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Lift-slab construction was a

revolutionary idea invented

and developed in the early
1950s by a collaboration of
Philip N. Youtz and Thomas B.
Slick, resulting in what came to
be known as the Youtz-Slick
Lift-Slab Method of

Basically, the method entails
casting floor and roof slabs on
or at ground level and jacking
them up into position.

Flat plate floors are commonly
used because they are so well
suited to stack-casting,
requiring for work at only the
edges of the slab and at floor

The History
Originally , lift-slabs were reinforced with mild steel
reinforcing, which limited the column spacing or required very
thick slabs.
With the advent of post-tensioning , however the column
spacing was increased and the thickness of the slabs were
Contemporarily, all lift-slabs are post-tensioned.
Developments in the construction field have changed lift
slab techniques over its 33 year history, increase use of
pumping and prestressing has made cast-in-place flat plate
work more efficient.
Photographs of what is believed to be one of the earliest, if not the first,
lift slab structure constructed in the US.
The traditional lift slab construction sequence as illustrated in the
Special lifting collars or share heads are provided in the slabs at the
columns. Bond breaking compounds are applied between slabs to
separate them.
After the slabs have cured long enough to reach a prescribed
strength powerful hydraulic jacks mounted on top of the columns lift
the slabs into their respective positions.
A console connected to each hydraulic jack synchronizes the number
of turns of the check nuts to assure that the concrete slabs is being
raised the same amount at all points.

The big advantage of erecting concrete buildings using lift slab construction is
elimination of most form work; only the sides need to be formed , an important
factor in areas where labor cost are high.
Lift slab can be used for heights upto about 16 stories. Economical column spacing
ranges from 22 to 32 feet. Columns may be pipe, tubes or wide flange sections;
concrete building columns may be used in 3 to 4 story buildings not requiring
Another advantage is reduced handling and hoisting of materials and supplies that
can simply be placed on top of the slabs and lifted with them.
There is little need for finishing the bottom of the slabs, since they will be as
smooth as the floor finish of the slab below and thus the bottom of the slab can be
used directly as a ceiling.
The technique offers good fire resistance and good acoustic ratings.
Mass designed into walls, floors and roofs helps to reduce the effects of daily
temperature changes.


The method has limitations too, the principal one
being that buildings must be specifically planned
for the same , or it will not have any economic
advantages over conventional construction.
General Considerations
The lift slab method of construction
presents certain unique engineering
considerations, during both the design
phase and the construction phase of a

These considerations must be recognized
and adequately addressed during the
structural design, during the planning of
the lift-slab operation, during the
preparation of the shop drawings, and
during the construction.

Structural engineering is required in all of
these phases by various engineers
employed by different organizations and
with different responsibilities.

Main components of machine are the
cylinders and two threaded winches
between two steel beams. Winches
are connected with screw bundle
concreted into the ceilings, lower
bridge of the machines is underpinned
by steel pipes.
When piston reaches the clearence,
weight of lifted bundle is loaded over
from upper bridge to lower bridge and
upper bridge is let back to zero setting.
(Nuts on winches are driven by cog-
wheels, so that the winch gets into
lifting position again.)
Lifting is carried out in 10 cm steps so,
that this way is also done in
controlled parts.

Lifting jack
Side elevation of a building
being constructed in
accordance with with this

Side elevation showing an
additional slab being
constructed in preparation
for raising.
The lifting process..
Various Lift slab Systems of Construction
The foundations are constructed and
backfilled and then the slab on grade is

Openings are left in the slab on grade to
permit the erection of steel columns
which are then erected and plumbed.

In the Youtz-slick system a lifting collar
is cast into each slab at each column. This
collar provides a method to hook up
lifting rods at each collar, so that the slab
can be lifted, and a method to secure the
lifting collar to the supporting column,
either permanently or temporarily.

When the first tier of columns is
erected, all the lifting collars for all the
slabs to be lifted are installed over the
columns of this tier and are temporarily
suspended above the ground .
The Lift-plate system differs from
the Youtz-slick system in that a pair
of jacks are mounted on each
column, one on each side.

This feature makes it possible to
have high tiers of many stories, up
to about six stories.

The length of column above the
jacks is unloaded and does not
affect the stability of the column.
Whereas a Youtz-slick lifting collar
is one piece and needs to be
threaded over the columns of the
first tier, a Lift-plate lifting collars
comes in two pieces which are
bolted together after being put in

The lift-plate system is the same
as the Youtz-slick system in regard to
the construction of the foundations
and slab on grade, and the casting
and post-tendering of thee slabs to
be lifted.

A new lift slab system has evolved in which concrete bearing walls are lifted
simultaneously with the slabs.
Concrete bearing walls are cast flat in the same stack with the slabs and attached to the
slab with loops of plastic rope, forming hinges. As the slab is raised, each wall panel
automatically unfolds into position.
Since the walls are load bearing, there is no need for expensive steel columns or lifting
collars as used in conventional lift-slab work. The steel columns used for erection are
removed and reused elsewhere.

Walls of only 4-inch thickness are adequate because
they have a long bearing length.
The openings in the walls will be filled with masonry
walls, precast panels or other curtain wall materials.
The columns and bridges, reusable up to several hundred
times, can be taken apart for easy transport to the next
The absence of decking formwork shores, scaffolding,
hoists and cranes further illustrates the simplicity
of the lift slab operation.

Jacking equipment must be marked with the
manufacturers rated capacity and must be capable of
supporting at least two and one-half times the load
being lifted during jacking operations and the
equipment must not be overloaded.
Such equipment includes, but is not limited to, the
threaded rods, lifting attachments, lifting nuts, hook-
collars, T-caps, shearheads, columns, and footings.
Lift-slab operations must be designed and planned by a
registered professional engineer who has experience in
lift-slab construction. Such plans and designs must be
implemented by the employer and must include detailed
instructions and sketches indicating the prescribed
of erection. The plans and designs must also include
provisions for ensuring lateral stability of the
building/structure during construction.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations standard for concrete and masonry construction
Subpart Q,Concrete and Masonry Construction, Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part
1926.700 through 706
Sets forth requirements with which construction employers must comply to protect construction workers
from accidents and injuries resulting from the premature removal of formwork, the failure to brace masonry
walls, the failure to support precast panels, the inadvertent operation of equipment, and the failure to guard
reinforcing steel.
Rules after collapse
Under no circumstances shall any employee who is not
essential to the jacking operation be permitted
immediately beneath a slab while it is being lifted.
Jacks/lifting units must be designed and installed so that
they will neither lift nor continue to lift when loaded in
excess of their rated capacity; and jacks/lifting units must
have a safety device which will cause the jacks/lifting
units to support the load at any position in the event of
their malfunction or loss of ability to continue to lift.
No employee, except those essential to the jacking operation, shall be permitted in the building/structure
while any jacking operation is taking place unless the building/structure has been reinforced sufficiently to
ensure its integrity during erection. The phrase reinforced sufficiently to ensure its integrity as used in this
paragraph means that a registered professional engineer, independent of the engineer who designed and
planned the lifting operation, has determined from the plans that if there is a loss of support at any jack
location, that loss will be confined to that location and the structure as a whole will remain stable.