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AJ Handbook of

Building Structure

EDITED BY Allan Hodgkinson

The Architectural Press, London

AJ Handbook of Building Structure Introduction

This handbook

There are two underlying themes in this new handbook on
building structure. First, the architect and engineer have
complementary roles which cannot bo separated. A main
object of this handbook is to allow the architect to talk
intelligently to his engineer, to appreciate his skills and to
understand the reasons for his decisions. Second, the
building must always be seen as a whole, where the success-
ful conclusion is the result of optimised decisions. A balance
of planning, structure or services, decisions may not neces-
sarily provide the cheapest or best solution from any of
these separate standpoints, but the whole building should
provide the right solution within both the client's brief and
Allan Hodgkinson his budget.
Consultant editor and authors The handbook provides a review of the whole structural
The consultant editor for the Handbook is Allan Hodgkinson field. It includes sections on movement in buildings, fire
MEng, FICE, FIStructE, MConSE, Principal of Allan Hodgkin- protection, and structural legislation, where philosophy of
son & Associates, consulting civil and structural engineers. design is discusssed from the firm base of practical experi-
Allan Hodgkinson has been the AJ consultant for structural ence. Foundations and specific structural materials are also
design since 1951; he is a frequent AJ contributor and is the covered, while sufficient guidance on analysis and design
author of various sections of this handbook. is given for the architect to deal with simple structures
The authors of each section will be credited at the start of himself.
the section of the Handbook in which their material appears.
The original Architects' Journal articles were edited by Arrangement
Esmond Reid, BArch, and John McKean, BArch, MA, ARIBA, The handbook deals with its subject in two broad parts.
ACIA, ARIAS. The first deals with building structure generally, the second
with the main structural materials individually.
The frontispiece illustration shows one, of the most The history of the structural designer and a general
magnificent building structures from the era of the Eiffel survey of his field today is followed by a section on basic
Tower, the Forth Bridge and the great railway stations. structural analysis. The general part of the handbook
The Palais des Machines for the Paris Exhibition of 1889 concludes with sections on structural safetyincluding
(Contamin, Pierron & Charton, engineers) was a pioneer deformation, fire and legislationand on the sub-structure:
example of three hinged arches. foundations and retaining structures.
Preface to the second edition Having discussed the overall structure, the sections in the
There have been considerable changes in some British second part of the handbook discuss concrete, steelwork,
Standards, Codes of Practice, and Building Regulations timber and masonry in much greater detail. Finally there
since 1974; and unlike the reprints of 1976 and 1977, this is are sections on composite structures and on new and
a substantially revised and updated re-issue of the now innovatory forms of structure.
well-established AJ Handbook of Building Structure.
The principal changes are in the sections on Masonry (re- Presentation
written to take account of the 1976 Building Regulations, Information is presented in three kinds of format: technical
and the new BS 5628 'limit state' code of practice); and on studies, information sheets and a design guide. The technical
Timber (substantially revised to take account of the new studies are intended to give background understanding.
timber gradings). They summarise general principles and include information
Steel handbooks have been replaced for all types of struc- that is too general for direct application. Information sheets
tural sections; and technical study Steel 3 has therefore are intended to give specific data that can be applied
been revised accordingly. directly by the designer.
In general, the new 'limit state' approach to design is dis- Keywords are used for identifying and numbering technical
cussed (eg in the section on Masonry); but in view of the studies and information sheets: thus, technical study
rejection of the limit state Codes and draft Codes in their STRUCTURE 1, information sheet FOUNDATIONS 3, and so on.
present form, by the majority of practical designers, it has The design guide is intended to remind designers of the
been thought prudent to retain the allowable stress methods proper sequence in which decisions required in the design
of design as the basis of the handbook. process should be taken. It contains concise advice and
Finally, it should be mentioned that the opportunity has references to detailed information at each stage. This might
been taken to bring all references in this Handbook up to seem the normal starting point, but the guide is published at
date; and to correct a number of misprints of the first edition. the end of the handbook as it can be employed only when
the designer fully understands what has been discussed
ISBN 0 85139 273 3 (paperbound) earlier.
First published in book form in 1974 by The general pattern of use, then, is first to read the relevant
The Architectural Press Limited: London technical studies, to understand the design aims, the
Reprinted 1976, 1977 problems involved and the range of available solutions.
Second edition 1980, 1982, 1983 The information sheets then may be used as a design aid, a
Printed in Great Britain by source of data and design information. The design guide,
Mackays of Chatham Ltd acting also as a check list, ensures that decisions are taken
in the Tight sequence and that nothing is loft out.
Section 1

Building structure: General

The first section of this handbook consists of two technical
studies which provide an introduction to the subject of
building structure. The first study shows the growth of the
structural designer through history and the role of architect
and engineer up to the present day. The second study
provides a wide review of the subject today, giving the
background on which the architects knowledge of structure
can build. It provides a frame of reference and guide to the
remainder of the handbook, while also offering knowledge
from practical experience which has not previously been
contained in a structures textbook.

The authors for Section 1 are W. Houghton-Evans and
Herbert Wilson. W. Houghton-Evans AMTPI, RIBA runs a
course in architectural engineering in Leeds Universitys
Department of Civil Engineering. His buildings include
Leeds Playhouse (AJ 22.12.71 p1428) and his research is in
planning and industrialised building. Herbert Wilson CEng,
FICE MCOnSE, is a consulting civil engineer and for many
years was a partner of Norman & Dawbarn, architects and
engineers. Both authors are enthusiastic advocates of
active collaboration between architect and engineer in the
design of building structures.

Illustration on previous page is a section of Milan

Cathedral from Caesarianos Vitruvius (1521)
appreciate the development of structural forms. This is the
The structural designer purpose of these first two articles. This first study, by
w. HOUGHTON-EVANS, describes the role of the early
architect/engineers an.d shows how modern structural theory
The major part of this handbook deals in detail with current evolved. The second article reviews the various structura1
structural theory and practice. But first it is helpful to forms now available and acts as a guide to the remainder
understand the role of the structural designer and to of the handbook

