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3- R.C. COLUMNS
A reinforced concrete column is a structural members designed
to carry compressive loads, composed of concrete with an embedded
steel frame to provide reinforcement. For design purposes, the
columns are separated into two categories: short columns and
slender columns.
3.1 Detailing rules that conform to BS EN 1992-1-1, Euro code 2:
3.1.1 Design and detailing notes Concrete grade.
Concrete grades less than 28/35 MPa (cylinder strength/cube
strength) are not normally used. Care should be taken to ensure that
the design strength of concrete required in a column does not exceed
1.4 times that in the slab or beam intersecting with it unless special
measures are taken to resist the bursting forces.

Figure (3.1-a): Construction details in columns

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Figure (3.1-b): Construction details in columns

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3.1.2 Reinforcement guidelines by BS EN 1992-1-1, Euro code 2


i.

Bar diameter:

Recommended minimum bar diameter is 16mm for very small


section columns. Minimum number of bars for rectangular columns
is 4. Minimum number of bars for circular columns is 6 for very small
diameter columns, and the minimum of 4 for less than 200mm.
ii.

Maximum area of main reinforcement:

Maximum area of reinforcement should not exceed 0.04 Ac unless it


can be shown that any resulting congestion of reinforcement does
not hinder the ease of construction. At laps the maximum area of
reinforcement should not exceed 0.08 Ac. Mechanical splices should
be considered where congestion becomes a problem.
iii.

Bar spacing:

Preferred minimum spacing


Main bars 75mm (bars 40mm size and greater: 100mm)
Pairs of bars
100mm
When considering the minimum spacing of bars of 32mm size or
greater, allowance must be made for lapping of bars.
Preferred maximum spacing
Compression bars 300mm, provided that all main bars in the
compression zone are within 150mm of a restrained bar.
Tension bars
175mm

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Links
The size of link should be the greater of a quarter the maximum

size of longitudinal bar and 8mm (for very small diameter columns,
less than 200mm, the minimum of 6mm may apply).Bundled main
bars may be represented by a single bar for the purpose of
calculating link size and spacing. This single bar has an equivalent
size to give it the same cross section area as the bundle.
An overall enclosing link is required together with additional
restraining links for alternate main bars or bundle of bars. Provided
that all other main bars in the compression zone are within 150mm
of a restrained bar no other links are required .Otherwise additional
links should be added to satisfy this requirement. Additional links are
not required for circular columns.
Maximum spacing of links
The least of:

20 times the size of the longitudinal bars, or

The lesser dimension of the column, or

400 mm.

The maximum spacing should be reduced by a factor 0.6 in sections


within a distance equal to the larger dimension of the column crosssection above and below a beam or slab.
Where the direction of the longitudinal bars changes (e.g. at laps), the
spacing of links should be calculated. The spacing of links should
ensure that there is a link close to the cranking positions of the main

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bars. These effects may be ignored if the change in direction is 1 in 12


or less.

Requirement of links in columns


v.

Moment connection between beam and edge column:


Wherever possible U-bars which can be placed within the

depth of beam should be used. These are fixed in position and


concreted with the beam, and thus do not require precise fixing when
the column is being concreted. L-bars which penetrate down into the
column should be used when the distance A (see Figure ) is less
than the anchorage length for that bar diameter. These bars must be
fixed accurately at the top of the column lift which is a difficult and
unattractive site task. A standard radius to the bend may normally be
used provided a bar of the same size or greater is placed inside the
corner normal to it. A non-standard bend may be required if a corner
bar is not present. If so, a thorough check should be carried out to
ensure that the reinforcement fits and will perform as intended. The
critical effective depth may not be obvious, and various locations may
need to be assessed.

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Special care should be taken by the Designer and Detailer to make


sure that this reinforcement does not conflict with any beam
reinforcement passing through the column in the other direction.

Connection between beam and edge column


vi.

Shear capacity of column:

The maximum tensile reinforcement in the beam or that part


required for the moment connection to the column is also controlled
by the shear capacity of the column. Where there is no edge beam
intersecting at approximately the same level as the joint, transverse
column reinforcement should be provided within the depth of the
beam (See Figure ). This may be in the form of links or horizontal Ubar extending into the beam. Unless specified by the Designer the
spacing should be as for the links in the column.
vii.

