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How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2:

R M Moss BSc PhD DIC CEng MICE MIStructE, O Brooker BEng CEng MICE

The introduction of European standards to UK construction is a significant event. The ten design standards,
known as the Eurocodes, will affect all design and construction activities as current British Standards for design
are due to be withdrawn in 2010.

This publication is part of the series of guides entitled How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2.
Their aim is to make the transition to Eurocode 2: Design of concrete structures as easy as possible by drawing
together in one place key information and commentary required for the design of typical concrete elements.

The cement and concrete industry recognised that a substantial effort was required to ensure that the UK design
profession would be able to use Eurocode 2 quickly, effectively, efficiently and with confidence. With support
from government, consultants and relevant industry bodies, the Concrete Industry Eurocode 2 Group (CIEG) was
formed in 1999 and this Group has provided the guidance for a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to the
introduction of Eurocode 2. As a result, a range of resources is to be made available through The Concrete
Centre to help designers during the transition period (see back cover for details).

Note change for all publications

Designing to Eurocode 2
The analysis and design of concrete slabs with Eurocode 21 is essentially the same as with BS 81102, however, the
layout and content of Eurocode 2 will appear unusual to designers familiar with BS 8110. British designers will find
it strange that Eurocode 2 does not contain the derived formulae or specific guidance on determining moments and
shear forces. This has arisen because it has been European practice to give principles in the codes and for the
detailed application to be presented in other sources such as text books.

The first guide in this series How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Introduction3 highlighted the key
differences between Eurocode 2 and BS 8110, including terminology. A separate guide in this series will cover the
design of flat slabs.

Design Procedure
A procedure for carrying out the detailed design of slabs is shown in Table 1. This assumes that the slab thickness
has previously been determined during conceptual design. More detailed advice on determining design life,
loading, material properties, methods of analysis, minimum concrete cover for durability and control of crack widths
can be found in the accompanying guide How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Getting started4

It should also be noted that values from the UK National Annex have been used throughout this guide; this includes
values that are embedded in derived formulae (full derivations can be found at A list of
symbols is given at the end of this document.
Table 1: Slab design procedure
Step Task Further information
‘How to’ guide Standard
1 Determine design life Getting started NA to BS EN 1990 Table
2 Assess actions on the slab Getting started BS EN 1991 (10 parts) and
national Annexes
3 Determine which combinations of Introduction to Eurocodes NA to BS EN 1990 Tables
actions apply NA.A1.1 and NA.A1.2 (B)
4 Determine loading arrangements Getting started NA to BS EN 1992 (TBC)
5 Assess durability requirements and Getting started BS 8500:2002
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determine concrete strength
6 Check cover requirements for Getting started and Table 2 of this Approved Document B.
appropriate fire resistance period guide BS EN 1992-1-1: Section 5
7 Calculate minimum cover based in Getting started BS EN 1992-1-1 Cl 4.4.1
durability, fire and bar size
8 Analyse structure to obtain critical Getting started and table 3 of this BS EN 1992-1-1 section 5
moments and shear forces guide
9 Design flexural reinforcement See Figure 1 of this guide BS EN 1992-1-1 section 6.1
10 Check deflection See Figure 3 of this guide BS EN 1992-1-1 section 7.4
11 Check shear capacity See Table 5 of this guide BS EN 1992-1-1 section 6.2
12 Check spacing of bars Getting started BS EN 1992-1-1 section 7.3

Minimum cover for fire resistance for slabs

Eurocode 2 Part 1– 2: Structural fire design , gives several methods for determining the fire resistance of concrete
elements; further guidance can be obtained from specialist literature. Design for fire resistance may still be carried
out by referring to tables for minimum cover and dimensions for various elements, as set out below.

Rather than giving a minimum cover, the tabular method is based on nominal axis distance (see Figure 7). This is
the distance from the centre of the main reinforcing bar to the surface of the member: it is a nominal (not minimum)
dimension, so the designer should ensure that a is greater than the sum of cnom, the link diameter (if applicable) and
half the main bar diameter.

