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Dimensional Tolerances in a Tall Concrete Building


Measurements ·of floor flatness and spacing be- have. Thus, owners are protected not by the spec-
tween column lines are reported. These measure- ifications, but by implied warranty as to fitness
ments were taken on a high rise office building. for intended use. Perhaps this is why most build-
They represent tolerances on concrete surfaces
which are realistically obtainable in high quality ings are successful.
construction. The tolerances found are much larger 2. Most real problems with tolerances arise
than commonly specifiecl or expected. They illus- from unrealized expectations. Both designers and
trate our industry's tolerances problem-which is constructors appear to believe buildings are con-
that ne·ither designer nor constructor knows what
tolerances are realistically obtainable, nor what structed much more accurately than they really
tolerances are actually required to obtain a satis- are. Nobody seems to know what tolerances are
factory building. This paper attempts a start on realistically obtainable, nor what tolerances are
solving the problem, by using the measured toler- actually required to obtain a satisfactory build-
ances as a vehicle for discussion. ing. There is little understanding of how toler-
Keywords: columns (supports); concrete con- ances should be considered in design, controlled
struction; dimensional measurement; flatness; during construction, or enforced by inspection.
floors; inspection; multistory buildings; reinforced 3. Tolerances now cause us more trouble than
concrete; structura I design; tolerances (mechanics).
we like to admit. As more parts of buildings
• THE AUTHORS HAVE LONG had a nagging feeling are fabricated off-site, tolerances will become
that buildings were constructed less accurately even more troublesome. As an industry, we are
than commonly assumed, and that this was the not facing up to the problem.
root reason behind the bickering which seems to
continually occur between constructor and de- RECOMMENDATIONS
signer concerning tolerances. On asking around,
1. Take existing tables of tolerances with con-
we discovered that nobody seemed to have any
siderable salt. Think of a realistic tolerance on
data on dimensional tolerances. So, we bowed to
most concrete dimensions or surfaces as ± 1 in.
the inevitable. We picked a building representa-
tive of high quality construction. We measured 2. Select design concepts which will accom-
parts of it to determine variations in floor flat- modate realistically obtainable tolerances. Make
ness and column locations. We were amazed by sure there are places to absorb the inevitable
the wide variations. We often found ourselves variations. Dimension the drawings such that the
doubting (and rechecking) our measurements. constructor can easily spot which dimensions
This paper reports these variations, and uses are critical, and such that the inspector can
them as a vehicle for discussion. measure them directly.
3. Select construction concepts which will di-
CONCLUSIONS rectly control critical dimensions. Review the de-
1. Tolerances actually obtained in construction sign concept for hidden traps. Ask questions.
are much larger than commonly expected. We 4. Committee 117, Tolerances, badly needs toler-
specify unrealistic tolerances, but in fact accept ance measurements on real-life buildings. Please
a building with whatever deviations it happens to send us any reliable data you have - particularly


