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Reshore Design for Concrete Buildings

How
many levels of reshore are required for my project? How quickly can I strip my
formwork? What is reshoring?

These are simple questions that require a complex answer. Reshoring is the process of utilizing
multiple levels of shores below the story being cast to distribute the applied construction loads to
multiple stories. Concrete is heavy and without a sufficient number of levels to support the
weight the slabs can become overloaded.

The applied loads include dead loads from the concrete slab being cast, weight of the formwork,
and construction live loads. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) Guide to Formwork for
Concrete (347-14) recommends a minimum construction live load of 50 pounds per square foot
(psf), but this should be discussed with the contractor to ensure the construction live load
corresponds with their means and methods for placing the concrete. During the construction of a
multistory concrete building, the typical sequence of construction events include:

Installation of the formwork


Casting the concrete slab
Stripping the formwork and shores to allow the slab to deflect and carry its own weight
Removal of reshores from the lowest interconnected level
Placing the reshores in the story where the formwork was stripped
Cycling the formwork to the next story

Reshore design is typically based upon ACI 347.2R-05 Guide for Shoring/Reshoring of
Concrete Multistory Buildings. This guide presents a simplified procedure for analyzing the
construction loads applied to concrete slabs. The basic approach is to quantify the loads applied
to a concrete slab and ensure these loads are less than the minimum design live loads dictated by
building codes. The simplified procedure of ACI 347 is based on the following assumptions:

Concrete slabs deflect elastically and creep and shrinkage are neglected
The lowest level of shores are supported on a rigid foundation (slab on grade)
The shores are infinitely stiffer than the slabs they bear upon (except for slabs on grade)
The reactions of the shores/reshores act uniformly
The forces exerted on the slabs is proportional to the relative stiffness of the slabs

Although these assumptions are not entirely accurate, field measurements have shown that
measured values closely align with predicated values. Therefore, the method is sufficiently
accurate for reshore design and it is widely adopted because of its simplicity.

Since the slab on grade is assumed to be a rigid foundation, the applied construction loads are
transferred completely to the slab on grade until the upper slabs have reached sufficient strength
to strip the lowest level of shores. This can cause large loads in the shores at the slab on grade
that could either exceed the shore axial or slab on grade bearing capacity.
Once the lowest level of shores is removed, then the loads are distributed based upon the relative
stiffness of the slabs. Since a slabs stiffness is proportional to the cube of its thickness, only the
member sizes need to be known in order to distribute the loads between levels. For a typical
high-rise building where the slab thickness is constant at each level, the relative stiffness is equal
and the applied load can be divided evenly between the levels.

The capacity of the slab is taken as a percentage of its design strength based upon the
compressive strength of field-cured concrete cylinders. Flexural strength is directly proportional
to the concrete compressive strength whereas shear strength is proportional to the square root of
the compressive strength.

Reshore designs should account for job-specific conditions such as material staging areas that
have higher construction live loads. In addition, post-tensioning operations need to be carefully
analyzed during both concrete placement and post-tensioning operations to ensure adequate
transfer of the applied loads. Another consideration is how the construction loads applied to
early age concrete will affect long term creep deflections and cracking.

Reshore with two levels of formwork.


In practice, the simplified procedure works well for most common scenarios. However, for
situations where the code required live load is small, or for large point loads, the simplified
procedure may produce inaccurate and often overly conservative results. Such situations may
warrant more involved calculations per ACI 318 to accurately determine the load capacity of the
slab to produce a more efficient reshore design.

In construction the two most important objectives are ensuring the safety of personnel and
keeping the project on or ahead of schedule. A properly designed reshoring system helps the
contractor meet both objectives and allows focus to remain on the critical challenges of the
project. Nishkian Deans staff is experienced in the construction of a wide range of project
types, ranging from multi-story buildings to rocket launch facilities. If you need assistance with
your reshoring design or facing another construction challenge, contact us to schedule a meeting
with one of our team members.

What is Shoring? What is Reshoring?

When I was asked to write an article about reshoring, I had a flashback to my college days. As a freshman
and sophomore, I took (and passed!) four quarters of calculus. The next series of math courses required a
new book, Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems. It was the most complicated
textbook I ever used. It would take an hour to read one page and another week to understand it. There was
nothing elementary about it.

Back to the present, I feel like I just passed four quarters of shoring and now I am looking for a book on
reshoring. I hope the title does not contain the word elementary.

The practice we call reshoring was developed by builders trying to solve the fundamental problem with
concrete; it is very heavy. An office floor is designed to safely support the weight of the floor (called dead
load) and the weight of desks, file cabinets, and people (called live load). For concrete floors, the dead
load is much greater than the live load. If we are depending on the live load capacity of a floor slab to
support the weight of workers and fresh concrete from above, we will overload the slab. Even a fully cured
slab may not be strong enough to safely support the workers and fresh concrete from above.
Shoring and reshoring sound the same but they are
performing different jobs. See the quick definition on
the left to help get us started.

