walls or cores) via compression or tension,
and whether the force transfer is continuous over the entire depth of the diaphragm or
merely concentrated over relatively narrow shear walls.
The joints should be as narrow as possible to facilitate the transfer of the shear forces.
However, they must be wide enough to accommodate the longitudinal reinforcement ne-
cessary, also at laps, and allow the (low-shrink) grout to be easily poured and compacted.
Fig. 2.47 shows a precast concrete suspended floor construction with longitudinal joint
reinforcement that is anchored in the columns. Other potential floor connections are de-
scribed in [74].
There is no uniform concept for the design of the perimeter tie and the joint reinforce-
ment. Truss action models are appropriate for their design [75]. In principle, when choos-
64 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.45 Shear key joints
(a) for in-plane shear forces
(b) for in-plane and out-of-plane shear forces
Fig. 2.46 Structural effect of a grouted
shear key
ing a suitable truss action model, it must be ensured that the load can be carried with mini-
mal deformations. The flow of the forces should therefore preferably take place via the re-
latively stiff struts.
It is normal to carry all the tensile forces via a single tie around the perimeter (Fig. 2.48a).
However, it is frequently impossible to incorporate this tie with the appropriate an-
chorages and corner details. It may well be better to distribute the tensile forces over sev-
eral joints, as shown in Fig. 2.48b. The advantage of this solution is that the tying-back of
the support reactions can be distributed over several places.
In single-storey sheds it is frequently possible to omit the roof bracing completely be-
cause the horizontal forces are carried directly by the columns. If it is necessary to form
a plate in the plane of the roof, this can either be achieved via the roof covering itself or
via a truss, the chords of which are formed by two neighbouring rafters (see Figs 2.49
and 2.50).
Where the roof covering is made from autoclaved aerated concrete panels, pumice con-
crete hollow-core planks [76] or trapezoidal profile metal sheeting, the approval docu-
mentation for these products contains the construction details necessary for achieving a
plate effect with the individual elements.
65 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.47 Floor diaphragm without concrete
topping but with screwed and lapped joints
66 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.48 Truss action models for floor diaphragms with perimeter support
Fig. 2.49 Floor diaphragm formed by coupling
beams together
Fig. 2.50 Zu blin House, roof plate over glass
atrium formed by coupling two rafters together
2.2.6 Structural design of vertical stability elements
Walls and cores provided for stability purposes are mostly closely associated with the
stairs, lifts and service shafts serving the various floors. In terms of construction, these
vertical routes only require openings in the floors. Stair flights and landings can be sup-
ported, like the suspended floor elements, on the beams. However, as each floor constitu-
tes the horizontal termination of a fire compartment and preventing the spread of fire from
one storey to another is vital, the building regulations call for floor penetrations to be
lined to achieve the appropriate fire resistance. Concrete walls are not the only answer
here; it is possible to use lighter and less expensive materials (e.g. gypsum products or
clay masonry). Nevertheless, concrete walls can also provide stability as well as fire pro-
tection. Service cores also frequently accommodate sanitary facilities and so concrete
walls can also ensure the necessary sound insulation.
So a range of different functions must be considered when planning a building core. Dur-
ing the planning it must be remembered that vertical shafts usually disrupt the modular
coordination concept of a frame system. Apart from that, the construction and erection
progress of a building is very severely affected by the method of building the walls re-
quired for the stability of the structure during construction as well as the final condition.
It should always be remembered that every vertical shaft inevitably requires doors and
openings. These reduce the stiffening effect of a shaft wall and, more importantly, every
opening in a concrete wall disrupts its construction and hence the workflow. Therefore,
the initial planning should consider only those concrete walls that extend undisturbed
over the full height of the building. In the lift shaft that means generally three or four
walls. With dog-leg stairs, which are typically required with storey heights of 34 m,
that almost always means the two longitudinal sides of the stair shaft and often also one
end wall adjacent to the intermediate landings.
Compared to four-sided, closed boxes, open U-shaped shafts have a comparatively low
torsional stiffness (see section Where such a core is located eccentrically on
plan, designers are therefore recommended to also include the fourth side, which contains
the openings, in the stability considerations, provided the torsional stiffness needs to be
taken into account for the stability of the building. However, in such a case, the rails
above and below and the posts to either side of each opening must be of sufficient
size. This is where the designer has to weigh up the constructional difficulties against
the gain in stiffness (Fig. 2.52). Fig. 2.51 shows a closed in situ concrete core for an in-
dustrial building made from precast concrete components during construction. Whenever
possible, intermediate walls in hollow boxes, which hardly increase the bending or tor-
sional stiffness, should not be constructed in concrete (Fig. 2.53).
Walls and cores required for stability can be built of in situ concrete or from precast con-
crete elements (Fig. 2.54). Cores with in situ concrete walls are mostly built using climb-
ing formwork (slipforming for very tall buildings only) (Fig. 2.55). With such forms of
construction, brackets and corbels projecting from the wall surface should be avoided if
at all possible. Any such items required should be attached afterwards. The tension rein-
forcement is installed by means of screw couplers, and reinforcement in the form of dou-
67 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
68 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.51 In situ concrete core
built before the erection of the
Fig. 2.52 Service shafts as stiffening cores Fig. 2.53 Stiffening core with masonry internal
Fig. 2.54 Shear walls
ble-headed studs is ideal because of the rotating head (Fig. 2.57). The best solution is to
support beams or floor slabs in pockets (Fig. 2.56).
Internal landing slabs can be attached to stair shaft walls via steel sections and grouted
joints (Fig. 2.58).
Shear walls made from precast concrete elements according to Fig. 2.54c are particularly
common in large-panel construction. Storey-high precast concrete elements should be
69 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.55 In situ concrete core, constructed with climbing formwork
Fig. 2.56 Beam corbel fitted into pockets
Fig. 2.57 Corbels cast on afterwards
Fig. 2.58 Connecting a landing slab to a stair shaft wall
used in such designs. The shear forces in the joints must be analysed. The reinforcement
designed to accommodate the splitting of the shear force into a horizontal tension compo-
nent and a diagonal compression component may be concentrated at the level of the floor
slabs according to Fig. 2.59 for walls whose total width is greater than the storey height.
Shear reinforcement (e.g. loops) distributed over the height of the joint is recommended
in [73] for vertical wall joints between precast concrete elements at the corners (L-, T-,
U-cross-sections on plan) (see Fig. 2.60). Reinforcement concentrated at the level of
the floor diaphragms only cannot prevent the joint opening.
The horizontal joints in walls of precast concrete components are primarily loaded in
compression. Transferring the shear forces is then generally guaranteed via friction.
Shear keys such as those shown in Fig. 2.61 will be necessary in certain cases. Any tensile
forces that occur (see section can be accommodated by welding (Fig. 2.62),
screw couplers (Fig. 2.63) or approved built-in items plus screw couplers (Fig. 2.64).
Stiffening according to Figs 2.65 and 2.66 is employed for frame structures that are con-
ceived as fully prefabricated systems. Further design and construction advice for shear
walls made from precast concrete components can be found in [77] and other publica-
Using frame systems (Fig. 2.54f) to provide stability is generally only worth considering
for special cases. One example is the structural carcass for a paper mill (Fig. 2.68). The
rigid connection between beam and column (Detail A) is achieved with the help of screw
couplers that are subsequently pressed tight. Screw couplers with metric or conical
threads are now available. The shear force is transferred via a corbel, or rather via the
grout filling in the gap between beam and column. Detail B shows the hinged but laterally
restrained support for the roof beam at the column. Remarkable here is the separate trans-
fer of the vertical support reaction via the cast-in neoprene bearing pad and the horizontal
70 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.59 Different horizontal reinforcement
arrangements for shear walls [73]
support reaction via the cast-in shear connectors. The neoprene pad allows the vertical
support reaction to be distributed over a large area. Similar designs are described in
Whether stiffening walls or cores are to be made from precast concrete elements or in situ
concrete should be clarified with the contractor at an early stage because this has a deci-
sive influence on the sequence of planning and building operations. Walls of precast con-
crete elements are generally somewhat more complicated and require more input during
planning and therefore require an appropriate lead time for the technical work, which,
however, can be recouped by the faster erection. On the other hand, in situ concrete cores
can, or rather must, be built prior to the arrival of the precast concrete elements on site, i.e.
at the same time as the elements are being produced in the factory. Whether this is possi-
ble is not only a question of the separation into different trades, but also a question of the
time of year in which the building work can take place. Such decisions can only be
reached on an individual basis taking into account costs and timetables.
71 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.60 Deformation of joints between longitudi-
nal and transverse stability girders with different
reinforcement arrangements [73]
Fig. 2.61 Core wall with horizontal shear key
joints for high shear and low axial forces
2.2.7 Design of perimeter ties to DIN 1045-1
According to DIN 1045-1 section 13.12, various ties must be provided according to Fig.
2.67 in order to
a) limit local damage as a result of accidental actions such as impact or explosion;
b) enable alternative load paths in the event of local damage.
To achieve this in precast concrete construction, internal ties plus horizontal column and
wall ties are required as well as perimeter ties.
The characteristic strength of the steel f
may be utilised to the full in the design of tie
cross-sections. In addition, the designer may allocate existing reinforcement provided
for normal action effects (according to section 2.2.2) to the perimeter tie.
72 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.62 Welded joint between wall elements Fig. 2.63 Screwed joint between wall ele-
73 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.64 Joint between wall elements with (a) dowels plus grout, and (b) special cast-in
wall starter units PSK (Peikkor)
74 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.65 Stair shaft assembled from precast concrete components (production building for
Siemens AG; contractor: DYWIDAG)
Fig. 2.66 Core assembled from precast
concrete walls (Backnang Grammar School;
contractor: Zu blin)
First of all, every floor level must include a continuous perimeter tie no more than 1.2 m
from the edge. This should be able to accommodate a tensile force of
10 kN I70 kN
where l
is the span in [m] of the end bay of the floor diaphragm perpendicular to the peri-
meter tie being considered. Joints between reinforcing bars can be lapped or welded. Laps
should be designed with a length of l
s w2 l
and should be secured with shear reinforce-
ment (links, U-bars, etc.).
Internal ties must be provided in two directions at 90h to each other and at their ends they
must be structurally connected to the perimeter tie. They should be able to accommodate a
tensile force of
w20 kN=m
In floors in which the perimeter ties are positioned in the joints between the precast con-
crete elements, a minimum force per joint amounting to

