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Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Hi there,

The company I work at is looking to take on some low to mid rise concrete building projects. We are located in Canada. We have experience dealing with concrete foundations but usually do steel or wood structures above grade. I'm looking to get some resources to add to our collection before we get into the first few projects. We currently have:

- Concrete Design Handbooks (3rd Edition, with 4th coming in the mail soon)
- 2009 edition of Reinforced Concrete Design - A Practical Approach by Brzev and Pao
- Reinforced Concrete Mechanics and Design 6E by Wight and MacGregor

When I was at the ACI convention in Detroit I noticed a new book that is being put out by the CRSI Link. It seems like it might be a more practical design option in terms of actually detailing the building and providing some overall guidance on things to consider while designing. I know it would not follow the same codes but it seems like a useful resource. Can anyone comment on it's usefulness, and if there is a good Canadian alternative? Are there any other textbooks/resources that can be recommended?


RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

The ACI and CSA codes are eerily similar to each other. Therefore most references that are applicable to ACI would be quite useful for CSA projects. Specifically when it comes to detailing. Obviously you'd need to ensure that the design meets the CSA code, but I personally feel the ACI code does a better job of indicating detailing requirements.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Those are some pretty solid references so you should be mostly set. I do like the CRSI stuff. I'd consider this document as well though: ACI 314. Mr. Fanella has contributed to most of the documents of this nature, including the CRSI one, and I find that it's mostly the same information. Good information... but often repeated.

The trouble with most of the concrete references is that they deal with strength and not serviceability. If your looking at modern flat plate structures etc, it mostly an exercise in long term deflection control which can be quite an exercise. To be competitive and sane, you'll need:

1) Good schematic design decisions regarding slab depths and column/wallumn layout for repetitive floors.

2) Good schematic design decisions regarding transfer slab depths and shear improvement strategies.

3) A solid strategy for evaluating long term deflections without being excessively conservative.

Some options you might consider if you don't have in house expertise:

- use us here at eng-tips as a resource. We rock.
- consider an external consultant.
- IStructE seems to have some good schematic design guides.

I've yet to actually find a design guide document that I feel adequately captures modern concrete slab practice. Columns and walls are pretty straight forward.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

jayrod12 - That's good to know. I'd be happy to work with the ACI codes and then ensure that the design still meets CSA.

KootK - Thanks for the suggestion regarding the texts. That's good to know that both of those would be similar. From reading both of the descriptions, it seems as though the CRSI manual may be a good starting place due to the examples, and then if I feel that I'm lacking info I can go for the ACI documents. Good point about the serviceability, I'll definitely keep that in mind throughout the design process. Your comment about staying competitive raises a very good point, I've been warned that these buildings usually result in maximizing unity checks (while still remaining acceptable). I imagine that will be the hardest thing to overcome during design, as the contractor building it likely already knows what slab thickness and rebar size and spacing they want. Feeling sane with the design assumptions and resulting schematic drawing is going to be a challenge.

The project we may be undertaking will likely consist of 6 above grade storeys and 2 below grade parking levels. The main floor would have a drive through area, resulting in a portion of the upper level walls being carried by a transfer slab. We'll have stacked columns and walls, and flat plate slabs, and precast balconies. I expect to have some issues with a soft storey at the main floor. We've been given site class C and a bearing capacity of 500 kPa (highest I've ever seen). I imagine I'll be leaning on Eng-Tips frequently throughout the design process, although we do know some engineers in the area that have numerous buildings like this under their belts that have agreed to provide some guidance if called upon. Thanks for the tip about IStructE, I'll have to dig through their available resources.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

KootK - A followup question, would you recommend ACI 318 over 314? Based on my description of the proposed building in the post above would 314 cover enough material?

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

I don't really see a need for 318 at all. It's a great document -- better than CSA really -- but CSA should be all that you need in terms of code for a Canadian project. I also would not consider 314 to fully cover all that you would need to know. As I mentioned previously, I've yet to see a suitable stand alone reference that I feel covers all of the bases in that regard. I attached an article on slab deflections that you may find interesting.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Thanks very much KootK. That article was an interesting read, especially the figure at the end. I'm hoping that once I get into the design I can make some reasonable estimate for long term deflections.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Late to the party, but another reference that I just picked up myself is:
Elements of Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics 3rd edition Link

I'm going to look into some of the ones mentioned here as well.


@ Shotzie
Did you end up getting the 314R-16 and/or Design and Detailing of Low-Rise Reinforced Concrete Buildings? If so did you find them to be good references for us Canadians?