1 Architects lack of specialist knowledge isin in architecture is still less well-defined than elsewhere,
architects may also be lop-sided in their approach. Their
1-01 A biulding may be regarded simultaneously as a failings will most probably result from an inadequate
system of spaces for specific uses; a system to control understanding of specialist matters. It is especially difficult
local climate; a system to distribute services and take for them to be inventive and to think creatively where their
knowledge is superficial and confined to stock solutions.
away wastes; a stuctural system capable of carrying
No aspect of design in recent times has created greater
its own and applied loads to the ground. Each of these
difficulties in this regard than structural engineering. This
is capable of subdivision and elaboration. To be built,
is the more surprising in that throughout history engineering
a building must be conceived as a constructional
in general- and structural engineering in particular-has
system, and during its life may have to facilitate
been intimately bound up with architecture.
maintenance alteration, or even removal. In detail
it will make its presence: felt on those that use it,
and as a whole it will affect the town and landscape. 2 Origins of engineering science
1.02 The uniquc task of the architect is to propose
a solution which simultaneously and in an adequate Vitruvius and Archimedes
and appropriate manner satisfies all these roles. 2.01 Vitruvius de Architectura (c 1st century AD) records
The solution is unlikely to spring fully-armed in almost all that is known from antiquity of technical design,
every detail from his head, and he may need thc help and historians of engineering customarily acknowledge
of others to develop it in detail. The basic strategy Vitruvius as tho first writer in their field. In Byzantium, the
must, be capable of tactical elaboration in respect architects of S Sophia 1 (6th century AD) were Anthcmius, a
of each role the building will havc to play, and leading mathematician of his age, and lsodorus who wrote
therefore the architect must understand every aspect. a commentary on tho works of Archimedes. We are as much
1.03 Because of tho many sides of any design problem, indebted to them for the preservation of Hellenic mechanical
specialism in designers poses a difficulty. A specialist will scienco as for the most, audacious practical demonstration
tendl to seo first only that aspect of the task which falls of its validity.
within his specialism, and ignore the others. While special- 2.02 It was within those very ecclesiastical establishments
which embodied thc miracle of medieval vaulting, that
scholars were appropriately taking up afresh the redis-
covered works of Archimedes, and were beginning to make
tho first significant advances in science since Classical times.
Our only architect/author from the Middle Ages, Villard de
Honnecourt, shows as lively an interest in machines as in
building, and it is a commonplace of architectural history
that medieval architecture displays an inventive mastery
of structural design 2, 3.

Leonardo, Alberti and Wren

2.03 The pristine audacity of Renaissance Man, confidently-
determined to put the entire universe under thc sway of
human reason, is epitomised in tho work of Leonardo da
Vinci-painter, sculptor, musician, poet, scientist, inventor:
designer of everything from fortifications to birds. He, like
Vitruvius, is never absent from histories of architecture and
engineering. To his near-contemporary. the architect
Alberti, we owe the first great scientific treatises of tho age,
his mature masterpiece being the 10 books de re Aedificatoria.
As did Vitruvius, he reviews the entire technology of his
time and tries to bring tho whole within the scope of
scientific principle. Unlike the savants of Antiquity, more-
over, this new Universal Man did not affect a patrician
1 Analytical section of S Sophia disdain of manual craftmanship. Alberti, we are told, would
Technical study Structures 1 para 2.03 to 2.04

2 Rheims cathedral buttresses, as seen by Villard de
Honnecourt (c. 1230)
3 Medieval limber truss structure at Westminster Hall
4 Sketch by Domenico Fontana (1543-1607) of his lowering
the 327-ton monolith in Rome. Lifting it from plinth
strained technical resources of the time to the limit

learn from all, questioning smiths, shipwrights and shoe-

makers lest any might have some uncommon secret knowl-
So we find recorded in his work some usable rules for
dimensioning structural members. But, like rules-of-thumb
still in use today, his formulae, eg the thickness of voussoirs
and of bridge piers, were probably based upon the accumu-
lated experience of centuries, and structural engineering
was as yet little more than craft lore. Nonetheless, Alberti
did not doubt the responsibility of the architect in technical
matters. His definition of the architect as one . . . who, by
sure and wonderful art and method, is able . . . to devise,
and, . . . to complete all those works which, by the movement
of great weights, and the conjunction and amassment of
bodies, can, with the greatest beauty, be adapted to the
uses of mankind . . . compares strikingly with the purpose
of civil engineering describcd by Thomas Tredgold in 1828
as . . . the art of directing the great sources of powers in
nature for the use and convenience of man . . ..
2.04 For Alberti and Leonardo, and for a century or more
after them, the movement of great weights and the con-
junction and amassment of bodies continued to be under-
taken with little more understanding than in previous
centuries 4. For practical advance, the precision and empiric-
ism of modern engineering science was lacking. Brunelles-
chis dome at Florence notwithstanding, the High Renais-
11 Technical Study Structures 1 para 2.04 to 2.10

ornamental and so lightly pass over the geometrical, which is

the most essential part of architecture. For instance, can an
arch stand without butment sufficient? If the butment bo more
than enough, tis an idle expence of materials; if too little it
will fall; and so for any vaulting . . . the design . . . must be
regulated by the art of staticks . . . without which a fine
design will fail and prove abortive . . .. As precise a state-
ment as one could find of what today would be thought the
engineers view of the matter 6.

Foundations of modern technology

2.06 With Wren and Hookc at meetings of the newly-created
Royal Society sat Newton, the scientist and mathematician
whose theories and mathematical procedures were to prove
an adequate basis for the whole subsequent development of
modern technology. Also, in the late 17th century world of
commerce and manufacture, there were rapidly growing
those tendencies which within a century were to see
architecture and civil engineering established its distinct
provinces of distinct professions.
2.07 The first formal steps in this direction were taken in
France where, in 1716 (following the earlier success of a
corps of specially trained military engineers), a civilian
corps of engineers for highways and bridges was formed. The
word engineer which then begins to enter into common use,
derives mainly from the military connotations of the Latin
ingenium: originally a clever device, later also a war-like
instrument. It was not until the latter half of the 18th
century that military engineering had a recognisable
civilian counterpart in this country*. From these beginnings
has grown the modern profession of engineering which,
with its many branches and subdivisions. has taken over
from architecture much of its classical territory and most
of its pursuit of science.
2.08 The schism has never been complete, however, and to
this day there remain professionals who are qualified and
equally at home in both fields. In some countries, architects
and engineers are united in a single professional institution,
and in some, elements of joint education persist. Thoughout
the lust 200 years, there have been many who, like Telford,
described themselves sometimes as architect, sometimes its
engineer. Works on engineering, such as de Belidor's 17th
century classics, often used the word 'architecture' to
6 Wren's attempt at scientific analysis of domes and vaults describe their contents, and we still speak of thc engineer
(from his second Tract on architecture) who designs ships as a naval architect. But in spite of
continuing attempts to heal the breach or belittle its
sance failed to match in construction its theoretical and significance differences between engineering and architec-
spiritual innovations*. ture today are only too real, and must be understood if
2.05 For some time yet, architecture was able to retain its further progress is to be made.
traditional interest in technology. Palladio, writing in the 2.09 Early work in modern civil engineering was largely
mid-16th century, although, no longer Vitruvian in his range, confined to canals and other means of communication
includes an excellent exposition of trussed bridges among essential to developing commerce. Its practitioners were
his palaces, temples and piazzas 5. When, after 1600, often recruited from tho upper level of craftsmen who put
Stovinius and Galileo had laid a sound foundation for the their expertise inventively to use. It was not long, however,
whole subsequent development of modern experimental before new and unfamiliar tasks in the design of hydraulic
science, architects like Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke systems, mills and machinery obliged them to look to
(whose celebrated Law is still a corner-stone of structural contemporary science for aid. In buildings generally, prior
theory) were among its first devotees. It was not considered to tho 19th century, almost all building was accomplished
remarkable in any way that Wren, a natural philosopher within the use of a few constructional materials stone (with
and professor of mathematics, should be asked to design its mud-based substitutes; bricks and mortar, plaster,
harbour works and fortifications at Tangier as readily as he concrete) and wood (with reeds, rushes and so on). Even
was commissioned to design St Pauls. Wren writes im- today, most of our building remains within this range.
patiently of architects who . . . dwell so much upon this
The new material-iron
*It may indeed be that the much-admired art of the period is the most striking
expression of precisely its technical limitations. Unable to achieve in reality 2.10 For a time therefore, architecture could be well content,
perfection promised by omniscience and rational outlook, the men of the time
sought it most brilliantly in products removed from intractable realities, to the to allow others to take over such work-a-day things as
untrammelled realm of the spirit. In his celebrated letter to the Duke of Milan
Leonardo speaks of himself more as inventor than painter, and perhaps without
too much exaggeration it may be said that Leonardo the artist is da Vinci the
trust rated engineer, creating on paper the mastery over nature which could not
as yet be achieved in the real world *John Smeaton (1724-92) was first Englishman to call himself civil engineer
Technical study Structures 1 para 2.10 to 3.01 12