The chief barrier to a solution is that everybody
ACI member Philip W. Birkeland is associate partner, ABAM
Engineers, Inc., consulting engineers, Tacoma, Wash. Currently, seems to blame the other person. In fact, all
he is a member of ACI Committee 117, Tolerances. of us are at fault. There is ~ saying, "Don't
worry about the speck in your brother's eye .
Leonard J. Westhoff is field superintendent, Baugh Construc-
tion Company, Seattle, Wash. Mr. Westhoff's experience in·
until you take the log out of your own." In the
eludes high rise and other commercial buildings, as proiect process of writing this paper, both authors dis-
engineer and as general superintendent. Currently he is a
member of ACI Committee 117, Tolerances.
covered logs in their own eyes.
Committee 117 is supposed to provide a soLution
to the tolerances problem. However, it has been
unable to arrive at a consensus as to the defini-
for cases which define the borderline between tion of the problem, let alone propose solutions.
a satisfactory and an unsatisfactory building. This is not from lack of trying. One of the
difficulties is that there are no hard data avail-
RESULTS able as to what tolerances are actually attained
For actual data, see Fig. 2 through 7 and Tables in the field. On asking around, it appears that
1 and 2. These data are limited in scope, and published "specification" tolerance tables, as
were taken from one building. Adjusting these found in ACI 301, 347, etc., have been compiled in
measurements to what we would expect to find the equivalent of smoke-filled rooms, with no
on other similar buildings, we feel the variations direct relationship to measured reality. In the
listed in Table 1 would be reasonable to ex- absence of hard data, these committees have had
to rely on their judgment. The "smoke-filled
pect in good work.
room" was the only option open if the job were
to get done. In the case of Committee 117, the
only "data" readily available was Roger Corbetta's
very emphatic statement that, "A construction
tolerance is some part of an inch." As may be
Item Usual Maximum seen from the data reported in this paper, he
is surprisingly correct.
Floor flatness deviations
It was felt that these problems should be
From mean elevation ± lh in. ± 1 in. aired, preferably in the form of a paper based
Slope Yi6 in. per ft =%6 in. per ft on real measurements of an actual building.
Curvature ~in. in 10ft Vz in. in 10 ft Thus, this paper. We hope we can communicate
Column location deviations our own sense of amazement as to the wide varia-
Individual column from tions we found. We hope this will stimulate you
its line ± 1 in. ± 2 in. to write discussions. Tolerances is a problem
Spacing between parallel area which needs plain talk. We will welcome
column lines ± 1 in. ± 2 in. honest disagreement.
Squareness between per-
pendicular column lines Ys in. in 10 ft %in. in 10 ft Description of the building structure
The structure is an office tower, in the height
range of 20 to 25 supported levels. The framing
DISCUSSION system is of tube-in-tube or hull-core type. Archi-
tecturally, a typical floor plan comprises a 35 ft
How this paper came to be. written wide column free rental space, bounded on the
Both authors are members of ACI Committee outside by the hull, and completely surrounding
117, Tolerances. From committee meetings and a 50 ft square core. Fig. 1 shows the framing
correspondence, it is clear that the concrete in- concept used for the rental spaces. The hull is
dustry has a real tolerances problem. There is of eggcrate type bearing wall construction, with
continuing trouble between the designer, con- cast-in-place columns and spandrels resisting lat-
structor, and, sometimes, the owner. The troubles eral load in the planes of the walls. The rental
are of two types: "constructional," which affect area is framed with precast/pretensioned single
the ease of constructing the building, and "func- tees spanning from the hull to columns at the
tional," which affect how the building performs core periphery or to cast-in-place diagonal beams
its intended function after it is completed. The at the corners. The tees are composite with a
first type results in bid prices higher than they 3 in. thick structural lightweight concrete topping,
should be. The second results in a building which is also used to bury an underfloor elec-
which is worth less than it should be. Since trification system.
we ultimately work for the owner, we have an At the time of this writing, the tower is es-
obligation to solve these two types of problems. sentially complete. It has enough interior finish


surface irregularities in two single tees. The maxi-
mum variation elsewhere is 3fs in. above (west
of the northwest corner of the core) to 9/16 in.
below (north of the "+10" ridge). The maximum
slope is about 1/s in. per ft, at the east end of
the longer "+10" ridge. The maximum slope else-
where is about 1/16 in. per ft, found at several
locations. The maximum curvature, as would be
measured by offset from a 10-ft straightedge, is
r--=-=-:::;:::-...::-_-:::_-=:_-===-=-=~ 3fs in. in 10 ft (across the "+10" ridge, and across
'r--=-;::_:-=--==-=---=-===-=---=":::::8 the "-9" trough just to the north). Elsewhere,

Fig. 1-Typical floor framing

work (drywall, ceilings, doors, partitions, etc.)

completed to allow commentary on how this
work is affected by the variations in concrete
dimensions we have measured.

Measurements of floor flatness

Floor flatness is important because of its
effect on detailing of partition reveals, door
swings, the architect's or owner's happiness, and
the like.
In an attempt to make life simple and to Fig. 2-Contour map flatness of 6th floor
eliminate avoidable error, we used a single in-
strument point on each floor to take elevations.
This was located just inside the northeast cor-
ner of the hull (see Fig. 1). From this point we
could see only the north and east sides of the
rental area floor. This is why Fig. 2 and 3 show
only half the floor. We took elevations at points
on a 5 ft sq grid. The reference plane was a
vertically offset line scribed on the hull columns
- the same line used to set the topping screeds.
The contour lines shown on Fig. 2 and 3 were
constructed from these data. The contour interval
is in eighths of an inch. The contour lines are
marked in sixteenths of an inch above (plus) or
below (minus) intended finish floor elevation,
relative to the reference plane.
Fig. 2 shows one-half of the 6th floor. Eleva-
tions range from % in. above intended finish
floor to % in. below, occurring near the northwest
and southeast corners. The two "+10" east-west
ridgelines at the southeast corner are the only
variations we can make sense of. We think they
were caused by two underfloor ducts being set
high, probably due to differential camber and top Fig. 3-Contour map flatness of 16th floor


