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This is an important stage . It is a skillful job and economy in design

is achieved by locating columns at proper and / ideal locations.

(i) Normally the positions of the columns are shown by Architect in his
plans .

(ii) Columns should generally and preferably be located at or near corners

and intersection /junction of walls (at beam- beam junctions).

(iii) If the site restrictions make it obligatory to locate column footings

within the property line the column may be shifted inside along a cross
wall to accommodate footings within the property line . Alternatively
trapezoidal footing, eccentric footing can also be adopted.
In residential buildings, generally columns should be located at 3 to
4m.c/c to avoid large spans for beams. This will also control deflection
and cracking .

(iv) While fixing the columns orientation care should be taken that it does
not change architectural elevation. This can be achieved by keeping
the column orientations and side restrictions as proposed in plans by
the Architect .

(v) As far as possible, column projection/s outside the walls should be

avoided, unless Architects plans show contrary or same is required as
structural requirement.
(vi) Columns should not obstruct door and window position/s shown in the
Architects plans.

(vii) As far as possible, column should be so positioned, that continuous

frames from one end to the other end of building in both X and Y
directions are available. This will increase the global stiffness of the
building against horizontal forces .

(viii) When the locations of two columns are near to each other (for e.g. the
corner of the building and intersection of the walls), then as for as
possible only one column should be provided .

(ix) As far as possible, column should not be closer than 2m.c/c to avoid
stripped /combined /continuous footings. Generally the maximum
distance between two column should not be more than 8m.c/c.

(x) Columns should be normally provided around staircases and lift wells.

(xi) Preferably overhead water tank should rest on the columns as shown
in the Architects plan. The height of water tank should be up to 2.0m.

(xii) Twin columns of equal size are desirable at expansion joints from
aesthetic point of view .

(xiii) As far as possible every column must be connected (tied) in both

directions with beams at each floor level, so as to avoid buckling due
to slenderness effects.

(xiv) As far as possible column supported on beam (Floating column) should

be avoided.

(xv) When columns along with connecting beams from a frame, the
columns should be so orientated that as far as possible the larger
dimension of the column is perpendicular to the major axis of bending.
By this arrangement column section and the reinforcement are utilized
to the best structural advantage.

(xvi) Orientation of columns: In case of square or circular columns there

would have been no problem regarding orientation. Normally circular
columns are provided outside the building for aesthetic point of view.
But in case of rectangular columns the designer must have sufficient
knowledge regarding orientation of the columns. The orientation of the
columns mainly deponds upon two factors. They are (i) Structural
point of view (ii) Functional point of view.
For Structural point of view, a column is oriented in such a manner
that the depth of column is in the plane of the maximum bending. But
sometimes a column oriented to suit the structural requirement may
offset inside the room and may cause inconvenience for the user. In
such cases the designer can orient the column so as to merge into the
wall, provided that the column must have sufficient strength in the
plane of maximum bending. This can be made possible by arranging
the longitudinal steel at the faces in the plane of bending.

Procedure for calculating Load and arriving size and reinforcement

for columns:
Load on Column can be calculated based on tributary area method or
reaction from beam method.
STEP 1 :- Calculation of the Influence Area of the Column :
The first step is to find out the Influence Area of the Column to be Designed.
The Influence Area of a column is the area of which load is being transferred
to the column to be designed for. For this purpose in a framed structure small
and medium building the design of column is done for the column whose
Influence Area is the largest hence the load coming on the column will be so
the greater of the any other column in that building hence all the other
column having lesser Influence Area hence lesser Loads if provided with the
same Designed parameters that required for the column having largest
Influence Area, then the whole Structure will automatically become safe
against the Loads.

