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Engineering Considerations for


Lift-Slab Construction

SPONSORED BY

Technical Council on Forensic Engineering of the


American Society of Civil Engineers

Rubin M. Zallen
AND

David B. Peraza

ASCE
Published by the American Society of Civil Engineers

Engineering Considerations for Lift-Slab Construction

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ABSTRACT
Lift-slab construction has been used since the 1950's and, under
certain conditions, is an economical method for the construction
of multi-story buildings. As with all new technologies, there have
been problems and failures, but not until the collapse of
L' Ambiance Plaza in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1987 have there
been any fatalities. This collapse prompted the Technical Council
on Forensic Engineering of ASCE to fonn a task comlnittee to
study the technology of lift-slab construction and make recommendations for its safe use. This book is based on the deliberations
of the task committee. It describes the various lift-slab systems
and reviews the problems and failures of lift-slab construction.
The book addresses various engineering considerations such as
lifting collars, lifting equipment, stability during lifting, Ininimuln
loads, and progressive collapse. The book also addresses the planning and execution of lift-slab construction.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Zallen, Rubin M.
Engineering considerations for lift-slab construction I
Rubin M. Zallen and David B. Peraza.
p.cm.
Based on a task committee report from the Technical
Council on Forensic Engineering of ASCE.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-7844-0705-3
1. Concrete construction.
2. Concrete slabs.
1. Peraza, David B.
II. Technical Council on Forensic Engineering (American
Society of Civil Engineers)
III. Title

TH1461.Z352003
693'.544-dc21
2003062863
Published by American Society of Civil Engineers
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, Virginia 20191
www.asce pubs.asce.org

Any statements expressed in these materials are those of the


individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of
ASCE, which takes no responsibility for any statement made
herein. No reference made in this publication to any specific
method, product, process or service constitutes or implies an
endorsement, recommendation, or warranty thereof by ASCE. The
materials are for general information only and do not represent a
standard of ASCE, nor are they intended as a reference in purchase
specifications, contracts, regulations, statutes, or any other legal
document.
ASCE makes no representation or warranty of any kind, whether
express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness,
suitability, or utility of any infornlation, apparatus, product, or
process discussed in this publication, and assumes no liability
therefore. This information should not be used without first
securing competent advice with respect to its suitability for any
general or specific application. Anyone utilizing this infonnation
assumes all liability mising from such use, including but not limited
to infringement of any patent or patents.
ASCE and American Society of Civil Engineers-Registered in
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Photocopies: Authorization to photocopy material for internal or


personal use under circumstances not falling within the fair use
provisions of the Copyright Act is granted by ASCE to libraries
and other users registered with the Copyright Clearance Center
(CCC) Transactional Reporting Service, provided that the base
fee of $18.00 per article is paid directly to CCC, 222 Rosewood
Drive, Danvers, MA 01923. The identification for ASCE Books is
0-7844-0683-9/04/ $18.00. Requests for special permission or bulk
copying should be addressed to Permissions & Copyright Dept.,
ASCE.
Copyright 2004 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
All Rights Reserved.
Library of Congress Catalog Card No: 2003062863
ISBN 0-7844-0705-3
Manufactured in the 'United States of America.

Cover Photograph: Rubin M. Zallen

Engineering Considerations for Lift-Slab Construction

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
PREFAcE

Chapter 1. Lift-Slab Systems

1.1

General Description and History

1.2

General Considerations

1.3

The Lifting Process

1.4

The Youtz-Slick System

1.5

Details of the Youtz-Slick System

12

1.6

The Lift-Plate System

15

1.7

Details of the Lift-Plate System

18

CHAPTER 2. Failures and Problems with

Lift-Slab Construction

22

2.1

Jack Systems with Inadequate Take-Up Devices

22

2.2

The Canadian Wedge Connection

23

2.3

Serra High School Roof

24

2.4

Pigeonhole Parking Garage

24

2.5

. Collapse of L'Ambiance Plaza

25

CHAPTER 3. lifting Collars and lifting Equipment

30

3.1

General

30

3.2

Lifting Collars (Shear Heads)

30

3.3

Lifting Collars Supported by Lifting Rods

30

3.4

Lifting Collars Supported by Connections to a Column

32

3.5

Welding of Connections to the Columns

34

3.6

Moment Resistance of Welded Connections

35

3.7

Transfer of Load from Lifting Collars to Slabs

35

3.8

Design and Testing of Lifting Collars

35

3.9

Keeping Slabs Level While Lifting

35

3.10

Overloading and Bending of Lifting Rods

36

3.11

Forces in Jacks and Safety

38

ENGINEERING CONSIDERATIONS FOR LIFT-SLAB CONSTRUCTION ( ] )

