UNIT 8
SERVICEABILITY LIMIT STATE (SLS)
GENERAL OBJECTIVE
To appreciate how the SLS design of reinforced concrete element is
performed according to the requirements of BS 8110.
At the end of this unit, you will be able to: 
1. determine the
d
span
ratio from table 3.10, BS 8110
2. calculate the modification factors for tension reinforcement.
3. calculate the modification factors for compression reinforcement.
4. check that the deflection of beams do not exceed the allowable values.
5. calculate clear horizontal distances between bars in tension.
6. calculate allowable distances from table 3.30,BS 8110.
7. calculate the clear distances between the corner of beams and the
nearest longitudinal bars in tension.
8. provide additional reinforcement for deep beam.
9. check that all clear and allowable distances are within limits.
1
OBJECTIVES
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:
INPUT 1
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
8.1 Deflection
Excessive deflection in member can cause defect of the finishes, partition wall
etc. BS 8110: Part 2, Clause 3.2 states that the amount of deflection in
reinforced concrete member should be limited to: 
For normal structure, which can be seen, the deflection is limited to
250
span
.
For structure supporting brittle finishes, the deflection should not exceed
500
span
or 20mm.
The detailed calculation of deflection is elaborated in BS 8110: Part 2.
However, this method of calculating deflection is not needed except in certain
circumstances. A more practical way used to control deflection is by limiting
the
depth effective
span
,
`
.

d
L
ratio
as stated in BS 8110: Part 1, clause 3.4.6
8.2 Method of checking the deflection
,
`
.

d
L
2
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
This is done by comparing,
actual
d
L
,
`
.

<
allowable
d
L
,
`
.

Where
r c f m r t f m
d
L
d
L
basic allowable
. . . . . .
,
`
.

,
`
.

basic
d
L
,
`
.

= obtained from Table 3.10, BS 8110: Part 1
Table 3.10, BS 8110 is given below:
Type of support Rectangular section
Flange section
,
`
.

< 3 . 0
b
b
w
Cantilever beam 7.0 5.6
Simply supported beam 20.0 16.0
Continuous beam 26.0 20.8
The values of
d
L
in this table are based on the allowable deflection of
250
span
.
For spans greater than 10m,
basic
d
L
,
`
.

has to be multiplied by
,
`
.

span
10
.
3
Table 3.10: Basic span/effective depth ratios for rectangular flange beams.
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
m.f.t.r = modification factor for tension reinforcement
=
0 . 2
) 9 . 0 ( 120
) 477 (
55 . 0
2
<
+
+
bd
M
f
s
Where,
f
s
= service stress
=
b rprov s
req s
y
A
A
f
1
,
,
8
5
A
s
,
req
= required area of tension reinforcement.
A
s
,
prov
= provided area of tension reinforcement.
b
=
,
`
.

before moment
after moment
redistribution
M = imposed bending moment
b = width of beam
d = effective depth
m.f.c.r = modification factor for compression reinforcement
= 5 . 1
, 100
3
, ' 100
1 <
+
,
`
.

+
bd
A
bd
A
prov s
prov s
4
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
Where,
A
s,prov
= area of compression reinforcement provided
Please note that,
If
allowable actual
d
L
d
L
,
`
.

>
,
`
.

, the following precautions may be taken: 
add more reinforcement so that the service stress, f
s
will
decrease and resulting in increased m.f.t.r.
calculate the actual deflection using the detailed method in BS
8110: Part 2 (mentioned earlier)
increased the effective depth of the beam.
The third precaution is usually used; i.e. increase d.
8.2.1Example :
A simply supported rectangular beam spanning 8 m is designed to carry a
bending moment of 80 kNm. The required area of tension reinforcement is
1725 mm
2
, while the steel reinforcement provided is shown in Figure 8.1
below: You are asked to check the deflection of the beam.
5
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
Solution:
20
,
`
.

basic
d
L
(From Table 3.10)
Service stress, f
s
=
b prov s
req s
y
A
A
f
1
,
,
8
5
1
1872
1725
) 460 (
8
5
,
`
.

= 265 N/mm
2
6
8 m
80 kNm
M = 80 kNm
2T25
(982 mm
2
)
3T25 + 2T16
(1872 mm
2
)
350 mm
200 mm
Figure 8.1: CrossSection Of Beam
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
26 . 3
) 350 ( 200
10 80
2
6
2
bd
M
m.f.t.r. =
( )
) 9 . 0 ( 120
477
55 . 0
2
bd
M
f
s
+
+
( )
( ) 26 . 3 9 . 0 120
265 477
55 . 0
+
+
= 0.97
40 . 1
) 350 )( 200 (
) 982 ( 100 ' 100
bd
A
s
m.f.c.r =
,
`
.

