Failures in Concrete Structures

Failures in Concrete Structures

Many failures, when investigated, have been found to arise from a combi-
nation of causes. The traditional design sequence starts with the sizing of

members. These are determined from the loading (permanent and variable
actions) with reference to bending moments and, for beams, shear forces.
The reinforcement is then calculated to cater for these forces. Much of the
reinforcement is detailed only after completion of the contract documents.
Later, if problems are found in fitting the required reinforcement into an
element or joint, it is difficult to change the size of section on which the
architect and services engineers agreed. Many such problems could have
been avoided by producing sketches early on to show how the joint details
could work before sizes were finalised.

This book is a personal selection of incidents that have occurred related to
reinforced and prestressed concrete structures. Not all have led to failures
and some of the mistakes were discovered at the design stage. Each incident
required some form of remedial action to ensure safety of the structure.
Some of the incidents were caused by mistakes in design or construction or
both. Some involved collapse of part of the structure, but in such cases the
cause was from more than one unrelated mistake or problem. A few of the
errors and incidents were caused by deliberate intent.

Chapters 1 to 11 describe specific incidents such as structural misunder-
standing, extrapolation of codes of practice, detailing, poor construction,

and other factors. When a particular incident involved more than one of
these causes, it is described in the most relevant section. Chapters 12 and
13 discuss issues related to procurement and research and development.


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