Figure 7
Sections through structural members, showing nominal axis distance a
There are three standard fire exposure conditions that may need to be satisfied:
R Mechanical resistance for load bearing
E Integrity of separation
I Insulation
Table 2 gives the minimum dimensions slabs to meet the above conditions

The ribs in a one-way spanning ribbed slab may be treated as beams and reference made to How to design
concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Beams and the topping may be treated as a two-way slab where 1.5 < ly/lx ≤

Table 2 Minimum dimensions and axis distances for reinforced concrete slabs
Standard Minimum dimensions(mm)
fire One- Two-waya,b,c,d Ribs in two-way spanning ribbed slabse
resistance way a,b
ly/lx ≤ 1.5f 1.5 < ly/lx ≤ 2f
REI 60 hs = 80 80 80 bmin = 100 120 ≥200
a= 20 10g 15g a= 25 15g 10g
REI 90 hs = 100 100 100 bmin = 120 160 ≥250
a= 30 15g 20 a= 35 25 15g
REI 120 hs = 120 120 120 bmin = 160 190 ≥300
a= 40 20 25 a= 45 40 30
REI 240 hs = 175 175 175 bmin = 450 700
a= 65 40 50 a= 70 60
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1. This table is taken from BS EN 1992-1-2 Tables 5.8 to 5.11
2. The table is valid only if the detailing requirements (see note 2) are observed and in the normal temperature design redistribution of bending
moments does not exceed 15%.
3. For fire resistance of R90 and above, for a distance of 0.3leff from the centre line of each intermediate support the area of top reinforcement
should not be less than the following:
As,req(x) = As,req(0) ⋅ (1- 2.5(x/leff)) where:
x is the distance of the section being considered from the centre line of the support.
As,req(0) is the area of reinforcement required for normal temperature design.
As,req(x) is the minimum area of reinforcement required at the section being considered but not less than that required for
normal temperature design.
leff is the greater of the effective lengths of the two adjacent spans.

a The slab thickness hs is the sum of the slab thickness and the thickness of any non-combustible flooring (not applicable for flat
b For continuous solid slabs a minimum negative reinforcement As ≥ 0.005 Ac should be provided over intermediate supports if
1) cold worked reinforcement; or
2) there is no fixity over the end supports in a two span slab; or
3) where transverse redistribution of load effects cannot be achieved.
c In two way slabs and flat slabs the axis distance refers to the lower layer of reinforcement.
d Two way slabs relate to slabs supported at all four edges. Otherwise, they should be treated as one-way spanning slab.
e For two-way ribbed slabs the following notes apply:
The axis distance measured to the lateral surface of the rib should be at least (a + 10)
The values apply where there is predominantly uniformly distributed loading
The should be at least one restrained edge
The top reinforcement should be placed in the upper half of the flange.
The axis distance measured to the lateral surface of the rib should be at least a + 10 mm
For minimum requirements for the flange refer to column 2
f lx and ly are the spans of a two-way slab (two directions at right angles) where ly is the longer span.
g Normally the cover required by BS EN 1992-1-1 will control

The design procedure for flexural design is given in Figure 1; this includes derived formulae based on the simplified
rectangular stress block from Eurocode 2. Table 3 may be used to determine bending moments and shear forces
for slabs. Further information for the design of two-way, ribbed or waffle slabs is given in the appropriate sections
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START Table 4: Values for K’

δ % K’
Carry out analysis of slab
to determine design 1.00 0 0.2052
moments. (See table 3.) 0.95 5 0.1931
0.90 10 0.1800
0.85 15 0.1661
0.80 20 0.1512
0.75 25 0.1355
No 0.70 30 0.1188
Concrete grade Table 5: z/d for singly
≤C50/60? Outside scope of this guide reinforced rectangular sections
Yes K z/d
0.01 0.95
0.02 0.95
Determine K from: K= 0.03 0.95
bd 2 f ck 0.04 0.95
0.05 0.954
Determine K’ from Table 4 or: K ' = 0.6δ − 0.18δ 2 − 0.21 where δ ≤ 1.0 0.06 0.944
0.07 0.934
0.08 0.924
No Compression reinforcement
required – Not recommended 0.09 0.913
Is K ≤ K’ ? for typical slabs 0.10 0.902
0.11 0.891
0.12 0.880
Yes 0.13 0.868
0.14 0.856
No compression reinforcement required
0.15 0.843
0.16 0.830
0.17 0.816
Calculate lever arm z from Table 5 or:
0.18 0.802
1 + 1 − 3.53K ≤ 0.95d ] 0.19