20 kN I70 kN
should be assumed (l
, l
in [m], see Fig. 2.67). Perimeter columns and external walls
must be connected at every floor level; design tensile force F
Ed w 10 kN/m of facade,
although the maximum force per column does not have to exceed F
w 150 kN. Corner
columns should be anchored in two directions, and here the outer perimeter tie may form
part of the anchorage.
In the case of buildings built using large panels and having five or more storeys, the walls
must also be interconnected with vertical ties in order to prevent a floor collapsing in the
case of the failure of the wall below, e.g. due to a local explosion. The perimeter tie should
form part of a system that bridges over the damaged area. These ties should extend the
full height of the building and in the damaged condition be able to accommodate the de-
sign value of the load acting on the floor immediately above the failed wall.
75 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.67 Ties for accidental actions to
DIN 1045-1
76 2 Design of precast concrete structures
(a) Erection
(b) Section
(c) Structural System
Fig. 2.68 Stability provided by frames (Holtzmann paper mill; contractor: Zu blin)
77 2.2 Stability of precast concrete structures
(d) Detail A: frame corner
(d) Detail B: beamsupport
Fig. 2.68 contd.
2.3 Loadbearing elements
The design of structural precast concrete elements is essentially determined by the pro-
duction methods. The principal dimensions are limited by the transport restrictions de-
scribed in section 2.1.3.
2.3.1 Suspended floor elements
There are many precast concrete floor systems. Those described on the following pages
have proved to be the most economic and/or most flexible.
Fig. 2.69 shows the most common precast concrete floor systems, and the cross-sectional
dimensions of solid and hollow floor units are given in Fig. 2.72 (p. 80). Hollow-core slabs
The hollow-core slab is one of the most economic precast concrete floor systems, pro-
vided it can be produced in sufficient quantities in order to take advantage of its fully
automated production. The circular, oval or even rectangular voids save materials and
weight up to 40 % compared with solid concrete slabs. We distinguish between pre-
stressed and conventionally reinforced hollow-core slabs.
In the prestressed hollow-core slab (Fig. 2.70) the reinforcement is exclusively in the form
of pretensioned strands. The slabs are manufactured in prestressing beds more than
100 m long using slip-formers or extruders, which at the same time form the mould and
perform the tasks of distributing and compacting the concrete. Concrete strengths of up
to 60 N/mm
can be achieved with these methods. After curing, the individual floor units
are cut from the long ribbon with mechanical saws (see also section 4.1). This form of
production only allows the reinforcement to be prestressed in the longitudinal direction,
which means that prestressed hollow-core slabs require a National Technical Approval
awarded by the DIBt if they are to be used in Germany. As can be seen from the table
78 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.69 Precast concrete floors
in Fig. 2.70, hollow-core slabs are available in various depths. Spans of up to 18 m can be
achieved with slabs approx. 40 cm deep. The standard width is 1.20 m.
The highly eccentric prestressing causes upward creep in the slabs and the different defor-
mations of the individual elements can lead to considerable problems at joints, particu-
larly with the smaller depths. This aspect should be tracked during storage of the ele-
ments. The lack of space in the joints between the individual elements can cause problems
when attempting to use the slab as a horizontal diaphragm for stability purposes, which is
often necessary. This aspect requires careful planning. Certain voids can be partly filled at
the supports in order to accommodate large in-plane loads, with the reinforcing bars then
functioning as dowels between adjacent bays (Fig. 2.71).
79 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.70 Prestressed hollow-core
slabs; top: range of products; bottom:
erection of hollow-core slabs (Fach-
vereinigung Spannbeton-Fertigdecken
The omission of conventional reinforcement because of the method of production means
that the tensile strength of the concrete has to be included in the calculation to some extent
in order to achieve the necessary shear strength, especially at the supports, and to distri-
bute the loads in the transverse direction. This is particularly the case when supporting
the elements on a soft support (e.g. steel beam). Beam deflections give rise to trans-
verse tensile stresses. The first studies on this have already been carried out [95] (see
also [95-1]).
Conventionally reinforced hollow-core slabs are produced in widths up to 2.50 m on steel
pallets in the desired lengths, generally in a special plant in which augers push the con-
crete through a rectangular die matching the dimensions and geometry of the slab
cross-section (see also section 4.1). Both longitudinal and transverse reinforcement, in-
cluding shear links, is possible. The slabs can essentially be designed according to DIN
1045-1 and do not necessarily need a National Technical Approval. Principles for the
80 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.71 Special solution for forming a
floor diaphragm with prestressed hollow-
core slabs
Fig. 2.72 Cross-sections of floor slabs (Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V.)
structural design of conventionally reinforced precast concrete floor slabs can be found in
[94], where these differ from DIN 1045-1.
Slab depths are generally between 14 and 20 cm in order to achieve spans of 67 m for
loads of 5 kN/m
. Spans of up to 10 m are possible with a slab depth of 30 cm. The long-
itudinal edges are cast with shear keys where necessary so that in-plane and out-of-plane
forces can be transferred across the joints between elements. Hollow-core slabs can al-
ways be erected without the need for any temporary propping. Ribbed slabs
Ribbed slabs, either conventionally reinforced or prestressed, will be required for higher
loads and longer spans. The double-Tslab is well established in the marketplace. Conven-
tionally reinforced versions are produced in long moulds, prestressed versions on pre-
stressing beds.
The units are manufactured in widths up to 3 m, depths of 7080 cm and lengths up to
16 m (Fig. 2.73). The webs (i.e. the ribs), usually 1.20 m apart, have sides that slope at
an angle of 1:20 so that the elements can be easily lifted out of the rigid moulds after
the concrete has hardened. The side panels of the moulds can be adjusted to suit the re-
spective slab width.
The units are generally produced with a 6 cm deep flange which serves as permanent
formwork for the subsequent in situ concrete topping added on site. The reinforcement re-
quired for creating the diaphragm effect is laid in this in situ topping.
Single-Tslabs (i.e. T-beams) are generally only found in the form of trimmers in floor sys-
tems with double-T elements. However, they have already been used successfully as the
vertical wall elements for a high-bay racking warehouse (Fig. 2.74).
Avariation on the double-Telement is the inverted channel section unit (Fig. 2.75), which
is used for heavier point loads or where the floor element width matches the column grid.
In the form shown in Fig. 2.69f this type of floor slab has the disadvantage that a dropside
or otherwise movable panel is required for the outer parts of the rib moulds. The larger
span of the unit in the transverse direction calls for a flange at least 12 cm deep and
more reinforcement than the double-T elements. Where the ribs are fully notched at the
supports, a rib on the edge of an element is also less favourable than the rib of a dou-
ble-T element connected to the flange on both sides. Composite plank floors
Composite plank floors have been used extensively since the early 1980s [84] and today
they represent the most popular flooring system in Germany. These are solid concrete
floors once they are completed, with a 57 cm deep precast concrete plank containing
the bottom reinforcement necessary for structural purposes and acting as permanent
formwork for the in situ concrete topping. In order to be able to handle these thin ele-
ments, lattice beams made up of rigid reinforcement protrude from the top of the precast
plank. The top chord of each lattice beam serves as a compression member in the tempor-
81 2.3 Loadbearing elements
ary erection condition, the two bottom chords can be included in the tension reinforce-
ment required for structural purposes. DIBt National Technical Approvals are available
for various types of lattice beam.
The floors are designed according to DIN 1045-1. The diagonals in the lattice beams and
the rough top side of the plank guarantee an adequate bond with the in situ concrete top-
ping, which means that the floor can be designed like a solid slab cast in one operation.
A continuity effect in the slab can be achieved in a simple way by adding top reinforce-
ment to the lattice beams on site. It is also easy to lay any additional reinforcement that
might be needed to achieve a horizontal diaphragm effect.
82 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.73 Cross-sectional values of double-T floor units (Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertig-
teilbau e.V.)
A discussion surrounding the FEMdesign of floor slabs spanning in two directions can be
found in [101] and [103]. According to these reports, FEM can also be used for precast
concrete floor systems provided there is no joint within the torsion zone (0.3 L
) (or
the reinforcement for the transverse direction is laid in the in situ concrete topping) and
the depth of the joint does not exceed one-third of the total slab depth. The reinforcement
from a design for an in situ concrete slab can be used here provided the span reinforce-
ment transverse to the span of the precast concrete elements is continuous across the floor
83 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.74 High-bay racking warehouse
made from precast concrete T-beams
(Zu blin system)
Fig. 2.75 Multi-storey car park with inverted
channel section floor units (contractor: Zu blin)
slab and is calculated according to the ratio of the different structural depths. The bar dia-
meter should not exceed 14 mm and the reinforcement required for flexural tension
should not be greater than 10 cm
/m. The introduction of the new DIN 1045-1 means
that the permissible shear stress is currently still limited to 0.25 V
It is now also possible to construct composite plank floors supported on individual col-
umns (i.e. flat slab with no floor beams). Special lattice beams are required to resist
punching shear.
Where composite plank floors, like hollow-core slabs, are required to span up to 5 m
without any temporary propping during erection, then the single-bar top chord of the lat-
tice beam can be replaced by a channel-shaped, buckling-resistant sheet steel section that
is filled with concrete at the same time as casting the precast concrete plank (Fig. 2.77).
This type of suspended floor is especially economic with high storey heights if the extra
cost of the lattice beam is lower than the cost of providing temporary propping. This sys-
tem (trade name Montaquick) is also approved for non-static loads [96].
Erection and concreting of the floors without temporary propping can be achieved by
using prestressed floor elements. To do this, the concrete plank is pretensioned with wires
positioned almost in the centre of the depth. Spans of approx. 8 m during erection are then
possible (Fig. 2.78) with prestressed concrete planks about 810 cm deep. Thermal ex-
pansion in the longitudinal direction would lead to restraint forces when using lattice
beams. Therefore, shear reinforcement can only be achieved with the help of additional
shear links. The shear connection between precast and in situ concrete is achieved by
way of the bond between the two, although a positive form of shear connection should
be provided at the supports. The use of prestressed composite plank floors is regulated ex-
clusively via DIBt National Technical Approvals.
A T-beam slab for longer spans is achieved by using conventionally reinforced or pre-
stressed precast concrete beams, with shear connectors protruding from the top, to sup-
port composite plank floors spanning at 90h to these (Fig. 2.79). This creates a horizontal
diaphragm as well as a continuity effect in the transverse direction.
84 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.76 Two-way-spanning composite
plank floor with punching shear reinforcement
at columns (flat slab)
Fig. 2.77 Lattice beam for stable composite
plank floor during erection (Montaquick, Kaiser-
Omnia systems)
2.3.2 Floor and roof beams Floor beams
A rectangular cross-section is the simplest form of downstand beam (Fig. 2.79a). How-
ever, this cross-sectional form is not the best for precasting because it requires dropside
moulds. So this beam shape should only be used when it is required for architectural rea-
sons or to solve connection problems in the interior fitting-out. Generally, and for purlins
(Fig. 2.79b) almost exclusively, we therefore use trapezoidal cross-sections where the
vertical sides slope outwards at an angle of 1:10 or 1:20, which are easier to lift out of
a rigid mould. The bottom arrises are cast with a 10 mm chamfer.
To reduce the depth of the floor construction, rectangular downstand beams are fre-
quently cast with a continuous boot on both sides at the bottom (Fig. 2.79c) to support
the floor units. This is not the optimum beam form for precasting but in many cases no
other options are suitable. It requires a relatively elaborate mould mechanism that is
only worthwhile for large batches or standardised products. In addition, the incoming
floor loads must be suspended within the beam. And achieving a flawless surface finish
on the boot often requires additional work.
The boot should not be smaller than 20 q20 cm in cross-section in order to guarantee an
adequate bearing for the floor elements and sufficient anchorage for the reinforcement in
the boot and the floor units taking into account the inevitable tolerances (see section
In the frame system according to [88] and [97] (Fig. 2.80, p. 90), an inverted channel sec-
tion unit is used as a downstand beam. This somewhat more costly beam form is only
worthwhile when considered in conjunction with the total system. The webs of the dou-
ble-T floor units used here are notched over their full depth so that they can be laid on
top of the inverted channel beams. The loads are therefore applied to the top of the latter
and the overall depth of the floor construction is no greater than that of a beam with con-
tinuous boot. The suspension reinforcement is now located in the webs of the double-T
floor units and forms part of the longitudinal reinforcement in the webs (see section
2.6.2). Corbels on both sides of the columns support the beam webs, which are long en-
ough to reach from one column grid-line to the next. Even when used as perimeter beams,
85 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.78 Prestressed floor units
(Scha tz Spandec system)
86 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.79 Cross-sections for beams, downstand beams and wall panels
(Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V.)
87 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.79 contd.
88 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.79 contd.
the torsion in the webs is minimal, and depending on the position of the grid with respect
to the facade, complete or half perimeter beams can be used. Building services can be rou-
ted in the voids between the webs.
89 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.79 contd.
(d) Roof beams
The most economic cross-sectional form for roof beams is the T-section with parallel
flanges (Figs 2.81a and b). In the past there were attempts to minimise the material in
such beams by using duopitch forms and keeping the web thickness down to the permis-
sible minimum. This led to I-beams with additional bottom flanges and in some cases web
haunches (Fig. 2.82a).
These days, we prefer to cast such roof beams in long moulds, often prestressing beds, in
some cases in long lines, one behind the other. Only in the case of long-span roof beams
(i25 m) is a wider bottom flange to accommodate the reinforcement unavoidable. Creat-
ing a slope for the roof covering is achieved either by placing the roof beams at the appro-
priate pitch or by forming notches of different depths in the purlins (Figs 2.82c and d).
If a duopitch roof beam is unavoidable, then at least the underside of the top flange should
be kept level wherever possible (Fig. 2.82b). Web haunches should generally be avoided
because they require practically a doubling of the mould side panels over most of the
length of the roof beam.
Openings in the webs of downstand floor beams and roof beams are generally required for
routing the building services. Such openings must be taken into account in the planning
right from the start. Devising a certain basic system for each building is recommended
so that every beam of a certain type can be based on the system (Fig. 2.83). The reader
is referred to [190] for the design of beam webs with openings for services.
Fig. 2.84 shows a two-bay single-storey shed. The spacing of the rafters is chosen to suit
the roof covering, which is normally of trapezoidal profile metal sheeting or autoclaved
aerated concrete panels. This results in economic rafter spacings of 5.07.5 m. The eco-
nomic span for such rafters is 1224 m, but rafters spanning 40 m have been produced on
occasions (Fig. 2.85, p. 94).
90 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.80 Frame system
(6M system, Zu blin)
91 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.81 Roof beam cross-sections (Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V.)
92 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.81 contd.
93 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.82 Different roof pitch solutions Fig. 2.83 Beam web openings, standardised
Fig. 2.84 Two-bay single-storey sheds
2.3.3 Columns
The standard cross-section for precast concrete columns for single-storey sheds is rectan-
gular, whereas the square form is generally preferred for multi-storey buildings (Fig.
2.86), where a constant cross-section throughout all storeys is the best solution in order
to achieve uniform support and connection details, especially with respect to the interior
fitting-out. Multi-storey buildings up to five storeys high are built with continuous col-
umns. However, such long columns should not be too slender because their flexibility
can then cause serious problems during transport and erection. The standard cross-section
for columns in conventional buildings is 40 q40 cm. In taller buildings with spliced col-
umns, the splices should be offset in different storeys in order to improve stability during
Columns with a circular cross-section are also possible. However, if these are cast in ver-
tical moulds, then only storey-high columns are possible, which adds up to a considerable
number of splices. Circular columns can also be cast horizontally as hollow columns with
very high concrete strengths using the spun concrete method, although such a form of
production requires special facilities [93].
The best solution in terms of mould design is when corbels are positioned on two opposite
sides (Fig. 2.87). A third corbel on the top during production is also possible. Corbels on
four sides are to be recommended in exceptional cases only because of their difficult pro-
duction. One example of this is the University of Riyadh [91, 92], which was designed so
rigorously as a precast concrete structure that all the columns could be produced in the
same type of mould. A double steel mould with an automatic dropside mechanism was
developed according to a uniform scheme for the 2600 columns (Fig. 2.88). This enabled
corbels to be positioned on all four sides where necessary. In the early years of school and
university building, when unidirectional structural systems were still the goal, peripheral
or annular corbels were designed so that there would be support for beams in both direc-
tions (see [3]). This type of corbel is very awkward in terms of mould and reinforcement
and should be avoided. More recently, there have been more and more attempts to create
concrete facades with special architectural effects again, which are economic when the
94 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.85 Transporting a roof beam with a span of 40 m (contractor: Bremer)
concrete also has a loadbearing function. This leads to architectural facade columns, e.g.
as in the case of Zu blin House. A relatively elaborate mould was required for this project.
But thanks to the simple and clear concept of the building, it was possible to produce all
the facade columns in one type of mould, which included the lugs for three upper floors
(Fig. 2.89) so that the columns only had to be spliced once or twice. Each mould was used
95 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.86 Column cross-sections (Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V.)
Fig. 2.87 Positioning of corbels
more than 100 times. These two examples, the University of Riyadh and Zublin House,
show how a project-related breakdown into prefabricated parts can certainly be sensible
and economic, even though these differ from the planning principles for industrialised
building systems in general.
More and more storey-high precast concrete columns are being used, especially for com-
posite precast/in situ concrete structures. One reason for this is the faster construction
time for high-rise buildings, for instance, with the column splices in the form of simple
butt joints according to section 3.1.1. A steel plate is usually specified to cope with the
96 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.88 Column types for the University of
Riyadh system [92]:
(a) columns for one, two and three storeys
(b) reinforcement
(c) corbel positions
Fig. 2.89 Standard column for Zu blin House; spring-loaded, breathing column mould [94]
high loads normally encountered in high-rise buildings. The force transfer at the level of
the suspended floors requires particular attention (Fig. 2.90) [104106].
2.3.4 Walls
The precast concrete wall is the characteristic loadbearing element of large-panel con-
struction (see [90, 98]). This section looks at internal walls only; external walls are dealt
with in section 2.4 Precast concrete facades.
According to DIN 1045-1, a minimum thickness of 8 cm is adequate for loadbearing pre-
cast concrete walls in conjunction with continuous floor slabs. However, the wall thick-
ness is generally governed by the minimum bearing dimension required for the floor ele-
ments. Internal walls are therefore between 14 and 20 cm thick (see Fig. 2.79d). Further-
more, it is sound insulation and structural fire protection requirements that are the main
criteria for internal walls. A 14 cm thick concrete wall ensures adequate sound insulation.
This same wall thickness is also adequate for a fire wall or a F 90 fire resistance rating. In
addition, concrete internal walls also help to achieve summertime thermal performance
requirements thanks to their good thermal mass.
Composite precast/in situ concrete walls (Fig. 2.91) represent an ideal combination of the
advantages of both types of construction. The expensive formwork operations are trans-
ferred to the factory and the finished, cast wall is monolithic with a smooth surface both
sides. Such walls have in the meantime secured a significant market share for themselves.
They are used in almost all buildings and have also been used for civil engineering works
[107]. Owing to their fast erection, such composite walls are especially suitable for those
walls that would require formwork on one side only when cast on site (e.g. building
against existing works, etc.). However, the design loads should not be too large because
there is a limit to the amount of reinforcement that can be placed between the precast
leaves. The in situ concrete should be at least 10 cm thick, which together with the
97 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.90 Butt joint between precast concrete columns for Triangel Tower in Cologne
(contractor: Zu blin)
two outer precast leaves each 6 cm thick, results in a minimum wall thickness of 22 cm.
Slimmer walls are possible in certain circumstances but the concreting operations must
then be planned in great detail.
Composite walls are also useful where, for tall walls, the weights of precast concrete
panels would exceed the lifting capacities of the cranes available (Fig. 2.92).
One important application for composite walls is in basements. Initially used only for in-
ternal walls, they are being increasingly used for external walls, and also for impermeable
98 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.91 Composite precast/in situ concrete
wall with lattice beams and in situ concrete fill
Fig. 2.92 Use of composite precast/in situ
concrete wall for tall walls
concrete basements. The DAfStb directive covering impermeable concrete [108, 109]
specifically mentions this system. A key advantage is that any cracking is restricted to
the joints between the precast concrete wall elements. But in the end, good-quality work-
manship at the joints and a minimum in situ concrete thickness of 20 cm are critical to
their impermeability. Currently there are still misgivings in some circles concerning the
discrepancy between theory and practice because the risk of flaws and the quality de-
mands are very high [110].
2.3.5 Foundations
Foundations are heavy and therefore usually cast on site. Nevertheless, precast concrete
foundations are also feasible. Fig. 2.93 illustrates the evolution of this form of con-
struction. The pad foundation with separate smooth-sided pocket on top, which was com-
mon for many years, has been replaced by the true pocket foundation (Fig. 2.95) with a
pocket formed in the foundation itself, which is more economic [99]. Foundations can
therefore be shallower and the separate pocket, whose expensive forming and reinforcing
processes always had to be carried out in a separate operation, is no longer necessary.
However, a column inserted into a pocket always requires an adequate key between the
base of the column and the walls of the pocket so that the axial forces can be transferred
to the foundation via skin friction. It is relatively easy to fix trapezoidal battens to a drop-
99 2.3 Loadbearing elements
Fig. 2.93 Foundation types
Fig. 2.94 Profiled column base
side column mould (Fig. 2.94). And pockets are in many cases formed with permanent
formwork in the form of a corrugated square sheet metal tube (Fig. 2.95a).
Mould boxes with special unplasticised PVC corner connections and clamping bolts are
available. The bolts are undone for demoulding so that the four mould sides can be sepa-
rated from the concrete with a light blow from a hammer (Fig. 2.95b). Which mould form
is more economical depends on the particular costs, the particular situation.
Precast concrete columns complete with precast concrete foundation already attached
have been available for some time (Figs 2.93 and 2.96). This overcomes the need for a
columnfoundation connection detail and the foundation can be produced in the works
together with the column. Once on site, the precast concrete element is lowered onto a
layer of blinding and aligned with steel shims before grout is pumped underneath to cre-
ate a structural bond between the underside of the foundation and the subsoil. Vertical
pipes must be provided in the foundation to ensure good distribution of the grout and pre-
vent air pockets. The system leads to a further shortening of the construction time and to
foundations at a shallower depth. The disadvantage of the system is the bulkiness of the
precast concrete element (column S foundation) and the ensuing economic transport.
Transport restrictions mean that in one direction the foundation can be no more than
3 m wide. However, in situ concrete can be used to increase the size of a foundation on
In the University of Riyadh project, the connections as is very common in the USA
were designed by American engineers according to the principles common to structural
steelwork. The columns were fitted with cast-in steel base plates that were then screwed
to holding-down bolts cast into the foundations (Figs 2.93 and 2.97). This system is be-
coming more and more popular in Germany, too.
The disadvantage of a high steel content within the connection is balanced by the advan-
tages of the easy fabrication of the base plate, the easy casting of the foundation (no
pocket required, etc.) and the relatively shallow structural depth of the foundation. This
100 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.95 Column pocket formwork: a) corrugated sheet metal tube, b) formwork box with special
corner fittings
can be very advantageous on sites where, for example, there is a high ground water table.
With moderate column loads, the steel plate can be omitted completely and separate an-
chorage elements used instead. It is vital to cast the holding-down bolts into the founda-
tion as accurately as possible using a template and to protect these against damage until
column erection begins. Tolerances of approx. e5 mm are possible. The system allows
the full column fixity required for the structural design to be achieved if required, but
also merely temporary erection fixity. These days, it is no longer common to pack the
joint; grout is used instead, which is pumped in via tubes, which also prevent air pockets.
2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
In contrast to the design of structural elements, where the manufacturing requirements are
the primary concern, the design of components for the external envelope of a building is
mainly determined by the demands of architecture and building physics. As the building
envelope is in this case not a homogeneous surface, but rather an assembly of individual
101 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.96 Precast concrete column
complete with precast concrete foundation
(contractor: Bachl)
Fig. 2.97 Column base detail for system
shown in Fig. 2.88 [91]
elements, great attention must be paid to the appearance, functions and constructional as-
pects of the joints and fixings. Facades made up of precast concrete elements are dealt
with in general in [7, 111, 112, 134]; more recent architectural developments are pre-
sented in [9], for example.
After many years of steel-and-glass architecture, we are now witnessing a revival of ar-
chitectural facades. The precast concrete elements used in contrast to conventional
concrete facades are required exclusively for appearance purposes and reveal the di-
verse design options available with precast concrete. Another interesting development
is the use of building envelopes made from small-format, thin facade panels of glass fi-
bre-reinforced high-strength concrete.
This section will first deal with conventional facades made from precast concrete ele-
ments, the requirements they must satisfy and the details, before taking a look at new ar-
chitectural developments.
2.4.1 Environmental influences and the requirements of building physics
The external climatic influences that affect facades are, first and foremost, solar radiation
and rain together with wind pressure and outside temperatures. Facing these on the inside
are room temperatures, the humidity of the interior air and water vapour pressure (Fig.
2.98). So in order to repel or attenuate these various influences, a facade must therefore
function as reflective layer, rain screen, airtight membrane, thermal insulation, thermal
mass, surface condensation absorber and vapour barrier all at the same time [113, 135].
With the exception of thermal insulation, concrete is an ideal material for satisfying all
these requirements. Furthermore, concrete facades are good for sound insulation and
fire protection, too, and their high strength can be exploited for loadbearing purposes.
Factory production in particular offers further options that enable concrete to be con-
structed in virtually any shape, with a huge variety of surface finishes and colours, possi-
102 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.98 Climate factors and wall functions [113]
bly also with facing leaves of brickwork, stone or metal. So with all these advantages it is
not surprising that precast concrete facades are used not only on precast concrete build-
ings, but also to clad in situ concrete and structural steelwork as well.
Concrete facades are normally found in the form of three-ply sandwich panels, with fa-
cing leaf, thermal insulation core and loadbearing leaf, which are manufactured in one op-
eration and erected as complete units (Fig. 2.99a). The layer of thermal insulation, usually
made from PS or PU rigid foam boards, should preferably be positioned closer to the
outer side of the wall panel. Conventional precast concrete sandwich panels with the layer
of insulation concealed behind render (Fig. 2.99b), or a central layer of insulation and thin
concrete facing leaf (Fig. 2.99a), or a rendered, single-leaf facade of dense lightweight
concrete (Fig. 2.99d) represent good solutions for everyday room temperatures of 19
22 hC and interior humidities of 5060 % (i.e. in office and residential buildings, includ-
ing kitchens, bathrooms, etc.) and at the same time comply with the minimum thermal re-
sistance requirements with respect to vapour diffusion. A vapour barrier is unnecessary
with such forms of construction. The building physics requirements of buildings with
specific requirements (cold stores, swimming pools, etc.) must be given special consid-
eration. The diffusion behaviour of the wall construction must be checked for the winter-
time thermal performance (Fig. 2.100).
By contrast, concrete walls with internal thermal insulation (Fig. 2.99c) and a lining of
plasterboard are generally insufficient because condensation collecting on the cold inter-
nal surface is excessive and therefore cannot dry out properly. Avapour barrier (e.g. alu-
minium foil) on the inside of the thermal insulation, i.e. between insulation and lining, is
essential in such situations. Such a vapour barrier may also be necessary in conjunction
with a thick facing leaf.
The vapour diffusion can be improved by employing a facade with a ventilation cavity,
i.e. an air space between facing leaf and thermal insulation (Fig. 2.99e), instead of a sand-
wich construction. This cavity, which should be at least 4 cm wide, allows water vapour
to escape to the outside air. This form of construction permits the use of a much denser
facing leaf, e.g. ceramic tiles, even sheet metal.
103 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.99 Types of fac ade configuration
If, for example, for production reasons, sheeting is required adjacent to the thermal insu-
lation in order to contain, for example, mineral fibre insulation, then this may only be
placed on the warm side of the layer of thermal insulation. Whether the more expensive
mineral fibre insulation needs to be used for the thermal insulation at all is another matter,
however. Polystyrene is less expensive, easy to work and also unaffected by water, but it
is combustible. An incombustible material is therefore required around windows to pre-
vent the spread of fire. As a rule, edges must be finished with an incombustible thermal
insulation material or a fire stop detail.
The acoustic behaviour of concrete facades is essentially governed by the windows and
not by the precast concrete elements themselves. This aspect will not be looked at further
2.4.2 Fac ade design
Apart from performing the building physics functions, a facade must also frame the win-
dows. Fig. 2.101 shows basic forms for the segmentation of a facade for windows and
joints. The simple horizontal ribbon facade can be varied in different ways (Fig. 2.101,
left). The fenestrate facade is the typical form for large-panel construction. However,
the loadbearing facade extending the full height of the building is seldom encountered
in Germany, in contrast to the USA, which means that German architects have not yet
fully explored the possibilities of this type of facade (Fig. 2.102).
Facade panels can be supported on the edges of floor slabs, or in the form of an L-shaped
loadbearing panel can themselves span from column to column and support the floor
slabs, or in the form of a loadbearing wall with internal corbels form the loadbearing
structure of the external wall. The facade shown in Fig. 2.103a is a horizontal ribbon
type with window mullions but no joint intersections. Here, the continuous loadbearing
columns at the same time serve as facade design elements and the spandrel panels span-
104 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.100 Temperature and pressure gradients plus the zones of usable thermal mass
depending on the position of the layer of thermal insulation [116]
ning between these are in the form of loadbearing L-beams with thermal insulation at-
tached at the precasting plant. The facing leaf to the spandrel panels was mounted later
(see also Figs 2.116 and 2.125). Joint intersections are likewise absent from the facade
shown in Fig. 2.103b. Fig. 2.103c shows a horizontal ribbon facade that incorporates ex-
ternal fire escape balconies.
In the USA, loadbearing facades that extend the full height of the building are especially
popular for buildings up to three storeys high, likewise wide, storey-high loadbearing pa-
nels for multi-storey buildings. The reinforcement required just for demoulding, transport
and erection is in most cases perfectly adequate for loadbearing purposes. Production,
transport and erection limitations restrict multi-storey wall panels to a height of about
1214 m. Buildings with loadbearing facades up to 20 storeys high have been built in
the USA [119].
105 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.101 Segmentation of fac ades for windows and joints
Fig. 2.102 Loadbearing fac ades [119]
106 2 Design of precast concrete structures
(a) Zu blin-House, Stuttgart (architect: Bo hm)
(b) Publicitas office building, St. Gallen
(architects: Danzeisen/Voser/Forrer)
(c) DYWIDAGoffice building, Munich
(architects: Ba tge &Stahlmecke)
Fig. 2.103 Various fac ade configurations
Two-storey-high loadbearing facade panels were used for a 12-storey hospital in Chi-
cago, with adjacent panels offset by one storey in order to avoid continuous horizontal
joints. Loadbearing facades are particularly economic when they can also provide build-
ing stability functions and strengthening ribs fit into the architectural concept. However,
the thermal insulation to a loadbearing facade usually has to be attached on the inside,
with the associated disadvantages.
It is always more sensible to position the loadbearing structure within the thermal insula-
tion of the building envelope (see Fig. 2.104 and [120]). It should be remembered here
that the windows must be attached to the loadbearing structure, or the loadbearing leaf
of the sandwich panel, and not to the facing leaf, which is subjected to deformations.
Only in the case of fenestrate facades can windows also be attached to the facing leaf.
Waterproof seals and avoiding thermal bridges around windows are aspects that must
be given due attention.
One area that is still severely neglected is the design of precast concrete facades with re-
spect to their weathering and ageing behaviour. Many sins were committed in the past
which have given precast concrete construction a poor reputation. This can certainly be
attributed to German architects poor acceptance of construction with concrete facades,
in contrast to their colleagues in the USA, for instance. This leads to the numerous design
options not being recognised and therefore not being included in university curricula. It is
obvious that, as with stone facades, we cannot prevent the weather from having an effect
on the surface. And the weathering effects are similar to those of stone or brick buildings.
107 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.104 Sandwich panels: position of thermal
insulation at columns
However, the accumulation of dust and dirt is normally less visible on the small-format
patterns of bricks or stones than on the much larger and often smooth surfaces of concrete
facades [119].
Therefore, the aim should be to achieve a dignified ageing a skill of the master-
builders of the Middle Ages through the choice of the right facade structure, segmenta-
tion and detailing. Soiling is unavoidable and regular cleaning is expensive. So we should
be aiming at achieving uniform soiling that possibly and hopefully underscores the struc-
ture of the facade. We then speak of a patina. To achieve this, we must consider the poten-
tial water run-off for the facade (Fig. 2.105) [121]. Water run-off is almost always the sole
cause of objectionable soiling. The water must therefore always be channelled or ca-
mouflaged by the structuring of the surface. Water should never be allowed to remain
on concrete surfaces; adequate falls must always be included so that the water can drain
away. The quantity of rainwater, its velocity and its angle of incidence are different on
each side of a building, and also vary over the height of the building. So, as with other
structures, we cannot expect all parts of the building to exhibit the same degree of ageing.
When considering the construction details, we must pay special attention to sloping sur-
faces, projections, rainwater drips, parapets, eaves and verges, also surface textures and
colours, window openings and joints.
Glass in particular should be protected against water draining from concrete surfaces. The
ensuing hydroxides (alkalis with high pH value) can etch glass in air. Rainwater drips ac-
cording to Fig. 2.106 must be incorporated into facing leaves at horizontal or low-pitch
window head details. Facades with a sufficiently coarse surface texture and glass surfaces
set back deep within the facade structure generally exhibit uniform soiling.
Flat roofs require parapets with a minimum overhang to prevent wind driving rainwater
over the roof and onto the facade. The top edge of a parapet must fall back towards the
roof and must be finished with a sheet metal capping that projects min. 15 mm beyond
the facade to form a rainwater drip. The joints in the sheet metal capping should always
108 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.105 Uniform soiling
remains acceptable; it under-
scores the structure of the fa-
c ade or coincides with the
existing shadows [121]
coincide with the real or dummy joints in the parapet elements in order to avoid ugly
streaks on the concrete facade.
The surface finish is important for the ageing behaviour as well as the initial appearance.
Smooth concrete surfaces are harsh and unsightly, and quickly develop streaks during
rainfall. Although more dust and dirt can collect on exposed aggregate surfaces, their ap-
pearance nevertheless remains acceptable. The grains of aggregate interrupt and distri-
bute the run-off water and therefore prevent unattractive streaks. Vertical ribs in the sur-
face structure help to ensure a controlled, vertical water run-off and prevent uncontrolled,
sideways distribution. Dust and dirt collect in the grooves between the ribs and thus em-
phasize the ribbed structure (Figs 2.107 to 2.109).
All these surface designs should of course consider the requirements of production in or-
der to guarantee an economic facade.
109 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.106 Rainwater drip detail at window head
Fig. 2.107 Office building in Munich (Hinteregger)
110 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.108 Office building in Munich (Held + Franke)
Fig. 2.109 Office building in Rijswijk, Netherlands (HIBE)
Here again, the maximum permissible transport dimensions and erection weights should
be exploited to the full. The smaller the elements, the greater their number, which in turn
results in more operations during loading/unloading and erection, more fixing points and
more joints, and hence higher costs. If the architecture requires the scale of large facade
elements to be reduced, then the answer is to include dummy joints (Fig. 2.110).
Economic production is achieved by being able to remove facade elements from rigid
moulds, which means a min. 1:10 taper on all edges and openings. This taper should be
increased to min. 1:5 in the case of several openings per element or ribbed panels. All ar-
rises in contact with the mould should be chamfered. Likewise, the transition from rib to
main body of panel should be rounded if at all possible in order to prevent cracking (Fig.
111 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.110 University of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(a) Erecting a fac ade panel
(b) Institute building
(c) Casting a fac ade panel in a rigid mould
2.4.3 Joint design
The joints between the facade elements represent an intrinsic part of the entire building
envelope (see also [122125] and FDB leaflet No. 3 on the design of precast concrete fa-
cades available in German only).
The joints are the weakest link with respect to the waterproofing and airtightness of the
whole wall. Their simple design and construction is therefore critical for production
and erection. Joint widths should not be chosen merely from the point of view of their ap-
pearance, but rather designed to suit the size of the element, the manufacturing tolerances,
the jointing materials and the flanks of the joints.
It is not advisable to reduce the sizes of elements in order to reduce movements at joints.
On the contrary, it is better to plan for as few joints as possible because this approach is
certainly more economic, also with respect to the cost of maintenance.
Joint waterproofing must satisfy the following requirements [122]:
The joint detail must be able to accommodate all movements resulting from tempera-
ture and moisture fluctuations, possibly also settlement, without damage.
The joint waterproofing must satisfy the building physics requirements with respect to
thermal insulation, sound insulation, moisture control and fire protection (DIN 4108,
DIN 4109, DIN 4102).
The joints must be able to compensate for production and erection tolerances.
It must be possible to install the joint waterproofing irrespective of the weather condi-
The joint waterproofing must be permanent.
The joint must satisfy architectural and economic demands.
Movements due to temperature and moisture fluctuations amounting to approx. 1 mm/m
wall length can be expected for concrete facades.
We generally distinguish between four methods of waterproofing the joints in concrete
112 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.111 Fac ade element details
a) Joint waterproofing with elastic sealing compounds (e.g. Thiokol) to DIN 18540
(Fig. 2.112)
Sizing joint widths for joints with sealing compounds is carried out taking into account
the fact that the sealing compounds may not be overstretched, i.e. Db/b I25 %. The table
in Fig. 2.112 lists the nominal values for planning purposes and the minimum joint widths
in the finished structure according to DIN 18540.
Such joints can be used virtually anywhere and do not place any particular demands on
the wall construction. However, they are sensitive to large tolerances, they can only be in-
stalled at certain outside temperatures (5 hC I T I 40 hC, dry wall edges), which makes
them unsuitable for the countries of the Middle East, for example, and their durability is
limited. Fig. 2.113 shows joints between sandwich panels. The horizontal joint in the
loadbearing leaf of the panels is filled with cement mortar. The outer sealing compound
is installed on a closed-pore foam strip which is inserted first.
b) Drained joints
In this type of joint the sealing function is essentially achieved by the shape of the wall
panel edges. The horizontal joint is in the form of a threshold that is high enough to
act as a barrier against driving rain, i.e. preventing wind forcing the rain beyond the
higher part of the joint. This results in a minimum threshold height of 10 cm for the high-
est moisture load group to DIN 4108-3 (which applies in coastal regions and the foothills
113 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.112 Recommended values for designing the joint width and permissible
minimum joint widths for buildings according to DIN 18540 Table 2
of the Alps, also to high-rise buildings), in all other cases min. 8 cm. The joint should be
1.01.5 cm wide and the angle of the front face of the threshold should be i60h, prefer-
ably 90h. In addition, the joint should be made windproof by inserting a mineral wool
rope or mortar packing between the wall panels.
The vertical joint is in the form of a pressure-equalising (i.e. ventilated) joint, as shown in
Fig. 2.114. PVC channels are cast into the concrete wall panels into which a baffle is in-
serted during erection to form a barrier against the rain. The cast-in channels serve simul-
taneously as pressure equalisation spaces in which rainwater can collect and drain down-
wards, escaping safely to the outside at the next horizontal joint. Awind barrier according
to Fig. 2.114 is necessary where the joint passes through the entire wall construction, also
through the loadbearing leaf.
Drained joints of the type described above are generally unaffected by tolerances and un-
foreseen joint movements as a result of settlement or even earthquakes.
Such joints can be completed irrespective of the weather conditions. Baffles are durable
and can also be obtained in any RAL colour provided the order is large enough. Fig.
2.116 shows quite clearly how a prudent architectural design with half-round strengthen-
ing sections at the edges of the elements create space for the inclusion of a groove into
which a baffle can be inserted [126].
114 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.113 Joints in sandwich panel
walls filled with permanently elastic sealing
Fig. 2.114 Drained joint: with step in horizontal
joint and sealing strip inserted into vertical joint
c) Waterproofing with adhesive strips (Fig. 2.115)
Recent years have seen the development of joint waterproofing in which the joint is cov-
ered with elastomeric strips made from polysulphide, polyurethane or silicone. Firstly, a
sealing compound made from the same material as the sealing strip is sprayed on the
flanks of the joint. The sealing strips are subsequently pressed into the compound, prefer-
ably forming the strip material into a slight loop while doing so. The advantage of form-
ing a loop is that movements of the joint flanks as a result of temperature fluctuations do
not subject either the sealing strip or the adhesive compound to tension or shear. With
jointing materials chosen to match the colour of the rest of the facade, this type of joint
also complies with aesthetic demands.
115 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.115 Joint sealed by bonding loop of
elastomeric sealing material to both sides of joint
Fig. 2.116 Fac ade intersection sealed with preformed profiles on Zu blin House
d) Joint waterproofing with precompressed sealing strips (DIN 18542:2009) (Fig. 2.117)
This type of waterproofing involves bonding a precompressed sealing strip made from
impregnated polyurethane foam to one side of a joint before erecting the next panel, or in-
serting it into the finished joint afterwards. The precompression is subsequently relieved
and the strip seals the joint, within given tolerances. The effect is therefore not chemical,
but rather purely physical. Relieving the precompression takes place faster in warm
weather and correspondingly slower in cold weather.
2.4.4 Fac ade fixings
When it comes to facade fixings ([127] and [128], FDB leaflet No. 4 covering fixing
methods for precast concrete facades available in German only) we make a distinction
between the following two functions:
Retaining anchors as ties between the inner and outer leaves of sandwich panels or fa-
cades with cavities
Fixings as connectors between the facade elements and the buildings loadbearing
The materials for these two types of fixing must comply with very high specifications (see
also FDB leaflet No. 2 covering corrosion protection of inaccessible steel connectors for
precast concrete elements available in German only) because facades with defective fix-
ings represent a considerable risk to the public. The majority of the parts of facade fixings
are inaccessible for maintenance and repairs after erecting the facade, at best only with
great effort and at great cost.
As already mentioned, all components used in the building envelope are directly exposed
to the weather and temperature changes. Those are the reasons for the main demands
placed on facade fixings: they must be made from a permanently corrosion-resistant ma-
terial and designed in such a way that they can accommodate temperature-induced struc-
tural movements without fatigue.
116 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.117 Joint sealed with precompressed
sealing strip (illmod system)
Stainless steel with special properties is compulsory for facade fixings outside of the
loadbearing leaf with its insulating and waterproofing functions. Only steel grades
1.4401 and 1.4571 to DIN EN ISO 10088 und DIN EN ISO 3506 may be used (see also
DIBt Approval Z 30.3- 6 covering fasteners and components made from stainless steels).
Stainless steels with the well-known manufacturers designation V2A do not comply with
this requirement only V4A steels. Type-tested fixings always consist of steels ap-
proved for anchorages in reinforced concrete construction. Always adhere to the infor-
mation given in the respective approvals when designing and machining stainless steels
because these sometimes differ considerably from normal structural steels. Retaining anchors for sandwich fac ade panels
The function of the retaining anchors is to tie together the three layers of the sandwich pa-
nel and in doing so carry all the forces that occur. These forces occur as a result of the self-
weight of the panel (which can act differently in every position from demoulding to erec-
tion), changes in length and deformations due to temperature changes, and finally the
pressure and suction effects of the wind. Fig. 2.118 shows the basic layout that should
be used for retaining anchors. According to this, one support anchor is positioned as close
as possible to the panels centre of gravity and the nail-type retaining anchors are distrib-
uted over the rest of the area, acting as spacers and accommodating deformations through
their elastic bending capacity.
A huge range of retaining anchor systems are available on the market (Fig. 2.119), for
which the results of type testing are generally available. The self-weight of the facing
leaf is applied to the loadbearing leaf with an eccentricity and where there is a ventila-
tion cavity the eccentricity is increased by the width of that cavity (generally 4 cm). With
certain fixing systems it is important to take into account the fact that when demoulding
the facade panel, the self-weight can act on the fixings at an angle that is 90h to that of
the final condition and they may have to carry additional adhesive stresses. Special fix-
ings to cope with this may be necessary in some cases. Eccentricities within the plane
117 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.118 Schematic layout for retaining
anchors [122]
Fig. 2.119 Support anchor principles of
various manufacturers
of the facing leaf should be avoided wherever possible. Torsion anchors are generally re-
quired where unintentional eccentricities due to inaccuracies, openings or erection loads
must be accommodated. Wind loads on type-tested retaining anchors are generally based
on DIN 1055- 4; the new 2005 edition with its higher suction coefficients for the corners
of buildings should be consulted. Special investigations are usually required when facing
leaves cantilever beyond the loadbearing leaf.
Uniform temperature deformations cause bending moments in the retaining anchors. Ac-
cording to DIN 18515 Cladding for external walls, a temperature difference of e50 K
should normally be allowed for.
Where a facing leaf passes around a corner of the building, then a suitable gap should be
left during production to permit the facing leaf to deform without restraint (Fig. 2.120).
Such a gap is unnecessary with short corner cladding panels whose movement fulcrum
is at the corner.
The temperature gradient DT through the thickness of the facing leaf, which can occur
several times each day, causes curvature (Fig. 2.121) and consequently tensile or com-
pressive forces in the retaining anchors which increase with the thickness of the facing
leaf. Facing leaves should therefore be no thicker than 810 cm, with the larger figure ap-
plying to profiled facades in exposed aggregate concrete. The temperature gradient is
greater in facades with a ventilation cavity because there is no helpful build-up of heat
in front of the layer of insulation as is the case with sandwich panels. Additional calcula-
tions will be necessary if it is not possible to achieve a minimum-restraint anchorage with
a four-point retaining anchor system [129131].
118 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.120 Corner details for sandwich panels
The reinforcement in the facing leaf generally consists of one layer of minimum reinfor-
cement, but additional reinforcement is generally necessary in the vicinity of the support
anchor. Additional reinforcing bars are recommended around the perimeter and around
window openings in order to control cracking [122]. Including an additional bar at 45h
at each window corner to control cracking is usually not possible because a concrete
cover of 3.5 cm to the outside should be regarded as the minimum. The retaining anchors,
generally round steel dowels, should be distributed as evenly as possible over the surface,
preferably on a square grid. Additional anchors along the edges may be necessary to cope
with demoulding. However, providing more anchors than is absolutely necessary should
be avoided because they have a negative effect on the thermal resistance [132].
A suitable concrete mix and a low-shrink concrete are important considerations for the
production of facade panels. Adequate curing is important for any facing leaf that projects
beyond the loadbearing leaf and is therefore exposed on both sides (see section 4.3.1).
Facing leaves with smooth surfaces should be limited to a length of 56 m, indeed
3.50 m is recommended in [120]. Somewhat longer lengths are sometimes possible
with heavily structured surfaces where smaller, less visible cracks are acceptable or de-
fined cracking points are created by including dummy joints. Facing leaves suspended
free from restraint in front of a ventilation cavity can be built with longer lengths without
joints than is the case for the facing leaves of sandwich panels.
Aventilation cavity can be created with the help of special 40 mm thick studded sheets or
by installing polystyrene blocks (approx. 4 pcs./m
). Timber wedges, which are removed
again after demoulding, are used where larger quantities are being produced (Fig. 2.122)
[127]. Ref. [133] the use of sand fillings to create an air space. Fixing fac ade panels
The fixings for the loadbearing leaves of facade and spandrel panels must be designed for
the dead loads, possibly with surcharges in seismic zones, and for wind pressure and suc-
tion. Special attention must be paid to forces due to constrained shrinkage and, possibly,
friction forces due to disparate movements between facade and structure.
Facade panels are either supported from below or suspended from above (Figs 2.123 and
2.126). In both cases they then only require to be held at the sides. The overturning mo-
ment must be taken into account in the case of an eccentric support, e.g. on corbels or
boots. When panels are supported from below, the loads of any panels above may also
need to be considered, whereas when suspended from above, the reinforcement must be
119 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.121 Deformation of unrestrained
facing leaf as a result of DT [122]
designed to carry self-weight at least. In doing so, however, the cracking load of the con-
crete should never be exceeded.
Fixings must be able to accommodate erection tolerances of min. e2.5 cm. They should
be designed in such a way that erection ties up the crane for only a short time and the final
alignment and tightening can be carried out once the panel has been detached from the
crane hook. Erection personnel should not need any special scaffolding and should not
120 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.122 Precasting a facing leaf with ventilation cavity (Frimeda)
be exposed to any unnecessary risks during the positioning and fixing. Fasteners with
adequate protection against corrosion are essential (see FDB leaflet No. 2 covering corro-
sion protection of inaccessible steel connectors for precast concrete elements available
in German only).
A multitude of fixings for facade panels is available on the market. It is possible to distin-
guish between certain basic types depending on their configuration and method of carry-
ing the forces. However, each type has its own particular merits and demerits [133]:
1. Connections using cast-in reinforcement, where the facade is connected monolithi-
cally to the floor slab (Fig. 2.124).
Advantages: large tolerance adjustment options, good protection against corrosion,
good fire resistance, economical production.
Disadvantages: a temporary retaining fixing is required during erection which can in
turn have a serious negative effect on the overall economy.
2. Welded connections
Advantages: very easy to adjust on site.
Disadvantages: no chance for facade to deform with respect to loadbearing structure,
risk of cracking in the vicinity of the welds, trained welders needed on the building
site at the right time, problem of designing the connection to achieve an adequate
fire resistance, ties up the crane for a long time during erection.
3. Boots and corbels
Continuous boots (Fig. 2.123a) or individual corbels (Fig. 2.125). Special shims are
necessary when the expected movements are large. Fixing is achieved mostly by
way of cast-in dowels that are inserted through the boot/corbel and subsequently
121 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.123 Fac ade fixings:
(a) Fac ade suspended from above
(b) Loadbearing leaf supported from below
grouted; a plastic sleeve can help to achieve a certain degree of horizontal deforma-
tion. Boots/corbels can be positioned at the top or the bottom. They can also be in
the form of cast-in steel sections.
Advantages: easy and quick form of connection, possibility of later adjustability with-
out the need to hire expensive cranes, good corrosion protection and adequate fire re-
sistance, limited tolerance accommodation, but this can be doubled if merely a hole for
122 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.124 Fac ade held in place with cast-in reinforcement: (a) offices and retail building, Stuttgart
(contractor: Zu blin), (b) detail of fac ade fixing with cast-in reinforcement
Fig. 2.125 Fac ade panels suspended
from separate corbels (Zu blin House)
(1) Fac ade column (2) Internal column
(3) Spandrel panel facing leaf
(4) L-beam with thermal insulation
(5) Thermal insulation to column
(6) Inverted channel section floor unit
(7) Precast concrete plank
(8) Preformed joint sealing strip
(9) In situ concrete
the dowel is initially left in the floor slab construction and the dowel subsequently in-
serted through the holes in both panel and slab and then grouted in place.
Disadvantages: creation of a thermal bridge at the boot/corbel, certain difficulties in
ensuring adequate deformation possibilities.
4. Suspension anchors
The above connections all have one disadvantage in common: it is difficult for them to
accommodate shrinkage and temperature changes without causing restraint forces. To
overcome this, they are therefore fitted only in loadbearing leaves in thermally insu-
lated parts of the structure. Zero-restraint support for a facing leaf in front of a ventila-
tion cavity can only be achieved with articulated suspension anchors (Fig. 2.127).
Advantages: small thermal bridge, flat facade panels with no protruding corbels/boots are
better for storage and transport, easy to adjust for tolerances, good for suspended facades
with ventilation cavities, can be subsequently secured with anchors, adjustable in all three
Disadvantages: relatively expensive forms of construction using stainless steel, difficult
to obtain adequate fire protection.
123 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.126 Fac ades supported on column corbels
(Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V.)
124 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.127 Fac ade panels fixed with suspension anchors:
(a) University of Tu bingen (contractor: Zu blin),
(b) fac ade details
2.4.5 Architectural fac ades Decorative fac ades employing precast concrete elements
An artistic facade architecture using precast concrete elements has become established in
recent years. Only in some cases do these facades perform a loadbearing function. In
many cases it is the architecture of the building that is of primary importance. The diverse
architectural options of concrete as a building material plus the advantages of factory pro-
duction, e.g. excellent quality, are exploited in this development. The architectural and
functional options are to be found in the
almost unlimited mouldability of concrete,
the different colours possible with concrete,
the load-carrying capacity of concrete, and
the high weathering resistance of high-strength concrete.
The development of high-strength and self-compacting concretes create the opportunities
for good durability and excellent surface finishes that can only be properly implemented
in conjunction with factory production.
Three up-to-date examples of such facades are shown below. The construction details are
essentially in line with the aforementioned boundary conditions and are therefore not ex-
plored in detail. The aim here is only to outline the particular features.
Phaeno Science Centre, Wolfsburg [136] (Fig. 2.128)
Large areas of the facade were constructed from precast concrete elements mounted on a
structural steel frame. The main reason for the use of precast concrete elements was the
demanding surface finish specification. Thermal insulation, a vapour barrier and a plas-
terboard lining were attached to the inside of each precast concrete element. Batch pro-
duction, actually one of the great benefits of precast concrete elements, was irrelevant
on this project. Each one of the 39 elements, which weigh up to 10 t, is unique.
Laboratory building, University of Wageningen [137] (Fig. 2.129)
Unlike the Phaeno facade above, the honeycomb-like facade of this building is not only
structural, but was also designed with the production requirements of precast concrete
elements in mind. The standardised precast concrete components give the building a dis-
tinctive look and carry the loads of the floors via anchor plates and steel beams. The floor
beams are thermally insulated to prevent thermal bridges. Besides the high repetition rate,
the cross-sections taper towards the outside so that it was easier to remove them from the
moulds without the need for dropside panels. The titanium dioxide mixed into the white,
self-compacting concrete of grade B65 is intended to create a self-cleaning effect and thus
avoid unsightly streaks and dirty edges. The expansion joints for the facade are located at
the corners of the building.
125 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Community centre in Mannheim-Neuhermsheim [138] (Fig. 2.130)
Single-storey precast concrete elements form the facade to this community centre. They
carry the roof loads and the wide gap between the concrete and the thermal break glass
facade creates a covered walkway around the building. The junction between facade and
roof is suitably thermally insulated (Fig. 2.130b). The precast concrete elements of the
apparently random facade were actually produced using just two basic moulds. The irre-
gular arrangement was created by turning some elements upside down and employing an
irregular spacing. Fac ade panels made from high-strength and glass fibre-reinforced
More recent developments concerning thin facade panels can be broken down into
facade panels made from ultra-high performance concrete, and
facade panels made from textile-reinforced high-strength fine-grained concrete.
Actually, facade panels made from ultra-high performance concrete should be classed as
ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) panels because it is not so much their high com-
pressive strength that makes them worthwhile, but rather their excellent durability with
respect to environmental influences. This material is not yet approved for general use in
126 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.128 Erecting a cranked fac ade element
(Phaeno, Wolfsburg; architect: Zaha M. Hadid)
Fig. 2.129 Honeycomb-type fac ade to la-
boratory building at University of Wageningen,
Netherlands (architect: Rafael Vinoly)
Germany and can only be used in conjunction with an Individual Approval for a particu-
lar project. Anumber of projects have already been completed in France, however: facade
panels with an area of up to 4.40 m
and a thickness of just 20 mm were used for the
Rhodia companys development centre in Aubervilliers (Fig. 2.131a), and the facade of
the RATP bus depot (Fig. 2.131b) has a surface finish reminiscent of LEGO bricks!
The elements of this latter facade are 30 mm thick.
Facade panels with glass fibre textile reinforcement and made from high-strength fine-
grained concrete evolved out of research into building with textile-reinforced concrete
(TRC). Developed in the 1990s, the principles for its loadbearing behaviour and design
are now available, which means that further applications are now possible. Ref. [139]
provides an insight into the technology of textile-reinforced facades (Fig. 2.134).
The textiles are produced from engineered high-performance fibres and materials such as
alkali-resistant (AR) glass, carbon or plastics. The individual fibres are called filaments
and have diameters from about 10 to 30 mm. During production, hundreds or thousands
of these filaments are bundled together to form so-called filament yarns. Engineering tex-
127 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.130 Precast concrete fac ade to community
centre in Mannheim-Neuhermsheim (architects:
netzwerkarchitekten; precast concrete contractor:
Hering Bau)
tiles, in the form of knitted or woven fabrics, are then manufactured from these yarns (Fig.
The production costs are still higher than those of conventionally reinforced concrete but
the AR glass fibres represent the most economic alternative in this respect. The main ad-
vantage of TRC facade panels is certainly their thinness, brought about by the fact that
there is no steel reinforcement requiring a certain concrete cover in order to guarantee
protection against corrosion. The panels, which can be produced in thicknesses between
15 and 30 mm, are very low in weight, which in turn leads to savings in fixings. In parti-
cular, the thick layers of thermal insulation called for these days place substantial loads on
anchor systems because of the greater eccentricity of the facing leaves or suspended fa-
cade panels.
The fine-grained concrete mixes used, with maximum aggregate sizes of 12 mm, enable
not only the production of high-quality fair-face concrete surfaces, but also keen-edged
128 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.131 Fac ade panels made from ultra-high
performance concrete: (a) Rhodia development
centre, Aubervilliers, France; architect: JF
Denner; (b) RATP bus depot, Thiasis, France;
architect: ECDM Emmanuel Combard Domini-
que Marree
Fig. 2.132 Two-dimensional reinforcement as
knitted fabric [139]
parts and profiles that offer architects great design freedoms. The well-known surface
finishes and colours possible with conventional concrete can continue to be used. The re-
latively high rate of shrinkage must be taken into account for larger components and nar-
row joint widths.
It is possible to use TRC facade panels for both the facing leaves of sandwich elements
and for suspended facade panels. Both types have already been used in conjunction
with an Individual Approval on a building for RWTH Aachen University (Fig. 2.133).
A National Technical Approval has already been granted for TRC suspended facade pa-
nels [140]. One critical factor is certainly the fixing of these very thin concrete elements
just 20 mm! Special cast-in anchors are used [141]. These panels can be produced with
great accuracy up to sizes of 120 x 60 cm and require only very narrow joint widths of ap-
prox. 3 mm.
Ref. [142] describes an unusual use of textile-reinforced facade panels. In contrast to con-
ventional batch production, the outer envelope of a venue for events in Friedrichshafen
was designed to imitate a pebble (Fig. 2.135). Accordingly, a total of 124 elements in var-
129 2.4 Precast concrete fac ades
Fig. 2.133 Sandwich element (during concreting and as
finished component) [139]
Fig. 2.134 Fac ade made from
betoShellr panels from Hering
Bau [139]
Fig. 2.135 Front view of pebble-shaped venue for events
(contractors: Schmid, Baltringen, and Rudolph, Weiler-Simmerberg)
ious shades of anthracite and sizes up to 4.0 x 5.30 m were produced with a leaf thickness
of 25 mm. A full-scale model made from polystyrene foam served as the mould. These
parts, also manufactured and installed according to an Individual Approval, are con-
nected to the structural steelwork frame by means of cast-in steel parts.
The above examples show that research into new concretes and composite materials are
showing promising developments for facade construction which present an alternative
to steel-and-glass facades. The numerous architectural options are opening up a wide
range of creative opportunities for architects to continue designing new types of concrete
2.5 Connections
It is necessary to design connections so that the individual floor units, beams, columns
and wall or facade panels can be assembled to form the loadbearing structure. In doing
so, it is always vital to consider the needs of production and erection as well as the struc-
tural and constructional aspects. Apart from the architectural and building physics re-
quirements, all connections must also consider the routing of building services. In a frame
structure (Fig. 2.137) the beam/internal column connection is joined by the beam/peri-
meter column detail, and here the beams may be parallel with or at 90h to the facade.
And for the facade itself, it is also necessary to clarify the junctions with the internal
and external corner columns (Fig. 2.136).
Such connections can have a considerable effect on the entire frame system, especially
when the interior fitting-out grid is offset from the structural grid or when there are main-
tenance or fire escape balconies in front of the facade (Fig. 2.138). The aforementioned
connections must be designed for the standard floor, raised ground floor and roof. Interior
fitting-out details specific to buildings and single-storey sheds made from precast con-
crete elements can be found in [8].
Generally, only through teamwork is it possible to consider the diverse boundary condi-
tions so that an optimum design can be achieved with optimum economy. Such coopera-
tion between architect, engineer, building services consultant, precast concrete manufac-
turer and transport and erection contractors should take place as early as possible.
A number of examples of connections are shown on the following pages, some of which
are also shown in [6] (see also Fig. 2.148). For example, Fig. 2.139 shows a beam/internal
column connection with corbels on just two sides and various beam types.
As downstand beams are almost exclusively designed as single-span members with stati-
cally determinate support conditions, they require a correspondingly wide compression
zone. This advantage is offered by a beam in the form of an inverted channel section. An-
other advantage of such a beam is that its webs can pass either side of the column and thus
provide a zone for routing services (see Fig. 2.141). Furthermore, it can also cantilever
beyond the final column without the need for corbels on three sides of the column (see
Fig. 2.147). Inverted channel section beams with web ends that pass either side of the col-
umns cannot be lowered into position from above (with the beam horizontal) in the case
130 2 Design of precast concrete structures
131 2.5 Connections
Fig. 2.136 Extract from a catalogue for an industrialised building system (6M system, Zu blin) [97]
of multi-storey columns with corbels on the sides and so it is advisable to cut back the
flange to such an extent (Figs 2.139b and d) that the beam can be positioned horizontally
but at an angle between the columns and then twisted into position. If this is not possible,
then lowering from above with the beam hanging at an angle (i.e. with diagonal pull) will
be unavoidable.
Rectangular beams should be connected to the floor slab, e.g. composite plank floors, via
starter bars to form T-beams wherever possible.
A considerable structural depth will be required for the floor where there are many ser-
vices below the soffit, e.g. ventilation ducts in air-conditioned buildings. The most eco-
nomic solution in such a case is to support floor slabs and beams without notches (Fig.
2.140a). However, in buildings with only a few building services below the floor, notch-
ing the floor slabs and ends of beams is usually preferred in order to minimise the struc-
tural depth of the slab and hence the overall height of the storey (Fig. 2.140b). For in-
stance, double-T floor units can be notched over the full depth of their webs. Moreover,
the web ends of double-Tor inverted channel section floor units can be notched at an an-
gle to provide some space for routing services (Fig. 2.142). The reinforcement in such a
132 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.137 Connections in a frame system Fig. 2.138 Building corner detail with fire
escape balconies
Fig. 2.139 Internal column/beam connection details
133 2.5 Connections
a) Building with extensive services
b) Building with fewservices
Fig. 2.140 Floor designs and building services
case then continues upwards at an angle, following the flow of forces, and must be an-
chored accordingly (see section 2.6.2). Fig. 2.143 shows potential connections between
double-T floor units and various beams.
The following opening widths are necessary for services:
Gas 5 cm
Electrics 57 cm
Water 7.5 cm
Heating 15 cm
Drainage 2550 cm (1:50 to 1:100 fall)
Ventilation ducts 0.501.50 m
(4060 cm deep)
Fig. 2.145 illustrates the principles for positioning services with respect to the loadbear-
ing structure.
Openings in the floor slab, where they are not standard openings adjacent to columns, for
example, can be formed in the finished structural carcass by means of core drilling on site
(Fig. 2.144). Normally, such drilling should not be carried out before the positions are ap-
proved in writing by the structural engineer. Forming the openings at the precasting plant
134 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.141 Void for building services in
longitudinal direction of building
Fig. 2.142 Angled notches at ends of beams
for accommodating building services
Fig. 2.143 Junctions between double-T floor
units and beams
Fig. 2.144 Holes drilled through the 10 cm
thick flange of a double-T floor unit after erection
means that the large batches of floor units, or sometimes even beams, are disrupted. This
is less a problem for production, where it is easy to form such openings, but more a pro-
blem for the organisation and the technical operations. On the general arrangement draw-
ings such elements are only indicated by a different number; the openings are only shown
on the individual element drawings. In addition, elements with various openings must be
produced, stored and supplied at the same time as erection is taking place, which leads to
considerable organisational input.
Suspended ceilings are not required in housing and often not in office buildings with
naturally ventilated individual offices either. In such cases flat soffits are necessary,
which can be achieved with composite plank floors or hollow-core slabs. Junction boxes
for ceiling lights can be incorporated in the planks at the precasting works, although this
means that the connecting cables must be laid at the same time as placing the reinforce-
ment for the concrete topping.
Fig. 2.146 shows the connections between floor systems of conventionally reinforced
hollow-core slabs and downstand beams or walls. The voids in the slabs can also be
used for routing building services, and penetrations in the region of a void up to a width
or diameter of 15 cm are possible without additional structural measures.
Fig. 2.147 shows examples of different facade arrangements to accommodate heating
The connection details for Zublin House are shown in Fig. 2.149. In this building the fa-
cade is structural, i.e. the columns are simultaneously loadbearing and decorative ele-
ments. The composite plank floors are supported on L-shaped perimeter beams from
which the decorative facade panels were suspended in a separate operation. With this
type of design, the building physics requirements become a critical design factor for the
facade. The thermal insulation in the spandrel panels was attached to the outside of
135 2.5 Connections
Fig. 2.145 Potential solutions for positioning building services in and adjacent to loadbearing
136 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.146 Connection details for a
hollow-core slab
Fig. 2.147 Design examples for fac ade junctions (6M system, Zu blin)
137 2.5 Connections
Fig. 2.148 Connections (Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau e.V.)
each perimeter L-beam at the precasting plant, whereas it is positioned internally at the
columns (with suitable vapour barrier, see also Fig. 2.104) and was installed afterwards
on site. The remaining thermal bridge at the column corbel is in this case less of a problem
because this is an inward-facing corbel and does not result in a cooling rib effect as would
be the case with, for example, an outward-facing beam boot.
The composite plank floors in this building are supported on inverted channel section
units in the middle bay, which above the corridors provide space for the building services
(which are concealed behind a suspended ceiling). There are no suspended ceilings in the
offices of this building. The junction boxes for the surface-mounted luminaires were cast
in during production of the planks. All other electricity supplies are provided via conduits
below the window sills and switches were incorporated in the lightweight corridor walls
at the fitting-out stage. The constructional problems posed by connections are dealt with
in more detail in the next section.
138 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.149 Construction principles for Zu blin House [44]
2.6 Current design issues
2.6.1 Additions to cross-sections, floors with concrete topping
Rectangular beams are in many cases subsequently combined with the floor slab to create
T-beams (see, for example, Fig. 2.150). Likewise, prestressed double-T floor units are gi-
ven an approx. 7 cm deep concrete topping in order to achieve a flat floor surface.
DIN 1045-1:2001 [143] calls for a structural check to be carried out on all construction
joints, so-called shear joints. This applies to the joints between precast concrete beams
and in situ concrete as well as the planar joint between the floor units and the subsequent
in situ concrete topping. But the various changes to the standards in recent years have led
to uncertainties in practice [145]. The provisions given in DIN 1045-1:2001 and DIN
1045-1/A1:2008 will be outlined below in order to clarify the current design require-
ments. The analysis given in DIN 1045-1/A1 was altered substantially again in order to
make it similar to the method in EC 2. For further information please refer to [195, 197].
All methods of verifying the shear joint are based on a total of three loadbearing compo-
nents for transferring the shear action:
adhesion (bond)
friction (as a result of external axial stress)
reinforcement (shear-friction theory)
(see also Fig. 3.30, p. 203)
Moreover, there are further load-carrying mechanisms such as dowel action and the kink-
ing effect (diagonal tension effect) which, however, are not included in the analysis.
The adhesion component acts in the main before any cracks appear in the joint, whereas
the reinforcement only starts to carry most of the load as the cracks widen. Therefore,
DIN 1045-1:2001 assumes that only one of these two effects may be assumed in any par-
ticular case. Reinforcement is unnecessary when the shear force present does not exceed
the following value:
w[0,042 h
sm s
] b (20)
Here, only the actual joint between old and new concrete may be used for the joint width
(see Fig. 2.151b). As this adhesion component does not normally accommodate the shear
force present, especially for the shear action in the beam, the reinforcement required must
be calculated from the following:
cot u S cot a sin aSm s
b (21)
where the inclination of the strut should be assumed to be as follows:
1,0 J cot u J
1,2 m s1,4s
139 2.6 Current design issues
140 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.150 T-beam slab made
from precast concrete beams,
precast concrete planks and in
situ concrete topping
Fig. 2.151 Shear joint to DIN 1045-1: (a) with shear key (joggle or castellated joint),
(b) examples of definition of joint width, (c) shear force diagram showing joint reinforcement required,
(d) comparison of design results
The adhesion and friction coefficients plus the surface conditions should be taken from
section 10.3.6 of DIN 1045-1. In order to take into account the difficult conditions re-
garding the quality of the joint design, especially in the case of smooth joints, DIN
1045-1 limits the angle of the strut to 45h. If u i 45h, the joint is not permissible and
the design of the joint must be changed.
Similarly to EC 2, the simultaneous effect of all loadbearing components is assumed
when designing to DIN 1045-1/A1:2008 [145]. Removing the limit to the strut angle
means that now even smooth joints can be realised with appropriate reinforcement.
However, it should be pointed out that only a few test results are available for smooth
joints (and even fewer for very smooth joints), which means that the appropriate care
must be exercised with such joints [146].
The design value of the shear force acting at the interface between concrete topping and
precast concrete element is calculated as follows:

