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Re: Lateral Bracing of Steel Beam

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Hi Suresh!  Yes, I do think wood beams will laterally brace a steel beam,
but it does depend on the connection and the stiffness.  The rule-of-thumb
that is typically used is that the bracing should be designed for 2% of the
axial force in the member being braced, so this would mean that the wood
members should be designed to carry 2% of the compressive stress in the
flange x the area of the flange.  This rule-of-thumb does not account for
brace stiffness, and several articles advise that the stiffness should be
considered but our experience has been that strength design for 2% has
prevented problems.  You should also check that the hanger will function in
compression or tension if you are counting on wood joists coming to one
side to brace the steel beam in both directions (away from and towards the
wood beam) - some of those top flange hangers can be pretty flexible if
they are not properly blocked.  Whether this functions as continuously
braced would depend on the spacing of the wood beams. - Stu