there are several places with curvatures of 5/16 in. TABLE 2- FLOOR FLATNESS- OATA TAKEN FROM
in 10ft. CONTOUR MAPS (SEE FIG. 2 AND 3)
Fig. 3 shows half the 16th floor. This floor has
no underfloor duct. It uses "punch through" Floor
electrification. Elevations range from 5/16 in. Item-Deviations 6th 16th
above intended finish floor (on the north face From intended Maximum +% +~fiG
of the core) to % in. below (three places ad- elevation, in. -% -%
jacent to the northwest corner of the core). Usual +% +%6
-o/:16 _1~6
Elsewhere, the maximum variations are from
about 5/16 in. above to 11/16 in. below (both at Slopes, in. per ft Maximum Ys Ys plus
several locations). The maximum slope is some- Usual ~6 l's
what more than % in. per ft (adjacent to the Curvatures, in. offset Maximum % %
northwest corner of the hull). Elsewhere, there from 10 ft straight-
edge Usual %n %
are several locations with slopes about % in. per
ft. The maximum curvature in 10 ft is about
%in., across the "+4" hump adjacent to the north- mum is at one of the "+10" ridges (protruding
west corner of the hull. Elsewhere, several loca- underfloor duct), a more usual maximum might
tions have curvatures of about 3/s in. in 10 ft. be % in. Spotty information from other geographi-
Table 2 summarizes the floor flatness data. It cal areas indicates that a % in. requirement is ex-
is interesting to compare reality - as reported ceedingly difficult to meet. Thus, a realistic tol-
here - with what is often specified. We erance on curvature seems to be Vz in., measured as
will compare with ACI 301-66 (the best standard an offset from a 10-ft straightedge.
specification we know of) and with the contract In summary, the contour maps look like ran-
documents (specifications) used for this building. domly glaciated terrain. Except for the "+10" east-
Concerning deviations from intended elevation: west ridges on the 6th floor, the contours do not
ACI 301 is silent, but refers to ACI 347. ACI relate to structure below or to anything else.
347-68 indirectly limits the deviation to about Slopes approach those you would want for roof
plus or minus an inch ( ± % in. for slab soffit drainage! Deviations and curvatures are far more
per section, plus + 1fz - % in. for slab than one would innocently expect. Yet, we feel
thickness). The contract documents specify ± 14 this building is a good representative of high
in. from "elevation indicated." Table 2 indicates quality construction. The floors look flat and
ACI 301 (and 347) are realistic. The contract doc- feel flat. There have been no undue problems with
uments are not, for two reasons: First, the words doors or partitions. Hence, if you wish to criticize
"elevation indicated" mean that the floor must be the workmanship of this building, please have
within % in. of the elevation shown on the ready comparably complete measurements on
drawings at time of completion. In this building, one of your buildings.
column shortening due to dead load of later con-
struction above causes a calculated long-term de- Measurements of column spacing
flection downward of about 1 in. at midheight of In this building, variations in spacing of col-
the building. This means that a given floor can umns along the hull (or along the face of the
be cast exactly at "elevation indicated," and 1 core) are not particularly important. However,
year later be 1 in. below. This shortening cannot the clear distance between hull and core is im-
be predicted to an accuracy of % in. Second, even portant, as it directly affects ceiling installation.
if "elevation indicated" were interpreted to mean This is what we measured. The hull columns and
"intended elevation" (referring to, say, a line spandrels were gang formed in welded steel. The
scribed on the column at time of casting the core columns were formed in plywood. The ceil-
floor), the ± % in. is still unrealistic. Table 2 in- ing in this building is a modular type (5 ft each
dicates that a realistic tolerance on deviation way, to match the floor space planning concept,
from intended elevation might be ± 1 in. with each module consisting of a 2 x 5 ft ceiling
Concerning slope: ACI 301 and the contract doc- tile on each side of a 1 X 5 ft recessed lighting
uments are silent. By an argument similar to fixture). In the ceiling itself, there are no half
above, ACI 347 limits slope to about 1/16 in. per modules, reveals or other provisions for take-up
ft. Table 2 shows that a realistic tolerance on of tolerances. The dimensioning concepts used do
slope might be 3/16 in. per ft. not allow take-up in the wall furring either. The
Concerning curvature: ACI 347 is silent. ACI result is difficult construction, and our interest
301 and the contract documents respectively limit in seeing just what the concrete tolerances were.
curvatures to % in. and 14 in. as measured by Many other buildings are of equal difficulty.
offset from a 10-ft straightedge. Table 2 shows Moreover, if you think this building is difficult,
curvatures up to 5fs in. over 10 ft. As this maxi- we know of another one with similar ceiling