Engineering Considerations for Lift-Slab Construction

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CHAPTER 4. Stability and Loads

39

4.1

Stability and Lateral Load Resistance During Construction

39

4.2

Effective Lengths of Cantilever Columns

39

4.2.1

Sidesway Buckling Mode

40

4.2.2

Sidesway Buckling of a Slab Being Lifted

42

4.2.3

Rotational Stiffness of Footings and Base Plates

44

4.3

4.2.4 Parked Roof Slab Temporarily Braced

47

4.2.5

47

Individual Column Buckling Without Sidesway

Effect on Stability of Frame Action ofTemporary Slab to


Column Connections

47

4.4

Second Order Effects and Lateral Load Resistance

48

4.5

Combined Bending and Compression


of Lift-Slab Columns

49

Lateral Load Resisting Systems

50

4.6.1 Lateral Load Resisting Systems During Construction

50

4.6.2 Lateral Load Resisting Systems of Completed Structures

51

Loads During Construction

53

4.7.1

Gravity Loads

53

4.7.2

Lateral Loads

54

4.7.3

Impact Load

54

4.6

4.7

4.8

Design Methods and Safety Factors

54

4.8.1

Load Factors for LRFD Design During Construction

55

4.8.2

Resistance Factors During Construction

55

4.8.3

Allowable Stress Design for Construction Loads

55

CHAPTER 5. Progressive Collapse

56

5.1

Current Practice

56

5.2

Integrity Steel for Loss of Support of a Lifting Collar

57

CHAPTER 6. Planning and Execution

62

6.1

Planning and Design

62

6.2

Engineering Responsibilities

62

6.3

Contractors Responsibilities

REFERENCES
APPENDIX A

63

64
Other Lift-Slab Systems

66

A.1

Multileveling Component System

66

A.2

Cortina System

69

INDEX

74

Engineering Considerations for Lift-Slab Construction

PREFACE

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The lift-slab method of construction is an example of innovative technology in the American


construction industry, an industry that traditionally has been slow to adopt such technology. In
other industries and in the construction industries in other countries, innovative technology is the
basis of profitable products and companies. A failure, such as the collapse of L' Ambiance Plaza
in Bridgeport Connecticut in 1987, no matter how tragic, should not result in the abandonment of
innovative technology, but should provide the impetus to study the technology further and to make
appropriate modifications to ensure its safe use. The purpose of this book is to provide engineers
and contractors with information on the engineering of lift-slab construction for its safe use.
This book is based on the work of the Task Committee on Lift-Slab Construction, which was
formed by the Committee on Practices to Reduce Failures of the Technical Council on Forensic
Engineering of ASCE after the collapse of L' Ambiance Plaza. The Task Committee met many
times from 1993 to 1997; it consisted of engineers with varying interests in lift-slab construction,
lift-slab contractors, and individuals who developed the lift-slab equipment
The members of the Task Committee on Lift-Slab Construction were:
David B. Peraza, Chairman
Thornton-Tomasetti Group/
LZA Technology
New York, NY
Ralph Geckler
Texstar Construction Corp.
San Antonio, TX

Marshall Long
International Lift-Slab
North Palm Beach, FL
Richard D. Marshall (deceased)
Formerly with National Institute
of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD
Pablo Cortina Ortega

Bernard Grossfield
Consulting Engineer
Hawthorne, NY

I.e. Construcciones, S.A.

German Gurfinkel
University of Illinois
Urbana,IL

Kolbjorn Saether
Kolbjom Saether and Associates
Chicago,IL

Ed Hamilton (deceased)
Formerly with Rainhart Co.
Austin, TX

Auko A Smid
Spanlift International
Soest, The Netherlands

Neil M. Hawkins
University of Illinois
Urban,IL

Peter Vanderklaauw
Lift-Plate International, Inc.
Miami, FL

Michael H~lyford
Century T'I\/ est Engineering
Portland, OR

Rubin M. Zallen
Zallen Engineering
Framingham, MA

Mexico City, Mexico

The authors wish to acknowledge the many contributions to the information in this book
by the members of the Task Committee.
Rubin M. Zallen
David B. Peraza
June 2003
ENGINEERING CONSIDERATIONS FOR LIFT-SLAB CONSTRUCTION

Engineering Considerations for Lift-Slab Construction

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