STEP 2:- Calculation of the Loads Coming on Column from the

Influence Area :
In this step the Load Calculation is being done. This is done by calculating all the
loads acting within the influence area.
The Loads acting are broadly classified as Dead Load (DL) and Live Load (LL).
Dead Loads are the load of objects which cannot be moved from on place to
another like the loads of Brick Work, Beams, Slabs etc. and the Live Loads are
the loads coming from movable objects such as Humans, Chair, Table etc.
Thus We Need to Calculate the Dead Loads as well as Live Loads within the
Influence Area, these are as follows in the general case of a Building :-
A)Dead Loads :
I. Due to weight of Slab [25000 N/m3 ]
II. Due to weight of Floor Finish [500 N/m2]
III. Due to weight of Brick Masonry [19200 N/m3]
IV. Due to weight of Beam [25000 N/m3]
V. Due to weight of Self Weight of Column [25000 N/m3]

B) Live Load :
It depends upon the Nature of the Structure, and it values for different structural
nature are given in the concerned Code of Practice, like in India these are given
in I.S.: 875-Part II.
For Residential Buildings it is generally considered @ 2KN/m 2 = 2000 N/m2

Now after correct calculation of above loads the Total Load is Calculated by,
Total Load on each floor = Dead Load + Live Load
Now this the actual load which will be acting on column for each floor, now if the
building say 5 storied, then just multiply the value with the nos. of floors, like for
five storied building multiply the Total Load on each story with 5.
Now thus the Total load acting on column at Column Base is Obtained and it is
denoted with P.
Hence P= Total Load on each Floor X Nos. of Stories = (Dead Load + Live Load)
X Nos. of Stories.
Now we shall move to the actual Designing to determine suitable Column
sections and its Reinforcements so that the above load is safely resisted by the
column Designed.
STEP 3 :- Finding The Gross Cross-Sectional Area Required For The
Column :
This is the one of the most important and main step of the Design of Column.
First in the Limit State Method of Design we must increase the load acting on the
column with a Load Factor so that if there will be any accidental increase of loads
the column will be still safe to resist the load without a failure. The Factor of
Safety for Dead Load + Live Load Combination is 1.5, hence we must multiply
the load action on column (P) with the 1.5 to obtain the Ultimate Load that is the
Factored Load of the Column that is Pu.
Hence Factored Load, Pu = 1.5 X P
For Design we will work with this value of load.
The Ultimate Load of a Column is given by,

Pu = 0.4.fck.Ac + 0.67.fy.Asc [Equation I]

Where, Pu = Ultimate Load of the Column in N/mm2
fck= Yield Strength of Concrete in N/mm2
Ac = Area of Concrete (Cross-Sectional Area) of Column in mm 2
fy = Yield Strength Of Steel in N/mm2
Asc = Area of Steel (Cross-Sectional Area) in Column in mm 2

Now the column consists of Concrete and as well as Steel in the form of
Reinforcements hence the Total Cross-Sectional Area of Column is made of Area
of Concrete and Area of Steel.
The Total Cross-Sectional area of Column can be also termed as Gross Cross-
Sectional Area of Column and its denoted by Ag.
Hence, Gross Cross-Sectional Area of Column = C/S Area of Concrete + C/S
Area of Steel
Therefore, Ag = Ac + Asc
And hence, Ac = Ag - Asc

Now putting the above obtained value in the original equation (Equation I) we
Pu = 0.4.fck.(Ag-Asc) + 0.67.fy.Asc [Equation II]
Now Assume the Percentage of Steel you want to use ranging anywhere from
0.8% to 6% with Respect to Gross Cross-Sectional Area of the Column (Ag). Say
Assuming Steel as 1% of Ag it means Area of Steel Asc = 1% of Ag = 0.01Ag

The higher will be the percentage of steel used the lower will be Ag and thus
lesser will be the cross-sectional dimension of the column. But as the Price of
Steel is very high as compared to the Concrete hence it is desirable to use as
less as steel possible to make the structure economical, again if the percentage
of steel is lowered then the Ag will increase at higher rate, about 30% with
decrease of just 1% of steel and so each lateral dimension of the column will
increase and will cause a gigantic section to be provided to resist the load.
Therefore both the factors are to be considered depending upon the amount of
It is suggested to use the following Percentage of steel for the Design, Which
will found to be effective and to produce economical and safe section of