problems, but compounded by underfloor elec- can infer that an individual column could de-
trification which had to be exactly under the viate from its line by % in. In comparing our
partition lines. Imagine trying to build that one! data with the 1970 AISC "Code of Standard Prac-
Again, to keep life simple, we used the same tice for Steel Buildings and Bridges" (Section
instrument point for the same reasons as for 7.h "Tolerances"), we were immediately struck
floor flatness. We had no handy reference line. by the AISC Code's seeming laxity. However, on
So, we arbitrarily set up an east-west baseline review the AISC tolerances appear eminently
parallel to the north hull face, with the east and
west ends the same distance south of the two
end columns. In retrospect, we should not have
used the end columns for our base line. The loca-
tion of the end columns, perpendicular to the
hull, is not well controlled by the forming method
used. Our north-south baseline was obtained by
turning 90° and doubling the angle. Offset dis-
tances were measured from these baselines to in-
side face of hull columns and to outside face of
core columns. These offsets were measured at
ceiling height, a more realistic location than at
the floor. Fig. 4-Colu·mn deviations 6th floor (north side)
Fig. 4 through 7 show the variations in these
offsets, but with shifted and rotated baselines.
We were unable to relate the variations to joints
between gang forms, or to anything else. Lines y
connect the data points. Lines yare "least square
straight lines" which minimize the sum of the
squares of the variations perpendicular to the
original baselines. These y lines are the straight
lines which best fit the data. They are essentially
the same lines as one would draw by eyeball
if one were trying to average out the points.
These lines relate to where the edges of the
modular ceiling must come. One then hopes the Fig. 5-Column deviations 6th floor (east side)
distance between hull and core will be no more
than about % in. over nominal, at which point
the ceiling tiles begin to fall out of the T-bars.
It is much easier to correct for a distance less
than nominal, as one need only crop the ends
of the lighting fixtures and/or the ceiling tile.
Fig. 4 shows the north side of the 6th floor.
Fig. 5 shows the east side. The distance between
lines y is from Ys in. under nominal to % in.
over. The hull (lines y) is about 0.0026 in. per
ft out of square between north and east faces. The
core is about 0.0210 in. per ft out. The core is Fig. 6-Column deviations 16th floor (north side)
skewed about 0.0062 in./ft relative to the hull.
Fig. 6 shows the north side of the 16th floor.
Fig. 7 shows the east side. The distance between
lines y is from% in. under nominal to % in. over.
The hull is about 0.0074 in./ft out of square; the --~--
core about 0.0096 out. The core is skewed about
0.0073 relative to the hull.
Table 3 summarizes the data for clear distance
between hull and core columns. These data com-
pare pretty well with the tolerances required by
ACI 301-66 (see ACI 347-68, Section, which lOFT ~I~
,...__.... eJ -
imply a deviation from nominal of the distance
between column lines of 1 in. Additionally, one Fig. 7-Column deviations 16th floor (~os+ side)


UMNS AT HULL AND CORE (SEE FIG. 4 THROUGH 7) 10'-o" 10'-o" 10'-0"
Side of Floor
Item-Deviations 6th 16th
Lines of arithmetic North +lh +% SCHEDULE DIMH.ISIDfJ
mean, in. East +% -:14
North -:1;8 +% Fig. 8-Double dimensioning as commonly shown on
Lines of least square +% +% drawings
best fit, in.
East +lh -%,
+% +:1;8

