Large span concrete flat-slab systems with internal spherical void formers (SVF) have been used in Europe for over a decade. They are bi-axially reinforced concrete flat-slab systems with a grid of internal spherical void formers.
This paper addresses three issues associated with SVF slab systems: their shear resistance, their short-term elastic deflections and their economical value in a South African context.
Due to the ''loss'' (or reduction) of aggregate interlock required for shear resistance in SVF slabs, the design requirements of the reinforced concrete design code are affected. Research at the Technical University of Darmstadt (TUD) in Germany proved a shear resistance reduction factor of 0,55 to be conservative, while research at the University of Pretoria suggests a greater factor of 0,85 when taking into account the shear capacity of the permanent steel cages that hold the spheres in position in some SVF slab systems.
Laboratory tests at the TUD, supported by theoretical calculations, further showed reduced deflections for SVF slabs compared to solid slabs. Stiffness is not reduced as much as the selfweight, resulting in smaller overall deflections for SVF slabs compared to those of solid slabs with the same thickness.
In this paper the economical value of SVF slabs in South Africa will be investigated by comparing the direct construction cost to that of two other large span slab systems, namely coffer and post-tensioned slabs.