design shear force
cd w M
/z longitudinal force in flange cross-section under consideration
longitudinal force component in additional cross-section
z lever arm for internal forces
The design value for the admissible shear force
w h
sm s
b S v
Rdj, max
is made up of the following components:
Adhesion h
, with c
taken from Table 2.8 and the design value for the tensile
strength of the concrete f
w f
, where g
w 1.8 for unreinforced concrete;
the adhesion component may not be included if the joint is subjected to tension or if
dynamic loads are present.
Friction m s
, where m is the friction coefficient taken from Table 2.8 and s
is an
axial stress acting on the shear joint (pressure negative), although s
values i
0.6 f
may not be used.
Reinforcement according to the so-called shear-friction theory (see also Fig. 3.30).
This assumes that with a cracked joint and relative movement of the concrete parts,
the reinforcement across the joint is loaded in tension because of the roughness of
the joint. This gives rise to a compressive stress in the joint. Consequently, in principle
the reinforcement fulfils the same function as an external compressive stress applied
perpendicular to the joint surface. The dowel effect of the reinforcement is not consid-
ered here because it contributes relatively little to the shear capacity of such a joint.
141 2.6 Current design issues
w 1,2 m sin aScos a a
a angle of reinforcement crossing the joint
In order to avoid the failure of the inclined strut, the upper limit for the admissible shear
stress is given by the following equation:
Rdj, max
w0,5 n f
b (26)
However, this value, too, must be seen in the context of the roughness of the joint because
otherwise every joint, no matter how smooth, could be loaded up to the effective value of
the shear force provided adequate reinforcement was included.
According to DIN 1045-1/A1 section 10.3.6, shear joints are classified according to the
roughness of the contact surface as follows:
Very smooth contact surface of precast concrete cast against steel or smooth timber
Smooth surface trowelled or produced using slipforming or extrusion methods.
Rough surface roughened with a rake after concreting (3 mm tines at approx. 40 mm
spacing), or by exposing the aggregate, or by other methods that result in an adequate
loadbearing behaviour; see also DAfStb booklet 525 [147] (German only) for defini-
tions of surface roughness.
Shear key although this must be in the form as shown in Fig. 2.151a, or by using ag-
gregate of size d
j 16 mm and exposing it over a depth of at least 6 mm.
When casting an in situ concrete topping or concrete-filled joint, the surfaces must be free
from cement laitance, sawdust, ice and oil. Dry surfaces should also be avoided. The con-
sistency of the in situ concrete should be soft or fluid, and the concrete must be carefully
compacted. Table 2.8 lists the coefficients for adhesion, roughness and strut failure.
Fig. 2.151d compares the amount of shear reinforcement required and the maximum per-
missible shear force.
142 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Table 2.8 Coefficients for shear joint design to DIN 1045-1/A1
Line Column 1 2 3
Surface characteristics to 10.3.6(1) c
m n
1 shear key 0.50 0.9 0.70
2 rough 0.40 0.7 0.50
3 smooth 0.20 0.6 0.20
4 very smooth 0.00 0.5 0.00
In principle, a shear connection to ensure composite action can be realised by providing
steel reinforcement in the form of shear links, for example. However, special lattice
beams are generally used for planar-type shear joints, which owing to their particular
properties require a National Technical Approval (see also section 2.3).
When designing a lattice beam to function as reinforcement for composite action and
shear, it is important to take into account the fact that this is limited to the following shear
I0,30 V
Rd, max
Reinforcement in the form of shear links should be provided for at least 50 % of the shear
force in the case of greater loads.
Lattice beams alone can function as reinforcement ensuring composite action. Therefore,
there must be a distance of min. 2 cm between shear joint and top chord of lattice beam.
2.6.2 Corbels and notched beam ends
Corbels on columns or walls in conjunction with notched beam ends represent the most
common type of connection in precast concrete frame construction.
Column corbels, i.e. where the shear force is transferred directly downwards into the col-
umn via an inclined strut, are generally designed according to a diagonal strut model as
shown in Fig. 2.152.
Compared with a beam in bending, the corbel represents the special case of a very short
cantilever. Experimental studies [156] have shown that it is possible to carry a much
greater load than would be the case with a beam in bending. The reason for this is the di-
agonal strut leading directly into the supporting component, which is well restrained at
the base of the corbel. With standard geometries and proper reinforcement arrangements,
such a corbel will fail by first cracking at the internal corner between the corbel and the
column above, with a subsequent reduction in area of the strut at the junction with the col-
umn below until it fails completely.
The introduction of DIN 1045-1 in 2001 now means it is possible to design using linear
member models. Fig. 2.153 shows the mechanical diagonal strut model and the design
procedure. Examples can be found in [194] and [195].
The generalisation and simplification required for this type of model leads to a design that
lies on the safe side. Actually, studies [156] have revealed that the compression zone at
the bottom corner of the corbel reduces to a much greater degree than predicted by the
model. Therefore, the design according to Fig. 2.153 leads to an increase in the amount
of tension reinforcement required, especially in the case of stocky and heavily loaded cor-
bels (Fig. 2.155). The experiments of Steinle [158] have shown that an inner lever arm of
0.95 d is established upon failure as a result of the reduction in area of the compression
zone. For the design it should therefore be sufficiently accurate to assume an inner lever
arm z w 0.85 d and carry out the design of the upper tie using the following equation:
143 2.6 Current design issues
144 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.152 Flow of forces, diagonal strut
model and typical reinforcement arrange-
ments for corbels
Fig. 2.153 Design of corbels using the diagonal strut model [194] to DIN 1045-1:2001
0,85 d
F SHi0,5 F
If no sliding bearing has been specified, then a minimum horizontal force H w 0.20 F
should be assumed for the construction.
The lower limit of 0.5 F for the tensile force applies to deep wall corbels and in practice
represents limiting the angle u of the strut to 60h with respect to the horizontal. Very deep
corbels require main reinforcement not only near the top surface of the corbel.
Assuming the compressive stress is limited to s
J 1.0 f
, the design of the diagonal
struts in [156] leads to the definition of a minimum corbel depth as follows:
145 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.154 Determining the minimum
corbel depth (according to [156])
Fig. 2.155 Comparison of design approaches [156, 194196]
min d j
3,58 F
This value is not dependent on a
/h and is intended to apply as long as the design for bend-
ing of the cantilever does not require a greater depth. This limit lies at about a
/h w 1.1.
When a
/h i 1.1, the design can be carried out according to Fig. 2.153, although where
longer corbels are involved, there should be a direct transition to the design for bending
of the cantilever.
Far more important than determining the reinforcement exactly is, however, a properly
engineered, sensible corbel detail. The designer should always remember that owing to
the small dimensions of this component even small tolerances and deviations can in prac-
tice lead to considerable changes in the boundary conditions for the design. In principle,
the utilisation should therefore be limited, the reinforcement should not be skimped and
the planning and quality control work should be carried out carefully. The potential pro-
blems are totally disproportionate to the potential savings in reinforcement or concrete.
The following design criteria must be taken into account:
a) Specifying the corbel depth to limit the stresses
b) Specifying the corbel length to ensure adequate anchorage of the tension reinforcement
c) Combining the size of the bearing with the reinforcement layout
d) Detailed planning of the reinforcement layout (scale drawings)
The shear links in particular must be especially carefully planned. In principle, the shear
links prevent the premature failure of the strut by resisting the tensile splitting forces. In
the case of stocky corbels, horizontal shear links should be provided for a force of
w0,2 s0,5 F (29)
whereas it is the vertical shear links that become more and more critical as the slenderness
of the corbel increases. Fig. 2.156 shows a reinforcement proposal depending on the slen-
derness of the corbel.
The prerequisite for a well-functioning corbel is of course adequate anchorage for the ten-
sion reinforcement in the corbel. With large bar diameters this is best achieved by using a
welded anchor plate (see section 3.2.1) or a welded transverse bar. For in situ concrete
corbels it is recommended to specify a maximum concrete cover in addition to the usual
minimum concrete cover in order to comply with tolerances for the position of the tension
The following points are important if adequate anchorage is to be provided in the form of
horizontal loops (the end of the incoming beam should be considered similarly in this si-
tuation and a bearing pressure of s j 0.2f
is assumed).
146 2 Design of precast concrete structures
The loop (also known as a hairpin bar) should be overcompressed by the bearing pressure
so that the usual concrete cover at 90h to the plane of the loop is adequate. In that case a
loop diameter of d
(or a bending roller diameter d
in the case of link-type
bars, i.e. with a straight section between the two bends) is possible for bar diameters d
16 mm (or d
w 7d
for bar diameters d
j 20 mm).
The reinforcement in the (if necessary) notched end of the beam should be anchored be-
hind the front edge of the support. According to DIN 1045-1, the following applies:

j 6d
for link-type shear reinforcement (d
j 4d
j 0.3 a
j 10d
for loops (d
j 15d
w0.7 for link-type shear reinforcement (DIN 1045-1 Table 26) and a
w0.5 for loops
with d
br w 15d