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Do let me know what you think of the Earthquake book stiman. I've been on the fence about purchasing it myself for a few years. Folz was a profession of mine at BCIT and I've seen Christopoulos speak at a few professional conferences that I've enjoyed. My suspicion is that it's heavy on light frame wood seismic performance research which, while important, isn't an area of particular interest for me. I only manage to read one or two textbooks a year these days so I have to be choosy. 20 more books and I'll be retired. 40 more and I'll be dead.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Granted, I am very interested in earthquakes, but that book is one of the best ones that I own. It's a great book that goes into theory, practice and the history behind parts of the code. For seismic engineering in a Canadian context, I would consider it the best primer out there.

That brings up the question of where in Canada Shotzie is working. If it's a reasonably high seismic area, I would very much try to find a class in concrete seismics if at all possible. I, personally, heavily dislike CSA-A23.1. It's not a well laid out code and it's not set up for people that don't already know what they're trying to do. You have to jump to five different sections to figure out how to design an element, and it is not at all clear on what types of elements some checks are appropriate for. If you don't know to look for certain things, you wouldn't figure out that they're requirements. I can't even imagine trying to use it for normal design without an experienced user or a good reference, let alone trying to do anything that touches on capacity design.

I would disagree that ACI-318 isn't helpful. Especially with the new re-arrangement. The parallel commentary is comparatively wonderful, it's better organized and its treatment of appendix D is significantly better than the Canadian code.

One of those resources that isn't important... except when it is suddenly hugely helpful out of nowhere is the the reinforcing steel manual of standard practice is helpful, and way cheaper than it used to be:

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

I wrote a big thing about Canadian concrete resources and then lost it. So I'll try to do that again later.

In the meantime, though, that seismics books is great and the best treatment of structural engineering related seismics in a Canadian context that I've found. I've done a lot of looking.

It's not particularly heavy on light framed wood. It has a great balance between theory, application and discussion of the geohazard itself. It has a good flow to it. It also gets into why the code is set up in the way it is and gives it some context. I would recommend it to anyone doing more than the most basic earthquake related work in Canada. It gives examples using the NBCC as well as ASCE 7, so it's actually useful for other jurisdictions as well.

It's not perfect, but it's definitely good.

Of course, I'd also recommend that anyone doing more than basic seismics read, or at least occassionally reference, NEHRP.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

@ KootK I don't have enough time with it to say, but TLHS seems to think highly of it. The only thing I would mention is that the current 3rd edition is written for the 2010 NBC, not the latest 2015. This often is not a problem but I thought it was worth noting.

On a side note, Steel Structures for Canadian Buildings: A Designers guide Link by Andy Metten is an excellent book for steel design that covers seismic analysis and design very well and it is written for the 2015 NBC.

@ TLHS please do share your concrete resource if you end up finding it. Also, when you mention to occasionally reference NEHRP, is this what you're pointing to? Or is there some other document?

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

Based on TLHS's recommendation, I decided to buy the EQ book last night. I was thwarted though by the insanely high price. In the $400 range. The book might be good but it's clearly not enough of a seller to keep the price in check. I'm trying to low-ball somebody on eBay. We'll see.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

@KootK I'm confused, the link I posted has it for $155 CAD.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

I didn't check out your link because I was already familiar with the title. Best deal online so far but still $180 to get it to my door. I wonder if the 2nd edition would do. You can pick that up for a measly $40 which is much more my style. I don't sweat out of datedness much. Good texts are usually offshoots of stellar first editions. And the bundamental technology moves at a glacial pace even if the codes get updated every six minutes.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

@P205 I ended up purchasing the CRSI Design and Detailing of Low-Rise Reinforced Concrete Buildings. I've only read the first two chapters, and as someone fairly new to concrete building design I found them interesting. So far it's mostly been about analysis and typical construction practices, less about design and detailing. I'll get to those sections next.

@THLS I am working in Southwestern Ontario. More specifically, I work on buildings from Toronto to Sarnia. Thanks for the comments about ACI-318 and the Reinforcing Steel Manual of Standard Practice. Given that we're going to be developing new drawing details and specifications I could see the latter document being handy, and you're right that the price is very fair.

Thanks for the tips about the other books, I'm always eager to put some on the "to buy" list, especially when they have some Canadian code information as well.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

@P205 Lucky timing, my boss said he wants to build up our reference library. He let me buy Link and Link and suggested that we search out other useful references for building design.

RE: Canadian Concrete Design Reference

@Shotzie, I have both of those books and they are by far the two books I've referenced the most in the last year and a half.

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