Failures in Concrete Structures: Case Studies in Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Failures in Concrete Structures

Case Studies in Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete, 1st Edition

By Robin Whittle

CRC Press

148 pages | 44 Color Illus. | 122 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138074231
pub: 2018-06-28
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pub: 2012-11-01
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Some lessons are only learned from mistakes but, it’s much cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistakes than to have to do so from your own. Drawing on over fifty years of working with concrete structures, Robin Whittle examines the problems which he has seen occur and shows how they could have been avoided.

The first and largest part of the book tells the stories of a number of cases where things have gone wrong with concrete structures. Each case is analyzed to identify its cause and how it might have been prevented. It then looks at how failures in structural modelling can lead to big problems if they are not identified before construction is undertaken. Beyond this it examines how contract arrangements can encourage or prevent problems in the designing and building processes. It concludes with an examination of the role research and development in preventing failures.

By identifying the differences between shoddy economizations and genuine efficiency savings, this book offers savings in the short term which won’t be at the expense of a structure’s long-term performance. Invaluable reading if you’re designing or building concrete structures and want to avoid problems which could be expensive or embarrassing further down the line.


"With the need to learn from ‘near misses’ being one of the outcomes of the recent forensic engineering conference in London, this book offers a good start by providing a useful selection of failures as well as ‘near misses’ of concrete structures. The author’s undoubted expertise in design and construction with concrete, attained over half a century of working experience with a major consultant in the UK, is evident from the introduction right through to the end."

Forensic Engineering

"The book provides a fascinating insight into what can go wrong. It illustrates the importance of approaching problems from first principles and identifying the key load paths, loads, etc. This type of material rarely sees the light of day for reasons of litigation and commercial confidentiality."

—Robert Vollum, Imperial College, London, UK

"This book is essential reading for any experienced engineer and offers insight into how designers and builders accidentally create structures that fail. This book both explains how things fall down and what was done or could have been done to overcome these errors. Learning from errors is an essential part of any engineer’s knowledge and expertise."

David M. Scott,Laing O’Rourke, Connecticut, USA

Table of Contents

Failures due to Design Errors

Edge Beam and Column Connection

Concrete Truss

Circular Ramps to Car Park

Transfer Beam with Eccentric Loading

Early Thermal Effects

Secondary Effects of Prestressing

Temperature Effects on Long-Span Hybrid Structure

Loading for Flat Slab Analysis

Precast Concrete Car Park

Arch Floor

Precast Concrete Stairflights

Shear Studs on Steel Column to Support Concrete Slab

Piled Raft for Tower Block

Floating Pontoon for Residential Building

Precast Column Joint Detail

Problems and Failures due to Errors in Structural Modelling

Reinforced Concrete Transfer Truss

Modelling Rigid Links

Assessing Model Limits and Limitations

Empirical Methods

Initial Sizing of Slabs

Analysis of Flat Slabs with Finite Element Programs

Scale Effects

Failures due to Inappropriate Extrapolation of Code of Practice Clauses

Cooling Towers

Design Bending Moments

Piles with High Strength Reinforcement

Shear Capacity of Deep Sections

Failures due to Misuse of Code of Practice Clauses

Flat Slab and Two-Way Slab Behaviour

Ribbed Slab Supported on Broad Beam

Car Park Columns

Problems and Failures due to Inadequate Assessment of Critical Force Paths

Heavily Loaded Nibs

Shear Wall with Holes and Corner Supports

Design of Boot Nibs

Problems and Failures due to Poor Detailing

Concrete Offshore Platform

Assembly Hall Roof

University Building Roof

Minimum Reinforcement and Cracking

Precast Concrete Panel Building


Problems and Failures due to Inadequate Understanding of Materials’ Properties

Changes over Time

Rebending of Reinforcement

Tack Welding of Reinforcement

High Alumina Cement

Calcium Chloride

Alkali–Silica Reaction

Lightweight Aggregate Concrete

Problems and Failures due to Poor Construction

Flat Slab Construction for Hotel

Steel Piles Supporting Block of Flats

Shear Cracks in Precast T Units

Cantilever Balconies to Block of Flats

Precast Concrete Tank

Car Park

Cracking of Offshore Platform during Construction

Spalling of Load Bearing Mullions

Two-Way Spanning Slab

Chimney Flue for Coal-Fired Power Station

Problems and Failures due to Poor Management

Column–Slab Joint

Placing of Precast Units

Weak Aggregate Concrete in Chimney

Problems and Failures due to Poor Construction Planning

Power Station on River Thames

Tower Block

Problems and Failures due to Deliberate Malpractice

Floor with Excessive Deflection

Piles for Large Structure

In Situ Columns Supporting Precast Building

Problems Arising from the Procurement Process

Effects of Different Forms of Contracts


Checking Construction

Contributions of Research and Development toward Avoidance of Failures

Links between Practice and Research

Flat Slab Behaviour

Span and Effective Depth Ratios for Slabs

Beam and Column Joints

Tension Stiffening of Concrete



About the Author

Robin Whittle has over 50 years design and site experience of working with concrete structures. He is currently a consultant to the Arup Group ltd.

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