roads and machines, while it pursued more elegant goals problem of the buckling of columns. Behind the back of
easily attainable with traditional means. The change was to architecture there was already developing new experience
come only after the engineers began to perfect for their use and knowledge which was to invalidate much of the theore-
the great new constructional material of modern times: tical basis of its practice. With the coming of the Steam Age,
wrought iron and its derivative, structural steel 7, 8. 9. engineers everywhere were quick to use their science to give
Within 50 years of its introduction into fire-proof mill new shapes to masonry viaducts and timber frameworks. It
construction, engineers were confidently using the new- only needed the invention of reinforced concrete, and the
material to roof great railway station concourses and to span widespread introduction of rolled steel after 1880 to con-
ravines and estuaries. No rule-of-thumb was adequate here. solidate the claim of structural engineering to re-enter the
For tasks such as these, full and inventive use had to be main stream of architecture after a gap of 200 years during
made of modern knowledge in the mechanical sciences, and which it made its most fruitful and rapid advances (see
modern structural analysis and design was created as a cover illustration).
fundamental component of civil engineering. By 1850, a 2.12 Today, engineering and architecture confront one
young man aspiring to be an engineer would have to another as estranged members of a once-united family.
acquire a scientific and mathematical education if he wished During their long years apart they have acquired strange
to proceed towards full professional competence. habits and, if there is to be renewed association, patience,
2.11 What was learnt in terms of iron and steel could with tact and understanding will bo called for on both sides.
advantage also be applied to other materials. Basing Collaboration is now essential in the many fields they still
themselves on Galileo's pioneering work, scholars in 18th have in common: structural design, construction technique,
century France and elsewhere had solved most of the environmental science, town planning, the servicing and
fundamental theoretical problems in structural mechanics. engineering equipment of buildings. In some of these we
Gregory had shown that the catenary and not the neo- may hope for a new breed of architect/engineer which is
Platonic semi-circular ideal was the 'perfect' curve for the again capable, across a wide design spectrum. Whatever
voussoir arch 10. Mariotte had set the seal upon the classical the outcome of future development, it is necessary for the
theory of the bending of beams. Euler had solved the architect to understand something of modern engineering
science, the structural aspects of which are the special
concern of this handbook.

3 The engineer's approach

3.01 From the point of view of its behaviour as a structural
system, a fully adequate understanding of a building would
take account of the way in which all elements contributed
to strength and stability. Ideally, therefore, it might seem
that structural design would tend towards simple, fully

give it the appearance of

fig. 319, it is also bent in
one general curve in the
direction of its length, so
as to gi\e it the appearance of fig. 350, we have then an arch of great strength, capable
of serving as a roof, without
rafters, or any description
of support, except at the
eaves or abutments. It is
evident that, the span of
any roof being given, seg-
ments of (corrugated iron may be riveted together, so as to form such an arch as may be
deemed proper for covering it. To every practical man, it will be further evident, that
a roof of extraordinary span, say 100
feet, which could not be covered by one
arch of corrugated iron w i t h o u t the aid
of rafters, might be covered by two or
three, all resting on, and tied together
by, tie-rods, fig 351 Further, that in
the case of roofs of a still larger span, _ _
say 200 feet, a tie-rod might be combined with a trussed iron beam, fig. 352 ; by which

7 Interior of Palm House, Kew, by Decimus Burton (1845)
8a. b J. C. London's Encyclopaedia of villa, farm and
cottage architecture (1833) recommends folded plate roofs
of corrugated iron
integrated solutions. But structural design is concerned with
protection of probable structural behaviour, and needs to be
reasonably certain of its ground. So it is necessary to
identify dements likely to play a predictable role throughout
the life of the building and regard only them as structural.
These will then be analysed as components of a structural
arrangement which (to make analysis possible) will
transmit loads primarily in one of a limited number of
definable ways. In practice, much modern building has
tended rather to forms in which structural and non-
structural elements are separately expressed.
3.02 But the structural engineer is aware that his analytical
procedures are necessarily simplifying idealisations, and
always keeps his mind open for opportunities to recognise
and exploit possible alternatives. He will be aware that
inflexible thinking is a disadvantage in structural matters
and that over-simple idealisation can lead to wasteful and
stodgy design.
3.03 Many new materials are now appearing, and now ways
are found of using the old. New techniques of analysis
especially those employing computers - allow prediction to
approach much closer to performance and, as a consequence,
permit engineering design to move closer to the limit of
structural potential.
3.04 But engineering and building are a practical affair.
There is no point in designing to impracticable limits or
unrealisable tolerances. What is designed must be capable
of being built. Construction technique lies always been us
great a limitation as structural behaviour, and throughout
history as much design significance has been attached to the
problem of how a building was to be built as to any other
factor. For instance skeletal framework were used from
primitive times as permament scaffolding to support men
and materials during as well as after construction, and they
have had A profound influence on both architecture and
structural engineering. The size of members and assemblies
must always be related to transport and lifting capacity.
Stability during construction (as most structural failures
testify) is as important as upon completion. The sequence
of operations and the joining of members have always posed
difficult problems in design.
3.05 There will also be important constraints arising from
weathering, corrosion and fire: resistance. The efficient
performance: of a structure over a period of time will be
dependent upon its protection and maintenance, and for this
accessibility will be necessary. Many such considerations are

9a, b Iron trusses with tension cables, from London's

10 Gregory's analysis of voussoir (from Polini's Memorie
istorichc della Gran Cupola del Tempio Vaticano,1748).
What was learnt in terms of iron and steel could be
applied to other materials
reflected in codes and regulations, and much is embodied in
3.06 While matters of strength and stability pose problems
less acute in buildings than in massive works of civil
engineering, their involvement in a complex totality can
make a satisfactory solution more difficult to achieve. The
eloquent clarity of a suspension bridge will rarely be
achievable in buildings, and in many it may be appropriate
that the structural system should pass unnoticed in the
finished product. Structural engineering can nonetheless
claim with pride to have descended from the achievements
of S Sophia and the Gothic master-masons, and can point
11 Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome, by P. L. Nervi to todays achievement in the works of engineer/architects
12 Mining materials and Metallurgy Building, such as Nervi 11, or architect/engineers collaboration in
Birmingham, by Arup Associates the more forward-looking practices 12.
15 Technical study Structures 2 para 1.01 to 3.03