according to DIN1045-1.
The shortest support length with l
b,dir w6d
is generally only possible when the reinforce-
ment provided is more than two to three times that actually required.
Similarly, the reinforcement in a column corbel must be anchored from the back edge of
the support forwards to the end of the corbel over a length of l
in the case of a constant
bearing pressure.
Consequently, this results in the minimum lengths for corbels and notched beam ends gi-
ven in Fig. 2.157. Here, the maximum possible tolerance between beam and column must
be taken into account for the dimension Dl. With sliding bearings the possible travel must
147 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.156 Recommended shear link reinforcement for corbels (according to [195])
also be included. In addition, it should be ensured that the bearing pad is so soft that any
unevenness in either contact surface is compensated for and the beam does not bear, for
example, solely on the back edge (which could be the case with a prestressed cambered
beam) or solely on the front edge of the support. In order to take into account non-uniform
bearing pressures, the bends in both loops (beam and corbel) should begin at least on the
axis of the bearing so that with the same loop diameter a complete circle is formed on plan
(Fig. 2.157). Furthermore, the edge of the bearing should terminate a distance equal to the
concrete cover dimension c
/2 back from the respective axis of the loop reinforcement:
not much more, so that the loop remains overcompressed, and not less, so that the two op-
posing loops always overlap sufficiently.
The minimum length of the corbel therefore depends on the required bearing length b
and the respective corbel or beam end clearances v and the maximum permissible toler-
ance Dl:
l wb
Dl (32)
148 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.157 Minimum corbel lengths for
s j 0,2 f
_ _
If the anchorage length l
is not adequate in this situation, the bearing length, and hence
the corbel length, must be increased accordingly. It is essential to note that the construc-
tion tolerances permissible for the positioning of the reinforcement and the bearing pad
and for the component dimensions tend to be used more or less to the full in practice.
Therefore, where (small) dimensions are fully exploited, adherence to the dimensions
should be guaranteed by quality control measures.
Similarly, the corbel width is the total of the required bearing width t
plus the extra width
on both sides
_ _
The reader should refer to section 2.6.5 for information on the size of corbels necessary to
meet fire resistance requirements.
More details about bearings can be found in section 3.1.2, and retrofitted corbels are dealt
with in section 3.2.6.
There are new developments regarding the optimisation of the reinforcement. In particu-
lar, the use of double-headed studs has alleviated the problem of anchoring the reinforce-
ment properly.
Double-headed studs (Fig. 2.158) enable the anchorage to be positioned exactly below
the bearing. An overdesign so that the anchorage length can be reduced is no longer ne-
cessary, and that usually means less reinforcement is required. Experimental studies
have verified the familiar failure through the reduction in the area of the compression
zone at the base of the corbel. The load-carrying capacity is therefore equivalent to that
of a corbel with conventional reinforcement. A National Technical Approval has already
been issued for one product [148].
One practical advantage of double-headed studs is that it is possible to increase the size of
the corbel at a later date. Such threaded studs also reduce the complexity of the moulds,
and providing a shear key means we can assume a monolithic joint between corbel and
column. The effective structural depth therefore begins at the lowest key within the depth
of the column.
Bracket solutions familiar in structural steelwork have appeared recently as corbels in
precast concrete structures (Fig. 2.159). The cast-in items fitted flush with the face of
the concrete are completed on site with a steel bracket and result in a completely con-
cealed corbel. Fire protection is guaranteed by filling the joint with grout. Design is car-
ried out according to the manufacturers specification.
The design of notched beamends is described in detail in [157, 158, 193195]. According
to those publications, the two truss action models shown in Fig. 2.160 can be used for the
149 2.6 Current design issues
design. Care should be taken to ensure adequate anchorage of the reinforcement beyond
the nodes of the truss model. A notched beam end functions in a similar way to a frame
corner with a positive moment. In both cases diagonal reinforcement to limit crack propa-
gation as a result of the high notch stresses in the uncracked condition is normally the
most effective way of controlling the usually very early cracking in the internal corner
of the notch. Often, the most appropriate approach is to employ a from the construc-
tional viewpoint combined truss action model. In practice it is usual to choose truss ac-
tion model (a) for moderate loads and a combination of the two for heavier loads. The
authors recommend assigning 60 % of the load to each model and installing combined re-
The minimum depth of the notch can be estimated by limiting the strut to
min d
4 A
b f
However, it is normally the anchorage length required and the space necessary for the re-
inforcement that govern the depth of the notch.
150 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.158 Corbel with double-headed studs
(Halfen system)
Fig. 2.159 Steel corbel (Peikko system)
Fig. 2.160 Truss action models for notched beam ends
The design of notched beam ends is based on truss action models in [75], too. Concerning
the question of whether T
wA is adequate for the design of the support reinforcement in
truss action model (a), the reader is referred to the tests described in [157], in which the
steel stresses in the vertical and diagonal suspension reinforcement were measured.
The force to be suspended was smaller than the support reaction A (Fig. 2.161) in all the
tests carried out. The reason for this was given as the potential supplementary arching ef-
fect corresponding to Fig. 2.162. Of course, important with truss action model (a) is that
the reinforcement for T
in the bottom of the beam nib does not end in the beam before the
first diagonal strut C
, but rather is anchored towards the centre of the beam from the point
at which it intersects this strut. It is then as the tests have shown adequate to design T
for the support reaction A only without any surcharge. The additional transverse tensile
forces due to anchoring the force T
are then taken by the shear links further inside.
The normal shear force design is adequate for these links. With a diagonal suspension ac-
cording to truss action model (b), T
D w A/sin a.
151 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.161 Measured suspension force (taken from [157])
In truss action model (a) the horizontal tensile force T
is as follows:
SH (36)
distance from centre of bearing to centre of gravity of suspension reinforcement
w 0.78 d
The values for L
and z
should be estimated carefully because the theoretical anchorage
points depend on the reinforcement arrangement chosen and production and assembly
tolerances must be taken into account as well.
If a shear connector or any other type of fixing is chosen which can transfer the restraint
forces, then the horizontal force T
, similarly to a corbel, should be increased with H w
0.20 A.
Where the suspension reinforcement is to be in the form of shear links only, then it is best
to position these at an angle with respect to the notch. This arrangement has several ad-
vantages over vertical shear links: it reduces the nib force T
and gains more anchorage
length at the bottommost beam truss node for anchoring T.
Following on from the beam ends investigated in [157], two further beams corresponding
to Fig. 2.164 were investigated which revealed good behaviour under service and ulti-
mate loads. However, it is better to have straight ends to the bottom beam reinforcement
and provide additional horizontal loops with appropriate lap lengths for the anchorage
(similar to Fig. 2.163). The inclined shear links are somewhat longer than the vertical
links and therefore must be given their own number on the reinforcement layout drawing.
It is therefore also possible to use bars with a larger diameter in order to minimise the
number of links required in the vicinity of the internal corner of the notch.
Special solutions have been worked out for very low nib depths and for composite forms
of construction in particular, where a cast-in steel part functions as the beam nib. Fig.
152 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.162 Supplementary arch loadbearing
Fig. 2.163 Arrangement of reinforcement at
the end of a heavily loaded beam
2.165 shows an example of how a support detail with such a steel nib functions. The sus-
pension for the shear force is provided by the shear links and a double-headed stud which
transfer the force to the cantilevering steel beam that transfers the load to the support. The
design is carried out according to the manufacturers specification and approval docu-
mentation. As Fig. 2.165 indicates, the arrangement of the reinforcement must be worked
out in detail.
An angled notch is used only rarely these days. It is important here to choose the angle
such that theoretically virtually no shear stresses occur, which means that shear reinforce-
ment in the angled part of the web is no longer required. This type of support detail has
advantages when it comes to routing building services (see section 2.5), but also the big
advantage that the beam is loaded directly from above and the load does not need to be
suspended from above via a continuous boot at the bottom. From the constructional view-
point, however, it is important to ensure an extremely good anchorage for the tensile
bending reinforcement because of the shallow-angled strut. In most cases it will be neces-
sary to provide anchor plates to ensure a good anchorage.
Continuous boots or individual corbels are very common in conjunction with inverted T-
beams and perimeter L-beams (Fig. 2.166). With such beam types the load on the boot
must be suspended within the web of the beam. Where there is a boot on both sides and
153 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.164 Shear links in a
notched beam end
Fig. 2.165 Special steel beam nib
(Pfeifer system)
a symmetrical loading (uniform load), suspension reinforcement for the total load applied
at the bottom is frequently provided in practice in addition to the reinforcement required
for shear.
However, additional reinforcement for just 50 % of the suspended load is adequate, apart
from in the vicinity of point of zero shear, provided the offset of the shear force result-
ing from a detailed consideration of the truss action model is also taken into account (see
A one-sided boot supporting a uniformly distributed load represents a similar case. Here,
assuming an additional force of
_ _
is usually well on the safe side. In this case, too, the fact that part of the force has already
been taken into account in the usual design of the section for shear and torsion is ignored.
For simplicity, Fig. 2.166b ignores the fact that a part of the torsion moment is resisted by
a horizontal couple resulting from the closed shear flow in the equivalent hollow cross-
section. These influences are dealt with in [159] but assuming for simplicity that the sys-
tem lines of the equivalent hollow cross-section are identical to the centroid axes of the
shear links. Here, the additional force DT with respect to the design of the section for
shear and torsion is specified as follows:
_ _
jF (38)
This value is valid for the limiting case of a deep L-beam with z/h f0 (Fig. 2.166c) and
lies on the safe side for other z/h ratios.
Individual corbels or point loads on a boot should be treated differently to this. In such si-
tuations the width over which the load is applied must be considered and the suspension
reinforcement concentrated in the vicinity of the effective loading zone. The total sus-
pended load can be taken as
_ _
154 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.166 Loads applied to bottom of beam
which lies on the safe side. However, in the zone in which this concentration of reinforce-
ment is effective, the shear reinforcement resulting from the shear force and torsion mo-
ment components of the load under consideration do not have to be included additionally.
With such boots it is important to realise that the normal reinforcement arrangement con-
tradicts the principles given above for notched beam ends in some respects (Fig. 2.167).
For example, it is not usual to have a horizontal loop below the bearing pad, but rather a
vertical link, and the bearing pad or bearing strip is positioned at a distance of only c
from the edge of the boot. This is possible with maximum bearing pressures up to about
k I 0.08 f
. But the resultant of the support reaction (taking into account potential tol-
erances) must be applied within the top longitudinal bar in the boot such that a certain
clearance of about c
remains before the start of the bend in the link. Further, the direction
of the bend in the web link does not correspond to the requirements of the suspension re-
inforcement for notched beam ends. This means that the inclined compressive force C in
the boot is supported on the bottom longitudinal reinforcement in the web and a corre-
spondingly small inner lever arm z must be chosen. In the case of heavily loaded separate
corbels at the bottom edges of beams, providing horizontal loops in the corbels below the
bearing pad according to Fig. 2.157 and additional loops to suspend the load in the web
are unavoidable.
A floor slab, e.g. in the form of double-T units, must be connected rigidly to a perimeter
beam as shown in Fig. 2.168 if torsion in the latter is to be avoided in the final condition.
The upper compression contact is achieved by a grout filling, the lower tensile force
transferred via a dowel, surrounded by loops, or in the case of heavier loads by weld-
ing together anchor plates cast into the web of the double-Tunit and the boot, or via screw
couplers. The dowel is cast into the boot and fits into a corrugated sleeve in the web of the
double-T unit, which is filled with grout after erection. When using inverted channel sec-
tion floor units, the tension reinforcement can be laid in the grouted joint and anchored to
the perimeter beam via a screw coupler.
When planning boots on the bottoms of beams, it is essential to consider the fact that the
beam must be supported temporarily during construction unless it has been designed for
torsion loads.
155 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.167 Perimeter beam with continu-
ous boot (bearing pressure s
k I0.08 f
2.6.3 Lateral buckling
The slender beams or rafters to the roofs of single-storey sheds so common in precast con-
crete construction must be checked for lateral buckling, i.e. the lateral stability of the
compression flange during demoulding, storage, transport and erection as well as the fi-
nal condition. Ref. [161] contains a detailed overview and assessment of practical meth-
ods for assessing lateral buckling.
Based on that publication, Table 2.9 contains the basic equations for the lateral buckling
moment for an ideal elastic material for the rectangular, T- or I-sections with one or two
axes of symmetry and I
so customary in reinforced and prestressed concrete con-
struction. The position of the application of the load is approximated to the shear centre
for this table. The actual relationships with the load application point of the dead load
at the centre of gravity or an additional load applied to the top flange result in values
with a scatter of e10 % for slender roof beams. A figure of 0.4 is assumed for the follow-
ing relationship:
2 (1 Sm)
i.e. a Poissons ratio of m w0.25, which is appropriate for the high concrete qualities nor-
mally used in precast concrete construction.
The critical lateral buckling loads for duopitch roof beams should be reduced compared
with those for beams with a constant depth. The reduction factors given in Table 2.10
can be used within the scope of the simplifications assumed here [163].
156 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.168 Rigid connection between floor slab and perimeter beam
Crane slings for lifting roof beams usually have to be attached to two intermediate points
(see [3]). The risk of lateral buckling therefore decreases as the suspension height in-
creases. The best solution is to support the beam roughly at its quarter-points because lat-
eral buckling is then impossible. However, it must be remembered that the elasticity of the
crane sling means that only a reduced suspension height can be effective.
157 2.6 Current design issues
Table 2.9 Lateral buckling moment for ideal elastic material, forked support and T- or I-cross sections
with single or double symmetry and I
y II I




0,4 I
Loading max M k
j w
M p 1.00
q l
3.54 1.12
P l
4.23 1.35
Table 2.10 Reduction factors h for determining the lateral buckling load for duopitch roof beams [163]
Cross-sectional form Reduction factor h for d
1 0.75 0.5 0.25
any d/b value
h w 1 0.87 0.74 0.61
I-section symmetrical
about two axes
h w 1 0.96 0.82 0.73
In the case of reinforced and prestressed concrete beams
the stress-strain graph is not linear,
the flexural and torsional stiffness depends on the loads, especially at the transition to
the cracked condition, and
the beam is cast with certain imperfections, which means that the aforementioned
equations should only be used in conjunction with appropriate safety factors, gener-
ally with g w 4.05.0.
According to Stiglat [166], the lateral buckling moment M
of the beam made from an
ideal elastic material is therefore reduced, according to Table 2.9, to
moment of resistance at the upper compressed edge of cross-section s
stress in ex-
treme fibre at upper compressed edge of cross-section due to M
in uncracked condition
stress in a theoretical bar in buckling with the same slenderness l
as the buckling beam
The comparative slenderness l
is calculated as follows:

where E
is the characteristic value of the elastic modulus of the concrete to DIN
1045:1988. In reality, however, the elastic modulus depends on the loading, as given by
the curved stress-strain diagram for the concrete. The stress curves for s
(Figs 2.169
and 2.170) are therefore drawn according to the realistic data given in [167], based on
the tangent modulus in this case. Using the large-scale tests on reinforced and prestressed
concrete beams carried out in the meantime [179], Stiglat has confirmed the adequacy of
the accuracy of his simple method and therefore regards a global factor of safety of g w
2.0 as adequate [181].
The large-scale tests of Ko nig and Pauli [179] resulted in a method of calculation they de-
scribe in [180]. As this serves as a starting point for the majority of computer design pro-
grams, the main concepts will be explained below.
The underlying idea is to verify a potential state of equilibrium in the deformed system. In
doing so, a figure of twice the initial deformation 4
is used in the calculation for simpli-
city instead of the creep deformation.
158 2 Design of precast concrete structures
1. Limit state consideration: the potential twisting of the beam is limited by the moment
that can be accommodated about the weak axis of the cross-section.
2. Limit state consideration: the potential twisting of the beam is limited by the maxi-
mum torsion moment that can be accommodated without reinforcement, which corre-
sponds to the cracking moment.
(x) M
dx (42)
159 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.169 Analysis of lateral
buckling according to Stiglat
[166]; approach using the ficti-
tious elastic modules E
for var-
ious cross-sectional forms
Fig. 2.170 Analysis of lateral buckling accord-
ing to Stiglat [166]; t
and l
The potential limit twist of the beam therefore represents a cross-sectional value made up
of the following components:
(x) w4
These are compared with the real deformations due to external loads.
If these are now smaller than the limit deformation that can be accommodated by the
cross-section, then stability against lateral buckling can be regarded as guaranteed.
In their publication [179], Ko nig and Pauli scrutinise the formula given in EC 2-1-1 sec-
tion in which stability against lateral buckling is considered to be adequate when
J 50 b
h J 2,5 b
distance between lateral supports
b width of compression flange
h depth of beam
Their findings show that a beam can be regarded as at risk of lateral buckling as soon as
the load-carrying capacity for biaxial bending using second-order theory is reduced by
160 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.171 Equilibrium in the deformed system Fig. 2.172 Deformed position of beam
more than 10 % compared to the acceptable ultimate moment as a result of primary bend-
ing. The following empirical formula has been derived from this:
b j

_ _

(see Fig. 2.173; also DIN 1045-1 section 8.6.8 (2)). As a result of this work, the DAfStb
application guidelines for EC 2 part 1 have reduced the above condition to
J 35 b
h J 2,5 b
Mann (in [168] and [169]) attempts to attribute the lateral buckling problem of a slender
reinforced concrete roof beam to the buckling of the top flange due to compressive bend-
161 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.173 Series of calculations for beams at risk
of lateral buckling [180]
Fig. 2.174 Non-rigid forked support
for resisting lateral buckling
Fig. 2.175 This top flange was
obviously a bit too narrow!
ing forces. The actual verification of lateral stability is confined here to an additional ana-
lysis of the safety of the beam at the ultimate limit state. This beam has a top flange width
b wvb (v w reduction factor) which depends on an ideal slenderness l, an ideal eccen-
tricity e and the reinforcement in the compression flange m
, and can be designed using
the design tables for slender compression members or with the help of appropriate com-
puter programs, for example.
The reader is referred to [161] and its extensive bibliography for details of the lateral
buckling analyses for reinforced concrete beams according to Rafla or Ro der/Mehlhorn,
which are very complicated to use in practice. Mehlhorn, Roder and Schulz describe an
approximation method with the help of an ultimate limit state analysis for biaxial bending
in [176] where they use examples that use the partial safety factors according to the Euro-
code. This method is based on [177], which is compared with another solution in [178].
An attempt to derive a sufficiently accurate rough verification of stability against lateral
buckling, based on Rafla, can be found in [170]. Matthei specifies a method of estimat-
ing a laterally stable compression flange width in [186].
Forked supports for beams can be constructed according to the typical details for frame
construction shown in Figs 2.176a and 2.177a. With the types of support shown in Figs
2.176b and 2.177b, the lack of shear resistance in the elastomeric bearings makes it neces-
162 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.176 Support details for T-section beams
(Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau
Fig. 2.177 Support details for I-section beams
(Fachvereinigung Deutscher Betonfertigteilbau
sary to include shear connectors to resist horizontal forces. The horizontal forces there-
fore tend to concentrate around the upper cut-out, which must be taken into account
when designing the connecting part. With a form of lateral restraint according to Fig.
2.174, it may be necessary to take into account the spring stiffness of the fork, as shown
in [171]. According to DIN 1045-1 section 8.6.8, the fork should be designed in such a
way that it can handle the following torsion moment:

vertical design shear force at support
effective support width of beam
How the stiffness of the fork affects the lateral buckling behaviour has been investigated
in [187]. The shear links at the end of the beam and the end anchorage of the longitudinal
reinforcement must be arranged in such a way that this torsion moment can be accommo-
dated, i.e. the link closer bars must be designed with laps. Furthermore, it should be re-
membered that the torsion moments must be analysed right down to the foundations.
2.6.4 Pad foundations
Whereas pocket foundations are described in [3] and [189] (see also [190]), only the pad
foundations that have become more popular in recent years because of their economy will
be dealt with here (Fig. 2.178). An appropriate shear key on the base of the column and
the sides of the pocket enables pad foundations to function as if the foundation had
been cast monolithically with the column. This has been confirmed by tests (see [172],
also [99]).
The embedment depth of the column in the foundation should be at least t w 1.5 c. The
thickness of the foundation below the column then depends on the structural depth of the
foundation d required or the punching analysis for the base of the foundation for the tem-
porary condition during construction, i.e. pocket not yet filled with grout. The width of
the pocket should be equal to c S2d
. In order to accommodate the tolerances and to en-
able the precast concrete column and the grout to be installed properly, the grouting space
around the column should be approx. 7.5 cm wide, which results in a pocket width of
pocket wc S15 cm. The shear key is formed either by permanent corrugated sheet metal
formwork, with a corrugation depth of i1 cm, or with timber battens (Fig. 2.95) match-
ing the requirements shown in Fig. 2.179 (see also Fig. 3.34).
The design value for bond stress may be increased by 50 % when calculating the ancho-
rage lengths of column reinforcement with straight ends embedded in a foundation (see
DIN 1045-1 section 12.5(5)). In doing so, there must be concrete cover guaranteed on
all sides by shear links and a transverse pressure at 90h to the plane of the reinforcement.
According to DIN1045-1 section 12.4(2), good bond conditions may be assumed for hor-
izontally cast column cross-sections with c J 50 cm.
163 2.6 Current design issues
The standard design of the foundation can be carried out separately for the load compo-
nents due to axial force and bending moment. The design for the axial force component
can be carried out for the section along the edge of the column (Fig. 2.179):
_ _
which has been confirmed by tests and is also valid for monolithic foundations. The bend-
ing reinforcement for the axial force component may be distributed uniformly over the
width in the case of a small foundation width. But if b ic Sd, then the bending reinfor-
cement should be graduated to match the bending moment diagram. The design for bend-
ing caused by the moment component M
is resisted by an equivalent beam of width b
w c S d (Fig. 2.180).
The resulting amount of reinforcement A
is distributed over a width of b
w0.5 b
bent up behind the pocket in the foundation to function as vertical starter bars. The hori-
zontal reinforcement required, which depends on the offset of the bent-up foundation re-
inforcement and the tension reinforcement in the column, is identical for reasons of equi-
164 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.178 Pad foundation showing
arrangement of reinforcement
Fig. 2.179 Distribution of moments and
arrangement of reinforcement for axial loads
a distance between vertical starter bars and longitudinal reinforcement in column
l difference between embedment depth and anchorage length (Fig. 2.181)
This is a type of frame corner with two frame legs with different cross-sectional dimen-
sions where the peripheral ties must be suitably connected.
According to [172], the punching shear analysis in the fully grouted state can be carried
out in the same way as for a monolithic foundation according to DIN 1045-1. An angle
of 34h should be assumed for the punching cone; according to DAfStb booklet 525, this
angle should be increased to 45h in the case of stocky foundations. In that case 100 %
of the bearing pressure acting in this circular cross-section can be deducted from the
punching load. Likewise, the shear capacity v
may be increased in relation to the cir-
cular cross-sections u
crit, 1.5d
crit, 1.0d
165 2.6 Current design issues
Fig. 2.180 Equivalent beam for accommodat-
ing the column moment
Fig. 2.181 Truss action model in vicinity of
Fig. 2.182 Effective ultimate shear stresses
plotted against slab slenderness [172]
However, the tests have revealed that the necessary safety against punching is not quite
attained in stocky foundations with
0,75 J
2 d
_ _
J1,0 (50)
The reason for this is the lower transverse pressure acting on the shear joint in the top third
of the joint. Initially, vertical shear planes running from top to bottom appeared in very
stocky foundations, which only manifested themselves as a diagonal, outward shear crack
at a certain depth. Designers are therefore recommended to reduce the shear capacity v
by a factor of 2.21.7 (1/l) in the punching shear analysis for the above slenderness
A separate analysis of punching shear for the self-weight of the column, acting via its base
plate, must be carried out for the base of the pocket for the temporary condition during
A simple method for checking punching shear for an eccentric load is given in [172] (Fig.
2.183). According to this, the shear stresses are determined for the most heavily loaded
quarter of the plate. The resulting shear force here is the content of the stress body cut
off at an angle reduced by the bearing pressures on the associated quarter of the area of
the punching cone. According to EC 2, increasing the critical shear force by a factor b
w 1.4, as with perimeter columns, and then designing the foundation as though it were
loaded concentrically is an acceptable approximation for taking into account an eccentric
loading. The reader is also referred to [173] and [192] for the analysis of punching shear.
166 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.183 Punching shear analysis for eccentric
2.6.5 Design for fire
The sizing of components for fire protection purposes can be carried out with the help of a
fire loading case calculation (thermal analysis) or by using simplified comparative data
according to DIN 4102- 4. The former can be carried out with the help of DIN EN
1992-1-2:2006. A number of computer programs for automating this thermal analysis
are currently undergoing development. Ref. [198] contains an up-to-date overview of
the valid regulations and minimum dimensions according to DIN 4102- 4.
The verification by way of comparative dimensions according to DIN 4102- 4 was the
standard method used in practice in recent years. However, the inclusion of DIN 1045-
1 in building legislation made it necessary to adapt DIN 4102- 4, mainly because of the
altered safety concept and level of design, which in some cases calls for higher degrees
of utilisation for the materials and the consideration of high-strength concrete up to grade
C80/95 [199]. DIN 4102-22 was therefore drawn up to provide a so-called application
At the moment the sizing of components for fire events is undergoing changes because of
the changeover in both German and European standards, a fact that is discernible in the
number of regulations and publications. Further substantial changes will take place
here in the coming years.
A number of the provisions of DIN 4102- 4 important to the design of precast concrete
components for fire, taking into account amendment DIN 4102- 4/A1 and DIN 4102-
22, are summarised below.
The behaviour of components made from reinforced or prestressed concrete when ex-
posed to fire, and hence the fire resistance rating, essentially depends on the following
1. Dimensions of component (cross-section, slenderness, distances between bar axes and
2. Type of exposure to fire (one or more sides)
3. Building materials (type of steel, concrete aggregates)
4. Structural system (statically determinate or indeterminate support, loads carried via
one or two axes)
5. Construction details of supports, connections and joints
6. Degree of utilisation of concrete and steel strengths
7. Additional protective measures (render, plaster, cladding, suspended ceiling, lining)
In typical multi-storey buildings, i.e. more than two storeys but not high-rise buildings, it
is generally sufficient when the building materials comply with class B2 (flammable) as a
minimum and the joints separating walls between buildings and layers of insulation in the
facade comply with class B1 (not readily flammable). On the other hand, walls, columns,
floors and stairs with loadbearing and/or stability functions must generally have a fire re-
sistance rating of F 90-A. Rating F 30 is generally adequate for buildings with less than
two storeys, whereas F 120 is necessary for high-rise buildings, and even F 180 for build-
ings more than 200 m high.
167 2.6 Current design issues
Materials in expansion joints must comply with class A (incombustible). According to
[45], there are no objections to using materials of class B2 for elastomeric bearings in
buildings in which statically determinate support conditions generally apply to the pre-
cast concrete components. Non-combustible materials or fire-retardant forms of con-
struction (F 30-B) are required for non-loadbearing room-enclosing external walls (also
spandrel and fascia panels). The most common building authority requirements are there-
fore F 30-A and F 90-A.
Special attention should be given to the design and construction of fire walls or multi-
layer separating walls. In the case of the latter, it is a requirement that the wall should re-
main stable when exposed to a fire from the left or the right side and simultaneously with-
stand horizontal loads due to wind, bracing forces and impact [200].
In the normal case reinforced concrete components designed to DIN 1045 meet the F 30-
A requirement. Certain minimum cross-sectional dimensions and distances u between
centre of reinforcement and edge of concrete are necessary in order to achieve the F
90-A rating. The minimum edge distances given below therefore always refer to the dis-
tance between the centre of the reinforcing bar concerned and the surface of the compo-
nent, and not the concrete cover, which is measured from the surface of the reinforcing
bar to the face of the concrete. The minimum dimensions of the individual elements for
F 30 and F 90 ratings for typical elements in frame structures are given in section 2.3.
The fire resistance of reinforced concrete components can be increased if necessary by
applying coats of suitable renders and plasters that exhibit a good bond with the concrete.
This option can be particularly attractive for floor slabs.
The beams (Fig. 2.184) encountered in precast concrete construction generally have sta-
tically determinate support conditions. Table 2.11 summarises the minimum widths and
minimum reinforcement edge distances for reinforced and prestressed concrete beams
for various fire resistance ratings and the usual three-sided exposure to fire. As prestres-
sing steel is generally more sensitive to fire loads, the strands should be positioned more
towards the centre of the component, whereas the reinforcing steel in conventionally re-
168 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.184 Beams
inforced elements is arranged around the perimeter of the component. Additional reinfor-
cement within the cover is necessary when the concrete cover c exceeds 50 mm.
Standard, non-continuous plastic bar spacers do not have an influence on the fire resis-
tance rating [201]. On the other hand, cast-in channels can have an effect on the reaction
to fire of a reinforced concrete component. The u-values required must be verified by a
test certificate.
The minimum cross-sectional areas and edge distances for corbels and notched beam ends
are given in Fig. 2.185. Joints between components with a width a J 30 mm can be ne-
169 2.6 Current design issues
Table 2.11 Minimum widths and minimum reinforcement edge distances for reinforced and pre-
stressed concrete beams to DIN 4102-4
Fire resistance rating
F 30-A F 60-A F 90-A F 120-A
Min. width b in mm of non-clad reinforced concrete
beam in tensile bending zone
80 120 150 200
Min. width b in mm of non-clad prestressed concrete
in tensile bending zone or precompressed ten-
sion zone
120 160 190 240
Min. web thickness t in mm of non-clad beam in tensile
bending zone or precompressed tension zone
80 90 100 120
Min. edge distances u and u
in mm of tension reinfor-
cement in non-clad reinforced concrete beam with
one layer of reinforcement for a given beam width b in
b w 80
u w 25
s w 35
b w 120
u w 40
s w 50
b w 150
u w 55
s w 65
b w 200
u w 65
s w 75
b w 160
u w 10
s w 20
b w 200
u w 30
s w 40
b w 250
u w 40
s w 50
b w 300
u w 50
s w 60
Min. edge distances u and u
in mm of tension rein-
forcement in non-clad prestressed concrete beam
with one layer of reinforcement for a given beam
width b in mm
b w 120
u w 30
s w 40
b w 160
u w 50
s w 60
b w 200
u w 60
s w 70
b w 240
u w 70
s w 80
b w 160
u w 25
s w 35
b w 200
u w 45
s w 55
b w 250
u w 55
s w 65
b w 300
u w 65
s w 75
Prestressing wires or strands according to National Technical Approval.
DIN 4102-4 Table 4 must be taken into account in the compression or compressive bending zone or in the
precompressed tension zone at the supports.
The Du-values for strands and wires to DIN 4102-4 Table 1 have been taken into account (Du w 15 mm).
With a concrete cover c i 50 mm, additional reinforcement according to DIN 4102-4 section is
required in the cover.
glected and the component surfaces within the joint can be regarded as being not exposed
to the fire. At openings in webs, the remaining cross-section of the tension flange should
be i 2 b
. Openings with a diameter I 100 mm may be ignored.
The minimum depth of reinforced or prestressed concrete floor slabs with no plaster to the
soffit should be d j 100 mm in order to comply with the F 90 requirements. This value
also applies to the total thickness D of floor slabs with an incombustible bonded screed,
although in that case the depth of the precast concrete floor unit must be d j 50 mm
and that of the screed d
j 25 mm. Table 2.12 shows the minimum slab dimensions
and the minimum reinforcement edge distances.
In hollow-core slabs, A
/b i100 mm and the minimum distance between bottom of void
and soffit must be d
j 50 mm.
The minimum edge distance of the span reinforcement for simply supported solid or hol-
low-core slabs is u w 35 mm for F 90 (see also Table 2.12).
170 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.185 Minimum cross-sectional areas
for corbels, notched beam ends and beam
Fig. 2.186 Floor slabs to DIN 4102-4
DIN 4102- 4 does not mention prestressed hollow-core slabs. But applying the provisions
correspondingly would result in a requirement of u w 50 mm when using prestressing
strands of grade St 1570/1770, which would require additional reinforcement within
the depth of the cover. A lower u-value can only be achieved by using carbonaceous ag-
gregates or additional reinforcement (see [45]), or by reducing the permissible stresses in
the prestressing steel. This is one of the reasons why this type of floor slab is not in wide-
spread use in Germany.
171 2.6 Current design issues
Table 2.12 Minimum depths and minimum reinforcement edge distances for solid reinforced and
prestressed concrete floor slabs to DIN 4102-4
Fire resistance rating
F 30-A F 60-A F 90-A F 120-A
Min. depth h in mm of non-clad solid slab without
screed for statically determinate and indeterminate
support conditions
100 120
Min. edge distance u of span reinforcement in
reinforced concrete slabs
without load-carrying
effect in transverse direction
10 25 35 45
Min. edge distance u of span reinforcement in
reinforced concrete slabs
with load-carrying effect
in transverse direction and the following ratio:
b/l J 1.0
b/l J 3.0
Min. edge distance u
of support or fixity reinforcement
in reinforced concrete slabs
without load-carrying
effect in transverse direction
10 10 15 30
The u-values must be increased by the Du-values according to DIN 4102-4 Fig. 1 in the case of
solid prestressed concrete slabs.
The minimum depth of slabs exposed to fire on more than one side (e.g. cantilevering slabs)
must be h j 100 mm.
The minimum depth for statically indeterminate supports must be h w 80 mm.
According to DIN 1045-1 section 13.3, the minimum depth of solid slabs is h w 70 mm.
Fig. 2.187 Reinforcement in
precast concrete floor planks
with a structurally effective in
situ concrete topping (example
according to [45])
In composite plank floors the planks must also be at least 50 mm deep in order to meet the
F 90 requirements. An average u
value can be calculated from the positions of the addi-
tional reinforcing bars, the mesh reinforcement in the plank and the longitudinal bars of
the lattice beam, which must then be i 35 mm (Fig. 2.187).
In the case of reinforced concrete columns (Table 2.13) of minimum size it is the length and
the degree of utilisation that are critical. The utilisation factor is the ratio of the axial force
172 2 Design of precast concrete structures
Table 2.13 Minimum sizes and minimum reinforcement edge distances for reinforced concrete
columns to DIN 4102-4
Min l
col w 2,0 m Min l
col w 1,70 m
Max l
col w 6,0 m Max l
col w 5,0 m
Fire resistance rating
F 30-A F 60-A F 90-A F 120-A
Min. cross-sectional dimensions of non-clad reinforced concrete columns
for exposure to fire on
more than one side and a utilisation factor a
as follows:
Utilisation factor a
1 w 0.2
Column length min. l
min. size h in mm
associated min. edge distance u in mm
Column length max. l
min. size h in mm
associated min. edge distance u in mm
Utilisation factor a
1 w 0.5
Column length min. l
min. size h in mm
associated min. edge distance u in mm
Column length max. l
min. size h in mm
associated min. edge distance u in mm
Utilisation factor a
1 w 0.7
Column length min. l
min. size h in mm
associated min. edge distance u in mm
Column length max. l
min. size h in mm
associated min. edge distance u in mm
Minimum dimensions for compression members within helical or horizontal bars provided no higher values
are specified: F 30: h w 240 mm, F 60 to F 120: h w 300 mm
present in the fire loading case to the load-carrying capacity of the design condition (N
). As a result of the reduction in the loads and the factor of safety in the fire loading
case, a utilisation factor of 0.7, for example, means that the column is generally 100 %uti-
lised in the design condition. However, Table 2.13 applies only to columns restrained
against rotation at both ends in braced buildings. Furthermore, Table 2.13 can only be
used for the column lengths given in the table. One remedy for columns pinned at one
end is to carry out the design with a longer buckling length. Up until now it was not pos-
sible to use simplified methods of calculation for columns in the form of a vertical canti-
lever. But a simplified method of analysis with which such columns can be designed for
the fire loading case has been developed in [351]. The method covers the normal range of
applications and can also be used for laterally restrained columns by selecting a suitable
buckling length.
In the case of fully utilised room-enclosing walls exposed to fire on one side and with a
slenderness according to DIN 1045-1, the minimum thickness of a wall complying with
F 90 requirements is h w 140 mm and the minimum reinforcement edge distance u w
25 mm (Table 2.14). Lower values apply if the wall is not fully utilised. The same values
apply when a fire wall is loadbearing, except that the slenderness is limited to h
/d I 25.
For a loadbearing multi-layer separating wall the minimum thickness of the wall should
be h w 300 mm and the minimum reinforcement edge distance u w 55 mm (see also
173 2.6 Current design issues
Table 2.14 Minimum thicknesses and minimum reinforcement edge distances for reinforced con-
crete walls to DIN 4102-4
Fire resistance rating
F 30-A F 60-A F 90-A F 120-A
Non-clad walls
with permissible slenderness (wstorey
height /wall thickness w h
/h) to DIN 1045-1
Min. wall thickness h in mm for:
Non-loadbearing walls
Loadbearing walls with:
utilisation factor a
1 w 0.07
utilisation factor a
1 w 0.35
utilisation factor a
1 w 0.70
Min. spacing u of longitudinal reinforcement in mm for:
Non-loadbearing walls
Loadbearing walls with:
utilisation factor a
1 w 0.07
utilisation factor a
1 w 0.35
utilisation factor a
1 w 0.70
Reductions are possible for walls with render/plaster on both sides according to DIN 4102-4 sections to; however, the minimum wall thickness is h w 60 mm for non-loadbearing walls, h w 80 mm for
loadbearing walls.
Segmented walls with doors and windows are dealt with in DIN 4102- 4. The reader
should also refer to [188] for information on the fire protection analysis of pier cross-sec-
tions in fenstrate facades.
Joints [175] between precast concrete floor units must be filled with mortar or concrete in
accordance with Fig. 2.188. From the fire protection viewpoint, joints up to a width of
3 cm may also remain open if the floor units are provided with an in situ concrete topping
according to Fig. 2.186c. Joints between ribs must be closed off with mortar as shown in
Fig. 2.188b. The relevant width b necessary for determining u and u
may be related to
both ribs in the case of a joint width I 2.0 cm.
Joints between precast units in roofs may also remain open up to a width of 2 cm provided
a layer of thermal insulation i 8 cm thick complying with building materials class A is
laid on the top of the units.
174 3 Design of precast concrete structures
Fig. 2.188 Joints between precast concrete elements
3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Whereas one of the key features of in situ concrete is that the structure is built from one
mould as it were, in precast concrete construction the individual, prefabricated parts are
only assembled to form a structure at a later point in time. The joints between the indivi-
dual elements must therefore transfer the forces in some appropriate way. A summary of
joints in precast concrete construction can be found in [202] and [74]. Although in many
instances joints have to be designed to accommodate axial forces, shear forces and bend-
ing moments, compression, tension and shear joints will be treated separately in this
3.1 Compression joints
3.1.1 Butt joints
Precast concrete components should always be bedded on bearings or a layer of mortar
[203, 204, 224]. Dry bearings without intermediate layers should not be used. According
to DIN 1045-1 section 13.18.2, dry bearings are only permissible when the average
compressive stress in the concrete does not exceed 0.4f
and the necessary quality of
workmanship is achieved in the factory and on the building site (e.g. intermediate com-
ponents in floors or roofs). However, according to current practice in Germany, a pad of
insulating board or similar material should always be provided as a very minimum in all
such bearings.
DIN 1045-1 makes a distinction between joints with soft and hard bearings. In the case of
a joint with a soft bearing, (Fig. 3.1a), the lateral displacement of the jointing material
leads to tension forces in the end faces. The resulting lateral tensile stresses must be re-
sisted by reinforcement. A joint with a soft bearing may even require reinforcement in
the joint itself.
A joint with a hard bearing is a type of joint in which the elastic modulus of the jointing
material is equal to at least 70 % of the elastic modulus of the adjoining component.
A joint with a hard bearing plus reduced cross-section (Fig. 3.1b) gives rise to lateral tensile
forces as a result of the redirection of the forces from the whole cross-section to the re-
duced cross-section, which has to be resisted by reinforcement [75]. Higher local bearing
pressures are permissible in such situations (Fig. 3.2).
According to DIN 1045-1 eq. (116), the following applies:

