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RE: Steel Connection Design Costs

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   I think Charlie has distilled the answer as well as anyone could.  I
don't think that anyone could put a percentage value on it that would be
applicable for all fabricators.
   For my company it is definitely more economical for us (the fabricator)
to design the connections.  We prefer to work jobs this way and generally do
so for design/build projects and for projects where the owner is genuinely
concerned about the economics of fabrication.  The savings are real, but I
could not give you a percentage benefit, the variables change so much job to
   The most important factor is definitely communication and exchange of
information between the fabricator and the EOR.  It is critical for the EOR
to decide whether web stiffeners are required or not, whether full
penetration moment connections are required or not, whether the use of shear
tabs and single angle connections are acceptable, and other basic
guidelines.  Providing actual beam reactions (or reasonable approximations)
is very important in keeping costs down.  Those "abitrary guidlines" that
Charlie mentioned are definitely a big cost inflator.
   Most fabricators are thrilled to be able to work with the EOR at the
start of the fabrication process (or even better during the design phase) to
develop a plan to reduce costs for the project.

William Pulyer PE
SteelFab, Inc
Charlotte, NC

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Charlie Carter [SMTP:carter(--nospam--at)]
> Sent:	Monday, February 21, 2000 10:45 AM
> To:	'seaint(--nospam--at)'
> Subject:	RE: Steel Connection Design Costs
> >how much difference would there be in the Steel fabrication budget
> >if a fabricator bid the same job each way: once from a West Coast
> >E.O.R. with connections provided and once from an East Coast
> >E.O.R. with reactions provided?
> This is a tricky question.
> I think the best situation from an economy (and a design) standpoint is
> somewhere in between the two extremes you mentioned. That is, use the
> engineer's knowledge of the structure and design together with the
> fabricator's knowledge of how the shop works best and how the building
> will go together. Of course, in the real world, that's pie in the sky. So
> back to your question.
> This is a gut reaction, but I don't think there will be much of a cost
> difference between East-coast and West-coast approaches if everything is
> done properly. Properly? Here's what I mean.
> For the East-coast approach, properly means the nature of the framing,
> connections and connection design requirements have been clearly defined
> by the engineer of record. A few specifics: Are stiffeners required or
> not? Can shear tabs be used or not? Are the actual (or at least
> reasonable) reactions shown on the drawings or is it one of those jobs
> where the connections can't be made to develop the inflated reaction
> requirements specified arbitrarily in the contract documents? Economy in
> this approach is probably inversely proportional to the number of
> ambiguous and catch-all statements on the contarct documents.
> For the West-coast approach, properly means has the engineer of record
> understands how the components of the building will be fabricated and how
> the building will go together. A few specifics: Are the connections such
> that the building can be fabricated in pieces that are shippable and
> erectable? Are the framing and connection details configured to minimize
> shop and field labor?
> The thoughts above are quick and I probably left a lot of the details out.
> In the end, I think economy can be had with either system. Economy is
> probably more a function of how good the communication is with either
> system. I'd be interested to hear what some of the fabricators and other
> industry types on this list think.
> Charlie