Table 4: Design aid for As,min

Calculate tension reinforcement required from fck fctm 0.26 fctm /fyk1
As = M/fyd.z 25 2.6 0.13%
28 2.8 0.14%
30 2.9 0.15%
Check minimum reinforcement requirements 32 3.0 0.16%
(see Table 4) 35 3.2 0.17%
As,min = 0.26 fctm bt d/fyk where fck ≥ 25 40 3.5 0.18%
45 3.8 0.20%
50 4.1 0.21%
Check maximum reinforcement requirements As,max = 0.04 Ac Where fyk = 500 MPa
for tension or compression reinforcement outside lap locations

Figure 2: Procedure for Determining Flexural Reinforcement

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Table 3: Bending moment and shear co-efficients for slabs

End support End span Penultimate Interior spans Interior supports
Moment 0
Shear - -
1. Redistribution of xx% has been included
2. loading
3. One type of imposed load
4. Spans do not differ in length by more than 15% of longest span
5. F is xxxxxx
Eurocode 2 offers alternative methods for determining the stress-strain relationship of concrete. For simplicity and
familiarity the method presented here is the simplified rectangular stress block which is similar to that found in BS
8110 (see figure 2). It gives recommendations for the design of concrete up to grade C90/105; however, the stress
block is modified for concrete greater than class C50/60. It is important to note that concrete strength is based on
the cylinder strength and not the cube strength (i.e. for grade C28/35 the cylinder strength is 28 MPa, whereas the
cube strength is 35 MPa).


Figure 2: Simplified rectangular stress block for concrete up to class C50/60from Eurocode 2
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Eurocode 2 has two alternative methods of designing for deflection, either a limiting span to depth ratio may be
used or the theoretical deflection can be assessed using the expressions given in the code. The latter is dealt with
in detail in the How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Deflection6 guide.

The span to depth ratios should ensure that deflection is limited to span over 250 and this is the procedure
presented in figure 3.


Determine basic l/d from Figure 4

Note: This flow chart needs to laid

out better than this!

Is it a ribbed
or waffle
Is bf > 3bw
where bf is flange No
breadth and No
bw is rib breadth j1 = 1.0


j1 = 1 – 0.1 ((bf/bw) – 1) ≥ 0.8†

Does the slab span

exceed 7m &
support brittle
j2 = 1.0 No


j2 = 7/leff
Is actual l/d < (l/d).j1.j2?

Yes Increase section depth or increase area of tension reinforcement.

The basic l/d can be modified by:
310/σs = 500 As,prov/(fyk As,req)
Check complete Where σs is tensile steel stress under quasi-permanent
serviceability limit state design load.
Note: As,prov ≤ 1.5 As,req’d (UK National Annex)

Figure 3: Procedure for Assessing Deflection

The Code is ambiguous regarding this requirement. It is understood that this was the intention of the drafting
committee and is in line with current UK practice.
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Basic span to depth ratios

32 fck = 20
31 fck = 25 fck should be fck &
30 100 As/bd should be 100As/bd
fck = 28
28 fck = 30
Span to depth ratio (l/d)

27 fck = 32
26 fck = 35
fck = 40
23 fck = 45
22 fck = 50
0.30% 0.50% 0.70% 0.90% 1.10% 1.30% 1.50% 1.70% 1.90%
Percentage of tension reinforcement (As/bd)

1. For two-way spanning slabs, the check should be carried out on the basis of the shorter span.
2. Graph assumes simply supported span condition (K = 1.0). For interior span condition multiply by 1.5 and for
end span condition multiply by 1.3.
3. Compression reinforcement, ρ’, has been taken as 0.
4. Curves based on the following expressions: l/d = K[11+1.5 √fck ρ0/ρ + 3.2√fck{ρ0/ρ-1} ] where ρ ≤ ρ0 and
’ ’
l/d = K[11+1.5 √fck ρ0/(ρ - ρ ) + √fck√{ρ /ρ0}/12] where ρ > ρ0.

