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It was adopted by the Indian Standard Institution on 22 October 1962, after the draft finalized by the Building Construction Practices Sectional Committee had been approved by the Building Division Council. Reinforced concrete shell roofs are chosen commonly for covering large clear areas using the minimum of intermediate supports such as in factory buildings, godowns ,power stations, garages, island platforms of railway stations, stadia, etc.

This standard is intended to give a general guidance to those engaged in the construction of reinforced concrete shell roofs.
Before the preparation of this standard ,considerations of the builders and technologists have been taken into account. All standards in this code are in metric unit as it is the unit adopted in India.

This standard covers the in situ construction of reinforced concrete shells of single and double curvature.

Precast and prestressed shells are not covered in this standard.

Shells of light weight concrete are also not included in this standard.

In this standard the following definitions shall apply: SHELL DIMENSIONS:
Chord width : the horizontal projection of the arc of the shell.( B in fig.) Radius Rise : radius at any point of the skin in one of the two principal directions in case of cylindrical shells. : the rise of the shell at any section is the vertical distance between the lower springing level and the highest level or apex of the shell.(f in fig.)

Semi central angle : this is half the angle subtended by the arc of a aymmetrical circular shell at the center. Span :In a cylindrical shell this is the distance between the center lines of the two adjacent end frames or traverses. ( L in fig.)

Cylindrical shells : shells generated by a curve moving on a straight line or vice versa. eg. of cylindrical shells : barrel shells north light cylindrical shells Butterfly shells Curves employed for the cross section of cylindrical shells are: arc of a circle semi ellipse parabola catenary cycloid Barrel shells : cylindrical shells which are symmetrical about the crown. Butterfly shells : these are those shells which consist of two parts of a cylindrical shell joined together at their lower edges.

Continuous cylindrical shells : cylindrical shells which are longitudinally continuous over the traverses. Corrugated shells : shells which have corrugation on their surface.

Multiple cylindrical shells : a series of parallel cylindrical shells which are traversly continuous. North light cylindrical shells : cylindrical shells with the two springing at the different levels and built in single or simple bays and having provisions for north light glazing. Ruled surfaces : a surface which can be generated entirely by a straight line singly ruled surface : a surface if at every point a single straight line can only be ruled. eg : cylindrical shells and concoid doubly ruled : if at every point two straight lines can be ruled. eg : hyperbolic ,paraboloid and inverted umbrella

Shells of revolution

: Those generated by curves revolved about their axis of symmetry. eg : segmental domes paraboloids of revolution Hyperboloids of revolution

Shell roof

: curved surface in which thickness is small as compared to the radius and other dimensions.

Translational shells

: this is the surface generated when one curve moves parallel to another curve the planes of the two curves being at right angles to each other. eg : hyperbolic paraboloids elliptic paraboloids


Common edge member(intermediate rib or beam) : The common edge member provided at the junction of two adjacent multiple shells. End frames or traverses: These are structures used to support and preserve the geometry of the shell. Edge member : A member provided at the edge of the shell.

Slope Thickness : : If the slope is more than 45 deg. it is difficult for easy concreting and requires the use of back forms. The thickness of singly curved shell shall not be less than 5 cm. The thickness of doubly curved shell shall not be less than 4 cm.

End frames or traverses :

It is provided to preserve the shape of the shell. It may be a solid diaphragm, an arch rib,a portal frame or a bowstring girder.

The diameter of reinforcement shall not be less than 5 mm in the unthick portion of the shell and shell not be grater than the following limits: 10mm dia. 12mm dia. 16mm dia. For shells from 4cm up to less than 5cm thick. For shells from 5cm up to less than 6.5cm thick. For shells 6.5cm and over in thickness.

The maximum spacing of reinforcement in any direction shall be limited to five times the thickness of the shell and the area of unreinforced panel shall in no case exceed 15d^2 where d is the thickness of the shell.
The total depth occupied by reinforcement in the direction of the thickness in the unthickened portion of the shell shall not exceed three times the maximum permissible diameter as specified above.


A nominal mix of 1:2:4 may be used for shells of medium dimensions and a mix of 1:1:3 for very large shells. But in no case the mix shall be lower than 1:2:4. The maximum size of aggregate shall be 20 mm. but if there are problems in placing the concrete the maximum size may be restricted to 12mm provided the requirements of strength are satisfied. It is advisable to use an air entraining agent so that satisfactory workability is obtained without increasing the water content of the mix. Concrete having excessive water contents should be avoided as it is likely to slip down steep slopes.

Shells may have edge members which are designed to act in unison with the shells ;adjacent shells may also have been designed to take the load in unison.For the ease and economy of construction however it is generally necessary to construct the various elements separately. The designer should specify the essential conditions governing the sequence of construction. In the type of shell roofs covered in this standard the following sequence may generally be used at the preliminary stages of planning the construction work:

Single shell : 1. erection of formwork for the edge members and the traverses , fabrication and placement of reinforcement and concreting with such portion of shell reinforcement as shown in the drawings.
2. removal of formwork leaving required supports. 3. erection of formwork for the entire shell ,fabrication and placement of steel therein and concreting. 4. curing

5. removal of formwork
6. waterproofing and insulating 7. finishing *wherever economically feasible consideration may be given to the erction of the formwork for the entire shell unit including the edge member and the traverse. However it shall be ensured that the formwork for the edge member and traverse is not in any wat connected with the formwork of the shell proper Multiple shell : These do not exceed four or five in number in one series depending on the designers requirements for expansion joints. For multiple shells the stages of construction will be the same as those of single shells . However unless otherwise provided for in the design ,supports required for the edge beams ,traverses and shells in one series shall remain till the entire series is completed.

