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Beam as we all know is a 2d structural element of a structure either a frame structure or a beam supported structure. The basic purpose of providing a beam is to transfer the imposed load both dead and live to a wall or column whatever is designed on the basis of structural requirement of a building. Beams are meant to resist bending or flexural stresses as a major one with shear stresses as minor ones. The reason for providing a beam in a building is to span a gap or to have some space or opening like that of a door or a window.


Before understanding what plinth beam is; one must know what plinth level is? 


Plinth level is basically the level of the ground floor top which is usually kept higher than the ground level. By ground level we mean the natural surface level while the ground floor level is the surface finish level of the inner part of the building.

The reason to make plinth level a bit higher than the ground level is to prevent the rain or other runoff water from coming inside the building and on the other hand provide sufficient drainage to the surface water of the building.

The extent of level is decided keeping in the view the future trends in the locality like raising of the road level etc. 

Now you know what plinth level is; as for the plinth beam, in simple words, it is the beam at the plinth level. Plinth beam in a frame structure is meant to join all the columns thereby reducing the effective length and thus reducing the slenderness of the columns. Plinth beams are usually used in case the foundations are bit deeper and thus they act like a bracing or tying element. One more reason to provide plinth beam is to avoid differential settlement in a building this is due to the reason that all the load of the wall is than carried by the plinth beam underneath.

In a skeletal system which is the other name of a framed structure; plinth beam is the first beam to be constructed after foundation. As the finish floor level of the ground floor is a kept higher than the ground level; the empty gap and void is filled with a compacted soil so as to achieve a stable surface for the floor to be constructed.






The plinth beam is usually expected to be strong enough to carry the superimposing brick wall as well tying the columns and the structure.

Keeping in view the structural requirement of a building; plinth beam can either be reinforced or non-reinforced.

However, usually these days plinth beam is reinforced which is also recommended as per the seismic codes of certain countries.

Tie Beam and its Difference from Plinth Beam


As for the tie beam; you will be amazed to read that plinth beam is actually called a tie beam. Actually the word tie beam is a broader term; one type of tie beam is a plinth beam.

Tie beam in structural engineering is like a primary beam which connects two columns at any height above the floor level. Tie beams are meant to act as a length breaker for the columns to reduce their effective length and reducing slenderness ratio in case the roof height is bit more.

Tie beams are also different from primary and secondary beam. Primary and secondary beam in a frame structure carries the load of a floor, whereas tie beam does not take the load of any floor and only takes the load of wall. 

A tie beam is usually recommended for a column when its height is more than 4 to 5 meters. However, the designer must keep in check the bending length of the column to make them non slender.

Have you ever thought why the foot-rest is provided in a chair? It is actually meant to tie the four legs of the chair so as to reduce the opening or the dispatching force within the legs of the chair.
I hope you are now able to answer what is the difference between plinth beam and a tie beam along with some bonus questions like what is plinth level; what are primary beams; what are secondary beams. You have also understood why the plinth beam is provided and why the tie beam is provided. What is the effect of the tie beam on the columns or what is the effect of the plinth beam on the columns.

While reading about the plinth beam does not get confused about the lintel beam also; lintel beam is meant to have a clear space for the window to be constructed or for the opening of a door. 

What next? 


If you think I have missed anything related to what is the difference between plinth beam and a tie beam than do comment it below so that we can have a healthy discussion about such an important question about structures.


What is a difference between a tie Beam and a Plinth Beam?

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  2. Its a beautiful shearing.Can we use polythin sheet under the plinth beam to isolate it from the gird wall under the plinth beam. So that if the gird wall gets lower down over time the plinth beam will still be in position.Please Reply .

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