Technical study
Structures 2
Section 1 Building structure: General

Having discussed the development of the structural designer,

Structural forms, design the handbook turns to a general appraisal of his field today.
and materials This article by HERBERT WILSON discusses structural form
and design principles, and adds an introduction to the
various structural materials. This study acts as a
framework and guide for the remainder of the handbook

1 Introduction made and results illustrate the effect design decisions have
on running costs, income and capital costs. The project
1.01 The peculiar division now existing between architect directors consider that 'the main criteria by which any
and structural engineer has its roots in the Industrial structural system should be judged and towards which any
Revolution; most particularly in this country where design should be directed are speed of construction and
'engineering' became synonymous with 'progress' and where maximum ratio of usable (or lettable) area to gross floor
science was omniscient. The engineer, whoso impact on area.'
society became so intense and diverse during the 19th 2.04 Although this investigation is restricted to multi-
century, has been reluctant to forgo privilege. However the storied office-type buildings of simple plan shape, it serves to
architect can achieve reciprocal integration and collabora- illustrate that the economies of a structural system are not
tion today through an understanding of the structural necessarily an expression of maximum building worth, as the
engineering objective. choice of an appropriate economic criterion of building has
1.02 The words of Thomas Tredgold quoted in the previous a radical effect on the selection of a structural system 4.
study, 'the art of directing the great sources of power in 2.05 This type of analysis, based on a comparison of fluctua-
nature for the use and convenience of man', have been ting costs of the building elements, is not absolute. The
embodied in the constitution of the Institution of Civil analysis indicates that the most significant cost effectiveness
Engineers to define the role of the engineer. To extend 'use for structure (considered in isolation) is ease and therefore
and convenience' into building terms, we have material speed of construction. However, the overall building worth
advantage (maximum worth and pleasure) and personal depends on decisions made at its inception, rather than on
comfort (efficient environmental properties). The architec- subsequent refinements.
tural objective cannot be less than this.
3 Structural formssolid structures
2 Maximum worth
3.01 The primary building decision is one of structural form.
2.01 The most recurrent word in all writing or speeches made There are (permissibly over-simplified) three basic divisions
about building in this century is 'economy'. Overworked of structural form: solid construction 1, skeletal construction
and frequently misused it can lead to the demand for 2 and surface construction 3, 5.
minimum first cost rather than maximum worth overall. 3.02 Solid is the most intuitive form, from cave and rock
2.02 Maximum worth is the supreme test of cohesion both temple to loadbearing brickwork. During the historical
within the professional team, and between the team and its stage of experimentation, the builders of solid structure
client. The resolution of the individual solutions in which fully utilised the virtues of stone and its ability to contain
this can be achieved depends upon experience and skill. compressive loads. Great skill and ingenuity was employed
Design parameters are so complex that a complete scientific in enclosing space by the transfer of non-vertical reactions
or mathematical evaluation is impossible, but attempts are through arches, vaults, domes and abutments to vertical
being made to provide more scientific assistance and forces at foundation level. Solid construction relies on a
guidance. heavy homogeneous wall mass within which, in the ideal
2.03 Reference can be made to recent work at the Imperial state, compressive forces are uniformly distributed.
College of Science and Technology towards the development 3.03 Solid structures perform the function of enclosure,
of computer-based procedure for economic evaluation and support and protection; but this benefit carries the dis-
comparison of multi-storied buildings and potential use of advantage of the highest ratio of mass to unit of enclosure.
findings as a design tool. Although the range of inter- To some extent this disadvantage is balanced by economies
dependent variables is large, considerable progress has been in materials and labour costs, but it could be a significant
Technical study Structures 2 para 3.05 to 4.02 16

6 Skeletal construction, special types with stressed

membranes; a umbrella; b basic tent; c Munich Olympic tent
by Otto
factor if choice of foundation is a criterion in t h e selection of
structural form. Modern loadbearing buildings are not true
solid structures as they are usually composites of loadbearing
walls in the form of perimetcr malls (continuous or in
sections) with internal walls. These may be cross walls or
spine walls, diaphragms and tower structures used in
conjunction with slabs, slab beam floors or roofs in various
materials. (Structures built up from large flat panels used
horizontally and vertically are not solid structures because
of the special function of panels as elements of a surface
structure, discussed later.)
3.04 Solid buildings have structural limitations. Usually
they are of modest heights and have short spans (say up to
7.6m). If tall, their forms are confined to those in which each
storey has a n idontical plan. Special consideration is
necessary for problems of crack control and differential
movements, and these problems will be dealt v i t h in
detail in other sections of this handbook. Fire resistance and
thermal-insulation properties are good; but their insulation
against noise requires specific investigation because of mass
transmission effect.

4 Skeletal structures
4.01 Skeletal forms are also traditional, having developed
from experience and the availability of materials. The tent
is an early, special form of skeletal construction in which
the enclosing membrane was stressed in conjunction with an
internal framework. Modern tent structures have succeeded
in liberating the skeleton from within the skin 6.
4.02 The trabeated architecture of classical Greece is skeletal
in the form of post and beam from which is derived the
frame and slab structures (of similar natures but of varying
techniques), which are the structural forms of most modern
buildings 7.
9 10
4.03 The structural elements of struts, ties and beams were Olympic tent of Professor Behnisch which has now been
extended to frames by the triangulation of struts and ties, Constructed in Munich 6c (see A J 16..2.72 p338).
and inevitably to the three-dimensional space frame 8. 4.05 The greater use of metals and the growth of appropriate
4.04 Skeleton forms avoid the limitations of enclosure design skills and understanding of the strengths of materials
imposed on solid forms, and have much more spatial have developed skeletal structures from traditional stone
freedom in that the framework can be within the space and timber. (The transition from empirical rules to a
confined, or between the limits of internal space and external theoretical statics approach of solid structures was not
form, or even completely outside the external form. Tho achieved until the middle of the 18th century, and even
most outstandingly visual development in skeletal structures modern design methods for such structures retain an
has been the exploitation of the qualities of the flexible tie empirically-based crudity.)
or tendon as used in suspension and tented structures 9. 4.06 The design of skeletal structures has progressed on
These range from Nervi's workshops a t Mantova (built like scientific principles with less restraint from traditional
a suspension bridge) and cable supported roofs to many methods. But inevitably there have been pitfalls and one
aeroplane hangars, 10; from tendon suspended multi-storey of the most common errors today is the assumption that if
office buildings and cable structures as expressed by Dr the mathematics are in order, then the structure is in order.
Buckholdt, David Jawerth and others, to the controversial This is particularly significant when basic assumptions, on
which mathematical design is built, are tainted by the
arbitrary character imposed on such hypothesis. For these
assumptions are the work of earlier compilers of rules and
regulations who could not divorce themselves from tradi-
tion. Modern design is bold and imaginative, backed by
research and aided by modern tools of calculation that
enable the designer to consider the building and its founda-
tion as a complex but integral structure.
4.07 The extension of the skeletal frame from horizontal and
vertical planes to the three-dimensional frame enabled
designers such as Fuller and Zeiss-Dywidag to create
structures which almost came within the next category to
be described, surface structures 11.

