Tips for Concrete Design

If you are designing a building with concrete beams and columns, how do you determine a starting member size, or the amount of reinforcement required? While many engineers will use a spreadsheet or computer program for the final design, what simplified methods can be used to arrive at a preliminary design for a beam or column?

In an article in the April 2013 issue of Structure Magazine, Jerod Johnson, PhD, SE, from Reaveley Engineers + Associates in Salt Lake City, Utah, writes about Simplified Methods in Reinforced Concrete Design, and discusses not only what these simplified methods are, but also shows how these approximate methods relate to a more rigorous analysis.

Included in this article are tips for determining initial sizes for beams based on span-to-depth ratios, calculating an initial required area of steel for beams, and developing an interaction curve for columns based on two points.

Do you use other simplified methods or “rules of thumb” for concrete design? Share your favorite tip in the comments below!

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