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1.1 Brief
A major global corporation is intending to construct a new four storey administration
building in the heart of Sligo. The building is to be a global headquarters for the company.
The client was very particular about aspects of the design and the following design
parameters were outlined in the clients brief:

1. The building has to be functional, economic and have due regard for sustainability.
2. The floor to floor height is limited to 3.5m.
3. All plant is to be accommodated on the roof.
4. The building will have a glass faade to all elevations.
5. The building is to accommodate a car park on the ground floor level. The car park
should be able to accommodate the maximum number of cars. External car parking
may also be considered.
6. The entry exit points may not be at the same location.
7. The building may accommodate one or two structural cores.

The site is located in the heart of Sligo City and due consideration is to be given to this when
designing. The site is bounded by roads to the north and south and buildings to the east and
west. Restrictions were in place preventing the closure of the roads on either end of the site
during the construction period.

1.2 Objectives
The objective of this project was to:
1. Interpret a structural brief.
2. Conceptualise the design problems and issues.
3. Generate alternative designs and evaluate same.
4. Justify design choice.
5. Present proposals on design choice.


The group consisted of three members, Damian Melvin, Darren McLoughlin and Brendan
Kilrane. All three group members would have an equal role in the development of the project
and the production of the final report. The group assembled on a regular basis and delegated
tasks at each stage of the project. During these meetings ideas were shared and calculations
verified by fellow members of the group.

Preliminary Design

The brief issued by the client was informative and comprehensive to a specific degree which
allowed two distinct design approaches be proposed. The initial design stage provided two
distinct choices, one designed wholly in reinforced concrete and the second being a steel
frame with precast hollow-core concrete slabs.


Preliminary Design 1

3.1.1 Steel Frame & Hollow-core

This design was a straightforward column and beam steel frame supporting concrete hollowcore floors. The design was incorporating a 9.6m x 8.6m internal grid with a 3.6m wide
external frame on all floors. The design incorporated two cores at 10m x 5m located
symmetrically in the building. The carpark had the provision to accommodated 96 cars on
the ground floor level in suitable 2.5m x 4.8m spaces. Access and egress to the carpark was
located at opposite ends of the northern edge of the site. Sketch XXX outlines the grid order
of preliminary design 1.

3.1.2 Main Features

Column Size
Internal Column

356 x 368 x 202 UC

Edge/Corner Column 356 x 368 x 202 UC

Beam Size
Main Double Beams

457 x 191 x 98 UB

Bracing Beams

254 x 146 x 43 UB

Main Double Beams

533 x 210 x 122 UB

Bracing Beam

254 x 146 x 43 UB

Size Floors & Roof

150mm depth


3.1.3 Advantages & Disadvantages

The advantages of this form of construction are as follows:

Speed in construction.
Lightweight compared to concrete.
Less material required
Less labour intensive.
Uniform material.


More expensive.
Conducts heat.
May corrode.

3.1.4 Cost
The cost of this option is approximately 1.6 million. This is broken down as:
Main structural steel

0.79 m

Precast hollow-core

0.53 m

Structural Screed

0.22 m

Reinforcement to screed



Preliminary Design 2

3.2.1 Reinforced Concrete

The second design was a complete reinforced concrete column and flat-slab design. Similar
to the steel design the concrete design had a large symmetrical internal grid at 8.4m x 8.4m
and a smaller outer strip at 3.6m on the short sides and 5.4m on the longer sides. The
building consisted of one internal core at 10m x 10m which was located in the centre of the
building. The car park incorporated 92 spaces at ground floor level with access and egress at
either end on the northern side of the site. Preliminary design 2 is outlined in sketch 2.

3.2.2 Main Features

Reinforced Concrete Slabs





Reinforced Columns
Foundation to 1st floor 500mm x 500mm
1st Floor to Roof

450mm x 450mm

Foundation to roof

450mm x 450mm

Shear reinforcement required at columns.

3.2.3 Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages of this method of construction are:

Will not corrode or rust.

High compressive strength
Abundantly available
Cost effective



Low tensile strength

Labour intensive
Can only be cast in good weather (no frost)


The cost of this option is approximately 1.45 million. This is broken down as:

1.2 m

Reinforcement steel

0.25 m

Design Choice

The design recommended to Global Corporation is the reinforced concrete design. It was
decided that this was the best choice when all the positives and negatives were established.
The main reasons for this choice are:


Material is readily available.

Design changes may be accommodated as the build progresses.

Very little material needs to be stored on site.

Curtain Wall

The curtain wall system picked for the project is V60 CURTAIN WALL designed by
Bendheim Systems. The main feature of this wall is that it can be easily fixed to the slabs
and columns already in place without the need for additional structural members. The V60
Curtain Wall System (Patented) incorporates a thermally broken head/receptor and sill/subsill system allowing greater inter-story movement. It is designed to stack and link, permitting
full faade application. The design includes transition flashing plates to smartly bridge the sill
above to the head below.