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Rebar Spacers in PC beams

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I've designed a conventionally reinforced precast beam with two layers of longitudinal tension reinforcement - specifically - 8 - #7's in two layers of 4 each. The design clear spacing between the two layers is 1". The beam is 12" x 13" and will be a composite tee-beam when the slab is cast on top.

The production crew has achieved the 1" clear spacing by placing a short stub of #8 bar between the two layers of longitudinal steel. This happens every 5 feet or so along the beam length.

Knowing that the concrete will crack (and crack control requirements are met), is there any problem with this method? I have never seen this done before in the tension zone of a beam. My experience has been that longitudinal bar elevs are set by tie wire hangers, and it looks odd to me to introduce a weakened plane in the tension zone of a beam. Would the solid bar/weakened plane cause normal flexural cracks to propagate further up the depth of the beam?

Thanks in advance.


Glen A. Underwood, SE
Clark Pacific

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