Loading (Pu) in N Percentage Of Steel for Satisfactory Design

Below 250000 --------------------------------------------0.8%
250,000 to 500,000 --------------------------------------1.0%
500,000 to 750,000 --------------------------------------1.5%
750,000 to 1000,000 -------------------------------------2.0%
1000,000 to 1500,000 -----------------------------------2.5%
1500,000 to 2000,000 -----------------------------------3.0%

And so on, with increase of each 250,000 N increasing the Percentage of Steel as

Now input the value of the Asc in the form of Ag in the Equation I. For example
suppose 1% Steel is used then the equation will be like the one below :-
Pu = 0.4.fck.(Ag-0.01Ag) + 0.67.fy.0.01Ag
Therefore, if we know the Grade of Concrete and Grade of Steel to be used and
Factored Load coming on the Column and Assuming the Percentage of steel
required appropriately then we can Very Easily Calculate the Gross-Sectional
Area (Ag) of the Column required from the above form of the equation.
Now as the Ag is obtained thus the Lateral Dimensions of the Column that are
the sides of the column can be easily determined.

The Ag or Gross-Sectional Area of the Column means that it is the product of the
two lateral sides of a column [i.e. Breadth (b) X Depth (D)], hence reversely
knowing the Ag we can determine the Lateral Dimensions.
For making a Square Section just Determine the Root Value of the A g. Like if the
Value of Ag is 62500 mm2 Then considering square section of a column we can
get each side

Also Rectangular Column Sections Can be made by using different proportion say
b : D = 1 : 2 , Hence D=2b , Therefore, Ag = b X D = b X 2b = 2b2 or b=

Hence D can be also determined as D=2b after Calculating the b.

Most of the times after calculating the sides of a column it will give results such
as 196.51mm or 323.62 etc. values, which practically cannot be provided at field,
hence we must increase those values to the nearest greater multiple of 25mm
(i.e. 1 inch). For examples a value of 196.51mm may be increased to 200mm or
225mm or 250 mm even, and a value of 323.62mm may be increased to
350mm. more it will be increased the more it will be safer, but it is uneconomical
to increase by a very high amount, it should not be increased more than by
75mm to consider the economical factor.

STEP 4Check For Long/Short Column:

Depending upon the ratio of Effective Length to the Least Lateral Dimension of a
column, a column may be classified as Long Column and Short Column. If the
value of this ratio is less than 12 then its called as a short column and if the
value is more than 12 then its called as a Long Column. A short column mainly
fails by direct compression and has a lesser chance of failure by buckling. And in
the case of a long column the failure mainly occurs due to the buckling alone.
Long column being slender, that is being thin like stick as compared with its
length it grows a tendency to get bended by deviating from its verticality under
the action of loads. Due to this tendency of long column to get buckled (bended)
a long column of all same properties and dimensions that of a short column will
be able to carry much lesser load safely than that of the short column. Suppose
a 400mmx400mm short column can take a load of 1000KN , then a long column
of 400mmx400mm having same grade of concrete, same amount of
reinforcement and same workmanship will be able to carry a lesser load like say
about 800KN only, hence we get a loss of 200KN which is 20% loss of load
carrying capacity. So the above formula used in Step 3 holds good only for the
Short Column. For using it in long column a little modification is needed. For now
let us concentrate on Short Column. First of all we need to find out the effective
length of a column, which can be obtained by multiplying a factor with the actual
unsupported length of the column. The factor depends upon the end condition of
the column. In most general cases we use a Both End Fixed Column for which
The Factor is 0.65.
Therefore, Effective Length = Effective Length Factor (0.65) x Unsupported
Length (l). suppose a column has a unsupported length of 2.7m = 2700mm,
hence the effective length will be lef = 0.65x2700 = 1755mm. Least lateral
dimension means the shorter of the two dimensions of column that is length and
breadth. But in case of a circular column as there is only diameter, hence we will
use the diameter.
Suppose a column is of 400mmx200mm section and has an unsupported length
of 2700mm, then the Ration of Effective length t the Least Lateral Dimension will
be as follows :-
(Effective Length/Least Lateral Dimension) = (lef/b) = (1755/200) = 8.775 which
is less than 12 and hence is a Short Column.

