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Re: [SEAOC] Steel moment frames for California school buildings

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>Dear distinguished group of Engineers:
>We are doing a new "field house" at our local city college.  The building is 
>about 100 ft. x 60 ft. in size.  It will be a new building down close to the 
>track where students will store their track and other sports equipment. The 
>college wants this building built as cheaply as possible, with no frills.  It 
>is after all, just a storage building.  They have asked me to consider using 
>a pre-engineered metal building, with steel moment frames at about 20 foot 
>centers.  The question I have is about the policy the California Department 
>of State Architects (DSA) how has about full scale testing requirements for 
>steel moment frames.  I do not believe that moment frames such as the ones 
>used in pre-engineered metal buildings expereinced the failures that the 
>multi-story frames did in the Norhtridge earthquake.  Is the DSA requiring 
>that the very "traditional" moment frames in one story metal buildings have 
>full scale testing before being allowed?  I am assuming that these are 
>designed as Ordinary Moment Frames, and not as Special (ductile) Moment 
>I would appreciate it if anyone with any knowledge in this area could be of 
>assistance.  If getting a pre-engineered metal building approved by the DSA 
>is going to be a problem, then I would like to find out as soon as possible.
>Thank you.
>Lynn Howard
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Dear Lynn,

You can contact any of the ORS or DSA offices via email.  There is a
directory of email addresses referenced from the WWW Virtural Library of
Structural Engineering. <> Go to the
government section and click the DSA Email Adresses hyperlink.  You can
refer specific questions to which ever office will be dealing with this project.

I have done similar buildings and processed thru them in the past.  The
problem, at the time, was more one of quality control.  Normal DSA projects
require testing, inspections and tagging of materials which are custom
fabricated for that project.

Premanufactured buildings, as you described above, generally are built with
custom fit frames and off the shelf purlins rafters and girts.  The
manufacutres are not generally set up for the type of testing and
inspections required by DSA.  The additional inpections and testing required
will drive the cost of theese buildings up and may defeat their economical

I am also processing a steel building thru OSHPD with rigid frames.  They
are not requireing testing as long as the design meets their criteria in the
latest SAC Advisory report.

Hope this helps,