5 Surface structures
5.01 I n these structures the loadbearing surface both defines
the space and provides support. I n the design of a surface
structure an exact understanding of its behaviour and an
appropriate scientific analysis is required. Such structures
have only recently (in building terms) become practical
building realities because of the availability of new materials
(reinforced concrete in particular). So there is no background
of long experience and therefore no intuitive confidence, but
theory and skill of execution are advancing to the stage
where our understanding of surface structures is probably
more refined than our understanding of any other form of
5.02 The most obvious example is the shell structure in its
multiple forms, but such structures are not confined to
curved surfaces. The horizontal plate, used as a slab, or the
vertical plate used as a wall, panel or beam 12 are forms of
surface structures which can be used as 'folded' plate
surface structures 13, or in conjunction with other forms of
structure 14. (See technical study 1 8 for an early
5.03 Surface structures can be constructed in most of the
building materials but they are generally limited to the
enclosure of space in a single cell or a series of such cells.
They are subjected to limitations of construction and
architectural conception, engineering theory and practical
construction may not be entirely compatible, eg Sydney
Opera House.
5.04 Most structures arc composites of different forms. It, is becoming more prevalent in design practice.
logical t o resolve a particular building problem by having 6.04 Not only the size of the, loads, but their nature, requires
a surface roof form supported by a skeleton superstructure consideration. For instance, the effects of dead load which
with a 1oadbearing substructure but it is very important is constant, a n d superimposedl load, which is transient, are
to check the structural logic of the points of continuity from different in character. Tho sustained dead load can give rise
one system t o another, and where possible t o avoid any t o creep (ie continuing stress deformation without increase
abrupt changes in the load flow pattern. in load) in the materials of construction. Some superimposed
loads-suchas loads from stores areas are usually a t a
6 Structural design-loading constant level and can contribute t o this creep effect,
which is particularly noticeable and detrimental on long
6.01 With established design criteria for structural form span floor constructions.
based on site limitations, functional requirements and 6.05 A fluctuating superimposed load can result in vibration,
architectural conception, the structural designer moves to sway, flutter, instability and fatigue. The acceptance of
the second stage which is concerned with the evaluation of these variable loads and consideration of their effect on
loading and the analysis of loading patterns. The dead overall safety undoubtedly complicates the design processes,
Ioads, or self weights of building and structural elements but research and experience are creating new guide lines for
can be determined with reasonable accuracy at this stage rationalised design with a greater understanding of what is
b u t t h e values of imposed loads are a matter of judgment. happening t o the building.
Unless special requirements have to be met, and the client is 6.06 The loads due to natural phenomena which lncludc
specific about loading in the building, the use to which he wind, snow and scismic loads are essentially of uncertain
will p u t the building will classify it under Regulations which character. Within this category of loading, thc user and
prescribe floor loadings. indeed the legislator are unable to provide any completely
6.02 I t should be kept in mind t h a t statutory loadings are satisfactory dictates. The gap between normal loads arising
attempts to classify a wide variety of buildings load. They from natural phenomena at fairly frequent intervals, and
govern a minimal condition, and for convenience are the exceptional loads of disastrous but, infrequent, events,
expressed as uniformly distributed loads, although this is too large to be covered by statutory Regulations and
condition is rare in practice. The anticipated disposition of remains a matter of engineering judgment.
loads in a building should be studied before a rationalised 6.07 Only actual observations, and tests on complete build-
Regulation of uniformly distributed loading is adopted. The ings over a long period of time can provide the information
capacity of a floor design to spread loads over areas greater necessary to redraft the Regulations. Any available Regula-
than the virtual area of loading application helps towards tion notwithstanding, the conditions in the specific locality
this rationalisation. A printing machine, a telephone must always be studied, as, among other things, the effect
exchange a magnetometer or a safe are very concentrated of wind loading is complex.
loads but require clear working areas around them which Not only does i t relate to the building structure as a whole
can be considered in the spread of load. in matters of general stability, b u t also t o tho severe local
6.03 However, in general terms, experience has shown t h a t effects on claddings, fastenings and structural elements. I n
the classified loadings are not likely t o be exceeded unless conditions of severe exposure, with tall buildings or complex
the building usage changes. For instance, office loading at shape, with buildings having large holes or tunnels through
2 . 4 kN/m 2 plus the acceptable minimum allowance for them, and with buildings likely to be effected by the
partitions has proved t o be totally inadequate to cover the juxtapositioning of other large buildings (as in the case of
frequent internal replanning t o which such buildings are the cooling towers which collapsed a t Ferrybridge), the
subjected. The likelihood of these larger loads occurring \vi11 structural effects can be resolved by intensive investigation
have t o be assessed, and the probability factor in loading is only.
6.08 Snow loadings, particularly in northern and exposed
areas where high winds and low temperatures can prevail,
are not adequately covered by Regulations. Efficient thermal
insulation can prolong the life of snow on some roofs and
this and the retention of frozen snow on concave roof shapes
and valleys could extend into a period of exceptional wind
load. These combined loadings are probabilities clearly
related to the building location.
6.09 Special oases of floor loads may occur not covered by
statutory loadings and these may arise from storage, plant,
machinery and equipment during construction, installation
and the future use of the building. Some of these loadings
will give rise to dynamic effects and it should be noted that
these can be in vertical and horizontal planes. The accelera-
tion, deceleration and braking of vehicles and cranes will
create surge or lateral forces in the structure. The energy
release of suddenly applied loads or falling loads create
stress effects several times larger than those induced by an
equivalent static load 15.
6.10 Fortunately these effects are, in most cases, of ex-
tremely short duration, but they must be considered. The
dynamic effects of wind load have been mentioned, and
there are classic examples of flutter and resonance in tall
structures and long span bridges. The dynamic effects of
seismic disturbance are well known, and because of the
catastrophic results, much research has been undertaken in
this field. The findings of these investigations have been
incorporated into design guides for classified earthquake
areas, which include the probability factor.
6.11 But there are many more buildings, outside earthquake
zones, having complex loadings in which large static loadings
are combined with dynamic effects. In industry heavy
stamps and presses can produce earthquake-like shocks.
Unbalanced reciprocating machines and compressors can
induce destructive vibrations and resonance. The release of
energy, when a testing machine fractures a specimen, can be
transferred through the framework of the machine into the
floor and the structure so that isolation or insulation is
6.12 The Building (Fifth Amendment) Regulations 1970
cover the problem of collapse loading in a building over four
storeys (including basements) which receives damage due
to an incident (the amendment makes no reference to
explosion). The purpose of this amendment is to ensure
stability if a structural member, ie a section of a beam, a
column, a floor slab or a wall, is removed by an incident 16.
Alternatively a pressure of 34 kN/m2 in any direction must
be considered to act in combination with the dead load plus
one third the live load and one third the wind load. Floors
below the level of the incident must also be capable of
carrying the load of debris from above. Under these condi-
tions of loading, a significant reduction in the factor of
safety is allowed. For reinforced concrete and steelwork
1.75 times normal stresses may be used and for brickwork
3.5 to 4 times the stresses given in CP 111.
6.13 The fifth amendment of the Building Regulations is
brief but is carefully worded to cover all types of structure.
However, because of its brevity, it is possible for a number
of interpretations to arise. To provide a simple solution
early agreement between designer and the responsible
authorities is necessary, but the effects of the fifth amend-
ment on fairly substantial buildings have been found less
severe than was at first feared.

