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Reinforced Concrete Building Elements

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: Apr 30, 2017 / Reinforced Concrete
Reinforced Concrete Building Elements

Building Elements See Image of the Building Elements at the Bottom

1st Floor

It is the floor that has 1 storey height above ground.

Basement Floor

The floor of the basement of the building. It is also called a cellar. The basement floor is either completely or partially below the ground floor. A basement can be used in almost exactly the same manner as an additional above-ground floor of a house or other building. However, the use of basements depends largely on factors specific to a particular geographical area such as climate, soil, seismic activity, building technology, and real estate economics.

The concrete floor in most basements is structurally not part of the foundation; only the basement walls are. Since warm air rises, basements are typically cooler than the rest of the house. In summer, this makes basements damp, due to the higher relative humidity.

Basement Wall

The wall surrounding the basement floor is called the basement wall. The basement walls can be regarded structurally as part of the foundation. The basement walls are shear walls that can resist lateral loads as well. Moreover, these walls are meant to be highly non-porous and water-resistant.

Column Bracket

A column Bracket is a protrusion from the column also used for hanging or attaching lamps, bulbs, or other accessories to it like road signs.

Column Capital

Column capital is an architectural element used for aesthetic purposes that forms the topmost member of a column.

Drop Panels

Drop panels are used to thicken the slab around the column in flat slabs to avoid punching shear. Since flat slabs have no stirrups shear is resisted by thickening the slab around the column to increase the concrete in shear. Beams can also be used, but generally, drop panels are preferred to avoid conflicts with the electromechanical works of the structure.

Exterior Columns

The columns support the main structure of the building. Usually in frame structures the exterior columns are of extreme importance and bear the load of the building as well as resist environmental factors like wind, rain, and other physical factors.

Flat Plate

Slabs connecting to columns directly. The flat plate system is widely adopted by engineers as it provides many advantages. The system can reduce the height of the building, provide more flexible spatial planning due to no beams present, and further reduce the material cost. However, the main problem in practice is the brittle failure of a flat plate under punching shear. Due to the relatively small floor loading and the close column spacing, flat plate construction is preferred. For heavier loading and larger column spacing, column capitals are required, and for even larger spans to reduce the self-weight, waffle slabs are used.

Flat Slab

The flat plate is a two-way reinforced concrete framing system utilizing a slab of uniform thickness, the simplest of structural shapes. The flat slab is a two-way reinforced structural system that includes either drop panels or column capitals at columns to resist heavier loads and thus permit longer spans. Construction of flat slabs is one of the quickest methods available. Lead times are very short as this is one of the most common forms of construction.

Interior Columns

Interior columns in a frame structure support the slab and beam internally. They are not as susceptible to buckling and environmental effects as the external ones but still are extremely important considering the safety and stability of the building. Interior columns can also serve aesthetic and architectural purposes.


Architectural support or base, as for a column or statue.


A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather and the invasion of animals. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, house buildings being the most numerous.

The elements in the design of a roof are:

  • the material
  • the construction
  • the durability &
  • Serviceability

Spread Footing

Spread FootingTo distribute the load of the foundation on the soil, spread footings are installed below the building's foundation. This type of footing is continuous below the perimeter of the house walls and may be thickened or widened at the points where concentrated loads are applied e.g. columns. These components are constructed from concrete and are often reinforced with rebar or steel to add additional support. Depending on the size and configuration of the building, the footers can be buried just below ground level or several feet below the surface. In cold climates, they are always placed below the frost line to minimize problems with concrete heaving that occurs during freeze/thaw cycles. This type of footer design is highly beneficial to builders and homeowners. Since they transfer the weight of the building over a large area, they have little risk of failure

Upturned Beam

Through the use of upturned concrete T-beams, designers created a naturally ventilated workspace that employs the thermal mass of an exposed concrete ceiling. This concrete absorbs heat during the day and is purged at night by cool breezes. The term is usually used in concrete construction, in parking structures, but here is how it works:

The beam is above the floor it supports or a combination. Take a parking structure, there is the required barrier wall, so if you turn the beam up it acts as support and the barrier. Think of your simple beam diagram with a uniform load on it. The beam supports this load, so it doesn't matter if the load is applied at the bottom (simply, other than there is the compression/tension face)

This also works well in buildings, rather than having a large beam under the floor, the beam is cast above and below the floors, acts as bearing and shear tension, and compression face reinforcement will be somewhat different, but the beam cross-section area will stay the same.


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