Figure 4: Basic span to depth ratios

Design for shear

It is not usual for a slab to contain shear reinforcement, therefore it is only necessary to ensure that the concrete
shear stress capacity without shear reinforcement (vRd,c – see Table 6) is less than applied shear stress (vEd =
VEd/(b d)). Where shear reinforcement is required, e.g. for ribs in a ribbed slab refer to How to design concrete
structures using Eurocode 2: Beams7.

Table 6: vRd,c resistance of members without shear reinforcement, MPa

Effective depth, d (mm)
≤200 225 250 275 300 350 400 450 500 600 750
0.25% 0.54 0.52 0.50 0.48 0.47 0.45 0.43 0.41 0.40 0.38 0.36
0.50% 0.59 0.57 0.56 0.55 0.54 0.52 0.51 0.49 0.48 0.47 0.45
0.75% 0.68 0.66 0.64 0.63 0.62 0.59 0.58 0.56 0.55 0.53 0.51
1.00% 0.75 0.72 0.71 0.69 0.68 0.65 0.64 0.62 0.61 0.59 0.57
1.25% 0.80 0.78 0.76 0.74 0.73 0.71 0.69 0.67 0.66 0.63 0.61
1.50% 0.85 0.83 0.81 0.79 0.78 0.75 0.73 0.71 0.70 0.67 0.65
1.75% 0.90 0.87 0.85 0.83 0.82 0.79 0.77 0.75 0.73 0.71 0.68
2.00% 0.94 0.91 0.89 0.87 0.85 0.82 0.80 0.78 0.77 0.74 0.71
2.50% 0.94 0.91 0.89 0.87 0.85 0.82 0.80 0.78 0.77 0.74 0.71
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k 2.000 1.943 1.894 1.853 1.816 1.756 1.707 1.667 1.632 1.577 1.516
Table derived from: vRd,c = 0.12 k (100ρI fck)(1/3) ≥ 0.035 k1.5 fck0.5 where k = 1 + √(200/d) ≤ 2 and
ρI = As/(bd) ≤ 0.02
Note: This table has been prepared for fck = 30. Where ρI exceed 0.40% the following factors
may be used:
fck 25 28 32 35 40 45 50
factor 0.94 0.98 1.02 1.05 1.10 1.14 1.19

Two-way slabs
Unlike BS 8110 there is no specific guidance given on how to determine the bending moments for a two-way slab.
The assessment of the bending moment can be carried out using any suitable method from Section 5 of the Code.
However, co-efficients may be obtained from Table 78 to determine bending moments per unit width (Msx and Msy)
Msx = βsx w lx2
Msy = βsy w lx
Where βsx and βsy are co-efficents, lx is the shorter span and w (load per unit area) is the STR ultimate limit state
combination (For more information on combinations refer to How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2:
Introduction to Eurocodes.)

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Ribbed or waffle slabs

Current practices for determining forces in ribbed and waffle slabs may also be used for designs to Eurocode 2.
Where a waffle slab is treated as a two-way slab refer to previous section. Where it is treated as a flat slab
reference may be made to How to design concrete structures to Eurocode 2: Flat slabs

The position of the neutral axis in the rib should be determined, and then the area of reinforcement can be
calculated depending whether it lies in the flange or web (see flow chart in Figure 5). The main differences
compared to BS 8110 are that the assessment of the flange width is more sophisticated (see Figures 6 and 7).

