Technical Guidance Note (Level 3, No. 2): Axial shortening

Author: Chris O'Regan

Date published

4 January 2021

Price
Standard: £9
Members/Subscribers: Free
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Technical Guidance Note (Level 3, No. 2): Axial shortening

The Structural Engineer
Technical Guidance Note (Level 3, No. 2): Axial shortening
Date published

4 January 2021

Author

Chris O'Regan

Price

Standard: £9
Members/Subscribers: Free

Buy Now
Author

Chris O'Regan

This Technical Guidance Note discusses axial shortening within vertical concrete loadbearing elements in structures over 15–20 storeys high.

Introduction

Until the late 19th century, the tallest buildings in the world were religious structures, whose spires and domes pierced the sky. This changed in 1885, with the erection of the Home Insurance Building – the world’s first tower block – in Chicago. Framed in structural steel, it stood 42m high with 10 storeys of office space.

The new technology demonstrated in Chicago caught on in cities across the world and the Home Insurance Building was quickly dwarfed by subsequent structures as the race to the sky began. However, it brought with it a significant concern: the vertical movement of vertical loadbearing elements in multistorey structures.

This Technical Guidance Note concerns the concept of axial shortening – a phenomenon that occurs in vertical loadbearing elements within all structures, but whose effects are especially pronounced in those over 15–20 storeys high.
Reinforced concrete frames are most prone to axial shortening due to the impact of shrinkage and creep on composite materials.

This note covers the causes of axial shortening, how it is assessed and predicted, and the mitigation measures structural engineers and building contractors employ to counter its effects, particularly in relation to fit-out and facade installation following building construction.

The note also refers to ways in which current codes of practice offer a means to analyse structures for axial shrinkage.

Additional information

Format:
PDF
Pages:
5
Publisher:
The Institution of Structural Engineers

Tags

Concrete Multi-storey - tall structure Column Technical Technical Guidance Notes (Level 3) Issue 1

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