Starter bars:

It is important to recognize at the design stage the implications of the


construction sequence and the level of foundation on the length of
starter bars, e.g.
If the foundation reinforcement is placed at a depth lower than
specified the consequent lap of the first lift of column bars is likely to
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be too short. For this reason the length of starter bars from pad
footings and pile caps is specified longer than required.
Detailing information:
Design information for detailing should include:
The section dimensions and its position and orientation
relative to particular grid lines.
Outline drawings which show clearly what happens to the
column above the lift being considered.
Kicker height if other than 75mm.
Concrete grade and aggregate size 20mm.
Nominal cover to all reinforcement (standard 35mm internal,
40mm external). Supplementary mesh reinforcement if
required.
A simple sketch of cross-section of column showing the
longitudinal reinforcement in each face of the column, i.e.
1. Number and position of bars.
2. Type of reinforcement and bond characteristics standard (H).
3. diameter of bars.
4. Lap length if other than normal compression laps the linking
reinforcement.
5. Type of reinforcement standard (H).
6. Diameter of links, spacing, pattern of links (if special).
Instructions for lapping of bunched bars if required.
Special instructions for links within depth of slab or beam.
If a mechanical or special method of splicing bars is required
this must be shown in a sketch, otherwise the method given in
the Model Details will be assumed.
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Special instructions and sketches should be given where


services are provided within the column.
Details of insertions, e.g. conduit, cable ducting, cladding
fixings, etc., should be given where the placing of reinforcement
is affected.
3.1.3 Presentation of working drawings:
Nominal cover to all reinforcement specified by designer (Normally:
Internal 35, External 40).

Figure (3.2): Footing to Column connection


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This detail is used where the column is concentric and of the same
dimensions as the story below. Nominal cover to all reinforcement
specified by designer (Normally: Internal 35, External 40)

Figure (3.3): Column is concentric and of the same dimensions as the


story below

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This detail applies for stepped or offset columns.

Figure (3.4): stepped or offset columns


Detail A applies when slab depth is not less than:
200 using 20 size of column bars
250 using 25 size of column bars
300 using 32 size of column bars
Otherwise Detail B applies
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For single story buildings or where splice bars have been used at the
floor below

Figure (3.5): Splice bars details use in columns of single story


building, detail A.

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Figure (3.6): Splice bars details use in columns of single story


building, detail B.

Top detail
This detail is used for single story buildings and where splice bars
have been used at the floor below.

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Circular columns
Helical binders are used unless circular links are specified by
designer.

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3.2 Detailing rules that conform to (ACI 315-99)


According to ACI Code 2.2, a structural element with a ratio of heightto-least lateral dimension exceeding three used primarily to support
compressive loads is defined as column. Columns support vertical
loads from the floor and roof slabs and transfer these loads to the
footings.
Columns usually support compressive loads with or without bending.
Depending on the magnitude of the bending moment and the axial
force, column behavior will vary from pure beam action to pure
column action.
Columns are classified as short or long depending on their
slenderness ratios. Short columns usually fail when their materials
are overstressed and long columns usually fail due to buckling which
produces secondary moments resulting from the P - D effect.
Columns are classified according to the way they are reinforced into
tied and spirally reinforced columns. Columns are usually reinforced
with longitudinal and transverse reinforcement. When this
transverse reinforcement is in the form of ties, the column is called
tied. If the transverse reinforcement is in the form of helical hoops,
the column is called spirally reinforced. Since failure of columns
often cause extensive damage, they are designed with a higher factor
of safety than beams.
3.2.1 Types of Columns
Columns are divided into three types according to the way they are
reinforced.
Tied Columns
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A tied column, shown in Figure (

), is a column in which the

longitudinal reinforcement bars are tied together with separate


smaller diameter transverse bars (ties) spaced at some interval along
the column height. These ties help to hold the longitudinal
reinforcement bars in place during construction and ensure stability
of these bars against local buckling. The cross sections of such
columns are usually square, rectangular, or circular in shape. A
minimum of four bars is used in rectangular and circular cross
sections.

Tied Columns
Spirally-Reinforced Columns
They are columns in which the longitudinal bars are arranged in a
circle surrounded by a closely spaced continuous spiral, shown in

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Figure ( ). These columns are usually circular or square in shape. A


minimum of six bars is used for longitudinal reinforcement.