Where a slab is formed with permanent blocks or a with a topping thickness less than 50 mm and one-tenth of the
clear distance between ribs is it recommended that a longitudinal shear check is carried out to determine whether
additional transverse reinforcement is required (see BS EN 1992-1-1 Cl 6.2.4).


Concrete grade
≤C50/60? Outside scope of this guide

Determine lo (see Figure 7) and beff from:

beff = Σ beff,i + bw ≤ 0.2
beff,I = 0.5bi + 0.1lo ≤ 0.2lo & beff,I ≤ bi
Note: The flange width at the support will be different from that at mid-span. For symbols refer to Figure 7 and 8

Determine K from: K=
bd 2 f ck

Determine K’ from Table 2 or: K ' = 0.6δ − 0.18δ 2 − 0.21 where δ ≤ 1.0

Calculate lever arm z from

z = 1 + 1 − 3.53K ≤ 0.95d
Calculate depth to neutral axis x from:
x = 2.5 (d-z)

Neutral axis in flange. Design as
Is x ≤ 1.25hf rectangular section.


Neutral axis in web

Calculate moment capacity of flange from:
MR,f = 0.57 fck (beff – bw) hf (d -0.5hf) & Kf = (M - MR,f)/fck bw d2

Redesign section
Is Kf ≤ K’


Calculate area of reinforcement required from Figure 5: Procedure for Determining

As = [MR,f / fywd(d – 0.5 hf)] + (M - MR,f)/ fywd Flexural Capacity of Flanged Beams
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Rules for spacing and quantity of reinforcement

Minimum area of principal reinforcement
The minimum area of principal reinforcement in the main direction is As,min = 0.26 fctm bt d/fyk but not less than
0.0013btd, where bt is the mean width of the tension zone. For a T-beam with the flange in compression,only the width of the
web is taken into account in calculating the value of bt.

Minimum area of secondary reinforcement

The minimum area of secondary transverse reinforcement is 20% As,min. In areas near supports transverse
reinforcement is not necessary where there is no transverse bending moment.

Maximum area of reinforcement

The maximum area of tension or compression reinforcement, outside lap locations should not exceed As,max = 0.04

Minimum spacing of reinforcement

The minimum clear distance between bars should be the greater of:
• Bar diameter
• Aggregate size plus 5 mm
• 20 mm
Maximum spacing of reinforcement
For slabs less than 200mm thick the following maximum spacing rules apply:
• For the principal reinforcement: 3h but not more than 400 mm
• For the secondary reinforcement: 3.5h but not more than 450 mm
Except in areas with concentrated loads or areas of maximum moment where the following applies:
• For the principal reinforcement: 2h but not more than 250 mm
• For the secondary reinforcement: 3h but not more than 400 mm
Where h is the depth of the slab.
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For slabs 200mm thick or greater reference should be made to section 7.3.3 of the code or the How to use
Eurocode 2: Getting Started guide

Selected Symbols
Symbol Definition Value
Ac Cross sectional area of concrete bh
As Area of tension steel
As2 Area of compression steel
As, prov Area of tension steel provided
As, req’d Area of tension steel required
bt Mean width of the tension zone
bmin Width of beam or rib
bw Width of section, or width of web on flanged
d Effective depth
d2 Effective depth to compression reinforcement
fcd Design value of concrete compressive strength αcc fck/γc
fck Characteristic cylinder strength of concrete
fctm Mean value of axial tensile strength 0.30 fck for fck ≤ C50/60 (from
Table 3.1, Eurocode 2)
hf Flange thickness
hs Slab thickness
K Factor to take account of the different structural See table 7.4N
leff Effective span of member See Section (1)
l/d Limiting span to depth ratio
l x , ly Spans of a two-way slab
M Design moment at the ULS
x Depth to neutral axis (d-z)/0.4
xmax Limiting value for depth to neutral axis (δ - 0.4)d where δ≤1.0
z Lever arm
αcc Coefficient taking account of long term effects 0.85 for flexure and axial loads.
on compressive strength and of unfavourable 1.0 for other phenomena
effects resulting from the way load is applied (From UK National Annex)
δ Ratio of the redistributed moment to the elastic
bending moment
γm Partial factor for material properties 1.15 for reinforcement (γs)
1.5 for concrete (γc)
ρ0 Reference reinforcement ratio √fck/1000
ρ Required tension reinforcement at mid-span to As/bd
resist the moment due to the design loads (or at
support for cantilevers)
ρ’ Required compression reinforcement at mid- As2/bd
span to resist the moment due to the design
loads (or at support for cantilevers)