STEP 5Check For Eccentricity :

Eccentricity means deviating from the true axis. Thus an Eccentric Load refers to
a load which is not acting through the line of the axis of the column in case of
column design. The eccentric load cause the column to bend towards the
eccentricity of the loading and hence generates a bending moment in the
column. In case of eccentric loading we have to design the column for both the
Direct Compression and also for the bending moment also. Practically all columns
are eccentric to some extent which may vary from few millimetres to few
centimetres. In practical field it is almost impossible to make a perfectly axially
loaded column, as a reason we have to consider a certain value of eccentricity
for safety even though if we are designing for a axially loaded column. The
conditions of considering eccentricity and its value may differ from code to code
according to the country.As per I.S. : 456-2000 according to it the eccentricity
which we have to consider for design must be taken as the greater of the
followings :-
i) 20mm.
ii) (lef/500) + (b/30)
lef = Effective Length of the Column
b = Lateral Dimension of the Column (We have to calculate two separate values
for two sides in case of rectangular column)
Permissible Eccentricity :- 0.05b where b is the dimension of a side of a column,
we have to check for two sides separately in case of rectangular column.
The Permissible eccentricity must be greater than or equal to the actual
eccentricity of the column. Or else we have to design it for bending also.

STEP 6 :- Calculating The Area Of Steel Required :

Now the Area of Steel Required Asc is to be calculated from the Ag as the
predetermined percentage of Ag. For example if the Gross-Sectional Area of the
Column is 78600 mm2 and at the starting of calculation of Ag it was assumed
that 1% Steel is used then we get,
Asc = 1% of Ag = 0.01Ag = 0.01 X 78600 = 786 mm2
Now we shall provide such amount of Reinforcements that the Cross-Sectional
Area of the Reinforcement provided is Equal to or Greater than the Cross-
Sectional Area of Steel required above.
Hence in the above case we shall Provide 4 Nos. of 16mm Diameter Bars
Hence, The Actual Area of Steel Provided,

Hence the Area of Steel Provided is Greater than Area Of Steel Required, Hence
the Structure will be Safe.

NOTE : The minimum of 4 Nos. of Bars to be provided at the four corners of a

rectangular or Square Column and minimum diameter of Bars that to be used is
12mm Diameter. Hence 4 Nos. of 12mm Diameter Bars are must in any Column
irrespective of their necessities.

STEP 7 :- Determining The Diameter and Spacing Of The Lateral Ties:

In this step we will Determine the Diameter and the Spacing of the Lateral Ties
or Transverse Links or Binders.

The Diameter of the Ties shall not be lesser than the Greatest of the following
two values
1. 6mm
2. 1/4th of the Diameter of the Largest Diameter Bar

For an example if a Column has 16mm and 20mm both types of bar as
Longitudinal Bars or main Reinforcement then 1/4th of 20mm = 5mm
Hence we shall provide 6mm diameter Ties. Maximum dia :16 mm

The Spacing of Ties shall not exceed the least of the followings three values
1. Least Lateral Dimension
2. 16 Times of the Diameter of the Smallest Diameter Longitudinal Bar
3. 300 mm

[In this case our objective is to minimize the value to reduce the spacing and to
make the structure more stable, hence we shall take least value and suitably in a
multiple of 25mm]

Practical Methods :
1. Estimation of Load on column by thumb rule:
Method 1: (Approximate method)
Load on column =No. of floors xTributary area of column x
building Office/commercial
Column Position

Interior column 12KN/m2 14KN/m2

Side or end column 17KN/m2 19KN/m2
Corner column 22KN/m2 24KN/m2

Add extra 2KN/m2 in toilet and staircase areas.

