How can designers improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of construction operations? In the United Kingdom, greater use of hybrid structures may be the answer. By combining a variety of appropriate structural elements in one building, architects and designers can offer their clients a wide range of solutions to construction problems.
In the UK, hybrid structures truly are of mixed origin, drawing from a selection of structural elements including structural steel and cast-in-place or precast concrete columns, beams, floors, stairs, and landings. The concrete elements usually employ normal steel reinforcement, although in some circumstances this advantageously can be replaced by structural steel sections. Prestressing forces also can be used in concrete elements to meet demanding service requirements. In-place beams, floors, and roof slabs can be post-tensioned to permit longer spans and more economical use of reinforcement and to reduce formwork stripping times.