Further guidance and resources

Free publications from The Concrete Centre
(Visit or to download)

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Introduction to Eurocodes.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Getting started.

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How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Slabs.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Beams.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Columns.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Foundations.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Flat slabs.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Deflection.

Look out for further guides that are being planned.

Other publications from The Concrete Centre

(To order copies visit or call the Concrete Bookshop on 01276 608778)

Concise Eurocode for the design of concrete building, R.S. Narayanan. 2005.

Worked examples for the design of concrete buildings to Eurocode 2. 2006.

How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2 (Compendium of free guides listed above). 2005

Spreadsheets for concrete design to BS 8110 and EC2 (3rd Edition). 2005.

Economic concrete frame elements (Eurocode 2 Edition). 2005.

CALcrete - a computer aided learning package. 2004.

Useful internet sites

Other publications
Thomas Telford. Designers’ guide to EN 1990. H Gulvanessian, J A Calgaro & M Holicý, 2002.

A W Beeby, R S Narayanan. Designers Handbook to Eurocode 2. Part1–1: Design of concrete structures. Thomas
Telford, Date

Concrete structures. Eurocode EC2 and BS 8110 compared. R S Narayanan, A W Beeby, R T Whittle, K R Wilson.

ICE/IStructE. Manual for the design of concrete building structures to Eurocode 2. 2005.

The Concrete Society/IStructE. Standard method of detailing structural concrete. 2005.

The content of this publication was produced as part of the project ‘Eurocode 2: transition from UK to European
concrete design standards’. This project was part funded by the DTI under the Partners in Innovation scheme.
The lead partner was the British Cement Association. The work was carried out under the guidance of the
Concrete Industry Eurocode 2 Group.

The Concrete Industry Eurocode 2 Group

Revision 4/OB 19 May 2005
British Cement Association
Building Research Establishment
The Concrete Centre
The Concrete Society
Clark Smith Partnership
Alan Baxter and Associates
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Note for all publications
Quarry Products Association
British Precast
Department for Trade and Industry
Concrete Innovation and Design

For more information on Eurocode 2 and other questions relating to the design, use and performance of concrete
contact the National Helpline on
9700 4 500 500 or 0700 4 CONCRETE

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Station Approach, Blackwater, Camberley,
Surrey GU17 9AB
Tel: +44 (0)1276 606800
Fax: +44 (0)1276 606801

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Published XXXXX 2005
© The Concrete Centre

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version. This publication has been produced following a contract placed by the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI), the views expressed are not necessarily those of the DTI


BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION Eurocode 2: design of concrete structures – Part 1-1 General rules and
rules for building, BS EN 1992-1-1: 2004.
BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION The structural use of concrete – Part 1 Code of practice for design and
construction, BS 8110-1: 1997
Narayanan R S & Brooker O, How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Introduction, The Concrete
Centre, 2005.
Brooker O, How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Getting started, The Concrete Centre, 2005
5 BRITISH STANDARDS INSTITUTION. BS EN 1992–1–2, Eurocode 2: Design of concrete structures. General rules –
structural fire design, BSI.
Wester R, How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Deflections, The Concrete Centre, 2005
Moss R M & Brooker O, How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Beams, The Concrete Centre, 2005
The Institution of Structural Engineers/The Institution of Civil Engineers, Manual for the design of concrete
building structures to Eurocode 2, IStructE/ICE, 2005
Moss R M & Brooker O, How to design concrete structures using Eurocode 2: Flat slabs, The Concrete Centre,