Shape is the essence of shell design and thickness are small, greater care shall be exercised in the design and erection of formwork and special attention shall be paid to minimizing the differential settlement of the centering and of the props supporting them. In case of repetitions formwork in panels or mobile units may be considered. A hard and smooth surface for the form may eliminate the need for plastering thus effecting economy. Formwork shall be designed and erected in such a manner as to lend itself to be removable .

The reinforcement in shell structure including edge members, traverses, etc, shall be placed as shown in the drawing accompanying the design. To ensure monolithic connection between shell and edge members the shell reinforcement shall be adequately anchored into edge members or vice versa, by providing suitable bond bars from the edge members to the shell. Reinforcement in shells: As far as possible hooks shell be avoided and adequate laps or welded joints as specified by the designer shall be provided in straight lengths. If hooks are provided for reinforcement in the shell they shall be kept parallel to plane of the shell. Reinforcement in edge members may be lapped, welded or provided with special couplings with or without welding. If butt welding is to be used it should be done carefully. Provision of special coupling may be advantageous in edge members of large spans as it would avoid congestion of bars due to lap or hooks. A minimum cover of 12mm shall be provided for the reinforcement . For regulating the cover accurately made and matured precast mortar or concrete pieces shall be used. The reinforcement shall be correctly placed and firmly fixed. The reinforcement may be securely tied or welded so that the spacing of bars is correctly maintained.

The concrete shall be mixed in accordance with the requirements specified for concrete in IS :456-1957 code of practice for plain and reinforced concrete for general building construction.

The maximum size of the aggregates shall be 20 mm and the aggregate shall conform to IS :383-1957 specification for coarse and fine aggregates from natural sources for concrete.


The full thickness of the shell shall be constructed in one operation .the positioning of the construction joints shall be concreted as soon as possible after concreting of the shell. The portion of an up stand member if any shall be concreted as soon as the concreting of the shell. Edge members and end frames shall be concreted first. A slump of 4 cm for the concrete shall be sufficient.
For casting shell either hand tamping or mechanical compaction by vibrations may be used. The concrete shall not have a slump of less than 5 cm in case hand tamping is used. Concreting may be done in panels of convenient dimension and shape.

Concreting shall be preferably be done in cool hours of the morning or during the night in summers. Concrete shall be finished to the correct curve as set by template .this may be done by continuous or alternative bay method. Thickness of the shell shall be regulated by using templates of corresponding thickness. This thickness of the shell shall also be checked at typical ponts in between the thickness guides on the shell. Proper arrangements shall be made to avoid displacement of steel during placing of concrete by providing walkways above level of finished concrete and supported and free from the reinforcement at intervals so as to avoid disturbance of the reinforcement. Construction joints: these shall be invariably along the curve. They shall preferably located along a line of zero shear stress. The construction joints shall be finished in such a way that new concrete will effectively bond with the old when work is complete the joints shall be cleaned with wire brushes and slushed with cement slurry. the surface of the concrete shall be finished with wooden floats. The portions of the shell that are already cast shall be effectively protected from exposure to sudden rains by tarpaulins .

In a shell roof the ratio of the exposed area to the volume of concrete is relatively much larger in comparison the normal reinforced concrete structures . Hence extereme care is required in keeping the surface sufficient damp for curing. As soon as concrete has sufficiently hardened to prevent damage to it it shall be kept moist for the first 24 hrs by covering the surface with gunny bags or wet canvas. Thereafter the surface has to be kept moist for the next 10 days by sprinkling water or covering it with gunny bags sprayed over with water periodically.

The process of decentering shall be gradual and without shock and so controlled that the overall stress pattern in the structure at any stage of decentering is similar to the pattern expected in the design. Supports of adjacent edge members may have to be lowered simultaneously with those of the shell.

These joints shall be provided in accordance with the design and specification of the designer and also IS:2210-1962. Complete structural isolation of the roof members shall be effected at the expansion joints with a clear gap of not less than 2 cm . It may sometimes be necessary to have double columns. The gap shall be filled with an elastic filler and a waterproofing carried across the joint without a break.


Skylights when provided may be at the crown or on the shell very near the crown. After completion of shells no fittings shall be embedded or suspended from the shell without the approval from designer.

It may be provided by following methods: By the application of light weight insulating concrete foam-concrete,cork,over the shell roof. By providing an air gap between the shell and any rigid form waterproofing such as asbestos sheets. By casting the shell over rigid boards that provided thermal and acoustic insulation. By spraying on the underside of the shell a coating of insulating material such as asbestos.

It may be done using any of the following methods: By application of bitumen hessian process, bituminous felts or cold bitumen By lining with aluminim foils By lining with asbestos sheets Adequate slope for drainage of water shall be made in the waterproofing.

After shell completion of the shell the inside may be given a rubbed finish if so required . The rubbing may be done with an abrasive stone.