Industrial Floor Design
Understand the basics in the design specification of commercial concrete flooring
Residential concrete slabs often have few design requirements to get between the contractor and completion of the job. If the contractor knows what he or she is doing and knows what the customer wants, then the lack of specifications is probably a good thing. Most residential projects only specify minimum concrete compressive strength. On commercial/ industrial floors, though, there are typically design requirements within the contract documents (drawings and specifications). That can be good for the contractor if the specifier knows what they are doing and the specification clearly states what is required. These requirements can, however, be a problem if the specification is overly stringent or unclear or has conflicting provisions.
Here are some basic things that should be included in the design and specification of a commercial or industrial floor:
Many of these requirements are defined by the Class of floor the owner wants—note that decorative concrete is typically a Class 1 floor. Floors are classified based on the intended use of the floor—see the table below that was adapted from ACI 302.1 R-04, Concrete Floor and Slab Construction. Each Class includes what ACI 302 calls "special considerations" and suggested finishing techniques. The designer may consider the Class when selecting the concrete properties and when specifying the placing, consolidating, finishing, and curing procedures. Note that the Class increases with increasing load and more stringent performance requirements; commercial or industrial floors may be anywhere between Class 3 and Class 9.
Classification Floor Chart: Click on the chart below to view it full size
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