7 Structural design-foundations
7.01 The ultimate respository of all loads, dead and super-
imposed, is the ground; and the primary function of struc-
21 Technical study Structures 2 para 7.01 to 10.03

ture (of which the fouridation is part) is to carry the loads where necessary structural devices incorporates for insula-
safely and transfer them efficiently to the ground. Within tion or isolation of sources of nuisance.
the qualifications of superimposed loads previously referred 3 Thermal movement of heating and steam pipes can impose
to, the loads on the structure can be determined. With a heavy loads both on anchorage: points arid at other points
properly conducted and efficient subsoil investigation, plus of intentional or accidental restraint. Such movements and
local information on general experience of conditions, the loads must bo integrated in tho structure. Conversely large
structural qualities of the ground can also be determined. structural movements, such as deflection of large span
7.02 However, further decisions must be made in connec- beams or floors, must not be transmitted to inflexible
tion with the foundation which could affect the structure. services.
Examples are: 4 The choice of structural arid cladding materials relates to
1 structures on shrinkable clays or earths in which loads the standards of thermal insulation necessary in the
may have to be collected by foundation beams and/or slabs building envelope, and similar evaluations are required for
and then concentrated on piers or piles which will transmit ventilation, both natural and mechanical, natural lighting
the loads down to levels below the region of climatic change and sound insulation.
2 structures over poor or weak loadbearing soils where the 5 The mechanical devices by which material and people are
total loads have to be widely dispersed by means of rafts or moved within the building have obvious structural influence
grillages in the shape of cranes, hoists, conveyors, lifts and elevators.
3 structures requiring piled foundations where column
layouts and piling layouts have to be compatible 9 Structural design-resources
4 structures of great inherent rigidity which have to be
shielded from the effects of normal differential settlement 9.01 The question of resources in labour and materials does
and which require equally rigid foundation units, and not frequently arise in the UK in sufficient degree to influence
possible subdivision into monoliths choice of structure. In other countries, however, particularly
5 structures designed to have a large degree of flexibility in emergent countries, inaccessible areas, or areas subject
within isolated units, to accommodate, without structural to extreme natural phenomena, the question of resources
failure, the effects of subsidence. may be extremely relevant. Local building methods and
7.03 Basements have the dual function of retaining struc- matorials are sometimes worthy of adoption, particularly
tures and foundation structures which generally are of rigid when low-cost buildings arc to bo erected. Experience will
construction (solid structure). This generates problems in indicate the most suitable materials and methods to be used,
the control of cracks, particularly when located below a and these will vary from place to place steel, concrete,
water table. Constructional methods, movement joints and bricks and blocks.
water tightness are to be integrated in the design. (Base
ments to simple buildings will provide efficient foundations 10 Structural designdesign methods
on poor soils, but a lightly loaded basement within a watcr
table should be checked for flotation risks, particularly 10.01 During architectural conception of the building, tho
during construction.) limits of structural choice have been set by external para-
meters and tho skill and experience of the engineer. Up to
this point, mistakes can bo expensive and irrevocable if not
8 Structural design-environment and recognised. But future progress in the structural design is a
services technical process within the major decisions already taken.
10.02 Tho structural aims can now be restated and checked
8.01 The environmental requirements of modern buildings against tho design concept as:
have a great influence on structural design. Some require- 1 the most efficient structural mechanism, and structural
ments are statutory, others either arise from activities matorial, with minimum spatial demands within tho
within the bidding, or they may be directives of the client. structural form
In general terms the services can be classificd in four groups: 2 the best use of structural elements within the chosen
1 Environmental scrvices; those directly concerned with mechanism.
control of physical environment, heating, mechanical 3 the most efficient use of the chosen material
ventilation, lighting 4 tho durability of the structural material
2 Supply services; those concerned with providing physical 5 the behaviour of the structure in fire
matorials to meet the needs of building users, hot and cold 6 tho considerations of the site and of construction
water, gas electricity and so on 7 the economy of the structure.
3 Disposal services; those concerned with removing waste 10.03 To achieve an efficient mechanism, possible patterns of
products, refuse, foul arid surface water drainage load-flow to the ground must be examined and a system
4 Central plant to provide or generate or motivate the established. In general terms, cost, and the spatial demands
services described above. of structure are related directly to the complexity of tho
8.02 Service layouts have an effect on the structural Design, load-flow pattern and the distances covered. Tho planning
and thefollowing design problems are characteristic: decisions already made will help determine the spans, and
1 Large ducts and pipes required for ventilation antl unobstructed plan arms required. Before an analysis of tho
drainage, are not only space consuming but inflexible, iri relationship of slabs, beams arid columns in the load-flow
that tight bends or changes in direction are not always pattern can be made, the matter of structural subdivision
acceptable. Moreover, main distribution lines might have conditioned by thermal and shrinkage effects will havo to bo
to be planned with considoration for future change of the resolved. Buildings up to say 60 m long may not require
buildings use. complete separation for shrinkage arid expansion, but within
2 Most services, particularly those carrying fluids, arc this length some structural elements such as parapets antl
potential noise generators and could be noise transmitters. brick panels may require special provisions. Buildings of
The transmission of noise and vibration from services and odd shape, or liquid containers and some special purpose
plant will havo to be checked against acceptance levels, and . buildings (such as cold stores) require further consideration.
Technical study Structures 2 para 10.03 to 10.08 22