For example for residential flats (Silt+4 Floors) for 5m x 4m panel
Load on interior column = 5 x 20 m2 x 12 KN/m2 =1200 KN say 120 tonnes.
Method 2: (Accurate method)
Speedy calculation for Load on column. Following load intensity may be
considered for various types of buildings.
Type of Building Load /m2 per floor in KN/m2
Residential Flats 16
Education/Medical hospitals building 18
Library/Godsons/printing press
Industrial Building 20
Steel roof Acc sheet building 7
Staircase/ escalators 18
Car parking (Silt Floor) 8
Roof terrace floor 10

Load on the column= Intensity of loading x area to be covered under the

influence of the column. This area can be arrived by bisecting the
distance between the columns on all four sides (2 sides on corner columns).
1. Extra load for sit out & Balcony: this can be separately computed
and apportioned to the column concerned.
2. For Lift & Machine room: extra loads can be arrived from the lift &
Machine room data.
3. Overhead Tank: extra load can be easily calculated Dead wt. of
OHT+weight of water to be stored and apportioned to the column
concerned. For example 10,000 litres capacity of OHT the dead
weight of tank may be taken as 100% weight of water i.e 10m3 or
10tonnes. Total weight is 10t+10t =20t. Load on each column
assuming supporting water tank column as 4, =20t/4=5t.
Moment factors to be considered for calculating loads on
columns as per Reynolds hand book:
Position of column Moment factor
Interior Middle column 1.10
Exterior intermediate column 1.30
Corner column 1.80
For example interior intermediate column with 5m x 4m grid with
(silt +4 Floors)
Load on column= Equivalent load x Reynolds moment factor.
Equivalent load = Tributary area x Total load intensity.
Tributary area = (5m x 4m) =20 m2
Total Load intensity=load intensity for silt Floor+ load
intensity for residential flat for 3 Floors +Load intensity for
Roof area
= (8 +3x16+10)=66KN/m2
Equivalent load on interior column =20 x 66=1320KN.
Actual axial Load on interior column= Equivalent load x
Moment Factor =1320 x 1.10=1452KN.

2. Arriving Size of column :

Method 1 : Based on Axial loads

Equivalent axial Column size

column Load with
moment factor (KN) (mm)
Up to 500 230 x 230
Above 500 to 800 230 x 300
Above 800 to 1200 230 x 450
Above 1200 to 1500 230 x 600
Above 1500 to 1950 300 x 750
Above 1950 300 x 830
As per table for axial load of 1452 KN , approximate size of column =
230 x600. In this method 1 to 2% steel will be assumed.

Method 2: Based on ultimate load/m2 (Approximate)

Ag (Gross area) required = 80 to 100 mm2 per every 1KN ultimate load
carried by the column depending on the grade of concrete used.
Ac= cross sectional area of column
D= large dimension of column =Ac/b
b=width of column.
For 1.5 x 1452= 2178 KN ultimate load, area required= 80x 2178 =174240
If b=230mm, D=174240/230=758mm say 750mm.
Provide Size of column as 230 x 750mm. Assume 1 to 2% of steel and M20
concrete. If we provide 2% of steel,
Ast required= 2/100 x(230 x750) =3450mm2 .
Provide 8 Nos. 25 dia steel.
Safe Load carrying capacity of column
=1627KN. >1452KN .
Factored Load =1.5x1627=2440.5KN> 2178KN.
Method 3: (Based on tributary area)
Area required is mm2/m2 of area covered by the column

Grade of concrete External column Internal column

2500 1800
2000 1500
M25 1800 1200
For example for (Silt +4Floors) residential building interior column with M20
concrete with 5m by 4m grid
Area required = (5 storey) x tributary area (5x4)x 1500 mm 2 =150000mm2
Assuming width of column b=230 mm
Depth required D = 150000/230 =652mm say 600mm
The size of column to be adopted is 230 x 600 mm.
Method 4: Based on thumb rule :