+
+
bd
A
bd
A
prov s
prov s
, ' 100
3
, ' 100
1
,
`
.

+
+
4 . 1 3
4 . 1
1
= 1.32
6 . 25 32 . 1 97 . 0 20
,
`
.

allowable
d
L
86 . 22
350
8000
,
`
.

actual
d
L
allowable actual
d
L
d
L
,
`
.

<
,
`
.

, therefore the beam is satisfactorily free from
7
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
deflection.
Fill in the blanks: 
8.1 Deflection of reinforced concrete element is to check in order to satisfy the
_________________ limit state requirement.
8.2 The checking regarding to the deflection of beams should be done in
accordance with clause __________________, BS 8110: Part 1
8.3 Excessive deflection of reinforced concrete element can cause cracking
and may destroy ________________ and partitions.
8
ACTIVITY 8a
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
8.4 For spans up to 10 m, the deflection that occurs after construction of
finishes and partition will be limited to ________________________.
8.5 Table ________________, BS 8110: Part 1 has given the basic
d
span
ratio.
8.6 The value in Table (in question 5) should be multiplied by __________
from Table 3.11 and Table 3.12, BS 8110.
8.7 For rectangular simply supported beam, the basic
d
span
ratio is
_____________.
8.8 For spans greater than 10 m, the basic
d
span
ratio should be multiplied by
__________________.
Check your answers: 
8.1 serviceability
8.2 3.4.6.1
8.3 finishes
8.4
350
span
or 20 mm, whichever is the lesser
8.5 3.10
9
FEEDBACK 8a
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
8.6 modification factors
8.7 20
8.8
span
10
8.3 Cracking
Excessive cracking of reinforced concrete element can affect its durability and
aesthetic value. A very wide and deep crack can cause water to penetrate into
the concrete and soon the reinforcement will corrode. Under normal
conditions, it is very difficult to construct crackfree structures because cracks
are caused by various factors such as thermal expansion and contraction, heat
10
If you are satisfied with your answers, you may proceed to the next input,
otherwise you should go through this input once again.
INPUT 2
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
from hydration of cement, creep etc. Some of these factors are not easily
controlled and monitored.
For ordinary structures, it is adequate to check the cracking by limiting the
width of crack so that it will not more than 0.3 mm. For more critical
structures such as water tank, the crack width allowed is up to 0.2 mm. There
are two methods that can be used to check that the cracks do not exceed the
limit. They are as follows: 
calculating the width of cracks
limiting the clear distance between bars.
In this unit, we are going to discuss the second method. The first method is
only used for particular cases and is seldom carried out.
8.4 Spacing of reinforcement
Limiting the maximum distance between bars in tension controls cracks. The
rules regarding these, as specified in clause 3.12.11.2, BS 8110: Part 1 are as
follows: 
i) The clear distance between bars, S
1
should not be greater than the
stated values in Table 3.30, BS 8110. This value is also dependent on
the percentage of moment redistribution and steels strength.
ii) The corner distance, S
2
should not exceed 0.5 times the stated values
in Table 3.30, BS 8110.
iii) If the effective depth of beam is greater than 750 mm, steel
reinforcement to control cracking should be provided near both sides
11
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
of the beam. This reinforcement should be at a depth;
3
2
effective
depth of beam.
The distance between bars, S
b
should not exceed 250 mm and that the
size of bar should not be less than
y
b
f
b S .
Please refer to Clause 3.12.5.4, BS 810 for more clarifications.
The distances denoted by S
1
, S
2
and S
b
as shown in Figure 8.2 below: 
12
h
b
S
1
S
2
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
8.4.1 Example: 
For the given beam sections in Figure 8.3 and Figure 8.4. Check that cracks
are within limits: 
a) Refer to Figure 8.3
13
h>750mm
S
1
S
1
S
2
Figure 8.2: Distance denoted by S1, S2, S3
S
b
S
b
R10100
2T16
S
1
2T20
Figure 8.3: Crosssection of beam
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
b = 250 mm
h = 500 mm
Cover = 30 mm
Solution: 
Referring to Clause 3.12.11.2.3, BS 8110, the clear distance between
bars in tension is
S
1
= b 2(cover) 2(
link