Saleh has carried out further investigations [210]; a summary can be found in [209].
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
A column joint with a hard bearing over the full area is essentially the normal case for
heavily loaded column joints. The load-carrying capacity can be calculated using the fol-
lowing equation taken from DIN 1045-1:
wk A

k w
1,0 for steel end plate
0,9 for reinforcement in end face

Lateral tensile stresses build up in the ends of the column elements directly adjacent to the
joint as a result of the redirection of the load component in the column reinforcement and
the concrete (see Fig. 3.1c).
The investigations of Konig and Minnert [211] led to the publication of DAfStb booklet
499 with new design proposals for butt-jointed precast concrete columns made from
high-strength concretes. For butt joints in normal-strength concrete, see also [212].
We basically distinguish between two types of butt joint detail (Fig. 3.3):
those with a steel plate, and
those with reinforcement in the end faces.
The investigations have shown that using steel plates in the column end faces is a very ef-
ficient way of preventing lateral strains in the mortar joint and the resulting stresses tend
to be low. Further, the total load component in the longitudinal reinforcement can be car-
ried via the mortar joint so that there are no stresses due to the end anchorage of the long-
itudinal reinforcement (Fig. 3.3) in the vicinity of the joint.
176 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.1 Different types of compression joint: (a) soft
bearing, lateral tensile stresses due to lateral spreading
of jointing material, (b) hard constricted bearing, lateral
tensile stresses due to reduction in transfer area, (c) hard
non-constricted bearing, lateral tensile stresses due to
redirection of load component in longitudinal bars and
concrete encasement.
Fig. 3.2 Reduced area for determining
local bearing pressure
When using reinforcement in the end faces, on the other hand, only a part of the force in
the reinforcing bars is carried via end bearing. The larger part is transferred into the sur-
rounding concrete via bond stresses. The higher concrete stress must be resisted by per-
ipheral reinforcement at the base of the column above the joint (Fig. 3.4); adequate per-
ipheral reinforcement is essential here. The lateral tensile stresses in the mortar joint
must be resisted by the reinforcement in the column end faces.
In working out the joint detail, care should be to taken to ensure that the reinforcement in
the end face is built into the column directly without concrete cover and that the diameter
of the bars does not exceed d
s w12 mm. The outer nodes of the mesh must be positioned
on the outside faces of the column and the intersections must be carefully welded. The
spacing of the bars must be J 5 cm and the shear links should be positioned as shown
in Fig. 3.5.
177 3.1 Compression joints
Fig. 3.3 Compression of longitudinal reinforcement in a test column with and without steel plate on
end of column [211]
The following should be used for l


2,25 f
In practice it seems that custom meshes for column end faces are not generally readily
In addition, a maximum permissible joint thickness of 2 cm should not be exceeded for
column butt joints with a hard bearing. Adhering to this maximum joint thickness is often
difficult in practice because the manufacturing tolerances for suspended floors or ground
slabs usually lead to thicker joints. The investigations of Paschen and Zillich [206, 207]
led to the publication of DAfStb booklet 316 in which thicker joints are permitted as
well because it was based on the old version of DIN 1045 (1988). The booklet also distin-
guishes between reinforced and unreinforced joints. The reduction factor k for determin-
ing the load-carrying capacity can be calculated according to Fig. 3.6 depending on the
178 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.4 Effective constricted area in
the plane of the shear link [212]
Fig. 3.5 Details of column compression joint [212]
joint thickness [206]. In doing so, however, the reduction factor should not exceed 0.9,
which is in line with DIN 1045-1.
The reduction factor k here is a function of the geometrical degree of reinforcement r and
the joint thickness h
. The lateral tensile reinforcement necessary for this should be deter-
mined according to the acknowledged design methods.
According to DIN 1045-1, in a joint where axial and shear forces act simultaneously, the
shear forces can be neglected when V
I 0.1 N
When designing compression joint zones within wall joints supporting suspended floors
on one or both sides, it is necessary to take into account lateral tensile stresses caused by
rotation of the floor at the support. That can be dealt with in a simple way according to
DIN 1045-1 section 13.7.2 by assuming that only 50 % of the loadbearing wall cross-sec-
tion is used in the stress analysis for the wall above and below the joint.
However, DIN 1045-1 states that 60 % of the loadbearing wall cross-section may be taken
into account in the design if transverse reinforcement is provided in the wall above and
below the joint (Fig. 3.7). This must be able to accommodate the following design tensile
force at least:
in cm
/m, h in cm
The spacing of the transverse reinforcement s
in the direction of the longitudinal wall
axis must be
s J
200 mm

(the smaller figure governs)

179 3.1 Compression joints
Fig. 3.6 Reduction factor k for the admissible
design force of concentrically loaded column
joints plotted against amount of longitudinal re-
inforcement and thickness of mortar joint (inter-
mediate values may be obtained by linear inter-
Fig. 3.7 Additional transverse reinforcement at
wall joints
and the diameter d
of the longitudinal reinforcement A
at the base of the wall must at
least 6 mm.
A cross-section proportion i60 % can then be considered if this is verified by test results
that reproduce the true support conditions accurately [226].
3.1.2 Zones of support to DIN 1045-1
DIN 1045-1 section 13.8.4 Zones of support does not deal with the bearings them-
selves, but rather the construction details of the bearing areas for suspended floors and
beams. DAfStb booklet 525 contains more detailed information (available in German
only). Besides the detailed design of the support zones, the following factors are also cru-
cial when designing a support:
The dimensions of the reinforcement in the adjoining components
The maximum permissible bearing pressures
The choice of a suitable bearing
EC 2 makes a distinction between isolated members and non-isolated members. The
latter are components, e.g. hollow-core or solid slabs, that in the event of failure of the
support can draw on loadbearing reserves from the transverse distribution of the loads,
which is possible, for example, by grouting the longitudinal joints. Isolated members,
e.g. roof beams or downstand beams, on the other hand, do not benefit from such a prop-
The length of the support (Fig. 3.8) is made up of the actual length of the bearing a
the allowances a
and a
which prevent spalling of the concrete in the supporting and sup-
ported components. In this situation the allowances on either side of the bearing are not
added together, but instead linked statistically. See DAfStb booklet 525 for further infor-
180 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.8 Support zone: (a)
elevation, (b) plan
Fig. 3.9 Horizontal support for a beam
outside the plane of the bearing
The support length a may need to be longer where sliding bearings are in use. Likewise, in
the case where a beam is not restrained horizontally in the plane of the support (Fig. 3.9),
the gap t
will need to be widened to allow for the effects of rotation about the joint.
3.1.3 Elastomeric bearings to DIN 4141
Ref. [213] contains an article on the introduction of the new standard on structural bear-
ings, DIN EN 1337. As parts of this standard have yet to be published and many of the
main relationships described below are of a technical nature and therefore not dependent
on a standard, the design provisions according to DIN 4141 will continue to be used here.
DIN 4141-3 Structural bearings divides supports into two categories. If the adjoining
components, apart from the respective theoretical bearing pressure in the support joint,
are not loaded to a significant extent by other support reactions and the stability of the
structure is not at risk if the support is overloaded or the support function fails, then the
support complies with the requirements of category 2. Category 1, on the other hand, cov-
ers all support conditions that must be verified by analysis, where failure or overloading
of the support may involve a risk to the stability of the structure.
Category 2 applies to the majority of instances in everyday precast concrete buildings for
the supports to suspended floor slabs and beams, especially if the proportion of the per-
manent load exceeds 75 %; and in many cases part of the imposed load can be considered
to be quasi permanent. Insulating board and unreinforced elastomeric sheet can be used as
bearing pads.
Elastomeric bearings [208] are required when movements between the adjoining compo-
nents have to be compensated for at the same time as transferring support reactions, i.e. a
low-restraint joint must be provided. Rotation and sliding are accommodated by the elas-
tic deformation of the bearing material (see DIN 4141-1 Structural bearings).
Elastomeric bearings consist of synthetic rubber with a high ageing resistance (trade
names: neoprene, Baypren
). They are available in many forms, unreinforced and rein-
forced, and are generally covered by National Technical Approval.
Elastomeric bearings can handle vertical loads, rotation at the support and structural
movements, e.g. due to restraint, although the permissible loads of the relevant approval
documentation must of course be taken into account. Thin, unreinforced bearings are ade-
quate when the movements are small. Thicker bearings are required to cope with larger
movements, which, however, also cause larger lateral tensile forces if they are unrein-
Reinforced elastomeric bearings include corrosion-resistant steel plates or textile inlays
incorporated during vulcanisation which accommodate the lateral tensile forces within
the bearing so that the adjacent parts of the support are subjected to lateral tension only
locally, not loaded by the bearing itself.
181 3.1 Compression joints
a) Unreinforced elastomeric bearings
The growing popularity of unreinforced elastomeric bearings for buildings and single-
storey sheds is due to their economy and their permanent elastic behaviour. They can ac-
commodate horizontal displacements to a limited extent and minor rotation at the support,
and also compensate for some local unevenness.
Unreinforced elastomeric bearings are considerably less expensive than reinforced ver-
sions and have the advantage that they are not limited to certain forms or types, i.e. bear-
ings can be fabricated to suit particular purposes, even with openings, e.g. for dowels;
they are cut to size from large-format sheets. They are being used more and more for
the supports to suspended floors, too. Unreinforced elastomeric bearings may only be
used with predominantly static loads because there is a risk of creep in the presence of dy-
namic loads.
Generally, elastomeric bearings may be used over a temperature range of s25 to S50 hC.
However, their size, positioning and the joint thickness are more important when asses-
sing their behaviour in fire. With a 3 cm thick joint, the rate of burning is J 0.35 mm/
min, which results in minimum dimensions for bearings if they are to satisfy a certain
fire resistance rating.
Unprotected bearings can be protected against the effects of fire with layers of insulation
if their behaviour in fire cannot be assessed.
The design of unreinforced elastomeric bearings is dealt with in DIN 4141-15 [214], and
[223] contains additional information.
The standard deals with bearings whose dimensions comply with the following condi-
bearing thickness: 5 mm J
Jt J
J12 mm
bearing plan size: 70 mm J a J 200 mm
where a w length of bearing (see Fig. 3.10)
The thickness may be reduced to 4 mm if smaller flatness tolerances can be guaranteed
(1.5 mm). It is essential to prevent direct contact between the concrete components,
even in the case of rotation of the support, and this is the main principle behind specifying
the thickness.
Only vulcanised products based on chloroprene rubber (CR) may be used for unrein-
forced elastomeric bearings. Taking into account the permissible local bearing pressure
on the adjacent component surfaces, elastomeric bearings may be loaded with an average
bearing pressure of
J1,2 G S (52)
182 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
where the shear modulus G w 1 N/mm
and the form factor S is
S w
a b
2 a Sb t
b J2a (53)
for rectangular bearings, and
S w
4 t
(D w diameter) (54)
for circular bearings. Drilled holes, e.g. for dowels, may be ignored if they do not exceed
10 % of the bearing area.
This therefore results in a compressive stress s
m w 1012 N/mm
for standard bearing
geometries. But if the specific application conditions given in [216] for column butt joints
loaded purely in compression apply, then compressive stresses of up to 20 N/mm
In category 2, the lateral tensile force Z due to the prevention of lateral strain in the elas-
tomer must be taken into account by way of
w1,5 F t a 10
for a support reaction F.
In category 1, the lateral tensile force, in the absence of any more accurate analysis, e.g.
through tests, can be determined with the help of the information given in [216]. The re-
inforcement resisting the lateral tensile force should be positioned as close as possible to
the bearing.
The tensile splitting force Z
can be calculated according to the relevant publications (e.g.
part 2 of Leonhardts Vorlesung uber Massivbau). As the calculations represent only rough
simplifications, the resulting reinforcement should not be skimped in any way.
183 3.1 Compression joints
Fig. 3.10 Arrangement of reinforcement in the re-
gion of the beam support (example according to DIN
The reinforcement should be arranged to handle the influences due to both Z
und Z
. The
amounts of reinforcement required for splitting tension and lateral tension are then as
erf A
s1 i 1,5 (0,8 Z
erf A
i 1,5 (0,2 Z
where Z
j 0.1 F
In most instances the bottom tension reinforcement provided in the longitudinal direction
over the support anyway is adequate for the reinforcement required at a depth of 0.2a for
the lateral tensile force. Additional reinforcement is required for the splitting tensile
force; the reinforcement in the transverse direction is achieved by reducing the spacing
of the shear links.
Action effects due to permanent loads parallel to the plane of the bearing (e.g. out-of-
plumb, earth pressure, etc.) are not permitted.
The following check is relevant for action effects due to restraint and brief external loads
for category 1 (but not category 2, where slippage of the bearing is not to be expected or is
J0,05 F (55)
external horizontal force
restraint force
This verifies indirectly that the permissible shear deformation is not exceeded.
The angle of rotation a (Fig. 3.11) of a category 1 bearing as a result of elastic and plastic
deformations of the components plus the unevenness and skew of the bearing surfaces
must satisfy the following condition:
zul aJ
Where no more accurate verification is provided, amay be determined by adding together
the following influences:
1. Probable component deformation under service loads
2. 2/3 of probable component deformations due to shrinkage and creep
3. Skew of 0.01
4. Unevenness of 0.625/a (a in mm)
More detailed information regarding the magnitude of the influences given above can be
found in [215, 217]. The angle of rotation a should be limited such that there is no direct
contact between the concrete components; a minimum distance of 3 mm should be cho-
sen as the limiting value for the point where the concrete components come closest to-
gether (Fig. 3.11).
184 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
The eccentricity resulting from the rotation may need to be taken into account for cate-
gory 1 as follows:
e w
a (57)
when designing the adjoining components.
Any influence due to compression of the bearing only needs to be analysed in exceptional
circumstances. As the deformation curves are not linear, the compression component due
to imposed loads is smaller than the component due to the total load.
Extremely smooth contact surfaces have a negative effect on elastomeric bearings be-
cause frictional engagement between the different materials is then impossible; release
agent and similar substances worsen the situation.
So the characteristics of the loadbearing and deformation behaviour require construc-
tional measures that would be unnecessary to this extent when using other bearing mate-
rials. Apart from accommodating the lateral tensile forces near the support surface as a re-
sult of restricting lateral strain at the contact faces, as mentioned above, protecting the ar-
rises where the permissible bearing pressures are used to the full calls for special care. To
do this, the following recommendations should be followed (which are taken from [218]):
Arrises should always be cast with chamfers because this offers the elastomeric bear-
ing only a small contact area in the unreinforced edge zone in the case of excessive
The lateral tension reinforcement (calculated, for example, according to [219]) should
not be fixed more than approx. 30 mm below the support surface.
185 3.1 Compression joints
Fig. 3.11 Compression and rotation actions on
an elastomeric bearing
Fig. 3.12 Arrangement of reinforcement below
the support for an unreinforced elastomeric bearing
(according to [218])
The zone below the bearing shown in Fig. 3.12 must be reinforced. Dimension r
chosen to allow the contact area to enlarge without damage upon the bearing being
squashed by a vertical load and rotation, in the event of horizontal displacements
and in the case of inaccurate installation of the bearing. Reinforcement is to be in-
cluded according to one of the proposals illustrated. Where the reinforcement simulta-
neously functions as the tensile bending reinforcement in a corbel, the additional re-
quirement regarding adequate end anchorage of the reinforcement remains unaffected
(see section 2.6.2).
Concentrations of reinforcement in the vicinity of the front face of the support should
be avoided because this weakens the bond between the concrete cover and the load-
bearing concrete and can result in shell-like spalling.
Care should be exercised to ensure accurate cutting to length, bending and fixing of
the edge reinforcement.
Bent reinforcing bars from the longitudinal column reinforcement or from corbel
bending reinforcement are generally unsuitable as edge protection owing to the large
bend radii and the unfavourable distribution transverse to the support. On the other
hand, horizontal loops or meshes with closely spaced bars enable an effective and at
the same time economic reinforcement layout.
Irrespective of the reinforcement near the surface, appropriate tensile spitting reinfor-
cement is always required at an appropriate distance from the surface and in a size and
distribution suitable for the splitting tensile forces (Fig. 3.10).
b) Special forms of unreinforced elastomeric bearings
The compression behaviour of elastomeric bearings can be influenced by perforations,
studs or other surface textures or cross-sectional forms, also the use of sponge rubber
(see below) [220]. The aim is always to achieve a more uniform stress distribution,
even in the case of greater unevenness. The voids cause the bearing to yield at first under
the load, the degree of yielding decreasing gradually as the voids are filled with the bear-
ing material, so the resistance to the deformation increases progressively.
DIN 4114 treats such bearings as normal solid bearings when the thickness t is replaced
by the theoretical value t
for a solid pad with the same volume and the same area on plan.
Whereas the standard is limited to square, rectangular or circular bearings, a design pro-
posal for strip-type rubber bearings for prestressed hollow-core slabs published in [221]
will be described below (Fig. 3.13).
186 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.13 Support for prestressed
hollow-core slab (according to [221])
A minimum bearing length according to section 3.1.2 is required for these strips, but this
value must be equal to 1/125 x span at least. There must be a clearance of 30 mm between
the edge of the bearing and the edge of the concrete in order to avoid spalling at the edges.
This therefore results in a bearing length of approx. 40 mm when we take into account the
aforementioned minimum bearing length. Tests on prestressed hollow-core slabs with ty-
pical dimensions and spans bearing on rubber strips with Shore hardnesses 40 and 60 and
sponge rubber with a density of 0.5 g/cm
have resulted in a recommendation for the latter
of 20 mm wide strips with thickness t w810 mm. This means that a compression of 3
4 mm as a result of the load and compensating for unevenness leads to a residual gap un-
der full load of min. 23 mm. The sponge rubber recommended for bearings is supplied
in rolls and chloroprene rubber is also available.
c) Sliding bearings
Unreinforced or reinforced elastomeric bearings of suitable thickness can be used where
small relative movements between two components must be permitted. But for larger
movements it may be necessary to install special sliding bearings. There are many types
available but they do not have National Technical Approvals, instead in some cases are
subject to voluntary official quality control measures. These bearings for buildings con-
sist of lubricated or non-lubricated films (0.20.5 mm) or sheets (35 mm). The materi-
als used are polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polya-
mides (PA) or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), with the last of these being the most sui-
table, but also the most expensive (trade names: Teflon, Hostaflon, etc.). In the meantime,
carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRP) are also being used.
The films and sheets are enclosed in foams or elastomers because otherwise they are too
thin to compensate for unevenness or to prevent excessive edge pressures in the case of
rotation. Only sliding bearings adequately laminated to an elastomer to achieve a mini-
mum thickness of 4 mm in total may be used as intermediate pads between precast con-
crete components. This is not a true sliding bearing, but rather a deformable sliding bear-
ing. The coefficient of friction depends on pressure, material, temperature, lubrication,
sliding velocity, bonding at perimeter and number of movements, i.e. a whole range of
parameters. The friction coefficients determined by the manufacturers often under la-
boratory conditions only differ from those suitable in practice, in some cases quite sig-
nificantly. Avalue of m w 0.10 can be assumed as a cautious characteristic value [222].
d) Reinforced elastomeric bearings
Reinforced elastomeric bearings for higher loads are square, rectangular or circular on
plan. Their reinforcement is in the form of flat sheet steel or textile plies positioned at a
uniform spacing and symmetrically about the central plane. They are bonded to the elas-
tomeric plies by way of hot vulcanising.
However, before opting for a more complex, more expensive reinforced elastomeric bear-
ing, it is always important to check whether the requirements to be satisfied by the bearing
can be met by an unreinforced elastomeric bearing. This is the case for the majority of
bearing details in precast concrete construction.
187 3.1 Compression joints
The use of reinforced elastomeric bearings is covered by DIN 4141-14 Reinforced elas-
tomeric bearings and National Technical Approvals. Ref. [208] contains further details
of reinforced elastomeric bearings.
Reinforced elastomeric bearings differ from unreinforced elastomeric bearings in the fol-
lowing ways:
Whereas unreinforced elastomeric bearings are made from sheets that can be cut to
suit the respective application, reinforced elastomeric bearings are only available in
the sizes fabricated by the suppliers.
The permissible pressures depend on the size of the bearing and lie between 10 N/mm
for the small ones and 15 N/mm
for the large ones. The reason for the higher values of
the reinforced bearings, compared to the unreinforced bearings, is that squeezing-out
of the bearing as it prevents lateral strain is checked by the sheet metal incorporated
during vulcanisation.
The permissible shear deformations, related to the ply thickness t, are the same as for
unreinforced elastomeric bearings. But as thicker bearings with T wn t are permissi-
ble for reinforced bearings, the permissible shear deformations are increased by a fac-
tor of n for the same value of t.
In terms of rotation, the total rotation 4 wn a applies accordingly, where a is the an-
gle of rotation per elastomer ply.
Apart from the tensile spitting forces caused by local loads, it is not necessary to take
into account any further lateral tensile forces for reinforced elastomeric bearings.
3.1.4 Elastomeric bearings to DIN EN 1337
Elastomeric bearings to DIN 4141 were described in the previous section. This standard
has in the meantime been withdrawn and replaced by the new bearings standard DIN EN
1337. The new standard consist of 11 parts, and part 3 deals with elastomeric bearings
(see also [213]).
As elastomeric bearings were further developed and achieved permissible bearing pres-
sures i 12 N/mm
and exhibited a loadbearing behaviour that increasingly deviated
from the provisions of DIN 4141, it became clear that a new standard was required. A
new bearings standard was drawn up over several years in the course of the European har-
monisation of the new generation of standards. Furthermore, the many and various tech-
nical developments and the diverse requirements placed on bearings have led to the fol-
lowing regulations:
a) There will be no bearing categories in the future. The edition of DIN EN 1337-3
Structural bearings Part 3: Elastomeric bearings currently valid (Jul 2005) covers un-
reinforced elastomeric bearings made from CR (chloroprene rubber) and NR (natural rub-
ber) for relatively low vertical loads (up to approx. 8 N/mm
) and predominantly static
actions. However, the introductory decree excluded natural rubber, which means that cur-
rently only elastomeric bearings made from chloroprene rubber are covered. As a result of
the limited loads, the analysis for determining the bearing pressures for these bearings has
been much simplified in the standard.
188 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
J1,4 G
S J7 G
design value for vertical load
A plan area of bearing
design shear modulus of elastomer
S form factor for elastomeric material
The bearing forces and bearing movements are determined as characteristic values ac-
cording to the rare loading combination of DIN 1055-100. The characteristic values re-
sulting from the individual actions (increased by the respective partial safety factors)
are used for calculating the resulting design values for movement displacements and ro-
tations and the forces at the ultimate limit state.
b) All bearings that cannot be designed according to a) require some form of National
Technical Approval. This is the case, for example, when bearings according to a) are to
be used for higher loads, or other types of bearing or other materials (EPDM, ethylene
polypropylene diene monomer rubber) are to be used. Besides some form of approval,
these bearings require a design concept. At the moment, a so-called application standard
is being drawn up which will specify a method of analysis. Therefore, all the information
given below reflects the current status of discussions in the committee responsible for the
new standard and has not been finalised. The application standard must function within
the scope of two limiting values: the lower value is formed by the simple verification to
DIN EN 1337-3 and the upper value is the current limit of a 20 N/mm
bearing pressure
based on experience.
In terms of the climatic influences, we distinguish between components fitted within in-
sulated building envelopes and components exposed either frequently or permanently to
the outside air.
The analysis of the bearing is carried out on the basis of a deformation-related calculation
concept instead of DIN EN 1337-3. In doing so, we distinguish between an accurate and a
simplified analysis.
The average bearing pressure is limited in order to restrict the lateral spread or sagging of
the bearing:
The design value of the admissible average bearing pressure s
can be found in the re-
levant National Technical Approval or DIN EN 1337-3. Both the angle of rotation of the
component at the support and a geometrical imperfection should be taken into account for
the rotation at the support a
189 3.1 Compression joints
The angle of rotation a
of the bearing should be limited in such a way that there is no
contact between the edges under the design values. As the bearings themselves can ac-
commodate very large pressures or deformations without the elastomer being damaged,
avoiding damage to the adjoining components constitutes the actual limit state.
The eccentricity as a result of the restoring moment due to rotation of the bearing must be
taken into account when designing the adjoining components. In future this data will be
available in the relevant National Technical Approval.
The shear distortion in the bearing due to component displacements and brief external
loads tan g
should be limited as follows:
tan g
J tan g
In addition, it is also necessary to check that non-anchored bearings cannot slide.
The application standard and the future National Technical Approvals for elastomeric
bearings for buildings have been coordinated with each other.
3.2 Tension joints
3.2.1 Welded joints
These days, only weldable structural steels are appearing on the market and the steel
grades for structural steelwork approved to DIN 18800-1 plus pipe steels for seamless
and welded hollow sections are also all suitable for welding. This means that the perma-
nent loadbearing connections for precast concrete buildings are frequently in the form of
welded joints.
The design, fabrication and quality control of welded joints in reinforced concrete con-
struction is covered by DIN 1045-1 and DIN EN ISO 17660 parts 1 and 2 Welding of re-
inforcing steel; part 1 covers loadbearing welded joints, part 2 non-loadbearing joints,
i.e. those required for transport and/or erection only. One example of the latter is the stan-
dard meshes, which are fabricated with plain overlapping joints.
Only loadbearing welded joints are considered here.
All welded joints (and this applies to non-loadbearing joints as well) may only be pro-
duced by welders qualified in accordance with ISO 9606-1 (fillet weld test) and who
have completed additional training covering the welding of steel reinforcing bars.
Furthermore, the contractor or fabricator must employ a supervisory person according
to ISO 14731 who has specific knowledge of the welding of steel reinforcement.
DIN 1045-1 Table 12 specifies the permissible welding methods. The method of welding
used almost exclusively in precast concrete construction, apart from stud welding for
shear connectors, is electric arc welding. We distinguish here between the manual electric
arc welding often used (E), with coated electrodes, and shielded arc welding, often re-
ferred to as metal active gas (MAG) welding. The latter is particularly suitable for factory
190 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
fabrication, and may only be carried out in the open air when a protective tent is erected
around the work to prevent the shielding gas being blown away by the wind.
Also possible these days are welded connections involving stainless steel grades 1.4401
and 1.4571 to DIN EN ISO 10088 (see also DIBt Approval Z-30.3- 6 covering products,
connections and components made from stainless steels) and carried out according to
DIN EN ISO 17660-1. However, special electrodes are required for this. When designing
joints involving both normal and stainless steel, the different thermal expansion beha-
viour of these two types of steel must be taken into account in order to avoid restraint
stresses and failure. Galvanic corrosion can occur when these two types of steel are in
contact in the presence of an electrolyte, e.g. water, which, however, is not a problem
when the steel is embedded in concrete.
DIN EN ISO 17660-1 provides detailed information about the design and detailing of
welded connections between steel reinforcing bars and between reinforcement and steel
sections. The basic rule is to provide fillet welds (Fig. 3.14) and lapped or spliced joints
(Fig. 3.15), which should be preferred to butt joints or T-joints (Fig. 3.16) because they
are easier to produce and have significant loadbearing reserves.
191 3.2 Tension joints
Fig. 3.14 Fillet welds along the sides of reinforcing bars or other steel parts to DIN EN ISO 17660-1
Fig. 3.15 Lapped and spliced
connections between reinforcing
bars to DIN EN ISO 17660-1 for
loadbearing joints
Fillet welds around the ends of bars (T-joints) are very prone to errors. The recommenda-
tion for structural calculations (when there are no results available from welding tests) is
to carry out such fillet welds only for those details where the bar passes through a plate
(Figs 3.16a and 3.17) with exactly the same load-carrying capacity as the bar. This ap-
proach is based on company tests and complies with [227]. Where the bar must finish
flush with an anchor plate for constructional reasons, e.g. at short supports or corbels,
then the type of joint shown in Fig. 3.16c is not to be recommended. As the aforemen-
tioned tests have revealed, such a joint carries I 50 % of the force in the bar in some si-
tuations. The type of welded joint shown in Fig. 3.16b can be used if a flush fitting is un-
avoidable, but this detail can carry only 75 % of the load in the bar, unless specific suit-
ability tests have proved that the full load-carrying capacity can be assumed.
The loadbearing effect of the welded joint shown in Fig. 3.16a is the result of the wedging
effect of the relatively small annular weld in particular. Failure occurs through a cone-
shaped shearing-off of the projecting bar, which is why this should not be less than
1.0 d
if at all possible. However, the aforementioned tests have shown that it is not ne-
cessary to provide a weld with 0.4 d
. Instead, a simple wedging with a throat size of a
w 7 mm is adequate (Fig. 3.17).
Where the loads are not predominantly static, DIN 1045-1 Table 12 specifies that butt
joints between bars in tension may only be carried out with flash welding (FW). Electric
arc and MAG welding are only suitable for bars in compression, and then only within cer-
tain limits.
192 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.16 Fillet welds at ends of re-
inforcing bars to DIN EN ISO 17660-1
Welded joints in structures in seismic regions must be given special attention. DIN 4149
section specifies that welded connections between reinforcing bars are not per-
missible for any stability components for which a higher degree of ductility is presumed
(class 2). The requirements to be met by filler metals given in DIN 4149 section
must be adhered to for welded connections in steelwork.
The welded connections in precast concrete construction are frequently based on reinfor-
cing bars projecting from the precast concrete components which are then either welded
directly together or to splice plates and the whole joint then encased in concrete on site
(see Fig. 2.44). The projecting bars must be long enough to permit minimal bending in or-
der to accommodate tolerances. Good access for the welder and the welding equipment is
essential. The reader should consult FDB leaflet No. 2 (available in German only) for in-
formation about corrosion protection.
3.2.2 Anchoring steel plates, dowels, studs and cast-in channels
Fixing technology in reinforced concrete construction has evolved into a separate field in
recent years. This technology includes cast-in parts, e.g. channels, rails, plates with
welded headed studs or pigtail anchors made from ribbed bars with threaded couplers
pressed on, and site fasteners in the form of expansion, undercut or bonded anchors
(Figs 3.19 and 3.20).
This subject has its own chapter in the Beton-Kalender [230, 238]. It will therefore not be
covered in any detail here.
These cast-in parts are being increasingly regulated by way of European technical speci-
fications [228], which enable the manufacturers to create specific design software and
thus simplify the use of their fixings. For example, the so-called CCD method (CCD w
Concrete Capacity Design) represents the current standard for designing anchors and an-
chor plates. There is a similar development for cast-in channels and rails [229].
A compilation of typical anchor channels and rails plus typical fasteners for precast con-
crete components and facade elements can be found in the Beton-Kalender [231, 238].
193 3.2 Tension joints
Fig. 3.17 Welded end anchorage with
circular anchor plate (according to [157])
194 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.18 Welded joint for a suspended floor slab
Fig. 3.19 Examples of drilled anchors:
(a) force-controlled expanding anchor,
(b) undercut anchor, (c) bonded anchor
Fig. 3.20 Examples of cast-in parts: (a) channel, (b) plates with welded headed studs,
(c) pigtail anchor
3.2.3 Shear dowels
Shear dowels are frequently used in precast concrete construction in order to secure the
positions of precast concrete components that are in direct contact. The shear dowel inter-
sects the contact face between the two parts and must resist any shear forces occurring in
the joint. Shear dowels are dealt with in detail in [232234, 239].
The design criteria are the compressive stress in the concrete at the point of fixity of the
dowel and the bending of the dowel. Whereas the bending moment in the dowel can be
calculated relatively accurately, determining the load-carrying capacity of the concrete,
e.g. with the help of the subgrade modulus, is a problem.
Shear dowel joints can fail (Fig. 3.21) by way of
high bearing pressure on the concrete (a),
cracking of the cross-section (b and c), and
excessive bending in the dowel.
As both failure of the steel and failure of the concrete are possible, both of the following
analyses (taken from [232]) should always be carried out.
The shear force that can be accommodated by the dowel is calculated taking into account
the plasticity reserves in the steel with a factor of 1.25 as follows:
(a Sx
yield stress of dowel steel
W moment of resistance of dowel
a lever arm of force
theoretical fixity depth for dowel
A safety factor of g w1.75 is adequate for failure of the steel. Considering the risk of local
spalling, selecting x
e w d w dowel diameter is to be recommended. The embedment
length required lies between 5d and 6d; using 6d every time is sensible.
195 3.2 Tension joints
Fig. 3.21 Failure mechanisms in shear tests [232]: (a) local spalling,
(b) inadequate edge distance (u
=d I8), (c) inadequate edge distance (u
=d I8)
The failure load of the concrete is as follows:
(333 Sa 12,2)
d dowel diameter
a lever arm (in mm) of load application to be used
cylinder compressive strength of concrete to DIN 1045-1 (in N/mm
A safety factor of g w 3 is recommended.
A formula according to Rasmussen given in [232] leads to roughly the same result assum-
ing a w 0 for dowel diameters d w 1625 mm:
w1,3 d


