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New guidance from the Concrete Centre

World Cement,

The Concrete Centre and the Fédération Internationale du Béton has published a new technical guide, ‘Tall Buildings’, which offers guidance to those who are constructing tall buildings.

There is a trend for building tall – developers consider this the solution for overcoming the housing crisis in UK cities such as London, where demand for jobs and migration have led to population growth. London has more than 200 towers either under construction or in planning. This brings challenges to architects, engineers and constructors as the drivers in the design of tall buildings are not the same as those for lower rise construction. Around the world the majority of tall buildings are framed in concrete, which is used for its mass, economy and its convenience.

To assist structural engineers, a useful technical guide ‘Tall Buildings’ has now been published, by Fédération Internationale du Béton (fib) and The Concrete Centre. This guidance is aimed at those new to the engineering of tall buildings, but will also provide sufficient detail to those who already have a few tall buildings in their portfolio.

The fib task group that authored the guide included eminent experts in their fields of building tall. Many of these representatives also gave presentations at the dedicated conference where the guide was launched in late October.

The design considerations discussed in the guide includes the loading on tall buildings, where the lateral loads are significantly more important than those on a lower rise building. There are chapters of the guide dedicated to seismic considerations and wind engineering, plus a practical guide as to when a wind test would be beneficial, either to check the effects of the tower on the wind in the surrounding area, or to establish the wind loads that the tower will have to take.

Best practice guidance is also provided on movements of the tall building, due to wind, creep or differential settlement. As the main circulation for a tall building is the lifts, which are sensitive to lateral movement, it is important that the building does not move too much initially, or over time.

Tall buildings are also sensitive to horizontal vibrations and the resulting acceleration may need to be damped to ensure that the occupants of the building are not disturbed by the perceived movements. The structure provides a certain amount of damping but this may need to be increased.

Buildability and the techniques of building tall quickly are also in the guide, particularly reviewing the options for building the core, which normally provides the stability system. This looks at the formwork systems available to the constructor and where high-performance concretes might help the construction.

Finally, the guide provides the engineer with a checklist for the considerations and decisions to be made at concept, scheme and detailed design stages of the process. There are also a number of case studies provided as an exemplar for tall buildings with a range of heights, structural stability schemes, building types and locations.

The guide is priced at £85 and can be purchased from The Concrete Centre Bookshop.

Written by The Concrete Centre

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