Spirally-Reinforced Columns
3.2.2 Design Considerations by ACI CODE
Maximum and Minimum Reinforcement Ratios
ACI Code 10.9.1 specifies that a minimum reinforcement ratio of 1 %
is to be used in tied or spirally reinforced columns. This minimum
reinforcement is needed to safeguard against any bending, reduce the
effect of shrinkage and creep and enhance ductility of columns.
Maximum reinforcement ratio is limited to 8 % for columns in
general to avoid honeycombing of concrete.

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For compression member with a cross section larger than required


by consideration of loading, ACI Code 10.8.4 permits the minimum
area of steel reinforcement to be based on the gross sectional area
required by analysis. The reduced sectional area is not to be less than
one half the actual cross sectional dimensions. In regions of high
seismic risk, ACI Code 10.8.4 is not applicable.
Minimum Number of Reinforcing Bars
ACI Code 10.9.2 specifies a minimum of four bars within rectangular
or circular sections; or one bar in each corner of the cross section for
other shapes and a minimum of six bars in spirally reinforced
columns.
Clear Distance between Reinforcing Bars
ACI Code 7.6.3 and 7.6.4 specify that for tied or spirally reinforced
columns, clear distance between bars, shown in Figure (

), is not to

be less than the larger of 1.50 times bar diameter or 4 cm. This is
done to ensure free flow of concrete among reinforcing bars. The
clear distance limitations also apply to the clear distance between lap
spliced bars and adjacent lap splices since the maximum number of
bars occurs at the splices.

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Concrete Protection Cover:


ACI Code 7.7.1 specifies that for reinforced columns, the clear
concrete cover is not to be taken less than 4 cm for columns not
exposed to weather or in contact with ground. It is essential for
protecting the reinforcement from corrosion or fire hazards.
Minimum Cross Sectional Dimensions:
Minimum sizes for compression members were eliminated to allow
wider utilization of reinforced concrete compression members in
smaller size and lightly loaded structures, such as low-rise residential
and light office buildings. When small sections are used, there is a
greater need for careful workmanship. For practical considerations,
column dimensions are taken as multiples of 5 cm.
Lateral Reinforcement:
Ties are effective in restraining the longitudinal bars from buckling
out through the surface of the column, holding the reinforcement
cage together during the construction process, confining the concrete
core and when columns are subjected to horizontal forces, they serve
as shear reinforcement. Spirals, on the other hand, serve in addition
to these benefits in compensating for the strength loss due to spilling
of the outside concrete shell at ultimate column strength.
Ties
According to ACI Code 7.10.5.1, for longitudinal bars 32 mm or
smaller, lateral ties 10 mm in diameter are used. In our country and
in some neighboring countries, ties 8 mm in diameter are used in
column construction.

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Tests have proven that spacing between ties has no significant effect
on ultimate strength of columns.
ACI Code 7.10.5.2 specifies that vertical spacing of ties is not to
exceed the smallest of:

16times longitudinal bar diameter.

48times tie diameter.

Least cross sectional dimension.


ACI Code 7.10.5.3 specifies that ties are arranged in such a way that
every corner and alternate longitudinal bar is to have lateral support
provided by the corner of a tie with an included angle of not more
than 135 degrees. Besides, no longitudinal bar is to be farther than 15
cm clear on each side along the tie from such a laterally supported
bar. When longitudinal bars are located around the perimeter of a
circle, circular ties are used. Figure ( ).a shows a number of tie and
spiral arrangements.

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FIG. 9 A (Tie and Spiral Arrangement)


Spirals:
According to ACI Code 7.10.4.2 spirals not less than 10 mm in
diameter are to be used in cast-in place construction. The clear pitch
of the spiral is not to be less than 2.5 cm and not more than 7.5 cm as
dictated by ACI Code 7.10.4.3. The smaller limit is set to ensure flow
of concrete between spiral hoops while the larger limit is set to
ensure effective confinement of concrete core. The diameter of the
spiral could be changed to ensure that the spacing lies within the
specified limits.
Bundled Bars:
For

isolated

situations

requiring

heavy

concentration

of

reinforcement, bundles of standard bar sizes can save space and


reduce congestion for placement and compaction of concrete.
Bundling of parallel reinforcing bars in contact is permitted but only
if ties enclose such bundles. According to ACI Code 7.6.6, groups of
parallel reinforcing bars bundled in contact to act as one unit are
limited to four in any one bundle, as shown in Figure (9.b).

