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RE: Heritage Building - Excessively Thin Roof Slab

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Did you give any consideration to doing a load test (i.e. sandbags),
maybe up to 125% of your design live load?


From: Daryl Richardson [mailto:h.d.richardson(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Monday, April 24, 2006 4:51 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Heritage Building - Excessively Thin Roof Slab

Fellow engineers,
        As many of you know, I am working on an important 1912-13
heritage building.  I have uncovered a situation with this building
which I would like to discuss with some of you.
        This posting may get a bit long so those of you who are not
interested in heritage buildings or in excessively thin concrete slabs
may wish to skip to another posting.
        The floor and roof slabs in the building are deficient by modern
codes in that they only have bottom steel reinforcement and that in one
direction.  There is no temperature reinforcement and no top steel in
the negative bending locations over the beams.  They are also thinner
than generally accepted by modern codes.  All of the spans are a bit
under 16' c/c supported on concrete encased steel beams that are about
1' wide (leaving clear spans of about 15').
        The floors, which are only 6" thick, have performed admirably
over the past 93 years.  There are no visible cracks anywhere.  Even the
terrazzo floors in the old corridors display no cracks over the beams;
the remaining terrazzo is in perfect condition!
        The roof is a bit of a different story.  The roof is only 4.5"
thick; the deflections are very visible; and there are clearly visible
cracks at each beam (usually there are two parallel cracks 6" to 8"
apart over the beams).  I have analyzed the slab using the following
information and equations.
Data and Calculations
Fy (steel) = 33 ksi based on CRSI data on steel produced since 1911.
Actual tests will be performed when samples are available.
F'c = 3,000 psi. (actual cores plus a large number of Schmidt Hammer
tests almost exclusively between 21 MPa and 23 MPa, which is in the
order of 3,300 psi.  The actual spread was much smaller than I would
have expected.
As = 3/4" smooth bars @ 8" c/c
M = w*L^2/8
Mu = 0.9*As*Fy*(d-a/2)
As*Fy = 0.85*F'c*a*b
Depth of neutral axis, kd, = a/0.85
delta = 5*w*L^4/(384*E*I)
I = cracked section transformed with N = Es/Ec = 10
Wu = 1.25*W(dead) + 1.5*W(live)
Dead load, existing 4.5" slab plus new insulation and roofing = 66.5
Allowable (working) live load based on strength considerations as
expressed in the above equations = 51.7 psf.  The Calgary ground snow
load is 1 kPa, or 20.7 psf. This seems to me to be an adequate reserve
to allow for snow drifts, etc.
Dead load which has existed for the last several years = 86.5 psf,
allowing 66.5 + 20 for about 2" of gravel ballast and a complete second
roof, all of which is being removed.
Live load deflection based on 21 psf = 0.218"
Dead load deflection as calculated using 86.5 psf and the equations
listed above = 0.90
Measured long term deflection 2.0".  This is about 2.22 times the short
term elastic deflection indicated in the last paragraph.  This seems to
not be unreasonable considering the effects of creep and shrinkage.  One
flaw in the comparison is that it is impossible to say how much of the
2" is deflection and how much is a result of crooked forms.
Canadian Code Considerations
The Alberta Building Code in force is a derivation of the 1995 Canadian
National Building Code.  Section 4 is virtually (or actually) identical,
and the 1995 Structural Commentaries are specifically made mandatory.
The following two paragraphs are an excerpt from one of these
Commentary K
Evaluation Based on Satisfactory Past Performance
    18.    Buildings or components designed and built to earlier codes
than the benchmark codes or standards, or designed and build in
accordance with good construction practice when no codes applied may be
considered to have demonstrated satisfactory capacity to resist loads
other than earthquake, provided:

*	careful examination by a professional engineer does not expose
any evidence of significant damage, distress, or deterioration; 
*	the structural system is reviewed, including examinations of
critical details and checking them for load transfer; 
*	the building has demonstrated satisfactory performance for 30
years or more; 
*	there have been no changes within the past 30 years that could
significantly increase the loads on the building or affect its
durability, and no such changes are contemplated.

    44.    The serviceability criteria contained in Part 4 and
referenced standards are intended for the design of new buildings.  For
existing buildings, in many cases demonstration of satisfactory
performance eliminates the need to apply the serviceability criteria
given in Part 4 and referenced structural standards for structural
evaluation.  Unacceptable deformation, settlement, vibration or local
damage will usually be evident within a period of 10 to 30 years from
construction.  Examples where serviceability evaluations may be required
include change of use, or alteration of building components affecting
the properties of the structure.
Discussion and Questions
        It's my opinion that:

*	93 years of satisfactory service greatly exceeds the 30 years
required in the structural commentary; 
*	the required strength is provided; 
*	the calculated live load deflection is small; 
*	the measured long term dead load deflection is reasonably close
to what would be predicted based on analysis; 
*	the only really serious deficiency is the fact that the actual
thickness, L/42, is very much less than the L/24 or L/28 that would
normally be required of modern codes.

        I'm a firm believer that "If it ain't broke don't fix it."  I do
not believe that a "fix" is required to correct the slab thickness
        I would very much like to read your comments on this topic.
        Thank you in advance for anything you might wish to write.
H. Daryl Richardson

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