realistic. A column not exterior and not at an Too often, the designer tacitly assumes the
elevator shaft can, in theory, be 1:500 out of plumb building can be built to zero tolerance, and there-
for its entire height - 7 in. for a 300 ft high fore selects an unforgiving design concept. This
building! We know of one similar height building designer can easily end up on the wrong end of
with an elevator shaft out of plumb by 7 in. a court decision. The constructor cannot be asked
The elevator works, too. An exterior column for to perform the impossible, even if the specifica-
a 20-story building can be 2 in. out of plumb. tions he bid on said he had to. At best, the con-
The column lines at hull or core can be 1:500 or structor ends up fighting the job. This costs
0.024 in. per ft out of square. The core can be everybody money. However, the conscientious de-
skewed 1:500 or 0.024 in. per ft with respect to signer has his problems, because he has no ready
the hull. Thus, our building appears to meet source of reliable numerical information as to
the AISC Code. tolerances attainable or tolerances required. Just
In summary, we question whether it is reason- because his previous buildings were successfully
able to expect better accuracy from a concrete completed and occupied does not mean the toler-
building than from a structural steel building. ances he specified were actually attained, or if
Thus, based on the AISC Code, it seems to us attained, were actually required. A case in
point is the building we have measured. The
that one should expect the location of any sur-
floor is nowhere near as flat as specified. Yet
face on a column over its full height to deviate
that same specification was used on several
at least 2 in. from its intended location. However, previous successful buildings.
measurements from this building indicate that on In addition to showing what is needed, the
a given floor it is reasonable to expect a given drawings should be dimensioned such that the
column to deviate about 1 in. from its line, the important dimensions are directly shown and can
distance between column lines to deviate about 1 be directly measured. Example: Assume five 12 in.
in. from nominal, and two nominally square square exterior columns spaced at 10 ft center
column lines to be out of square by % in. in 10 ft. to center. Assume precast concrete infill panels
which must fit between the columns. Normally,
Tolerances in design the columns would be dimensioned to centerlines
as four spaces each at 10 ft, an overall dimension
Ideally, the designer must first decide what of 40 ft, and the column width indicated on the
tolerance is required to make his concept work. column schedule (see Fig. 8). Because of the in-
Then he must visualize a reasonable method of fill panels, it is important that each space between
construction, and determine whether the tolerance columns be controlled as closely as possible. Con-
he wants can be attained in the field at reasonable sider one of the spaces between columns, labelled
cost. If not, he must change his concept until "critical dimension" on Fig 8. If the constructor is
the required tolerances can be met at reasonable to avoid ambiguity, he must choose one of two
cost. Good designers go through this sequence ways to control that space. He can control three
of evaluation and modification, usually by intui- center to center distances and the overall dimen-
tion and often subconsciously. After satisfying sion and allow the fourth center to center di-
mension to float, or he can control the four center
himself as to his concept, the designer then has
to center distances directly and allow the overall
to put his requirement on paper (on the drawings dimension to float. If he does the first, the tol-
or in the specifications) such that the constructor erance on the "critical dimension" can be 3 X
knows what is needed. Troubles occur because ( ± 112) on the three center to center distan•ces and
real life deviates from this ideal. ± 1 in. on the overall distance and +
1h-% in.


tious constructor tries to discover which toler-
ances are important. He does this by experience
and intuition. Then, he puts a price on the toler-
ances. This whole process is often done subcon-
sciously. But, it is done, and it does affect the
bid price - sometimes seriously.
Fig. 9-Double dimensioning critical dimension Then, if he gets the job, he begins construction.
left to float All goes well if he has enough money in the
job to cover the tolerance problems. If he doesn't,
and if he feels he was misled by the contract
documents through no fault of his own, the job
becomes trouble for all concerned.
----------1 ;I; 2 1------------t On the other hand, if the constructor is not
particularly competent or conscientious, he may
±1/2 ± 1/2
get the job because he didn't spot the tolerance
problems, and consequently bid the job too low.
If he is human, he doesn't like to admit a mis-
take. The result is even more trouble. Trouble
means lessened profit, and higher bids on the
next job. The owner ends up paying.
How do we then reduce the incidence of trou-
Fig. I 0-Double dimensioning critical dimension ble? One way is to have the contract documents
controlled directly clearly show where the problems will be. Anoth-
er is to build the structure in such a way that
critical dimensions are controlled directly. Re-
on the column thickness, or +2a/4-i$ in. total {see ferring to the example discussed in "Tolerances
Fig. 9). If he does the second, the tolerance of in Design," the clear distance between columns
any of the four spaces is ±% in. on the c-c is what is important. A thinking-type constructor
distance and +lf2-% in. on the column thickness, might thus decide to form the opening between
or +%-1 in. total on the "Critical Dimension" columns rather than the columns themselves. In
(see Fig. 10). Thus, the designer might be ex- this way, the major error or tolerance would
pecting +%-1 in., but might actually get +2%-3 occur in the column width rather than in the
in. as a very unpleasant surprise. When there space between columns. The tolerance would thus
are two ways to measure a dimension (as above), be absorbed in the cover over the column ties,
this situation is called double dimensioning. rather than in the space between columns.
This surprise is why double dimensioning has
been taboo in the metal machining industry - Tolerances in inspection
probably since Eli Whitney invented inter- The inspector has his problems too. He must
changeable parts for firearms. The constructor live in a black and white world, while the real
too often must guess the designer's intent. Con- world around him is shaded all degrees of gray.
cerning measurements, there is another problem. He must behave as if a given dimension is
Just where is the column centerline? Dimen- either right or wrong. If right, he lets the con-
sioning practices should allow direct measure- structor go on. If wrong, he must order remedial
ment. The machined metal industry has done work. He has no other option.
this for generations. Dimensions should be given So, what does he do when faced with double
to face of concrete. dimensioning? He may measure the dimension
Until designers are willing to face up to prob- like he believes it should be, and he may find
lems like the above (double dimensioning, and excessive error. The constructor, believing other-
dimensions which cannot be measured directly), wise, measures it the other way, and finds it
nobody can expect the constructor to pay se- within specification. The inspector thus cannot
rious attention to a table of tolerances given in reject something he thinks is wrong. So, he
the specifications. stomps off, cursing the design office.
What does he do when faced with dimensions
Tolerances in construction which cannot be directly measured? Like the cen-
Ideally, the constructor should be able to de- terline of a column? As he must, he guesses. If he
termine the required tolerances from the con- finds the error over specification, he must con-
tract documents. However, the current state of sider rejecting the work. However, the constructor
the art is that he must determine them himself. guessing in a different but equally logical way,
Prior to bid, then, the competent and conscien- may be able to show the error as being within