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FIG. (9.B): Bundled Bars


3.2.3 Column Reinforcement Details
When column offset are necessary, longitudinal bars may be bent
subject to the following limitations.
1. Slope of the inclined portion of an offset bar with axis of
column must not exceed 1 in 6 ,shown in Figure 10.

2. Portion of bar above and below the offset must be parallel to


axis of column.
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3. Horizontal support at offset bends must be provided by lateral


ties, spirals, or parts of the floor construction. Ties or spirals, if
used, shall be placed not more than 15 cm from points of bend.
Horizontal support provided must be designed to resist 1.5
times the horizontal component of the computed force in the
inclined portion of an offset bar.
4. Offset bars must be bent before placement in the forms.
5. When a column face is offset 7.5 cm ,or more, longitudinal
column bars parallel to and near the face must not be offset
bent. Separate dowels, lap spliced with the longitudinal bars
adjacent to the offset column faces, must be provided as
shown in Figure 11. In some cases, a column might be offset
7.5 cm or more on some faces, and less than 7.5 cm on the
remaining faces, which could possibly result in some offset
bent longitudinal column bars and some separate dowels
being used in the same column.

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3.2.4 Column Lateral Reinforcement


Ties
In tied reinforced concrete columns, ties must be located at no more
than half tie spacing above the floor or footing and at no more than
half a tie spacing below the lowest horizontal reinforcement in the
slab or drop panel above. If beams or brackets frame from four
directions into a column, ties may be terminated not more than 7.5
cm below the lowest horizontal reinforcement in the shallowest of
such beams or brackets, shown in Figure 12.

Spirals
Spiral reinforcement must extend from the top of footing or slab in
any story to the level of the lowest horizontal reinforcement in slabs,
drop panels, or beams above. If beams or brackets do not frame into
all sides of the column, ties must extend above the top of the spiral to
the bottom of the slab or drop panel, shown in Figure 13.

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3.3 Details and Detailing of Concrete Columns Reinforcement

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Note: Where column size above is unchanged from below, upside


down offset bars are effective in maintaining full moment capacity at
end of column. In U.S. practice, this unusual detail is rare, and should
be

fully

illustrated

on

structural

drawings

to

avoid

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misunderstandings, whenever its use is deemed necessary. For


maximum tie spacing, see table in Supporting Reference Data section.

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Typical seismic-resistant details: columns.

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Typical seismic-resistant joint detailsCase 1: For regions of high


seismic risk. Interior and spandrel beams narrower than column.
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Typical seismic-resistant joint detailsCase 2: For regions of


moderate seismic risk. Interior beam wider than column; spandrel
beams narrower than column.

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Typical seismic-resistant joint detailsCase 3: For regions of


moderate seismic risk. Interior beam wider than column; spandrel
beam is same width as column.

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Notes:
1. Alternate position of hooks in placing successive sets of
ties.
2. Minimum lap shall be 12 in. (300) mm.
3. B indicates bundled bars. Bundles shall not exceed four
bars.

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4. Elimination of tie for center bar in groups of three limits


clear spacing to be 6 in. (150 mm) maximum. Unless
otherwise specified, bars should be so grouped.
5. Note to Architect/Engineer: Accepted practice requires
that design drawings show all requirements for splicing
column verticals, that is, type of splice, lap length if
lapped, location in elevation, and layout in cross section.
6. Note to Detailer: Dowel erection details are required for
any design employing special large vertical bars, bundled
vertical bars, staggered splices, or specially grouped
vertical bars as shown
7. Bars

must

be

securely

supported

to

prevent

displacement suring concreting.


8. Tie patterns shown may accommodate additional single
bars between tied groups provided clear spaces between
bars do not exceed 6 in. (150) mm.
9. Minimum cover to ties, 11/2 in. (40 mm) for
nonprestressed cast-in-place concrete
10.

Spaces between corner bars and interior groups of

three and between interior groups may vary to


accommodate average spacing > 6 in. (150) mm.
11.

For average spacing < 6 in. (150 mm), one untied

bar may be located between each tied group of three and


between a tied group and a corner bar.
Standard column ties applicable for preassembled cages or field
erection, special-shaped columns, and columns with bars in two faces
only.

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Typical seismic resistant details: transverse reinforcement in


columns.

Typical seismic-resistant details: boundary members.


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