) 2(
bar
)
= 250  2(30)  2(10)  2(20)
= 130mm
Allowable clear distance,
= 160 mm (From Table 3.30, BS 8110 for f
y
=460N/mm
2
and
zero moment redistribution)
This shows that S
1
< 160 mm and therefore cracks are satisfactory.
According to Clause 3.12.11.2.5, BS 8110, clear distance between the
corner of the beam and the nearest longitudinal bar in tension,
S
2
=
2
20
50 50
2 2
= 60.7 mm
Allowable corner distance = 80 mm
= 0.5 x values in Table 3.30
S
2
< 80 mm
Cracks do not exceed the stated limit.
14
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
b) Refer to Figure 8.4: 
b = 250 mm
h = 1000 mm
Cover = 30 mm
Solutions:
15
2T20
R8100
5T25
Figure 8.4: Crosssection of beam
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
Clear distance between bars in tension,
S
1
= [b 2(cover)  2
link
 3
bar
] 2
= [250 2(30) 2(10) 3(25)] 2
= 47.5 mm < 160 mm o.k
The clear distance of corner bar,
S
2
=
2
25
5 . 52 5 . 52
2 2
+
= 61.7 mm < 80 mm o.k
h > 750 mm
additional reinforcement to control cracks are required.
The distance between these bars to control crack is,
S
b
= 200 mm (S
b
maximum = 250 mm)
The size of this bar is,
y
b
f
b S .
>
460
) 250 )( 200 (
>
16
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
>10.4 mm
We can provide T12 at a distance of 200 mm from centre to centre.
Fill in the blanks with the correct answers: 
8.9 Cracks in reinforced concrete elements are controlled by limiting the
______________ between bars in tension.
8.10 The guidelines to the spacing of reinforcement are given in Clause
____________________ of the BS 8110.
8.11 The clear horizontal distance between bars in tension should not be
greater than the values given in Table _________________, BS 8110.
8.12 The clear distance between the corner of beam and the nearest
longitudinal bar in tension should not exceed _______________ the
values given in Table in Question 3.
17
ACTIVITY 8b
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
8.13 Additional reinforcement to control cracks should be provided near
side faces of beams exceeding _________________ in overall depth.
.
Check your answers. They should be as follows: 
8.9 maximum distance
8.10 3.12.11.2
8.11 3.30
8.12 0.5 times
8.13 750 mm
18
FEEDBACK 8b
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
1. Deflection and checking of cracks are done to satisfy the Serviceability
Limit States (SLS).
2. Limiting the spans effective depth ratio can control deflection.
3. Deflection check is done according to Clause 3.4.6, BS 8110
4. Excessive cracks in reinforced concrete elements can be controlled by
limiting the maximum horizontal distance between bars and the corner
distance of the nearest longitudinal bar in tension.
19
Before doing the Self
Assessment, read the
summary of this unit.
SUMMARY
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
5. For deep beams i.e. the overall depth is greater than 750 mm, additional
reinforcement to control cracks are provided near side faces of the
beam.
Figure 8.5 shows a rectangular section of a simply supported beam.
20
5T16
2T16
455
200 mm
SELFASSESSMENT
Figure 8.5: Crosssection of rectangular beam
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
Given that: f
cu
= 30 N/mm
2
f
y
= 460 N/mm
2
f
y
= 250 N/mm
2
Questions:
1. If the span of the beam is 8.0 m, imposed moment, M = 15 kNm and
the area of reinforcement required, A
sreq
= 950mm
2
, check this beam
for deflection. (8 marks)
2. Check this beam for crack if the nominal cover, c = 30 mm.
(7marks)
Check your answers given below and then total up your marks.
1. Span = 8.0 m
M = 150 kNm
A
sreq
= 950 mm
2
Service stress, fs =
b sprov
sreq
y
A
A
f
1
8
5
1
1006
950
460
8
5
= 271 N/mm
2
62 . 3
455 200
10 150
2
6
2
bd
M
21
1
1
FEEDBACK ON SELFASSESSMENT
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
Modification for tension reinforcement,
m.f.t.r =
0 . 2
) 62 . 3 9 . 0 ( 120
) 271 477 (
55 . 0 <
+
+
= 0.55 + 0.38 <2.0
= 0.93 < 2.0
Modification factor for compression reinforcement,
m.f.c.r =
5 . 1
' 100
3
' 100
1 <
+
+
bd
A
bd
A
prov s
prov s
5 . 1
455 200
) 402 ( 100
3
455 200
) 400 ( 100
1 <
+
5 . 1
44 . 3
44 . 0
1 < +
= 1.13
20
]
]
]
basic
d
L
.
13 . 1 93 . 0 20
]
]
]
allowable
d
L
= 21.02..
58 . 17
455
800
]
]
]
actual
d
L
..
22
1
1
1
1
1
REINFORCED CONCRETE STRUCTURAL DESIGN C4301/UNIT8/
actual
d
L
]
]
]
<
allowable
d
L
]
]
]