(i) Based on height or span of the beam

Column depth is 3 to 5% of total height of building
For example (Silt +4 Floors) 5 storeyed building with 3m height
The depth of column is (5x3=15m+0.6m(Basement height))= 15.6x3/100=
0.47m say 500mm.
If the beam span is 4.0m, along transverse direction,
width (b) = 1/12 of span of beam
b= 1/12x4.00 =0.333m say 300 mm. Column size is 300 x 500
(ii) Based on storey/ span of beam
If building height is 3 storeys or less:
If beam span is < 6m, D=300mm;
If beam span is between 6.0 to 9m, D=350mm
If the beam span is more than 12.0m, D=400mm.
If the building height is 4 to 9 storeys:
If beam span is < 6m, D=400mm;
If beam span is between 6.0 to 9m, D=500mm
If the beam span is more than 12.0m,D=600mm
In this example, the span of beam is 5.0m and No. of storeys =5
Size of column for this 5 storeyed builing with 5m x 4m( internal column) is
230 x 400mm.
(iii) Based on Seismic and Non seismic areas:
For Seismic areas : Assume Pu/fck bD=0.35 for side column and 0.30 for
corner column. In case of non seismic areas, the ratio will be 0.40 for side
column and 0.35 for corner column.
For example if Pu= 2178KN, fck=20, column area for non seismic zone for
side column=2178x1000/0.40x20=272250mm2 . The size of column is 300 x
900mm. Assume 0.8% of C.S area=2160mm2. Provide 8 Nos. 20mm dia
bars. (2512mm2.2160mm2)
Method 5: Based on formula given in IS 456-2000
The % of steel is based on assumption of satisfactory % of steel
Ultimate Load (Pu) in KN % of steel for satisfactory design
Below 250 0.8
250 to 500 1.0
500 to 750 1.50
750 to 1000 2.0
1000 to 1500 2.50
1500 to 2000 3.0
For every 250KN increase % of steel is 0.5%
In this case the ultimate load on column is P u= 2178KN.
Up to 2000KN p=3.0% for every 250KN, increase in steel is 0.5%
Hence for Pu=2178KN, p=3.5%. As per code more than 4% of steel is not
Size of column will be arrived based on formula given in IS 456-2000
Pu=0.4 fck As +0.67 f y Asc where Pu is Factored Axial load on the
Ac = Area of concrete
Asc =Area of longitudinal reinforcement
Assume p=3.5%
Pu=0.4fck(Ag-0.035Ag)+0.67 fy x0.035Ag
2178 x 1000=0.4x20 (0.965 Ag )+0.67x415x 0.035 Ag
Ag = 2178 x1000/17.45175=124801.24 mm2
Assuming b =230mm D required = 124801.24 =542.61 mm say 500mm.
Provide 230 x 500mm with 8 Nos. 25 mm dia .RTS .
Method 6: Safe load carrying capacity of column based on %
of steel and known column section for various grade of
concrete and Steel.
Steel Grade
Fe 415 Fe 500
Concrete Grade
M20 P=(2.7005 p+ 8) bD/1500 P=(3.27p + 8) bD/1500
M25 P=(2.6805 p+ 10) bD/1500 P=(3.25p +10) bD/1500
M30. P=(2.6605 p+ 12) bD/1500 P=(3.23p + 12) bD/1500
M35 P=(2.6405 p+ 14) bD/1500 P=(3.21p + 14) bD/1500
M40 P=(2.6205 p+ 16) bD/1500 P=(3.19p + 16) bD/1500
Where P is Axial Load carrying capacity of column in KN.
p = % of steel reinforcement (say 2% is 2)
b = Breadth of Column in mm
D = Depth of Column in mm.
For example for column size 230x600 with M20 concrete and Fe415 steel
with 8Nos. 25dia. P=(2.7005p+8)bD/1500=
P=(2.7005x2.85+8) 230x600/1500=1444 KN. Approximately = P= 1452KN
Hence O.K.