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RE: "Pre-Engineered" Metal Buildings

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I've also had problems with "inadequate" design submittals for
pre-engineered metal buildings and would also recommend using some caution
when specifying such buildings. First, don't just refer to the general
requirements of the applicable building code for design - rather, list
specific interpretations of seismic zones, use group, soil factors, wind
exposure, snow loads, etc. List any "collateral loads" or "auxiliary loads.
Also state deflection limitations for members (and possibly building drift
limits) - metal buildings tend to be rather flexible structures. 

I require, as a minimum, a listing of loads and load combinations used in
design and a listing of foundation reactions for all load combinations, as
well as construction drawings showing all details of construction. I review
these loads and reactions in detail and compare the submitted reactions with
my own estimated reactions. I've found improper load inputs and significant
errors in some submitted reactions, such as for seismic load combinations,
by doing this comparison. Some engineer's try to avoid liability by
minimizing their review of work done by another PE, but I recommend detailed
review of metal building submittals since the designs tend to be a quick
computer run without a lot of thought put into the design. 

While I require the pre-engineered building manufacturer to provide an
in-state PE seal on the construction drawings, I view the "project
structural engineer" as responsible to verify that the manufacturer has met
the specified requirements and to look out for the Owner's interest by doing
an adequate check of the submittal. This doesn't mean a number-by-number
check of their computer run, but does mean a detailed review of input/output
to be satisfied that the specified requirements have been accounted for. 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: h.d.richardson(--nospam--at) [mailto:h.d.richardson(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 12:02 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Re: "Pre-Engineered" Metal Buildings
> Fellow Engineers,
> 	A word of warning about "pre-engineered" buildings.  I 
> encountered
> problems with this type of structure being undersigned a few years ago
> when I was with the Fluor organization and later with other employers.
> 	The problems I personally encountered were generally regarding
> insufficient capacity to resist the specified snow loading and were
> related to only one or two vendors, however, other engineers had other
> problems with other vendors as well.  The Association of Professional
> Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta, (APEGGA, our
> licensing organization) went so far as to send out written warnings to
> all members regarding this problem.
> 	I would, therefore, suggest that owners, users, and 
> engineers reviewing
> these buildings not take anything for granted regarding the 
> suitability
> of these buildings for the intended use.
> 	I don't wish to suggest that these buildings should not 
> be used; that
> is not the case.  There are many good applications for these 
> buildings. 
> Just use some caution.
> 				Respectfully submitted,
> 				H. Daryl Richardson

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