A safety factor of g w 5 is recommended in this case.
Where failure of the concrete beneath the point where the dowel exits the component is
prevented, e.g. by a steel disc with a diameter of min. 7d welded to the dowel or by a
transverse compressive force acting on the joint, then the permissible load on the concrete
may be roughly doubled.
A prerequisite for the above equations is an adequate minimum edge distance of u
and u
j 8d. For constructional reasons alone, smaller edge distances should not be used with
unreinforced concrete.
The concrete can be strengthened with reinforcing bars in the case of smaller concrete di-
mensions and larger dowel shear forces. The cross-sectional area of the reinforcement can
be calculated using the following equation:

where c is taken from Fig. 3.22.
Mesh reinforcement with a bar spacing of 50 mm and a bar diameter J8 mm has proved
worthwhile. In such a mesh, up to five bars parallel to the load may be considered as ef-
fective. Alternatively, loops in double shear with a bar diameter J12 mm may be placed
around the dowel and anchored in the opposite direction to the force (Fig. 3.23).
To conclude this section, information about two interesting proprietary shear dowels,
which are marketed as shear load connectors and permit movement in the longitudinal
direction of the dowel (Fig. 3.24).
Type I is designed to be fitted through the mould. The steel bar has a bituminous coating
over half its length which prevents a bond with the concrete and therefore permits move-
ment in the longitudinal direction provided there is a space or compressible foam material
at the end of the dowel.
196 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
197 3.2 Tension joints
Fig. 3.22 Values for the factor in eq. (59)
Fig. 3.23 Effective forms of reinforcement
for shear dowels [232]
Fig. 3.24 Sliding dowels (Speba system)
Type II includes a sleeve for the dowel which is nailed to the inside of the mould; there is
no need to drill a hole in the mould for the dowel. After demoulding, the dowel is inserted
into the sleeve and cast into the adjoining component once the joint is finished.
Such shear connectors are highly advisable when, for example, movement in the longitu-
dinal direction of the connector is necessary once a bearing or expansion joint has been
compressed and a shear force still has to be resisted.
The development of these proprietary shear load connectors has continued in the mean-
time and now they are available in the forms shown in Fig. 3.25, available with different
degrees of freedom and covered by National Technical Approvals [231, 240]. In conjunc-
tion with suitable additional reinforcement, these fittings can be used as loadbearing con-
nections between components.
3.2.4 Screw couplers
Awhole range of screw couplers is available for connecting reinforcing bars for trans-
ferring tensile forces in particular. However, most of these products are unsuitable for
connections between precast concrete components because they cannot compensate for
any tolerances in the longitudinal and transverse directions, or at best are only able to
cope with minimal tolerances, and also because the couplers themselves or the equipment
needed to install them require too much space. Such screw couplers are, however, very
useful for connecting loose reinforcing bars laid in grouted joints or passing through
sleeves, or reinforcing bars that project from precast concrete components (so-called star-
ter bars) and are cast into in situ concrete. Detailed information on the screw couplers de-
scribed below can be found in [231].
Screw couplers have become very popular in precast concrete construction over recent
years. The problem of the fitting accuracy of the two precast concrete components with
respect to the screwed connection has been alleviated by using a system with fixed,
cast-in bolts, normally with a screw coupler to avoid having to penetrate the mould,
and a cast-in part with appropriate tolerance options. The permissible tolerances lie be-
tween 3 and 8 mm, depending on the size of the cast-in part. Using this system it is
now possible to design column, beam and wall joints for both loadbearing and non-load-
bearing details (see also Figs 2.63 to 2.68).
198 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.25 Types of shear connector system for different degrees of longitudinal displacement
3.2.5 Transport fixings
Precast concrete components are not produced in their final position and so how and at
which points they can be lifted, turned and transported must be considered at the design
stage. The type, positioning and size of the fixings must be planned, also the lifting equip-
ment. Availability must be checked in the case of the latter.
As transport fixings do not have any effect on the safety and stability of the finished struc-
ture, they are often treated perfunctorily during the planning work. The engineer perform-
ing the structural analysis normally does not consider himself or herself to be responsible
for the transport fixings; this is because in Germany the employers liability insurance as-
sociations (Berufsgenossenschaften) are responsible for safety during transport. However,
these associations are only interested in the quality of the crane slings and hooks, which
means that according to the building authorities nobody is actually responsible for the
transport fixings so critical to the safety of the workers on site! The responsibility is there-
fore entirely down to the manufacturer of the precast concrete components.
Only tried-and-tested transport fixing systems should be used for larger loads. Ref. [231]
shows some of the many transport fixings available.
According to the safety rules of the employers liability insurance associations, transport
fixings must be designed to carry three times the nominal working load. The latter is spe-
cified for a concrete strength of 15 N/mm
, which must be available at the time of lifting
[133, 235].
In the meantime, a study group has been formed by VDI Bautechnik and the Studienge-
meinschaft fur Fertigteilbau e.V. in order to draw up detailed rules for the design and
use of transport fixing systems and to prepare a VDI directive on this subject [241].
The following points must be considered when sizing transport fixings:
Adhesion forces of considerable magnitude can occur during demoulding. They can
reach figures of 1 kN/m
in the case of steel moulds treated with release agent, or
3 kN/m
in the case of rough-sawn timber moulds. Indeed, when demoulding dou-
ble-T floor units cast in older rigid moulds, values equal to twice the self-weight
have been measured.
When fixings are subjected to diagonal pull, higher forces in the ropes (Fig. 3.26a) and
additional bending stresses in the fixing sleeves must be taken into account. Angles i
60h are not permitted. Diagonal pull can be avoided by using a spreader beam. Special
diagonal pull loops may have to be used (Fig. 3.26b).
Only two loadbearing fixings and ropes may be assumed in the design for a statically
indeterminate suspension system. The designer is therefore recommended to set up a
statically determinate loadbearing system by using a spreader beam or rocker attach-
ment that apportions approximately identical loads to all fixings (Fig. 3.27).
If tilt-up moulds are not available for wall panels and columns cast horizontally, the
edges of the concrete components are damaged again and again when attaching slings
and raising the units because of the inadequate edge distances of the transport fixings.
The fixings must be suitably rigid and secured with reinforcement (Fig. 3.28). While
199 3.2 Tension joints
raising the units, only half the load acts on the transport fixings because the other half
is still supported on the factory floor.
Non-uniform and impact loads can occur when lifting a precast concrete component
out of the mould, also during raising and lowering them either in the factory or on
the building site. The magnitudes of those loads depend on the skill of the crane opera-
tor. Cranes with precision hosting mechanisms are available in the precasting plant
and these are generally operated by experienced personnel, which means that the im-
200 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.26 (a) Higher rope forces with diagonal
pull, (b) cable loops for diagonal pull (Schro der)
Fig. 3.27 Statically determinate lifting method
pact loads remain low and can generally be ignored even though the concrete strength
is at its lowest during the handling in the plant. This is also true for the latest mobile
cranes. A global increase in the safety factor for the transport fixings system in order
to cover the impact events that, theoretically, can occur during improper handling is
not justifiable on economic grounds. It is up to the respective personnel on site and
in the factory to handle the components carefully.
Transport fixings that can be detached with a cable or pneumatically via remote control
help to ease positioning operations in many instances and reduce the risks to erection per-
Neglecting the duty of care necessary during the planning of transport fixings counts is
not worthwhile when we consider what accidents and damage might be caused by falling
parts and also the time wasted when attaching crane slings and hooks.
The only important aspect is that the cast-in parts, of which there are normally two or four
per component, should not be too expensive (because they remain in the component and
are probably never used again).
3.2.6 Retrofitted corbels
Where corbels have to be fitted afterwards because of the type of fabrication employed,
e.g. walls built using climbing formwork or slipforming methods, then it is possible to
employ the options shown in section 2.6.2, with butt-jointed reinforcing bars and shear
key joints. And even where there are no connectors present in the structure, it is still pos-
sible to attach corbels subsequently by exploiting friction and dowel actions to transfer
the forces. Tensile forces must be transferred by threaded fixings.
Fig. 3.29 shows two options for retrofitting a corbel, both of which require bolts. Yielding
of the connected parts as a result of small inaccuracies and bolt relaxation can be avoided
by pretensioning the bolts with a tensile force Z calculated beforehand. The pretensioning
can be applied with hydraulic presses like those used in prestressed concrete construction,
but using a torque wrench is more convenient, which, however, also induces torsion in the
bolt as well as tension.
201 3.2 Tension joints
Fig. 3.28 Transport fixings for a wall panel cast horizontally
The pretensioning force Z that can be achieved with a torque M
and lightly oiled, high-
strength friction-grip (HSFG) bolts can be calculated with good accuracy using the fol-
lowing equation:
Z kN w
5 M
in Nm and bolt diameter d
in mm)
The following equations can be used to estimate the dimensions of the anchor plate for
transferring the tensile force in the bolt to the concrete:
plate thickness: t reqd [mm] w 3.4

(Z in kN)
plate area: A
reqd [cm
] w 0.8 Z (Z in kN)
These are based on tests [236] carried out with concrete grade C20/25 (B 25) and a
through-hole with a diameter of about 1.5d
The reader is referred to the very detailed information given in [236] regarding the fire re-
sistance and corrosion protection of bolted connections. All components that are to be ret-
rofitted with corbels must of course be checked to ensure that they can carry the additional
Fig. 3.29a shows a reinforced concrete corbel fixed to a concrete component with preten-
sioned HSFG bolts. The friction force needed to carry force V is activated by tensioning
202 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Given: V, e, z = 0.8 h
corbel width b
concrete grade (of weaker part)
Wanted: pretension Z
or tie cross-section
Stress in concrete must be checked
Pretension: e/z 1.23 : Z = 2.15 V
e/z > 1.23 : Z = 1.75

Tie cross-section: A
= Z/perm
(pretension tie to Z)
Concrete stress:

where tan = z/e sin
Reinforced concrete corbel attached with
pretensioned HSFG bolts
Given: V, e, z, d
, t
concrete grade
Wanted: pretension Z
or tie cross-section
Stress in concrete must be checked
Tension: Z =
Tie cross-section: A
= Z/perm
(pretension tie to Z)
Concrete stress:

recommended for dowel: d
t [237]
Steel corbel with dowel
Fig. 3.29 Retrofitted corbels
with force Z, which is why force Z for this corbel detail has to be much greater than that in
Fig. 3.29b.
The authors of [236] provide further information about this corbel detail:
Filling the joint with grout is unnecessary, and this does not mean that extreme re-
quirements are placed on the flatness of the contact faces.
When the HSFG bolts have been properly galvanised, then the drilled hole for each
bolt does not have to be pressure grouted in order to reduce the risk of corrosion.
This simplifies the exact adjustment of the corbel. An appropriate final detail mortar
fill, possibly in recesses with special mortar, or an Isoternit protective cap can
guarantee a fire resistance rating of F 90 to F 120.
Tests [237] on the corbel detail shown in Fig. 3.29b have revealed that this type of corbel
is ideal for retrofitting situations, where a corbel was never envisaged in the first place.
The sizing is carried out according to the rules of structural steelwork. The hole for the
round dowel is drilled with a core drill. The hole should be only a few millimetres larger
than the diameter of the dowel that is grouted into the hole.
In the tests, this type of corbel was loaded to failure with 2.1 times the service loads.
3.3 Shear joints
3.3.1 General
The design of shear joints for cross-sections subsequently finished with in situ concrete
has already been dealt with in section 2.6.1. According to DIN 1045-1, the same equation
can be used for other types of shear joint as well.
Fig. 3.30 shows in graphical form the loading components that contribute to transferring
shear. The first component comprises the adhesion between the grout in the joint and the
precast concrete component, the second component corresponds to the friction force due
to an axial stress perpendicular to the joint, and the third component is the reinforcement,
which also activates a friction force and can be explained by way of shear-friction theory
203 3.3 Shear joints
Fig. 3.30 Components contributing to shear transfer
In shear-friction theory (see Fig. 3.31) it is assumed that even a minor crack at a joint sub-
jected to shear is sufficient to transfer the load to the steel crossing the joint. This happens
because with a relative displacement of the contact faces the roughness in the crack sepa-
rates the faces and therefore the steel bars across the joint are subjected to a strain.
This gives rise to a compressive force in the joint which enables the shear force to be re-
sisted by friction forces. In principle, the reinforcement therefore performs the same func-
tion as an external compressive force applied perpendicular to the axis of the joint. The
dowel effect of the reinforcement is small by comparison (see section 3.2.3) and is gener-
ally neglected.
If the reinforcement crosses the joint at an angle, the proportion projected onto the shear
joint contributes directly to resisting the shear force acting in this direction.
3.3.2 Floor diaphragms and wall plates in-plane shear forces
(see also sections 2.2.5 and 2.2.6)
According to DIN 1045-1 section 13.4.4, a suspended floor made up of precast concrete
elements can be regarded as a loadbearing plate provided it forms a coherent planar sur-
face in its final condition, the individual elements of the floor are interconnected with
compression-resistant joints and the loads in the plane of the plate can be resisted by
arch or truss action together with the perimeter members and ties reinforced for this pur-
pose. The ties required to achieve the truss action can be formed by reinforcing bars laid
in the joints between the precast concrete elements and anchored accordingly in the peri-
meter members. The reinforcement in the perimeter members and ties must be verified by
However, various truss action models with different strut angles are conceivable (Fig.
At first sight, forming ties in every joint between precast concrete components when as-
suming steep struts would seem to call for more reinforcement. However, with a concen-
trated diagonal tie, it must also be possible to install the reinforcement required within the
joint. Furthermore, there is no need to verify the joints because they are not intersected by
the struts.
204 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.31 Shear-friction theory
The edges of the longitudinal joints of floor diaphragms made from aerated concrete com-
ponents or prestressed hollow-core units cast using slipformers or extruders are relatively
smooth because of the production process. Various research projects have therefore been
carried out for these products and these have verified that the stiffness of perimeter or in-
ternal connecting beams, which act as dowels, make a considerable contribution to trans-
ferring shear forces.
A simple design concept for one- or two-storey residential buildings has been developed
for aerated concrete components based on full-scale tests [247].
DIN 1045-1 section 10.3.6 can be used to verify the shear joints in prestressed concrete
suspended floors [248]. In doing so, it should be noted that the joints must be classed
as smooth and the value for the shear force may not exceed h
0.15 N/mm
. The effective
shear force may be distributed over the entire length of the joint as follows:
0,15 N=mm
where h
F w h - 20 mm effective joint depth.
Only predominately static loads are permissible.
Whereas DIN 1045-1 section 13.4.4 assumes floor diaphragms, these days walls, made
up of precast concrete components, are to an increasing extent also being produced to
function as loadbearing plates in various structural systems. The analyses can be carried
out according to DIN 1045-1 section 10.3.6. Up until now, the curves shown in Fig. 3.35,
derived by Schwing [67] fromcomprehensive tests, were the most widely used for precast
concrete construction. These allow various shear key geometries for various loading si-
tuations, as depicted in Fig. 3.33, to be calculated and designed. Although the curves
should also apply to smooth joints, with a somewhat higher factor of safety, a shear key
is always recommended for loadbearing joints. Taking into account the global factor of
safety of 2.5 recommended by Schwing for a shear key joint, this results in the following
shear capacity per unit length for a B/F
ratio J 0.5:
205 3.3 Shear joints
Fig. 3.32 Two truss action systems with
diagonals at different angles
206 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.33 Typical loading conditions in the joints
of precast concrete plates [67]
Fig. 3.34 Shear key geometry
Fig. 3.35 Curves for determining the amount of reinforcement required in the joint [67]

a Sb r f

j v

a w 0,04 [MN/m
b w 0,44 [s]
r w amount of reinforcement
N w compressive stress
0 Jr f
J3,80 [MN=m
] k
Using the shear key geometry given in DIN 1045-1 Fig. 35 results in a B/F
value of 0.5.
Fig. 3.36 compares the curves according to Schwing with the DIN 1045-1/A1 analysis.
Excellent agreement has been achieved for typical axial forces.
In practice the reinforcement required is often concentrated in the transverse joints cross-
ing the shear joint (see Fig. 2.59). To allow for this, Schwing recommends increasing the
amount of reinforcement by a factor of 1/0.85.
A number of manufacturers have developed special cast-in fittings for joints to simplify
the provision of shear key and reinforcement. These form, or rather replace, the shear
key with profiled sheet metal, and the reinforcement is provided in the form of looped
207 3.3 Shear joints
Table 3.1 Factor k for eq. (61)
k k
C12/15 0.95 C30/37 0.908
C16/20 0.95 C35/45 0.885
C20/25 0.95 C40/50 0.862
C25/30 0.93 C45/55 0.839
Fig. 3.36 Comparing curves with DIN 1045-1/A1 for a joint geometry of B/F
u w 0.5
cables to simplify installation (Fig. 3.37). Such fittings can accommodate shear forces of
up to v
Rd w 90 kN/m. After installing these units, the joints are finished with high-
strength mortar, which is specified in the appropriate approval documentation along
with the permissible tolerances and the minimum component thicknesses. Interaction
with out-of-plane forces (e.g. wind loads on a wall plate) is possible. It should be noted
that as a result of the cable loops, cracks are always somewhat wider (Dw w 0.1 mm)
than is the case with reinforcing bars.
Special shear connectors have been developed for connecting wall plates and columns
(Fig. 3.38).
208 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.37 Shear connectors
made from profiled sheet metal
fittings (Pfeifer system)
Fig. 3.38 Shear connector for wall junctions
(Pfeifer system)
3.3.3 Joints in suspended floor slabs out-of-plane shear forces
The joints in suspended floors made up of precast concrete components must also transfer
shear forces perpendicular to the plane of the floor as well as those in the plane of the
floor, i.e. acting in the longitudinal direction of the joints. Fig. 3.39 illustrates failure me-
chanisms for various reinforced joints.
DIN 1045-1 section 13.4 contains standard details for this, which enable joints to transfer
shear forces by way of
a concrete filling with or without transverse reinforcement (Fig. 3.39),
welded or dowel-type connections (Fig. 3.40), or
a reinforced concrete topping.
A reinforced concrete topping is always required for the transverse distribution where the
loads are not predominantly static.
Comprehensive tests with slab thicknesses of 1020 cm and various joint forms are de-
scribed in [244] and [245]. Unfortunately, the design proposals derived from these tests
for unreinforced joints contain a mistake, which, however, has since been corrected
[246]. Fig. 3.41 shows options for the design of reinforced joints. The parameters have
been adjusted to suit the new edition of DIN 1045-1.
DAfStb booklet 525 [147] specifies the admissible shear force for unreinforced joints,
which is based on [245], as follows:



where V
R,joint,0 w 7.5 kN/m
209 3.3 Shear joints
Fig. 3.39 Failure mechanisms for unreinforced, dowel-reinforced and loop-reinforced joints (ac-
cording to [244] and [245])
Fig. 3.40 Examples of joints between precast concrete elements to DIN 1045-1 (dims. in mm)
However, this equation only applies for concrete grades up to C45/55 and slabs up to
20 cm deep. The joints in deeper slabs should be similarly narrow, i.e. altered in propor-
tion to their depth only. In unreinforced joints it is the concrete nib that fails. We can
therefore assume that the admissible joint shear force will then increase roughly in pro-
portion to the depth (of the concrete nib). The ratio of expansion force to shear force is
smaller anyway, corresponding to the steeper angle of the compressive force.
The authors own tests on 10 cm deep slabs with unreinforced joints with a form as shown
in Fig. 3.42 and a C20/25 filling to the joint resulted in minimum shear forces at failure of
u w 27.2 kN/m, which with a safety factor of 3.0 corresponds to a permissible shear
force of approx. 9 kN/m. The horizontal component H of the inclined compressive force
D, which in this case is equal to roughly twice the shear force V, acts as an expansion force
and must be transferred via the floor diaphragm to the longitudinal reinforcement in the
210 3 Joints between precast concrete elements
Fig. 3.41 Transverse forces in reinforced
joints (according to [244] and [245])
transverse joints (Fig. 3.42). In reinforced joints the joint expansion forces are resisted by
the joint reinforcement itself.
Regarding the joint form, it can generally be said that a nib according to Figs 3.40 and
3.42, where the depth of both upper and lower nib is about 1/3 h, is the best solution.
The joint should be kept as narrow as possible. At the bottom it only has to compensate
for the tolerances and at the top it should be just wide enough to allow the mortar filling
to be installed and compacted properly and also so there is enough space for any joint re-
inforcement, including any laps.
Reinforcement in the concrete nib is recommended where the shear forces are significant,
but is unnecessary in the case of low loads (e.g. wind loads on walls). This is because the
tensile strength of the concrete in the nib is critical and the admissible shear force has al-
ready been multiplied by the appropriate safety factor.
Ref. [249] describes tests on joints in hollow-core slabs. These floor systems were de-
signed for loads that are not predominantly static, for uniformly distributed loads of up
to q J 12.5 kN/m
and fork-lift trucks up to 35 kN.
The analysis of the transfer of shear forces transverse to the joint may be carried out ac-
cording to [147], for prestressed hollow-core slabs as well, but only for imposed loads
of q I 2.75 kN/m
and with an upper limit according to the approval documentation.
211 3.3 Shear joints
Fig. 3.42 Joint between double-T floor elements, Zu blin
6M system
4 Factory production
4.1 Production methods
The factory production methods for precast concrete have continued to develop further
towards industrialised, i.e. mechanised, methods in recent years. And at the moment,
automation, too, with the help of the latest CAD/CAM technologies, is also starting to in-
filtrate precast concrete construction. The precast concrete industry is being forced to in-
vest substantial sums of money to secure its share of the market in the face of competition
from other forms of construction. In this respect, it is the flexibility of the production fa-
cilities that is attracting great attention because large repetitive series are becoming things
of the past [250].
The majority of industrialised methods used for the production of structural precast con-
crete components for buildings can be assigned to one of the following two basic techni-
Circulation flow production
Production in long lines or beds
Both methods require a certain throughput, however.
The circulation flow production method [251], in which the elements, on pallets, are trans-
ported through the factory from one operation to another on roller conveyors or traver-
sers, is the typical method for planar elements such as wall panels and floor units. These
days, flow production systems are designed to achieve good flexibility.
Flow production has two main advantages:
Better organisation of the entire production procedure. The materials required can be
made available without internal transportation and the individual workers carry out
the same work at the same place each time.
Lower plant costs because the individual operations are carried out at workstations
specially designed for those operations and, for example, vibratory compactors or hy-
draulic systems for moulds only need to be provided once and therefore can be
equipped with more functions.
Besides the very common horizontal flow method with longitudinal conveyors and trans-
versers for heat treatment in curing chambers, there is also space-saving vertical flow
method with longitudinal conveyors on upper and lower levels connected via raising
and lowering stations. The actual production takes place on the upper conveyor, curing
in tunnel-like conveyors on the lower one [260].
However, flow production is not used exclusively for planar-type elements; it is also em-
ployed for stairs and linear components, for instance [265]. The different ways in which
series production can be carried out these days are described in [252] and the factory
production of four complete individual housing units every day using the latest techni-
ques is described in [253]. Refs. [254] and [250] present more recent developments in
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
the field of the production of elements for large-panel construction, and also discuss how
battery moulds for walls can be integrated into flow production systems.
Pretensioning forces must be resisted by the moulds themselves where prestressed ele-
ments are produced in the flow production method (see also section 4.4.2).
Floor elements are particularly suitable for production on long lines [255]. For example,
up until recently, precast planks for composite plank floors were produced almost exclu-
sively on long lines, with compaction being carried out by vibratory carriages running be-
low the bed or by external vibrators attached with quick-action couplings. However, the
large factory floor areas required for this, the mobile workstations and the relatively
long transport distances have seen a move towards pallet production in newer plants,
with automatic stacking systems in the curing chambers (Fig. 4.1) [256].
214 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.1 Flow production system for the production of precast concrete planks (Nuspl)
Whereas conventionally reinforced hollow-core slabs are produced entirely on pallets by
means of flow production, prestressed hollow-core slabs are produced almost exclusively
in long lines [257]. We must distinguish between two fundamentally different manu-
facturing methods:
The slipformer functions like slipforming formwork and is pulled over the production
line with a winch. The feeding units mounted on this operate with three filling and
compacting stages (Fig. 4.2a). The lower machine unit can be changed to suit different
cross-sectional forms as required.
The extruder works according to the recoil principle, so to speak (Fig. 4.2b). It braces
itself against the ribbon of concrete it has produced and thus propels itself forward. In
doing so, a very stiff concrete is processed which is pressed into the profiling zones by
augers and at the same time is compacted by high-frequency vibration. This gives the
concrete the necessary early strength required for this method of production and a high
final strength.
This production method represents the highest degree of mechanisation currently pos-
sible in precast concrete construction. The lines are cleaned by machines, the prestressing
wires are laid automatically and the elements are cut to length with a fully automatic
travelling concrete saw. This method was used, for example, to produce the 40 000 floor
elements needed for the University of Riyadh (Fig. 4.3).
Computer-assisted methods such as CAD (computer-aided design) for producing the
working drawings and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) have for some time now
been employed in the production of such floor elements [92, 256, 258, 259, 261].
Considerable progress has therefore been possible in precast concrete construction
recently in the three traditional areas of automation [262]:
Design and development (CAD) [263]
Production planning and control (PPC) with materials management [264]
Process sequencing (CAM) [265] and production data acquisition (PDA) [266]
Fig. 4.6 illustrates schematically how the reinforcement can be fixed automatically by a
computer-controlled robot.
Double-T floor units (Fig. 4.5), T-beams, I-beams and inverted V-beams (for sawtooth
roofs) are produced in long lines, which are normally combined with prestressing beds.
Developments here are in the direction of hydraulic or electromechanical adjustment of
the mould [255]. Mould plotters, mould robots [267] and concrete distributors are already
being controlled fully automatically via CAD.
These days, the precast concrete components that are still produced on conventional table
formwork are those unsuitable for batch production or those that need special moulds
because of their size or prestressing requirements. Those components are mainly beams,
prestressed double-T floor units, irregular wall panels and columns.
Precast concrete components are not just ideal for production in series or batches. They
can also be produced with complex geometries and surface finishes. Nevertheless, in or-
der to achieve a consistent production process and minimise the work required for each
215 4.1 Production methods
216 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.2 Industrial
production processes
for hollow-core slabs
(a) slipforming
(b) extrusion
(c) mandrels
individual component, CAM methods have already been used on many occasions for
milling the surface geometry. To do this, permanent formwork generally made from
polystyrene is produced by the computer-controlled milling machine and placed as a
lining in the mould. Almost any surface geometries can be modelled in this way. The
side panels to the mould must be correspondingly deeper in order to accommodate the lin-
ing. When using polystyrene, however, a slightly rough surface finish must be expected
because individual beads of polystyrene are lost from the surface during the milling work.
217 4.1 Production methods
Fig. 4.3 Production of prestressed hollow-core slabs by means of extrusion
Fig. 4.4 Loading of prestressed hollow-core
Fig. 4.7 shows the mould and a finished element for an HGV test track. The random sur-
face was calculated with a CAD system and transferred to the milling machine for the per-
manent formwork. Every element in this test track is unique.
218 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.5 Production of double-Telements in long lines (Olmet)
Fig. 4.6 Fixing the reinforcement for a floor unit with a computer-controlled robot [256]
4.2 Types of concrete in precast concrete construction
We have seen major developments in concrete technology in recent years. The following
types of concrete are acceptable to the building authorities and can be used without re-
Normal-strength concretes up to grade C50/60 [270]
High-strength concretes up to grade C80/95 [292]
Lightweight concretes up to grade LC60/66
Self-compacting concrete according to the 2003 DAfStb directive on the subject [297]
The following types of concrete may only be used in conjunction with a National Techni-
cal Approval or Individual Approval:
High-strength concretes of grades C90/105 and C100/115
Steel fibre-reinforced concretes [293]
A DAfStb directive is available for this latter type of concrete, but in draft form only at
present. The latest developments are taking place in the following fields:
Ultra-high-performance concretes (UHPC)
Textile-reinforced concretes (TRC) [291]
(see also section 2.4.5).
In addition, there are very many special concretes such as:
Impermeable concrete
Acid-resistant concrete
Coloured concrete
Concrete with high frost resistance
Concretes reinforced with glass, synthetic and other fibres [298]
Combinations of the above types of concrete [295, 296]
The types of concrete interesting for precast concrete construction will be briefly de-
scribed below. Of course, concrete technology now covers a wide field, and the interested
reader should refer to the publications mentioned above.
219 4.2 Types of concrete in precast concrete construction
Fig. 4.7 Precast carriageway for an HGV test track with milled mould lining (Zu blin)
All the aforementioned types of concrete are perfect for use in precasting plants. This is
because the concrete is mixed and used directly in such plants, the moulds are already
available, the concrete is easy to work and the working conditions are ideal. Therefore,
almost all the first uses of such concretes on a commercial scale have taken and continue
to take place in precasting plants or with precast concrete elements. This trend offers the
precast concrete construction industry good opportunities now and in the future.
4.2.1 Processing properties
Concrete for the production of precast concrete elements often has to satisfy different re-
quirements to those of in situ concrete. In the precasting plant, properties important on a
building site, e.g. long working time or slow heat development, are irrelevant, indeed
even undesirable.
First of all, the wet concrete should be easy to pour, should not remain in the skip or stick
to the chute. It should then not segregate in the mould before it has hardened, which is
something that constituents of the mix with different densities tend to do: light aggregates
float, heavy aggregates settle, foamed concrete (see section 4.2.4) at the base of wall pa-
nels concreted vertically becomes denser and heavier than that at the top. And water, too,
the lightest constituent in normal-weight concrete, should not be allowed to separate out
and lead to bleeding. These requirements are fulfilled by a concrete mix that stiffens ra-
pidly and does not leave the constituents enough time to segregate, e.g. by choosing a ra-
pid-hardening cement that retains the water, by limiting the aggregate size to H16 mm, or
by using concrete with a low water content.
Rapid hardening is also important when the element has to undergo heat treatment after
concreting (see section 4.3.1) because the interim storage time is prolonged by late set-
The short time from mixing the concrete to pouring it into the mould and the additional
compaction options offered by factory production enable the use of a stiff to plastic con-
crete consistency. Less mixing water is therefore required, which results in many advan-
tages (see Table 4.1).
4.2.2 Strength
Early demoulding so that the moulds can be used again without delay requires a concrete
that sets quickly. Once a compressive strength of about 5 N/mm
has been reached, the
skin of cement laitance on the surface is no longer pulled off during demoulding.
But higher strengths are usually necessary for lifting the elements out of their moulds and
storing them until curing. For example, transport fixings require a certain concrete
strength. The safe working loads for such fixings are specified for a compressive strength
of 15 N/mm
(see also DIN 1045- 4). If such a strength cannot be guaranteed, then the
safe working loads must be reduced accordingly, or the anchor embedment depth in-
220 4 Factory production
Higher compressive strengths are required for components that must be prestressed (see
section 4.4.2). DIN 1045-1 prescribes the permissible bond stresses for anchorages de-
pending on the compressive strength of the concrete at the time of prestressing.
Particularly lightweight concretes such as foamed concrete (see section 4.2.4) represent
an exception here because they exhibit much lower strengths than other types of concrete.
Their compressive strength depends primarily on their density and for the types used for
reinforced concrete, i.e. density i1.5 kg/dm
, is about 3 N/mm
after one day, 9 N/mm
after seven days [268].
The early strength requirement derived from the needs of production is so high that the
final strength necessary for structural and constructional reasons is in most cases guaran-
teed. Concrete grade C35/45 or C45/55 is used as a rule. It is therefore mostly the strength
needed at the time of demoulding that governs the concrete mix, not the final strength.
Manufacturers therefore use rapid-hardening cements (42.5 R or 52.5 R), reduce the
water-cement ratio by using a high cement content (350 kg/m
and more) or a plasticiser,
work with a stiff consistency (sometimes so-called earth-moist), or but rarely add an
The plasticisers available today enable the production of concretes with very low water-
cement ratios (w/c 0.250.35), which means that concrete strengths up to grade C70/85
are readily possible. These high-strength concretes had already been in use in precast con-
crete construction for a number of years albeit not taken into account in structural ana-
lyses before they were included in DIN 1045-1. Silica fume must be added (preferably
in the form of a suspension) to achieve strengths up to grade C80/95. The silica fume
brings about a further increase in strength of approx. 20 %, but no increase in the elastic
modulus, and more early shrinkage. The latter can cause shrinkage cracks in the new con-
crete component. Careful curing is therefore vital. Curing times for high-strength con-
cretes should be approx. 12 days longer than normal-strength concretes. Water loss
must be prevented, indeed, water may even need to be added during curing.
The mechanical properties of high-strength concretes cannot be deduced from the proper-
ties of normal-strength concretes by linear extrapolation because high-strength concretes
are far more brittle. Fibres, mostly steel fibres, can be added to high-strength concrete in
order to improve its deformation capacity. Besides a lower ductility, high-strength con-
221 4.2 Types of concrete in precast concrete construction
Table 4.1 How the mixing water effects the concrete
Less mixing water results in... Advantages
rapid setting Early trowelling/floating of upper concrete surface possible,
better condition for heat treatment of concrete
stability of fresh concrete Early removal of mould side panels possible
early strength Early demoulding and early curing possible
fewer pores Dense concrete, solid concrete
less shrinkage Dimensional accuracy, no cracks
cretes also exhibit a lower fire resistance, or rather in the event of a fire the concrete cover
spalls off earlier [301]. The DAfStb directive on high-strength concrete calls for mesh re-
inforcement within the concrete cover in order to prevent losing the entire concrete cover
and exposing the longitudinal reinforcing bars. Polypropylene fibres (approx. 23 kg per
1 m
concrete) are steadily replacing the mesh reinforcement. These fibres melt as the
temperature rises and the ensuing voids reduce the water vapour pressure which would
otherwise lead to the undesirable, abrupt loss of the concrete cover. Very high cement
contents were sometimes used in the early years of these developments, which led to a
dough-like consistency and the need for intensive mixing; the sensitivities of the con-
crete, excessively early setting, etc. were relatively high. Replacing part of the cement
by pulverised fuel ash (PFA) has a good effect on consistency and workability. These
days, the workability of high-strength concrete is very similar to that of normal-strength
concrete, but intensive compaction is especially important, and the intensity of compac-
tion must be increased. Currently, high-strength concrete is mainly used for components
in compression [106, 299, 300]. Ref. [292] contains an extensive bibliography on this
Reducing the w/c ratio, or the water/binder ratio, further has resulted in the development
of ultra-high-strength concrete. The cement content is approx. 6001000 kg/m
, with mi-
crosilica contents of 250 kg/m
. The binder content is approx. 500 kg/m
and is roughly
double that of normal-strength concrete. Ultra-high-strength concretes are generally pro-
duced with an aggregate size of max. 2 mm. Heat treatment increases the strength of the
concrete even further. For example, strengths of up to 200 N/mm
can be achieved by cur-
ing at temperatures of up to 90 hC, and up to 800 N/mm
with temperatures of up to
400 hC. All the details given above regarding the properties of high-strength concrete ap-
ply to ultra-high-strength concrete even more so.
Ultra-high-strength concrete is frequently referred to as ultra-high-performance concrete
(UHPC) because it is extremely durable as well as being extremely strong [302]. Its very
dense microstructure results in extremely good resistance and in that respect UHPC is
particularly useful for drainage installations with high acid contents. In addition, an at-
tempt is being made to exploit the high compressive strengths for prestressed components
[303] as well as compression members [304]. The aim of some developments is to mini-
mise the steel reinforcement in the concrete, indeed, even eliminate it completely! The
first applications, each completed with an Individual Approval, have already been built,
e.g. the Gartnerplatz Bridge in Kassel, Germany. Fig. 4.8 shows the ultra-high-strength
concrete being poured into the mould to produce the bridge deck.
Ultra-high-strength concrete has already been used in France and Canada, where it is mar-
keted by Lafarge under the trade name DUCTAL. The first footbridges in Canada and Ja-
pan have now been joined by unreinforced facade panels (see also section 2.4.5).
222 4 Factory production
4.2.3 Self-compacting concrete (SCC)
In contrast to the ultra-high-strength concretes, a DAfStb directive on self-compacting
concrete is already available, which means that this type of concrete is already being
widely used [297]. A commentary on the directive, background information and practical
advice can be found in [305307].
The flowability of this concrete is achieved by adding a very efficient plasticiser and the
self-compacting effect through a suitable binder/aggregate ratio and a special grading
curve. Compared to normal-weight concrete, self-compacting concrete is characterised
by the fact that in the wet state it flows under the action of gravity until it finds an even
level and in doing so releases all the entrapped air. Care must be taken during concreting
to ensure that the SCC can flow over a certain distance in order to lose all the air. The
strengths achieved are as for normal-weight concrete. However, as with all special con-
cretes, careful curing is important. A sealed, level mould is vital. Construction joints
must be provided in components with changes of level. The second concreting operation
can be carried out after just 12 hours. Sloping surfaces constitute a problem.
Nevertheless, self-compacting concrete has a number of important advantages, especially
for precasting plants:
No compacting necessary
Less noise in the plant
Extremely good fair-face finishes
Very good encasing of cast-in parts
Heavy reinforcement possible
Better mould accuracy due to the elimination of vibration
One example of the application of SCC is the production of the track for the Transrapid
2010 maglev railway system by Zublin. The high accuracy requirements led to the deci-
sion to use self-compacting concrete for producing the slabs. A surface flatness of
e0.5 mm over an area measuring 2.80 x 6.12 m was achieved. Fig. 4.9 shows the con-
crete flowing during the concreting operation and a finished surface.
223 4.2 Types of concrete in precast concrete construction
Fig. 4.8 Bridge deck made from ultra-high-strength concrete: (a) production, (b) erection (ELO)
Self-compacting concrete in the form of high-strength and lightweight concretes is cur-
rently the subject of research [295, 296]. Here again, the development is in the direction
of prestressed components so that the high strength can be fully exploited.
4.2.4 Fibre-reinforced concrete
Attempts to eliminate conventional steel bar reinforcement by adding fibres (wood, glass,
steel or synthetic, in the past also asbestos) to the wet concrete are not new. This is, how-
ever, only successful when the tensile bending strength of the concrete in the uncracked
state is sufficient to resist the tensile stresses that occur, e.g. in lightweight roof tiles or
small vessels, in pipes (steel fibres), or in facade facing leaves (AR glass fibres). In this
type of concrete the fibres bridge over flaws in the concrete such as shrinkage cracks,
but they cannot replace the loadbearing reinforcement of reinforced concrete.
However, there has been significant further development in steel fibre-reinforced con-
crete. It seems that the steel fibres serve principally to improve the so-called post-failure
behaviour, but can also replace part of the tensile bending reinforcement. In the mean-
time, steel fibres have become an essential ingredient for improving the ductility of the
newly developed high-strength and ultra-high-strength concretes. Furthermore, there
have been some individual attempts to replace the conventional steel bar reinforcement
by steel fibres. Currently, it is only possible to replace the shear links by applying a pres-
tress [308, 309]. A National Technical Approval for such an application has already been
issued. If the DAfStb directive on steel fibre-reinforced concrete, currently in draft form,
is soon accepted by the building authorities, then further significant developments in the
field of steel fibre-reinforced concrete will certainly follow.
Glass fibre-reinforced concrete has been widely used in the UK and USA in particular
[281]. It can be used for producing self-supporting facade elements with approx.
15 mm thick walls using a manual sprayed concrete technique. The elements can only
support their own weight and transfer wind loads directly to the loadbearing structure,
224 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.9 Bridge deck made from self-compacting concrete: (a) concreting,
(b) finished surface of deck (Zu blin)
i.e. they are not primary loadbearing elements and so must be used in conjunction with
structural steelwork or in situ concrete. Their low self-weight and the diverse architec-
tural design options mean that they can be used for refurbishment work and for adding ex-
tra storeys to existing buildings. All the surface finishes possible with conventionally re-
inforced precast concrete components can be used. The method of production is, how-
ever, similar to that of a synthetic material (GFRP).
Synthetic fibres are also becoming important as well as steel fibres and in Germany, too.
One main problem with their use is their lack of durability in the concrete in many in-
stances. However, this does not apply to polypropylene fibres, which are highly alkali-re-
sistant. As mentioned above, these fibres are therefore used for improving the behaviour
of high-strength concretes in fire. Another significant development is the use of textile-
reinforced concrete, which is explained in more detail in section 2.4.5. The textile reinfor-
cement is based on developments with short glass fibres and makes use of alkali-resistant
types of glass as well as carbon or synthetic materials (polypropylene) for producing
yarns which are then made into woven fabrics or braiding. We have already witnessed
the first applications, carried out with Individual Approvals. One example is the develop-
ment of a lightweight noise barrier by Zu blin. This is a sandwich element measuring 66 q
530 cm and consisting of 1015 mm thick textile-reinforced concrete facings and a
mineral wool core (Fig. 4.10). The reader is also referred to the DBV leaflet on glass fi-
bre-reinforced concrete (in German only).
4.2.5 Coloured and structured concrete surfaces
Many diverse architectural design options are available for the surfaces of precast con-
crete elements. Apart from the colour, is also possible to change the structure of the sur-
face, which, however, must be taken into account when designing the concrete mix. The
reader is referred to the FDB leaflet on fair-face concrete surfaces for information regard-
ing tenders for and assessment of such surfaces.
225 4.2 Types of concrete in precast concrete construction
Fig. 4.10 Lightweight noise barrier made from textile-reinforced concrete (Zu blin)
(a) Textile-reinforced sandwich element; (b) Finished noise barrier
If the concrete surface is not treated or worked in any way after demoulding, then it is the
outermost layer of the concrete, the cement laitance, that is solely responsible for the ap-
pearance of the concrete. The properties of the coarse aggregate are then irrelevant and
only the constituents of the cement paste sand, cement and water need to be chosen
to suit the requirements. A high water-cement ratio produces a light-coloured surface.
The colour depends on the type of cement (blastfurnace cement w light grey, white ce-
ment w off white, oil shale cement w brownish) and the colour of the sand. It can also
be varied by adding pigments.
Synthetic inorganic pigments, especially iron oxide pigments in the three primary colours
red, black and yellow, are mostly used for colouring concrete [269]. Brown colours can be
produced by mixing the primary colours. Chromium oxide green is used for producing
shades of green, titanium dioxide for shades of white. Cobalt blue is available as a blue
pigment, which, however, like chromium oxide, is very expensive. The pigments are
available in powder, liquid (i.e. slurry) or granulated form [284]. Organic pigments,
like those used for producing lacquers, are useless for concrete because of their poor
light-fastness and because they would be decomposed by the alkaline concrete. Carbon
black, which is frequently used for producing very dark concrete bricks and blocks, fades
in sunlight and so a permanent colouring cannot be guaranteed. However, the mineral
pigments iron oxide (for shades of yellow, red, brown and black) and chromium oxide
(for blues and greens) are light-fast and alkali-resistant. The use of white cement results
in more vivid colours with a lower pigment content, e.g. only a tenth of that needed
with grey cement. It should be remembered that the subsequent lime secretions on the sur-
face of the concrete (efflorescence), which are normally washed away by the rain after a
few years, are more noticeable on darker surfaces. This effect is caused by the migration
of the calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)
) in the pore water from the interior of the concrete to
the surface. There, the deposits combine rapidly with the carbon dioxide (CO
) in the air
to form limestone (calcium carbonate, CaCO
) which is not readily soluble in water and
therefore creates light-coloured patches or streaks on the concrete [270]. The application
of a water-repellent coating can reduce these blemishes (see section 4.3.3). Structured
surfaces or segmented components are the best solutions for disguising irregularities in
the surface roughness and colour of the concrete surface or efflorescence (see section
2.4.2). Research findings on the subject of efflorescence are summarised in [285].
The colour of the cement paste also determines the appearance of concrete components
with finely brushed and washed or sandblasted surfaces (see section 4.3.2). However,
some of the coarse aggregate, the gravel or chippings, is exposed by this treatment and
the result is a surface reminiscent to the fracture surfaces of sedimentary rocks. A con-
crete mix with a constant grading curve [271], and in some circumstances selected coarse
aggregates, is best for such a finish.
Where the aggregate is exposed to a greater depth, the typical exposed aggregate look,
then it is primarily the coarse aggregate that determines the appearance. Gravel or chip-
pings with a certain colouring and size are then necessary and should account for 50
60 % of the aggregate with gap grading (e.g. 28 mm). The colour of the exposed gravel
or chippings can be emphasized by using white cement or by adding a pigment to the bin-
226 4 Factory production
der. White cement should be used with a whitish aggregate, appropriate pigments added
to the cement matrix for coloured aggregates. Efflorescence is less visible on exposed ag-
gregate surfaces with a coloured aggregate than is the case with finely brushed and
washed or unworked concrete surfaces.
Types of concrete with expensive coloured aggregates can be used purely as a thin facing
layer in order to reduce the cost of materials. Of course, this solution can only be used in
conjunction with horizontal precasting. A concrete distributor with an appropriately fine
distribution will be needed.
The coarse aggregate must be firmly anchored in the cement matrix if the hardened con-
crete is to be worked with stonemasons tools afterwards (see section 4.3.2). A strong
concrete with a constant grading curve is best for such finishes.
Concrete for profiled moulds (e.g. ribs or textures) is generally the same as that used for
the normal loadbearing concrete. Only in the case of narrow profiles is it necessary to re-
duce the maximum size of the aggregate accordingly.
4.3 Producing the concrete in the factory
4.3.1 Heat treatment and curing
The hardening phase of the precast concrete components depends on how much time is
allocated to the concreting to demoulding phase in the production plan. If this is very
short, e.g. 4 hours, then the hardening is best guaranteed by the application of heat. In
this situation a type of concrete with a long setting time, so that it remains workable, is
often used and then afterwards heat is applied as necessary to speed up the reaction of
the cement in the concrete until the desired strength is achieved. The DBV status report
on heat treatment and the DAfStb directive on this subject describe the methods available
for doing this (see also [322]).
The simplest way is to use steam (actually hot water vapour), which apart from a boiler
needs no other large equipment essentially only tarpaulins or other forms of covering.
Care should be taken to ensure that the surface of the concrete is not washed away by drip-
ping condensation and that the temperature below the tarpaulins etc. is identical every-
where. Several steam lines at different places will be needed for long components.
Hot-air treatment works in a similar way to the steam method. As with all the other heat
treatment methods described below, it is important to make sure that the surface of the
concrete does not dry out, which is achieved by covering with sheeting or spraying
with water. Heating with infrared lamps is carried out in heating chambers and the advan-
tage of this method is that the infrared radiation only heats up the object concerned, less
energy is lost to the surroundings. In addition, thermostats allow the system to be easily
regulated according to the temperature of the concrete [310].
Combinations of various methods are particularly helpful with large components. The
mould is heated by a heat transfer medium (oil, steam, water) or electric heating wires
and the top side is insulated to retain the heat.
227 4.3 Producing the concrete in the factory
Hardening the concrete at a high temperature (e.g. above 30 hC) increases the amount of
the reaction products of the cement, which boost the early strength, but reduces the num-
ber of cement bonds contributing to the final strength. Heat-treated concrete components
therefore exhibit a lower final strength than components made from an identical concrete
mix but stored in cool conditions. This effect is enhanced if the components are not stored
until they have set before starting the heat treatment [311]. Curve a in Fig. 4.11 shows the
ideal progress of heat treatment [312]. According to this, a total storage time of about 10
hours is necessary.
This is usually too long for practical operations. Indeed, the heat treatment is intended to
speed up the work! A short period of heat treatment is therefore generally employed: Fig.
4.11 curve b and with preheating of the wet concrete curve c [315]. New studies have
confirmed, however, that the durability of the concrete components can suffer in severe
weather conditions [316]. Mind you, these studies were carried out after damage had
been discovered on outdoor horizontal railway sleepers, which apart from the consider-
able dynamic loads were also exposed to moisture and frost effects that would never af-
fect vertical facade elements or interior components.
Curing the concrete also includes the cooling phase. Moisture treatments improve the
density of the concrete surface and hence its resistance to penetration by carbon dioxide
and pollutants, also water, which at the same time increases the resistance to frost and
abrasion. Curing must be carried out according to the corresponding DAfStb directive.
However, it is rare for a moisture treatment to be completed because delivery deadlines,
lack of storage space or overbooked lifting equipment make this impossible.
A curing membrane is sometimes sprayed onto the wet or fresh concrete. Before using
this method, however, it is important to clarify whether paint is to be applied to the con-
crete surface at a later date because the membrane impairs the bond of water-based disper-
sion paints. A suitable curing membrane will then be required, e.g. a finally dispersed ac-
rylic dispersion, which is compatible with a solvent-based coating [317].
It is certainly the case that the curing of external components influences the durability of
the components just as much as, for example, the concrete mix [318]. Clients who require
more extensive curing measures than those described in the DAfStb directive depend-
ing on the influences to which the finished component will be exposed must define
228 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.11 Time-temperature graph for
heat treatment showing the various stages
(according to [313, 314])
these as separate items in the specification. The ongoing development of precast concrete
component manufacture should therefore also consider the organisation and provision of
the facilities required for curing such elements.
4.3.2 Working hardened concrete surfaces
Closely associated with curing are a number of methods of working the hardened con-
crete, first and foremost the newly cast concrete, which expose the aggregate. To do
this, the cement laitance on the surface is removed by weak acids, sandblasting or jets
of water (Fig. 4.12).
The last of these requires the least effort. The cement laitance can be washed off of the
surface of the concrete as long as it is still soft. This is one method of creating an exposed
aggregate finish. We distinguish here between a light treatment that removes only a fine
layer and emphasizes the colour of the cement paste, and more intensive treatment that
exposes the coarse aggregate and allows this to dominate the appearance. Water-jetting
is carried out as soon as the strength of the concrete allows by delaying the setting of
the concrete at the surface to be treated. This is achieved by applying a surface retarder
to the mould (negative method) or spraying it onto the concrete surface after demoulding
(positive method). Rolls of paper precoated with a retarder can also be used. Carrying out
this coating work in the factory guarantees a consistent coating thickness and hence a
consistent depth of exposure. The paper is laid in the mould and removed prior to
water-jetting. It is important to make sure that no folds or creases due to saturation
with retarder form during concreting. The depth of the effect on the surface varies de-
229 4.3 Producing the concrete in the factory
Fig. 4.12 Working of concrete surfaces:
(a) water-jetting a column, (b) sandblasting
a window element, (c) flame cleaning for a
spandrel panel element
pending on the type of retarder and the coating thickness, enabling the cement laitance to
be removed with a brush and jet of water once the concrete in the core of the component
has hardened to such an extent that it can be removed from the mould. With some sub-
stances the concrete surface begins to harden as soon as the component is removed
from the mould and comes in contact with the air, but others only after they are struck
by the jet of water and the substance is diluted by the water, and with yet others the hydra-
tion of the cement is practically permanently inhibited.
Sandblasting [319] of the previously hardened concrete surface achieves a similar appear-
ance to light water-jetting but the surface of the exposed grains of aggregate are some-
what roughened by this technique and they lose their natural shine. This is of course
not important with angular grains of coarse aggregate with naturally rough surfaces.
Sandblasting requires adequate protective measures to protect the surroundings against
dust, e.g. sandblasting tents. Quartz sand is still used for sandblasting concrete (in con-
230 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.13 Examples of surface finishes for precast concrete components
trast to metals) because the abraded concrete itself contains the quartz sand substances
that are harmful to the lungs. Washing the surface with acid has largely been replaced
by surface retarder methods for health reasons [320]. The surface of the hardened con-
crete can be worked in other ways: flame cleaning [321] or mechanical stonemason meth-
ods such as bush-hammering, scabbling, grinding, etc. (see DIN 18500 Cast stones).
What all these methods have in common is that they split the exposed grains of aggregate
and allow these fractured surfaces with their strong natural colours to dominate the ap-
pearance. However, such techniques are very labour-intensive and are only used on spe-
cial projects. Apart from grinding, they cause minor cracks in the remaining surface
which afterwards should be sealed with a hydrophobic substance. Grinding can be used
to create very high-class facades as good as natural stone. Large-format precast concrete
facades require bulky and expensive grinding plant, however. Ref. [323] describes one
new method of production for facade elements.
A less expensive variation on the stonemason-like working of the surface is achieved by
casting the concrete with ribs and subsequently breaking off the ribs with a suitable ham-
mer. The fractured surfaces are coarser than with bush-hammering. Fig. 4.13 shows ex-
amples of finished surface structures.
4.3.3 Coating and cladding
Only in exceptional circumstances, e.g. severe chemical attack, is it necessary to coat
concrete components to provide them with the necessary durability. Any coatings that
are applied for architectural purposes should also improve the durability of the concrete,
and the materials used must be alkali-resistant, light-fast (UVradiation) and water-resis-
tant. And where the component is exposed to temperature fluctuations, then the coating
must also be permeable for water vapour, i.e. repel water in liquid form, but allow water
in vapour form to escape from the interior of the concrete.
Siloxanes an intermediate stage between the monomeric silanes and the silicones (the
latter frequently used on concrete in the past) satisfy this requirement, penetrate several
millimetres into the concrete pores as a result of their small molecules and form a water-
repellent layer on the surface. This film is very thin and therefore invisible; the appear-
ance of the concrete surface is therefore hardly changed. It is important to apply these
coatings evenly and in sufficient quantities according to the manufacturers instructions
so that the water-repellent effect is consistent over the entire surface and no patches
form when the concrete is wet. They slowly degrade in UV light but this is hardly relevant
in practice provided they have penetrated deep enough into the concrete (two coats are
therefore usually recommended). We can therefore assume that a concrete surface coated
in this way will need to be re-impregnated after about 10 years after removing all dust de-
posits and growths. Siloxanes degrade less on surfaces not exposed to direct sunlight.
Acrylic resins offer more resistance to UVradiation than siloxanes. In addition, they pre-
vent the infiltration of carbon dioxide from the air, which reduces the alkalinity of the
concrete. It is primarily the alkalinity that protects the reinforcement against corrosion.
Acrylic resin solutions can also be used in conjunction with siloxane impregnation.
This results in a somewhat thicker coating that lends the surface a satin finish with a dar-
231 4.3 Producing the concrete in the factory
ker and more vivid colouring, an effect that is particularly beneficial when using coloured
concrete. Rain can wash off deposits of dust and dirt more easily from a surface treated in
this way.
Coating the surface with solutions or dispersions to which pigments have been added has
an even stronger effect on the appearance of the concrete. Such coatings are known as
sealants when applied as a very thin film (up to 0.3 mm). These contain just enough pig-
ment to change the colour of the concrete but not conceal its texture, i.e. they are like a
glaze finish. They can be used to compensate for fluctuations in the natural colour of
the concrete surface and at the same time provide protection. The structure of the concrete
surface remains visible.
Opaque paints for concrete are about twice as thick and are available in a vast range of
colours. They are mainly in the form of dispersions. The water vapour permeability be-
comes more important as the thickness of the coating increases, and the permeability of
dispersions is greater than that of solutions with the same coating thickness.
As mentioned in section 4.2.5, pigments for exterior paints should be alkali- and UV-re-
sistant. These are generally pure mineral pigments, some of which are obtained from rare
earths. Unlike when mixing different paints to obtain a certain shade, the colour from one
batch to another cannot be kept identical when manufacturing colourants with pure pig-
ments and so whenever possible only paints from the same batch should be used for a pro-
ject in order to avoid discrepancies.
Organic pigments, which are suitable for coating timber and metal, do not have the neces-
sary alkali resistance. Coatings in bold colours are possible, but there is a risk that they
will heat up to a greater extent than more muted colours and expose the components to
more extreme temperatures, which in turn can lead to higher vapour pressures. Such
bold colours should therefore be restricted to smaller areas only or be applied in the
form of stripes.
Far fewer demands are placed on coating materials for interior components because they
do not need to be UV-resistant and in most cases can be renewed without the need for ex-
232 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.14 Fac ade elements with ceramic tiles
attached in the factory
tensive scaffolding. And indoors the water vapour permeability is less important than
with external components. The coating materials for interior use are therefore corre-
spondingly cheaper. Precast concrete components should not be painted until they have
been installed in order to avoid soiling and damage during transport, storage and erection.
Paints are not the only finishes possible; plaster, render and stone or ceramic tile finishes
can also be completed in the precasting plant (Fig. 4.14). Such finishes always call for
especially careful handling during transport and erection. If such finishes are not attached
until after erection, they can be adapted to suit the actual as-built dimensions that result
from the inaccuracies during construction, and also cover up minor damage. When at-
taching tiles or similar finishes to the finished precast concrete components, it is impor-
tant to check that the adhesive is compatible with the release agent and will remain perma-
nently elastic in order to prevent damage caused by the different thermal expansion beha-
viour of the materials either side of the adhesive joint. Panels of tiles should be kept sui-
tably small, separated by permanently elastic joints.
4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory
4.4.1 Round bars and meshes
On average, about 20 % of the total cost of a precast concrete component can be attributed
to the reinforcement. It should therefore be given due attention. In doing so, the require-
ments of the structural calculations on the one hand and the requirements of an economic
reinforcement layout plus adequate concrete cover on the other must be taken into ac-
The requirements regarding the correct and adequate depiction of the reinforcement on
the drawings for precast concrete structures are summarised in [324]. Fig. 4.15 shows
the title block of a working drawing for a precast concrete component. It may be neces-
sary, especially with corbels, notched beam ends or in the vicinity of loadbearing cast-
in parts, to draw the reinforcement at a larger scale with parallel lines and all bends shown
to scale (Fig. 4.16). Where bars cross or are placed directly alongside each other, it is es-
sential to consider the fact that the actual outside diameter of a ribbed reinforcing bar is
approx. 20 % greater than its nominal diameter. And where bars are placed in several
layers (e.g. in corbels), it is also not only the final fit that is important, but also the build-
ability. FDB leaflet No. 5 (2005) (in German only) provides valuable information on the
planning and drawing errors frequently encountered in practice.
DIN 1045-1 defines the allowance for the concrete cover as well as the minimum dimen-
sion because of the potential tolerances. This enables a nominal dimension (w minimum
dimension S allowance) to be defined. The allowance as well as the cover to the nearest
concrete surface must therefore be specified on the drawings of the elements. Experience
has shown that insufficient concrete cover is frequently caused by inadequate bar spacers.
Only those bar spacers that comply with the DBV leaflet on bar spacers (see DBV Con-
crete Best Practice) should therefore be used. If with a rigid mould the bar spacers are too
pliant (e.g. made from plastic) or are too heavily loaded and therefore squashed, then they
233 4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory
Element No. Cast-in partNo. pcs./element pcs. Designation
Cast-in parts
Min. values for bending roller diameter d
(reinforcing bar types III + IV)
Hooks, bends, Bent up, bent down,
links, loops other bent forms
< 20 mm : d
1 = 4 ds c
> 5 cm & > 3 d
: d
2 = 15 d
20 mm : d
1 = 7 ds c
5 cm or 3 d
: d
2 = 20 d
s link
Special dimensional tolerances (where different from DIN 18202 and DIN 18203)
Surface finish
Mould rough Chamfers, x = _____ cm
Trowelled Exposed aggregate, type ___ / colour ___
Rubbed Worked finish, type ___ / colour ___
Floated Rough for concrete topping
In- Date Name Revision In- Date Client Checked Production Erection _____
dex dex
Concrete strength class B____ ____ m
LB____ ____ m
B____ ____ m
Density class ________
Compressive strength of concrete for transport ____ N/mm
Special properties
Water impermeability, e
____ cm
Air entrainer content,
min./max. ___/___ % by vol.
BSt____ ____ kg
BSt____ ____ kg
St____ ____ kg
St____ ____ kg
Concrete cover (nom. dim.)
c = cm
c = cm
c = cm
Follow advice in concrete cover leaflet!
Fire resistance
F - A
F - AB
Checking endorsement
The drawing, index ____, agrees with
the checked drawing/structural
Date Signature
Approval for production
Date Signature
Component: Mould
No. Part Weight (t) Structural No. Project No. Drawing No.

