NZ Construction News (Aug / Sept 10) The Concrete RED BOOK: A Strong Frame on Solid Foundations

02 Aug 2010

The Concrete RED BOOK: A Strong Frame on Solid Foundations

Rob Gaimster – Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ)

Every discipline has its core texts. Medical students are familiar with Henry Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body, and economics students Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

While the New Zealand structural concrete canon is dominated by the names Park, Pauley and Priestley the importance of Examples of Concrete Structural Design to New Zealand Standard Code of Practice for the Design of Concrete Structures, or as it is more commonly known, the RED BOOK cannot be underestimated.

Conceived and prepared by members of the New Zealand Concrete Society (NZCS), the RED BOOK was designed as a support document for NZS3101: 1982.

Essentially, NZCS members imparted the specialist knowledge of interpretation associated with individual parts of NZS3101 with which they had been particularly involved through the Standards Committee.

With the advent of a major NZS3101 revision in 1995, the need to consider a revised publication of the RED BOOK, which was by this time out of print, became paramount.

The climate for the introduction of a revised edition had changed considerably over the 13 years.  The principles of NZS 3101: 1982, with its radical changes from previous Standards, was by now an established part of the education curriculum for structural engineers.  The changes in commercial life within New Zealand meant that it was now not practical for the NZCS to revise the document, relying essentially on the goodwill of a few Society members.

At this point it was agreed that the Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) would take over the responsibility for the production of the revised RED BOOK on behalf of the NZCS.

The 1998 revision departed from the ritual NZS3101 chapter evaluation of the earlier version and provided actual building design examples.  The use of this approach was considered to be more applicable given the general familiarity of the previous NZS3101.

Accordingly, a 10 storey multi-storey building was used to illustrate both a structural frame system and structural wall system, together with a low rise industrial building.

It is appreciated that these are “one off” examples, but nevertheless they show the interlinkages between clauses and calculations for buildings which could be used for buildings with a different number of storeys.

In 2008, following the 2006 revision of NZS3101 and its subsequent amendment, the RED BOOK once again began an update process, section-by-section. Sections A1, A2, B1 and B2 (structural frame building) were released in February 2008, while sections C1 and C2 (low rise industrial/commercial building) were released in February to 3 March 2010.

The final Section, B3 (wall building) is currently being updated for publication and presentation in early 2011.

In its current version the RED BOOK continues to illustrate a technically correct process that demonstrates how compliance with NZS3101 can be achieved.  This involves the preparation of a comprehensive set of model calculations covering common structural concrete elements. As such, CCANZ believe that a significant tool has been provided to assist structural engineers in their interpretations and practices arising from the 2006 revision of NZS3101.

For information on how to update your existing copy of the RED BOOK, or purchase a completely up-to-date version, contact CCANZ on 04 499 8820 or by emailing