specification. The inspector has thus lost another from the construction industry. First, areas of
argument, and tears out some more hair. responsibility are clearly defined. The designer is
The inspector cannot solve these problems expected to show on the drawings the minimum
without help from the designer. quality needed. If he shows better quality than
The inspector has a more serious problem. He needed, his design is considered too expensive.
knows that in real life he cannot reject com- If he shows worse, his design doesn't work. The
pleted concrete solely because it is out of toler- shop (constructor) is expected to make the prod-
ance. Only in the case of a serious error (say a uct exactly as drawn and is not expected or
column is mislocated by the classical 1 ft) can permitted to redesign it if the original design
he reject finished work. And in that case, the is impracticable to build. The inspector makes
constructor usually tears it out on his own hook sure the product is made exactly as drawn.
before the inspector gets a chance to reject it. Second, there is a great deal of feedback. The
In building construction, the authors are not designer learns from the shop, and vice versa.
aware of a single instance (barring slabs on grade The result is that tolerances are specified loosely
which were supposed to drain, but didn't) where enough for maximum economy, but yet tight
out of tolerance work has been rejected and torn enough so that the design works. The authors
out, solely because it was out of tolerance. feel the construction industry has much it can
This is direct proof that specified tolerances learn from the machined metal people. We must
are usually much tighter than they need to be. get good feedback!
In the machined metal industry, the designer,
the inspector, and the constructor generally work
Based on a paper presented at ACI's Fall Meeting, St. Louis,
for the same company. There are two differences Mo., Nov. 6, 1970.

~~~---- ~~'<::"*

Public Library, Fort Wayne, Ind. two acid treatments of the exterior and interior sur-
faces. Each panel is 6 ft 2 in. wide and 6 in. thick.
Precast prestressed concrete units were used in the Each stem is 12 in. deep.
Fort Wayne (Ind.) Public Library to attain a fire re- The hoods are 9 ft wide, 6 ft deep, and 7 ft high.
sistant structure and to take advantage of the prefin- They rest ·on the precast columns which are centered
ished character of precast concrete. on a 10 ft spacing. The columns are 34 ft 2 in. high and
Full-height precast wall panels, columns, and hoods 12 x 41l in. in cross section.
for the facade were used. Inside, the prestressed double Notches in the columns support the single tee floor
tees used in the second floor and roof are left exposed and roof. Each tee is 10 ft wide, 45 in. deep, and spans
for interior decoration. 50 ft. The second floor tees a-re a special design with
The wall panels are channel-shaped to prevent warp- cores cast in either side of the stem just below the
ing, but the channel stems also combine with the flanges. These voids serve as air conditioning and heat-
columns between the panels and the hoods to act as ing ducts. The other ends of the tees are supported by
sun shades for the windows. The panels were cast in a cast-in-place beam.
32 ft 3% in lengths with white cement and white Architect-engineers for the library were Bradley and
quartz aggregate. The aggregate was exposed through Bradley. Photo courtesy Prestressed Concrete Institute.