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Lift slab made practical

Simultaneous lift for all slabs reduces costs

A series of synchronized hydraulic jacks lift all of the floor slabs for high-rise structure in one operation. Floors can be positioned at the rate of one per day.


new approach to lift slab construction is being employed in a nine-story senior citizens home. The technique, called the Mu l t i - L e ve ling Component System (MLCS), involves casting all of the floor slabs at ground level one atop the other, then raising them as a group, dropping off one slab at each floor level. Kolbjorn Saether, of Kolbjorn Saether and Associates, Inc., developer of this approach, calculates that the MLCS method will trim costs by $1 per square foot over conventional methods for a building of this type. The MLCS has been deve l o p e d and refinements made over the past five years by Saether and John C. Te l a n d e r, president of the Telander Development Company. They point out that the conve ntional lift slab technique has been used for some 20 years with varying success but engineers, arc h itects and contractors have found that its limitations we re too numerous for it to be practical. With the developments and refinements

n ow completed, Telander and Saether feel that the MLCS ultimately could replace most conventional methods of building high-rise flat slab structures. When completed the East Chicago, Indiana senior citizens home project will be a T-shaped building consisting of three wings. Each wing is being erected separately. After the ground floor is placed, the nine slabs needed for the nine floors and the roof of each wing are cast one on top of another. A liquid bond breaking compound is sprayed on each floor before the next is cast. The slabs are seven inches thick and measure approximately 120 feet long by 50 feet wide; their combined weight totals just under 4,000 tons for each wing. All heat, electrical and water lines, as well as the reinforcing steel and post-tensioning tendons are set in each slab prior to concrete placement. The ground floor serves as a base for the first floor and each floor thereafter becomes the base for the next one. Saether contends that, inasmuch as each floor is the mold for the floor

above, the MLCS approach assures an accurate uniform distance from finished floor to finished ceiling. The nine slabs are bolted together with short bolts and couplings. Twenty-six steel lifting shores, each having two hydraulic jacks sitting on a frame on either side of the support, are put in place after concrete placement is complete. Steel rods connect the slabs to the jacks at each support. The nine slabs are jacked to a height of one story plus five inches. The lowest slab is then separated from the others and seated on temporary holding brackets, while load-bearing precast concrete supports called wall columns are moved into position. Gaskets are placed on the top and bottom of the precast supports before the floor slab is lowered hyd ra u l i c a l l y five inches to rest in its permanent location. When construction methods have been further refined, it is anticipated that erection of the structural portion of a building can be accomplished at a rate of one floor per day. Once the building’s floors and

Floors are cast at ground level, one atop another, separated only by a bond-breaking compound. Reinforcement, post-tensioning tendons and heating elements cast into the slabs are easily positioned under ground level working conditions.

supports are in place, the temporary steel lifting supports are removed. The result is a stru c t u ra l frame consisting of concrete slabs and concrete bearing walls. With the floors in place, conventional steps are followed for completing the structure. Among the advantages of the MLCS noted by Telander and Saether are a 50 percent reduction in manpower requirement for the basic structure and a corresponding reduction in construction time. Greater use can be made of unskilled workers without jeopardizing quality control because of the closer supervision possible with work being performed at ground level. Delays due to weather can be eliminated and an improved environment for workers provided through the use of temporary enclosures at ground level. According to the developers, discussions are under way with major manufacturers about the possibility of prefabricating the architectural room dividers complete with electrical and mechanical components that would be moved into their appointed locations in highrise buildings as the stru c t u ra l frame is being completed. All that would be required then would be for workers to hook up utilities and complete the duct work.

Standard lift slab jacks working in pairs raise nine slabs on steel lifting shores which are inserted into the stack of slabs after the casting operation is complete.

Slabs are held together by large short bolts designed to allow for dropping off one slab at a time.

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