Such consideration is also necessary in buildings of com framework such as a roof truss, or the general stiffening
posite construction (eg brick walls and concrete slabs have effects of cladding in resisting wind loads.
differing characteristics of volumetric change under shrink 10.08 The new approach to design is not a rejection of
age and thermal effects). earlier principles which are quite sound; but because there
10.04 Planning demands may have set limiting or critical is now a better understanding of behaviour of structure,
dimensions, such as floor thickness and depths of beams many of the old restrictions are condemned. The existence
vertically, or wall thickness and column sizes horizontally of the plastic state beyond the elastic state has been
These considerations have to be balanced against structural established for a long time but it is only comparatively
deformations under load, which should be checked against recently that elasto-plastic design has been generally
statutory limits, but again, acceptance of recommendations accepted and has resulted in a more efficient distribution of
should be balanced against experience. Statutory limitations structural material with considerable progress in the design
of deflections of slabs and beams are no guarantee against of highly indeterminate structures. This development has
the cracking of walls and partitions carried by those slabs been assisted by research which demonstrated that the
and beams. previously assumed simple relationships between working
10.05 Structural analysis is the subject of this handbook's stress (in the elastic state) and stress at failure are not valid
next section, but an appraisal of design methods is necessary because of plastic deformation, and in place of the so-called
for any understanding of structure. To reconcile safety 'factor of safety' a more meaningful relationship (or ratio)
with economy a correct evaluation of all loads must be is now considered to be that between the working load and
followed by a precise evaluation of critical stresses for the actual load at failure, ie the 'load factor', see 17, 18, 19.
the structure or its component parts, the relationship
between load and critical stress is a measure of safety. Until
recently the understanding of the behaviour of materials
under load was, in a scientific sense, more the province of
the mechanical engineer than of the structural engineer
The traditional knowledge of building was resistant to the
new knowledge of materials and because of this a great deal
of simplification and rationalisation of structural design, ie
practical structural design was inevitable. Some of the
assumptions, which were conveniences of design methods,
have persisted today and relate directly to timber beams
17 Stress and strain: a elastic; b elastic and plastic
and steel joists.
10.06 Robert Maillart said in an article about the develop-
ment of flat slab design: 'Previously, rolled steel and timber
were available for the construction of long span flat frame-
works. Both are materials which cannot be shaped arbi-
trarily but are only available in beam form where the main
dimension is linear and is determined with rolled steel
because of the rolling process and with timber because of
the growth process. With these materials the single-
dimensional basic element struts, beams, piers became so
familiar to engineers that any other solution appeared
foreign to their minds. Also the calculation process was very
simple. Reinforced concrete entered the field and at first
nothing changed, one constructed just as with steel and
timber with beams spanning from wall to wall or column
to column. Set transversely to these main beams were
secondary beams and the spans between were spanned by 18 Rectangular steel beam stress diagrams: a for loading up
slabs. But instead of being designed and used for their to yield stress (elastic); b at yield stress; c rectangular
unique structural characteristics, slabs were designed as representation of stress at yield for purposes of calculation
single strips and were then considered as beams in the
old-fashioned manner. Only the steam-ship* designer was
in a position to consider the slab as a structural element for
which he used the deductions made by Grashof; the struc-
tural engineer for the time did not do so.'
10.07 Maillart's point is still valid and structural design
follows the convenient assumption that structural elements
can be designed in isolation. Furthermore they are com-
pletely elastic and this behaviour is ideal. It is convenient
to assume that an element will behave as one wishes it to 19 a Failure under simple point load forming a 'plastic'
behavewithout regard for the behaviour of the complete hinge; b plastic hinge failure in a rigid frame
structure. Such assumptions are not always valid, some-
times because of the structural participation of what are
considered non-structural elements; for instance the effect
of infill panels of brickwork within a column and beam
framework, or the effect of cladding on a lightweight

*A more recent analogy is the disassociation between designers of aeronautical

structures and building structures. The phenomenon and understanding of
collapse of box girder bridges is more familiar to aeroplane designers than to
bridge designers
23 Technical study Structures 2 para 10.09 to 10.12

10.09 From stress follows strain and it is absolutely essential create large volumetric changes as well as unsightly blem-
to have a clear understanding of strain arid structural ishes.
doformation for tho proper use of modern design methods. 10.10 Stress and strain are mathematical in derivation but
Structural safety is a prime obligation but a structurally 'stability' problems are a combination of theory, practice
adequate building will not be acceptable if structural and engineering skill. The general overall stability of a
refinement results in cracked partitions, distorted window building is recognised easily and resolved by the principles
and door frames, broken and detached cladding panels, and of equilibrium, but the stability of building elements is loss
fractured service mains. Not only strain (the deformation readily understood although it is a familiar phenomenon.
arising as the direct consequence of load) but the dimen- Stability controls the design of compression members.
sional changes in structural materials owing to temperature Buckling of a strut is a function of its length and cross-
and chemical changes must be considered. Although sectional stiffness, and failure can occur owing to initial
unrestrained expansion and contraction because of tem- buckling at loads well below the critical compressive stress
perature changes are reversible and cause no damage within 20, 21, 22.
the normal range of building temperatures, there will exist a 10.11 Once there were many diverse academic theories
temperature gradient throughout a building mass that will about the strength of columns, so that by choosing an
cause differential movements in addition to the differential appropriate one almost any design could bc justified. But
movements between materials having differing thermal research has consolidated theory, and rationalised design
characteristics. The chemical changes in concrete and loss rules now prevail. The compression zones of beams, canti-
of free moisture results in shrinkage which will persist over levers and plates, acting as vortical girders or diaphragms,
the first year of life of the building. The gaps created by are subject to instability. Engineering skill is necessary for
such shrinkage will be kept alive thereafter by thermal the recognition and containment of these physical effects.
effects and by changes in the moisture content from atmos- 10.12 The linear beam (the element of skeleton construction
pheric causes. Other chemical reactions such as the growth as described by Maillart) in a simply supported condition,
of rust on metal, and the expansion of unsound lime can and the ideal pin-jointed (or hinged) strut or tie as fabricated
Technical study Structures 2 para 10.12 to 11.04 24

into frames are theoretical concepts rarely achieved in

practice. A simple support or pin joint implies that the
members at the support or joint are free to rotate relative
to each other without restraint, but this is obviously an
ideal situation and in practice joints have restraint, the
members interact with each other (in addition to the purely
statical reaction) and moments are developed. The conse-
quences of rigid or partly rigid joints, or in other words the
'continuity' of the structure, have long been recognised and 24 a Normal slab; b slab acting as an element of surface,
adopted in structural design, but design methods were very structure
mathematical until the original approach of Hardy Cross,
see 23.
10.13 It is significant that Hardy Cross described his method
of 'moment distribution' as a physical concept, implying
that the deformations of the structure under the various
conditions imposed must be visualised. By such methods,
and as the words 'moment distribution' imply, the benefits
of continuity are a redistribution of the bending effects of
load throughout the structure and therefore a more efficient
use of the structural material.
10.14 In general terms continuity is a development of
linear design extended to two dimensions. The more
significant advance (and it is to this that Maillart was
referring) was the adoption in structural design of the well
known and understood isotropic qualities of homogeneous
materials. The ideal structural material should be homo-
geneous, ie it should have uniform physical characteristics
throughout its mass, and it should be isotropic, ie its
behaviour under stress should be the same in all directions
through the material. 25 Three possible systems of internal stress in shell
10.15 From this point onwards the understanding of surface structures: a direct forces, b shear forces; c bending
structures and the evolution of suitable design methods moments and torsional moments
grew rapidly. The flat slab of Maillart is a classic example.
A slab supported along two opposite edges will deform
under load to a cylindrical shape, and for design purposes structures. Disadvantages of steel are its relative inflexibility
can be considered as a parallel series of linear beams. A slab of shape, and the fact that generally protection is required
of material having isotropic qualities supported at the four against fire and corrosion attack.
corners only (no beams) will deform to a shape similar to a
spherical figure, and is thus an element of surface structure Aluminium
which cannot with any degree of accuracy be designed on a 11.03 Aluminium alloys are not at present acceptable
linear basis, see 24. Such structures have three possible substitutes for steel in large structural elements. Greater
systems of internal stress: direct loading in tension or cost, and the considerable increase in deformation under
compression; shear forces; and bending moments and direct and thermal loadings, outweigh the advantages of
torsional moments. All these are multi-directional and the lightness in self-weight, and corrosion resistance. However,
shape of the shell governs the relative importance of the aluminium may be considered in special circumstances, and
three systems 25. The computer as a design tool can take particularly when self-weight of structure is a major
most of the mathematical load, from the design of these consideration and the other loads are incidental. It is
structures. reasonable to use alloy units of small cross section built up
into space frames to roof over large column-free spaces.
11 Structural materials
Steel 11.04 Timber is one of the oldest materials of construction
11.01 Steel is an indispensible material both in its own right because it has been readily available, and is easy to work.
as a basic structural element and in the supporting role of Although long confined in its use to relatively small linear
reinforcement: as a substitute for the homogeneous and elements of structure (other than in the construction of
isotropic qualities in which concrete and bricks and blocks ships), it has been developed more recently as a major
are deficient. It is provided in varying chemical composi- structural material. This is possible both through a greater
tions to fulfil different strength and weathering requirements understanding of its properties and the development of
and, in form, from the thinnest sheet to heavy solid sections more comprehensive design methods and is aided by
or shaped sections. parallel improvements and inventions in the field of adhes-
11.02 Further working can be applied to the steel in rod or ives, structural connections and wood-shaping machinery.
bar shape to produce much higher ultimate strengths However, wood is neither a homogeneous nor an isotropic
usually for the reinforcing and pre-stressing of concrete or material and the greater expansion of its use, as in surface
for the cables of suspension structures. The development of structures, is possible only because these disadvantages have
automatic welding and cutting has allowed the fabrication been minimised by the ability to glue or fasten timber in
of an even greater variety of shapes and sizes, while the successive layers with the gram running in different direc-
advent of high-strength friction grip bolts has revolutionised tions. However, it is subject to destruction by insects and
methods of jointing, not only for steel work but for all fungocidal attack.
25 Technical study Structures 2 para 11 O5 to 11 10

