Updated June 1st, 2019
An RCC column is a structural member of the RCC frame structured building. It’s a vertical member which transfers loads from the slab and beams directly to subsequent soil.
A whole building stands on columns.
Most of the building failure happens due to column failure. And most of the column failure happens not for design fault but for the poor construction practice.
So, it is very important to know the construction process of the RCC column properly.
In this post, I’ll share the basic construction process of RCC column.
Basic Construction Process of RCC Column
Constructing RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete) Column involves the following four steps of works –
- Column layout work
- Column reinforcement work
- Column formwork, and
- Pouring concrete into the column
Let’s discuss the each step of column construction process.
1. Column Layout Work:
In the first step, the locations of columns are determined practically in the field. It is done by laying rope according to grids shown in the drawing and then marking the location of columns related to the rope.
In the drawing, column locations are shown related to grid-line with dimension. In the field, ropes are our grid-line. So we place columns related to rope-line by measuring the dimension shown in the drawing.
2. Column Reinforcement work:
After marking the column locations, we then start to place reinforcement as instructed in the structural drawing.
This is normally described in the drawing like –
C1-12#16 mm⌀ and stirrup-10 mm⌀ @ 4″ c/c.
That means column C1 will have 12 numbers of 16 mm diameter bar as vertical bar and 10 mm diameter steel should be placed 4-inch center to center as stirrups.
C2-8#20 mm⌀ + 10#16 mm⌀ and stirrup-10 mm⌀ @ (4″+6″) c/c.
This C2 column’s reinforcement specification means that it’ll have 8 numbers of 20 mm diameter bar as well as 10 numbers of 16 mm diameter bar as vertical reinforcement and (4″+6″) center to center of stirrups placement means middle-half portion of clear height of column will have 6″ center to center spacing of stirrups and upper one-fourth as well as bottom one-fourth height of column’s clear height will hold stirrups at 4″ center to center spacing.
There is a sheet in the structural drawing which contains structural notes from the structural designer. In that drawing sheet, you’ll find suggested lap length for column’s steel of different diameter bar and other important notes. You should read those before column reinforcement work.
3. Column Formwork:
In buildings, floor height is normally kept 10 feet. If the slab has beams then we have to pour concrete up to beam bottom level.
Suppose, beam height specified in the drawing is 1′-6″. So, the casting height of our column will be 8′-6″. And our formwork height will be 8′-6″.
But one thing should be considered here is that dropping concrete from above 5′ height isn’t suggested during pouring. Because it leads to concrete segregation. So we should make one-side of column formwork within 5 feet height range. After casting 5 feet of a column, we just lift the short side up to the full-casting height of column next day.
Another way to cast column without segregation is to keep a small window at 5 feet level of full-height formwork. After casting up to that level, close the window and cast the rest of the column.
4. Pouring Concrete into The Column:
Casting column is easy. For a small quantity of concrete volume, we normally depend on machine-mix concrete and for the large concrete quantity, we order ready-mix concrete.
I would suggest machine-mix concrete. Because, if you use a moving pump with ready-mix concrete and if you don’t want to exceed 5 feet height range for dropping concrete that would be difficult.
If you don’t use the moving pump, yet there are some problems. Suppose, you have decided to use ready-mix concrete without a pump. In that case, you have to manually unload concrete on job site from the ready-mix concrete truck and have to manually pour into the column. That’ll take a long time and you’ll exceed the initial setting time of concrete. As a result, concrete will lose its quality. So it is better to cast column with machine-mix concrete.
Share Your Expertise
How do you construct RCC columns? Do you maintain 5 feet height for dropping concrete? Do you use any admixture for dropping concrete above 5 feet height for avoiding segregation? Please share in the comments below…