Scale 1: __, 1: __ Date Signature Date Signature
Drawn Group leader
Checked Dept. Head
The drawing, the associated annexes, descriptions, calculations, etc. and their content
are our intellectual property. They may not be reproduced, made available to unauthorised
third parties or otherwise disclosed or used for purposes other than those for which they
are intended without our permission. They must be returned upon request.
Sheet size
Fig. 4.15 Title block for a production
return to their original shape after demoulding and push off the outer layer of cement lai-
tance. And where there is a soft lining in the mould, which can be the case with textured
finishes for facade panels, for instance, bar spacers can press into the lining. In such situa-
tions it may be necessary to suspend all the reinforcement from cross-beams.
Precasting plants generally make use of reinforcing steel grade BSt 500 S in accordance
with DIN 488. The fact that only weldable steel is used these days is a major advantage
for precast concrete construction with its many cast-in parts for joints and connections.
Reinforcing cages for linear elements such as beams and columns are generally as-
sembled outside the mould, i.e. prefabricated, whereas the reinforcement for floor slabs
is generally fixed directly inside the mould (double-T units, precast planks, hollow-core
Assembling the reinforcement for beams or T-beams within the mould calls for open
shear link cages to simplify the fixing of the longitudinal bars. So-called closer bars are
then fixed on top to close off the open shear links. Shear links made up into cages with
the help of welded longitudinal bars can be stacked more easily if the straight bars are
placed outside the links (Fig. 4.17) [325, 326].
Fixing the reinforcing bars directly from a coil is a technique that is already being used in
many precasting plants, especially for the smaller bar diameters (614 mm). There is no
wastage and the work can be carried out practically without interruption. Several dia-
meters are permanently available (Fig. 4.18). The processing costs per tonne of steel for
the small bar diameters in particular are disproportionately high when compared with
the larger diameters.
The DIBt can issue approvals for reinforcing steel in coils [327], which means that there
is nothing to stop the widespread use of this practice in Germany. The first publication by
the manufacturers and the processing plants for reinforcing steel in coils shows just how
hectic the developments are in this field [328]; the demand for reinforcing steel in coils
increased more than 10-fold between 1985 and 1990 [331] and has probably doubled
235 4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory
Fig. 4.16 Reinforcing bars drawn with double lines and
all bends to scale
again since then. Hot-rolled ribbed steel grade S 500 WR is approved for processing di-
rectly from the coil. The same application conditions apply as for grade BSt 500 S.
Since 1986 there has also been an approval available for using cold-worked stainless
steel ribbed reinforcing bars of grade BSt 500 NR directly from the coil for diameters
up to 14 mm. This steel can also be welded to non-alloyed steels. Only the bond beha-
viour is relevant for the concrete cover; it is not necessary to increase this to take into ac-
count the environmental conditions. However, its high cost means that this type of steel is
used in special cases only, e.g. filigree facade elements or starter bars in highly corrosive
Processing reinforcing steel directly from the coil for helical column reinforcement has
long since been standard for pipes, for example. This led to the development of similar
machines for making up reinforcing cages for square or octagonal columns and rectangu-
lar beams, which, for example, was used successfully for reinforcing the precast concrete
components for the University of Riyadh (Fig. 4.19).
Besides the automatic straightening and cutting machinery with which the reinforcing
bars are processed directly from the coil to form straight bars, there are also automatic
link bending machines that turn the steel into finished shear links. The straightening
and cutting machines used in precasting plants can frequently handle up to four different
diameters simultaneously and continuously [329, 330]. Problems with the direct control
of automatic bending plant are discussed in [332]. The trend seems to be towards the auto-
matic process-controlled fixing of reinforcing bars. Such systems are already available
for floor slabs, for instance (see Fig. 4.5).
In the meantime, the first fully automatic welding stations fully integrated into the pro-
duction line are appearing, too. These are used to weld bars (directly from the coil) al-
236 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.17 Stackable shear link cages:
(a) stack of shear link cages with internal
longitudinal bars, (b) stack of shear link
cages with external longitudinal bars
Fig. 4.18 System for processing reinforcing bars
directly from coils
ready straightened and cut to length into planar reinforcement in the form of just-in-time
bespoke meshes [260].
4.4.2 Prestressing beds
Precast concrete construction has made use of prestressed long-span floor slabs and roof
beams for single-storey sheds in particular right from the early days of prestressed con-
crete construction. The well-known advantages of the latter, such as slender cross-sec-
tions, limited deflection, exploitation of the high tensile stresses possible in the steel
and loading the concrete in compression, also enable the economic production of pre-
stressed precast concrete [333336].
In factory production, pretensioning in prestressing beds is practically the only method
used (Fig. 4.20), and in Germany it is mostly seven-wire cold-drawn strands of strength
class St 1570/1770 that are used for prestressing.
The simplest approach is to lay straight wires in the long prestressing bed. Prestressed
hollow-core slabs up to 150 m long can be produced in this way (see Fig. 4.3). Several
long-span double-T units, e.g. for multi-storey car parks and the roof beams to single-
storey sheds, are produced mostly simultaneously in prestressing beds up to 80 m long.
The optimum length depends on the daily output possible by the respective workforce,
although in the case of prestressed hollow-core slabs it is the extruder that determines
the output.
Gravity foundations with anchorages must be provided as the prestressing bed abutments,
which are braced against each other via the prestressing bed (Fig. 4.21). Modern precast-
ing plants generally have prestressing beds with 35 MN prestressing force (approx.
237 4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory
Fig. 4.19 Reinforcing bars directly from the coil
for shear link cages (Zu blin): (a) automatic welding
machine with rectangular cage, (b) shear link cages
for octagonal columns
135 kN/strand), but prestressing beds with up to 15 MN are necessary for bridge beams.
Short prestressing beds for panels and double-T units are also used, especially for flow
production systems, in which the prestressing force is braced against the stiff steel mould,
which generally requires only minimal strengthening for this.
The disadvantage of straight prestressing is that the prestressing force does not corre-
spond to the bending moment diagram of a single-span beam. It is positioned too low at
the ends of the beam and this leads to tensile stresses in the top here. One way of overcom-
ing this problem is to place some of the strands in sleeves at the ends of the beam to pre-
vent them bonding with the concrete. But if the strands are to follow the bending moment
diagram, then bent (harped) strands are unavoidable. This is carried out either once in the
middle, as was sensible with, for example, double-T units with long notches at the ends
according to Fig. 4.22, or twice, e.g. at the quarter-points of the beam (Fig. 4.23). In duo-
pitch roof beams the pitch of the top flange is used as the angle for harping the strands. In
other precast concrete components, e.g. prestressed hollow-core slabs, the only way of
solving the problem may be to include additional prestressing in the top.
The hold-down anchors for bent strands are either anchored in the base of the mould or
forced downwards hydraulically via cross-frames. Once the concrete has hardened, the
hold-down anchors are released and the openings grouted. The elastic limit (f
) of
the prestressing steel may not be exceeded at the harping points of the strands, and here
the extreme fibre stresses for strands may be calculated with half the nominal diameter.
This can lead to relatively large radii when exploiting the permissible prestressing bed
stress (0.9 f
or 0.8 f
). The jaws in the chuck assemblies should certainly have
rounded edges and be made from a softer steel than the prestressing strands if at all
238 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.20 Pretensioning in prestressing bed (schematic) [326]
possible. Trials with seven-wire strands have revealed that with typical harping point an-
gles of up to approx. 10h, rounding diameters of 100 or 200 mm are possible (Fig. 4.24).
The pretensioning is transferred to the concrete either by releasing the jacks positioned
between the perforated plates of the anchorages and the abutments or by burning through
the strands, although the steel loses more and more of it is strength as it heats up. In the
latter method, the cutting process should be carried out so that the stresses are introduced
as symmetrically as possible in both directions. When producing prestressed hollow-core
slabs, the individual units are cut to length by sawing (see Fig. 4.3c).
Eccentrically prestressed elements have an upward camber after demoulding, when only
their self-weight is effective. Inaccuracies in the prestressing force and different elastic
moduli at the time of prestressing lead to different offset dimensions, which are often dif-
239 4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory
Fig. 4.21 Prestressing bed abutments
Fig. 4.22 Prestressed double-Tunit with bent (harped) prestressing strands
ficult to deal with during erection. The strength of the concrete at the time of transferring
the pretension also has a major influence on creep and shrinkage.
Prestressing bed elements are often heated to achieve the early strength necessary. The
prestressing bed stresses do not alter when tensioning against the steel mould and heating
the mould and wet concrete evenly. The situation is different in the prestressing bed with a
zero-friction mounted mould. The heat treatment normally begins after the concrete has
started to set. At this point in time the bond between the concrete and the prestressing
steel is already beginning to take effect. When the concrete and the mould expand against
the external abutments of the prestressing bed, the prestressing force is either wholly or
partly transferred to the concrete cross-section at an early stage because the thermal ex-
pansion of the element relieves the relatively short unbonded length of the prestressing
strand between end of element and anchorage. So the heat treatment may only begin after
a period of storage, during which the bond stress takes effect. Otherwise, the elongation
of the steel and hence the prestressing bed stress must be increased by an amount equal
to the thermal expansion. This effect does not occur when there is a friction connection
between precast concrete component and prestressing bed, as is the case with prestressed
hollow-core slabs cast in long prestressing beds.
It is important to take into account the higher relaxation losses of the prestressing steel
caused by the higher temperature during the heat treatment of the concrete. These losses
consist of, on the one hand, accelerated prestressing force losses due to relaxation and, on
the other, the thermal loss of the initial prestress (Fig. 4.26). Relaxation values are given
in the prestressing steel approval documentation.
When introducing the pretension into an eccentrically prestressed beam, there is a ten-
dency for the beam to curve upwards and support itself on its outermost bottom corners.
With notched beam ends there is then the risk that the beam has already developed cracks
in the corner of the notch by the time it is transferred to the storage yard (Fig. 4.25). This
240 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.23 Harping the prestressing wires
Fig. 4.24 Prestressing strands, 7 No. H 4 mm
wires, grade St 1570/1770, tensile strength
values for various harping angles and various
roller diameters
can only be avoided by including a soft intermediate pad in the mould beneath the support
nib. Such notched beam ends with straight ends to the prestressing strands in the bottom
must be reinforced like conventionally reinforced notched beam ends (see section 2.6.2).
The main structural feature of pretensioned prestressed precast concrete components is
the direct transfer of the prestress at the ends of the component. This is achieved via the
bond between the prestressing strand and the surrounding concrete and is amplified by
the so-called Hoyer effect in which the cross-section of the strand widens because the
prestress decreases towards the end of the component and thus increases the lateral com-
pression on the prestressing strand [147]. The various bonding properties of the prestres-
sing wires must be considered here. The pretension must be applied at a very early stage
in order to avoid delaying the demoulding of the precast concrete component. The per-
missible bond stresses based on the concrete strength according to DIN 1045-1 Table 7
must always be taken into account in the analysis of the prestressing force transfer. If
no cracks occur in the concrete cross-section within the calculated transfer length for
the prestressing force, then further analyses are unnecessary. This is normally the case.
If, however, only a minimal prestress is desired and the amount of conventional reinfor-
cement is increased, then coping with the tensile force by way of reduced bond stresses
must be checked [338340, 346].
The results of the first studies into the use of self-compacting concrete in conjunction
with prestressed components are now available; the studies are ongoing [341]. The tests
did not reveal any significant differences between self-compacting and normal-weight
241 4.4 Installing the reinforcement in the factory
Fig. 4.25 Curvature after relieving an
eccentric prestress
Fig. 4.26 Loss of prestress due to accelerated
relaxation during heat treatment
concrete, which means that in the future we can expect to see self-compacting concrete
being used in prestressed concrete construction as well.
Tensile forces, as well as bond stresses, occur in the concrete due to the spread of the load
in the prestressing force transfer zone. We must distinguish between bursting, tensile
splitting and end face tension effects [337]. In roof beams and double-T floor units, the
resulting tensile stresses are handled by shear links. In prestressed hollow-core slabs
the special production process precludes the use of shear links. In this case adequate con-
crete cover in conjunction with a high concrete strength, which is achieved with extru-
sion, enable the tensile strength of the concrete to be exploited to resist these tensile
forces with an adequate factor of safety. For this reason, elements without conventional
reinforcement which are pretensioned in the prestressing bed require calculations for
bending failure and flexure-shear failure plus an analysis of shear-tension failure, i.e. a
limit to the inclined primary tensile stresses in the zone without bending cracks and an
analysis of the anchorage capacity.
Many tests on prestressed precast concrete floor slabs have revealed that the shear-tension
capacity is always more significant than the flexure-shear failure in such elements [348].
The National Technical Approvals for prestressed precast concrete floor slabs include the
appropriate analyses.
4.5 Quality control
Satisfying the requirements placed on the product precast concrete component is the
topmost priority of any precast concrete manufacturer.
Defining the quality of a product right from the very start is gradually becoming an intrin-
sic element in a quality management system based on the DIN EN ISO 9000 set of stan-
dards, which these days is normal for the management systems of manufacturers. The
quality management system controls all the steps in the processes surrounding a precast
concrete component, from receiving the order to providing after-sales services for com-
ponents already delivered and in use.
The quality control measures performed on the precast concrete component itself are only
part of a set of diverse activities. The measures ensure, in the form of conformity checks,
that the requirements placed on the manufacturer, the method of production and the con-
242 4 Factory production
Fig. 4.27 Tensile stresses in prestress
transfer zone
crete produced are in compliance with the various regulations (DIN EN 206-1, DIN 1045
parts 14, DIN 1048-5, DIN EN 12350 parts 17, DIN EN 12390 parts 14, etc.).
Conformity checks take place at the levels of production control and monitoring.
Production control looks at internal procedures. The manufacturers own quality control
is the prime focus here, which is recorded, e.g. in the factory production control manual,
according to defined tests and inspections.
Different requirements are placed on the monitoring and certification of precast concrete
components depending on the intended usage of the component and the requirements
placed on it by the building authorities (see Construction Products List A, B or C). In Ger-
many the monitoring takes place in accordance with the quality assurance associations of
the federal states, which are approved by the supreme building authority. The results of
the monitoring visits every six months are recorded in test certificates and monitoring re-
ports. According to the building authority status of the precast concrete components, this
external monitoring is expressed in the following ways:
product certificate (P) (no building authority requirements),
conformity certificate () (for applications covered by building authority require-
ments see Construction Products List A), or
certificate covering factory production control (2S) (prescribed by European Con-
struction Products Directive).
Quality control is carried out according to DIN 1045, which distinguishes between con-
crete categories 1 and 2. Category 1 covers concretes for secondary purposes, the moni-
toring of which is carried out by the manufacturer only. Concretes belonging to category
2 may only be produced under the control of a concrete specialist, e.g. E certificate. The
production control is carried out by the manufacturer and covers the following areas:
Selection of raw materials
Concrete mix design
Production of concrete using materials subjected to QA measures (e.g. to DIN EN
Factory production control (DIN 1045- 4)
Checks on the finished product
The production control is monitored and certified at regular intervals by the aforemen-
tioned monitoring bodies. A German conformity mark () on the delivery document
for a precast concrete component indicates to the recipient that the precasting plant sup-
plying that component is subjected to external monitoring and complies with require-
ments placed on its manufacturing operations.
243 4.5 Quality control
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258 5 References
Acid-washing treatment 230
facade fixings 116
retaining anchors 117
suspension anchors 124
category 181, 188
elastomeric 181
length 148
local pressure 182
pressure 147, 155
Bound stress 221
Box girder 52
Building joint 31
Building services 133
Butt joint 175
CE marking 9, 11
Column joint 176
coated 231
coloured 225
fair-face 226
fibre-reinforced 224
glass fibre-reinforced 126
self-compacting 219
steel fibre reinforced 219
surfaces 231
textile-reinforced 127, 219, 225
ultra-high performance (UHPC) 126, 219, 222
Connections 130
Construction product act 9
Construction products directive (CPD) 9
attestation of conformity 10
Continuous boot 154
Corbel 69, 95, 96, 122, 169
Double-headed stud 149
Double-leaf wall 103, 119
Double-T floor unit 62, 132, 155, 215
Dowels 197
Ductility factor 40
Earthquake, response spectrum 40
Elastomeric bearing 181
Extruder 205
anchorages 116
ceramic tiles 233
column-type 105
fenestrate 105
fixings 124
horizontal ribbon 105
panels 126
U-shaped 105
Factor of safety 43, 159
Fair-face concrete 226
Flame cleaning 231
Floor diaphragm 32, 33, 37, 43, 45, 62, 64, 66, 194,
Floor plank 62, 81
prestressed 85
Floor slab 209
Foundation 99
pad foundation 163
pocket foundation 99, 163, 165
Frame 51, 68, 76
Heat treatment 241
Joints 31, 63, 112, 174
amount of reinforcement 206
longitudinal reinforcement 64
loop reinforcement 209
vertical 55
waterproofing 113
with a hard bearing 175
with a soft bearing 175
Lattice beam 82, 98, 143
T-beam slab 140
composite plank floor 172
Local bearing pressure 182
Precast Concrete Structures. First Edition. Hubert Bachmann, Alfred Steinle
c 2011 Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG. Published by Ernst & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG.
Movement joint 31
Multi-layer separating wall 168
Natural vibration 42
Notch 150, 193
Notched beam ends 169, 240
Out-of-plane shear forces 63, 203
Perimeter tie 64, 72
Plastic bar spacer 169
Prefabricated units
fit calculation 20
tolerances 16
costs 17
transport 21
Prestressed hollow-core slab 62, 78, 135, 170, 186,
205, 211, 215, 217, 239
Restraint forces 29
Sandblasting 230
Sandwich panel 107, 116, 118
corner detail 118
thermal insulation 107
Screwed (socket) joint 72
Second-order theory 58, 61, 160
Segmented hollow box 52
Self-compacting concrete 219
Shear connector system 198
Shear dowel 195
Shear friction theory 203
Shear joint 140, 204, 205
Shear wall 29, 33, 49, 54, 69, 194, 204
Skeleton construction 29, 37, 68
Sliding bearings 187
Stability 28, 45
of building 47
Steel fibre reinforced concrete 219
Stiffening 28, 45
core 29, 58, 67
wall 67, 71
Stud 193
Susceptibility to vibration 34
Synthetic fibres 225
Textile-reinforced concrete 127, 219, 225
Thermal expansion coefficient 44
Thermal insulation 103
Torsion 154
moment 163
Torsional vibrations 39
Torsional resistance 53
Transport fixing 220
Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) 126, 219
Ultra-high strength concrete 126, 219
University of Riyadh 96, 111, 237
Vapour barrier 103
element 98
double-leaf 103, 119
multi-layer separating wall 168
stiffening 67, 71
Warpening stiffness 54
Welded joint 190
Welding methods 190
Zu blin 6, 83, 219, 225
6M system 90, 131, 136, 211
House 24, 32, 66, 96, 106, 115, 122, 138
260 Index