11.05 Concrete as a mortar was fully understood by the
Romans, and it is interesting to speculate how building
would h a v e developed if other countries had acquired this
skill and developed to the full its quality of unifying small
elements into a monolithic structure having considerable
tonsile qualities But its structural potential was obliged to
wait for the development of acceptable steel reinforcement
to provide the special qualities of reinforced concrete, a
material which can bo designed as though it w e r e homo
geneous and isotropic, if imperfect Being a cast material
it has complete freedom of shape but it is a multi trade
material in construction, and under site conditions it
demands effective supervision and is a relatively slow
building operation
11.06 These disadvantaged, have been recognised by the rapid
development of the off site precast industry, but in this, as
in all popular acceptance of good ideas, there has been much
over optimism The period of reappraisal now in being will
re establish the position of precast concrete in the building
world The disadvantages of self weight and space con
summing factors have been overcome by the science of
prestress and the development of high strength concretes
which have practically created a new material different in
characteristics and behaviour from 'normal concrete

11.07 Masonry in the form of natural stone is also out, of the
oldest of building materials While stone is still used in minor
structures in a loadbearing capacity, the definition now
embraces all forms of brickwork and blockwork, unrein
forced and reinforced Statutory Regulations still allow the
proportioning of brick structures on an empirical basis but
calculated masonry in accordance with the Code of Practice
can provide an economic solution even in high buildings
where there is a repeated prominent wall system on plan

11.08 The use of plastics as a structural material is still in the
experimental stage, and further research and experience is
essential to its acceptance in competition with established
structural materials But its development is rapid, and a
breakthrough may be imminent

11.09 The choice of prime material for the structure is
largely dependent on structural form But even here design
ingenuity has removed barriers and the prime materials can
be used m practically any desired shape Choice of material
is more likely to be conditioned by factors other than
structural efficiency
11.10 Structural form can dictate the material, as can the
required foundation, the limitations of resource, site and
constructional factors and time available Freedom of choice
of materials where other conditions are equal is restricted to
those buildings where the structure is hidden. Although
experience, research and design skills may benefit from
machine aids to design, such as the computer, they cannot
be replaced.

26 John Hancock Center Chicago (SOM) Example of tapering

steel frame building with exposed cross bracing as design
AJ Handbook of

Building Structure Of related interest

edited by Allan Hodgkinson

In its first edition, this Handbook became a standard AJ Handbook of Building Enclosure
reference for both students and practitioners. Re- edited by A J Elder and Maritz Vandenberg
cent changes to British Standards, Codes of Practice
and Building Regulations have generated demand
for a new, updated edition; and unlike the reprints of "With its many references and general high quality
of presentation, the handbook will be of use and
1976 and 1977, this is a radically revised and up- interest to anyone concerned with the built environ-
dated version of the original 1974 Handbook. ment" IHVE Journal
The principle changes are in the sections on Mas- "A new and more integrated approach to construc-
onry (totally rewritten to take account of the 1976 tion techniques than the traditional textbook"
Building Regulations) and on Timber (substantially Building Trades Journal
revised to take account of new timber gradings). In
addition to many minor improvements, the oppor- "The information is generally of a very high Stan-
tunity has also been taken to bring up to date all the dard . . - great care has been taken by the various
references quoted. section authors" Building
"For the student, the handbook ought to be a 'set
For the rest, this remains the widely acclaimed book' to take him through many years of use . . . it
structural design handbook first published in 1974. deserves widespread circulation"
Information is specific enough to be of practical The Architects' Journal
value, yet presented in a way intelligible to users
without engineering backgrounds. Paper edition ISBN 0 85139 282 2

Some press comment on previous editions:

"This admirable and useful volume deserves to be Guide to the Building Regulations
studied carefully by readers outside the architec-
tural profession, as well as those within it. . . a well 1976 (Seventh Edition)
designed and thoroughly interesting book" A J Elder
Build International
This new 1982 edition of the Guide to the 1976 Build-
''This handbook provides a review of the whole ing Regulations, coming on the heels of the Secre-
structural field" tary of State's long-awaited Command Paper, in-
Building Technology and Management corporates two new appendixes: on the Proposed
"All in all, a most useful and comprehensive text- Second Amendment, and on The Future of Building
book which no self-respecting architect can afford to Control in England and Wales.
be without" Architect's News
Some press comment on previous editions:
"An invaluable source of guidance through the ver-
bal jungle of the Regulations"
Building Technology and Management
"The book provides a comprehensive reference on
matters of everyday practice for all members of the
building team and students and should act as a
companion to the 1972 Regulations themselves"
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"Should provide a valuable reference book for the
architect and for the builder in ensuring that their
work complies with the Regulations"
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ISBN 0 85139 850 2

New Metric Handbook

edited by Patricia Tutt and David Adler

With sales approaching 100 000 over the past 10

years, the original Metric Handbook is an estab-
lished drawing board companion. But now that the
metrication programme in the UK is virtually com-
plete, the emphasis on conversion to metric which
formed the basis of the old Metric Handbook is no
longer appropriate. This radically revised and great-
ly expanded New Metric Handbook retains many of
the features of the old, but concentrates much more
strongly on planning and design data for all com-
ISBN 0 85139 273 3 mon building types. If ever there was a drawing-
board bible, this is it. 480 A4 pages.
The Architectural Press
9 Queen Anne's Gate, London SWlH 9BY ISBN 0 85139 468 X