The weight of a slab supported on a column induces shear stresses in the slab. These stresses, if sufficient and where additional reinforcement is not provided, would result in the column ‘punching’ through the slab. This punching shear is similarly induced in the footing on which the column bears.
Although punching shear can be relieved by localized thickening of the concrete with down-stand beams and enlarged column heads, the construction of flat slabs offers many advantages. A consistent head space can reduce the overall height of a building and provide significant time and material savings.

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