To further explain shoring and reshoring, I will


describe a step by step procedure to pour a floor in
a multistory building. The building I will use as a
model has one level of shores with two levels of
reshores.

All the slabs discussed have the same stiffness and


design strength. This procedure is used when
construction is above the ground level (this will be
discussed more in-depth later). We are examining a
reshore system consisting of three slabs with
reshore posts separating them. It is common to
PHASE 1: Placement of Concrete assume that the reshore posts do not deflect. When
Concrete is poured and cured in the slab form. we apply a load (shores from above) to the system,
The curing process may require several days the reshored slabs deflect equally. This tells us that
depending on the concrete mix and the air the slabs share equal parts of the load. In this
temperature. example, each slab will carry one third of the shored
load. Usually, one third of the shored load is less
than the live load capacity of the slab used in the
reshore system.

In this procedure, we need to know the early


strength of the uppermost concrete slab before we
strip the form to prevent cracking or failure. We also
need to know the strength of the slabs used in the
reshore system before we place concrete in the
forms above. These slabs will not have full design
strength.

Estimating the strength and stiffness of slabs is an


engineers job. This can be complicated. Concrete
hardens over time and the process is dependent on
PHASE 2: Removal of Shores ambient temperature. The buildings structural
After the slab concrete is strong enough, the slab engineer designed the building frame with concrete
forms and shores are removed. At this time, the that has fully hardened. The normal assumption is
slab is suporting its own weight and the weight that the concrete will reach full strength in a month
of workers and materials on top of the new slab. (28 day strength). However, concrete rapidly gains
strength in the first week after the pour. The slab
may have 70 to 75% of 28 day strength in seven
days. After several days of curing, the slab may be
strong enough to hold its dead load and some live
load. The builder may then strip the slab form.

Monitoring concrete strength becomes critical to


determine the speed and safety of construction. In
the past we used field cured cylinders to estimate
the strength of concrete. There were other methods
employed but results were questionable. I am
encouraged by the development of maturity
methods. The maturity method involves placing a
monitor directly into the slab as it is poured. The
monitor records concrete temperature continuously.
PHASE 3: Removal of Lower Level of Shores
The data is compared with lab controls to estimate
After the shores are stripped, the load on the
concrete strength. This method is becoming more
system of reshores has been relieved. This
popular with concrete professionals.
allows the lower level of reshores to be removed
and carried up two floors where the shores were
removed.
Some of EFCOs shoring and reshoring systems

in use:

PHASE 4: Installation of Reshores


The reshores are installed at this level. The
reshores are placed snug against the upper slab
without supporting the dead weight of the slab.
This process connects three slabs into the
reshore system that supports the workers,
materials, and eventually, the fresh concrete
above. The assembly of shores, forms, and
reinforcement continues at the top level. When
complete, the concrete is poured.

What is Shoring? What is Reshoring?

Question & Answer


Do builders always use two levels of reshores?

Speed of construction and climate will dictate the reshore requirements. In warm climates, two levels of
reshoring may be adequate but the same building in a cooler climate may require three levels. If the pace of
construction is increased, multiple levels of forms, shores, and reshores may be used. This is all about the
strength of concrete.

Do the slabs in a reshoring system actually carry the same load?

This depends on the stiffness of the reshore post and the concrete slab. There has been a lot of research on
this question. I can offer simplified answers; is this assumption exactly correct? No. Approximately? Yes.
Good enough for design? Most of the time, yes. This simplification has problems when you add more levels
of shores and reshores. Wood reshore posts deflect more than steel posts and will shift more of the load to
the top reshored slab.

What is the problem with shoring at ground level?

Shoring and reshoring at the ground level is a special condition. The ground will not deflect. This means that
the shored loads are taken through the reshores directly to the ground without using the live load capacity
of the slabs. Bottom line, the loads on reshores to the ground will be higher than loads in reshores to flexible
slabs. Note that mezzanines and mechanical floors may be designed with different strengths and stiffness
that can cause reshoring problems similar to the ground floor conditions.

Do reshore posts need to line up with shore posts?


If you want to start a lively discussion at an ACI convention, open with that question. Check with your
engineers. With careful engineering, offset reshoring may be used.

What happens to shores and reshores in a post tensioned slab?

This can be a problem in some structures, particularly post tensioned slabs with beams. As slab tendons are
stressed, the weight of the slab may move from the slab shores to the beam shores, adding load to the
beam shores and reshores below.

What happens when we use a drop head shore post as a shore, then leave it in place to use as
a reshore?

Depending on the drop head, shore posts hold the load of the slab while releasing the forms for early
stripping. This forming sequence may be called pre-shoring or back-shoring. This is a problem because the
procedure does not let the slab support itself. This will result in higher loads on posts and slabs This can be
done, but the buildings structural engineer should work with the builders engineer to verify the strength of
posts and slabs.