in the contract documents. So m e-t i m e s, though, the contractor isasked to submit a construction jointplan after the bid letting. In eitherc a s e, the engineer or contra c t o rshould consider economy, appear-a n c e, strength, and durability whenchoosing joint location.Ec o n o m y. If the contractor has in-put on where to put constru c t i o n j o i n t s, he can match the pour size tohis cre w’s capabilities. Also, placinga construction joint in a pra c t i c a lspot, such as between footing andw a l l s, avoids complex, costly form-w o rk .Ap p e a ra n c e. Co n s t ruction jointscan influence how a stru c t u re looks.Often they are installed in an incon-spicuous position. So m e t i m e s,though, they are used as a feature of the stru c t u re. Some designers usereglets and rustication gro oves tohide the joints. Whatever scheme isused, the joints should fit the arc h i-t e c t u ral design.St rength. A construction joint in-t roduces a weak ve rtical or hori zo n-tal plane in an otherwise monolithicc o n c rete member. This obvious slipplane may reduce the strength of b e a m s, columns, and walls.Test results show that constru c-tion joints reduce a member’s shears t rength but not the flexural orbending strength. Tests conductedon simply supported beams with ave rtical construction joint at thecenter showed the same load-de-flection and ultimate moment char-a c t e ristics as an unjointed beam( Ref. 1). Me a s u rements of cra c k widths also indicated similar perf o r-mance between jointed and un- jointed beams. These results heldt rue for a joint that was delibera t e l ydebonded between the two con-c rete pours. The construction jointin these tests was located in a re g i o nof negligible shear.In a region where the shear is sig-nificant, a construction joint with asmooth surface reduces the shears t rength of the member by 40%. Bu ta beam having a joint with a ro u g h-ened surface has a failure mode andultimate load similar to an unjoint-ed beam. A
-inch texture over thee n t i re face qualified as a ro u g h e n e ds u rface in these tests (Ref. 1).Du ra b i l i t y. The location of con-s t ruction joints also is affected bywhether or not water and salts caneasily enter the joint. Although con-c rete has low permeability to waterand salts, construction joints don’t .Water and salt leaking thro u g h joints may cause rusting of re b a r,p re s t ressing tendons, and anchor-age hard w a re in parking stru c t u re s.Locate construction joints at highpoints in the floor away from dra i n s.W h e re durability is critical, use few-er joints by allowing larger floorp o u r s. Consider using waterstop atsome or all joint locations.
ACI requirements forconstruction joint design
Because construction joints aremost likely to reduce shear stre n g t h ,they should be located where shearf o rces are low. Under uniformly dis-t ributed gravity loads, shear forc e sa re low in the middle of a flexura lmember span. Thus, the Ameri c a nCo n c rete Institute (ACI) Bu i l d i n gCode (Ref. 2, Section 6.4.4) re q u i re st h a t :“Co n s t ruction joints in floorsshall be located within the middlet h i rd of spans of slabs, beams, andg i rd e r s. Joints in girders shall be off-set a minimum distance of twotimes the width of intersectingb e a m s” (Fi g u re 1).T h e re may be high shear forc e se ven at midspan, for instance,w h e re a beam intersects a gird e r.T h a t’s why the code re q u i res jointsto be located at least two beamwidths away from a beam-girder in-tersection. It’s a good idea to keepc o n s t ruction joints away from pointloads (such as heavy equipment) forthe same reason.Locate construction joints inwalls and columns on the undersideof floor slabs, beams, or gird e r s, andat the tops of footings or floor slabs.
Bulkheads form verticalconstruction joints for elevated slabs(above) and beams (below).Bulkheads are stiffened and braced toresist lateral concrete pressures.
Keys are sometimes formedin bulkheads to increase joint shearresistance. This joint design alsoincludes a waterstop. Note that theplywood bulkheads aren’t notched.Plywood pieces are cut, positionedunder rebars, and nailed to 2x4vertical supports.