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Engineers versus detailers Part 2

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Seaint list memebers.

Here is the post I referred to in my previous mail.
I will be grateful for the views of engineers
interested and involved in structural steel design and
I have not mentioned the name of the PE whose mail I
have reproduced as I am not sure if he will approve my
taking this liberty.

I think he is a member of this list also.

G Vishwanath


-----Original Message-----

First, let me say that as an engineer I believe the
responsibility for
connection design must remain with the engineer. 
Second, let me say as a
steel detailer that I believe the responsibility for
connection design must
remain with the engineer.  I cannot confirm that
connection design is not
taught as part of the engineering curriculum today but
I assure you it was
during my time at Missouri School of Mines in the late
60's & early 70's.
Early in my career, at Black & Veatch-Power Division,
we were required to
provide complete connection designs for all structural
elements.  Therefore
my opinion regarding the responsibility for connection
design is biased by
my age, engineering education and engineering

My choice for communicating the connection design for
routine beams and
girders is a table format.  It is very simple to
determine the maximum beam
reaction for each member in the structural model. 
Then with that
information develop a table on the design drawings
that shows a range of
members, number of bolts, clip angle thickness or wing
plate thickness, etc.
This table then can be easily placed at the
workstation of the
detailers/checkers and they can immediately see the
connection requirements
for a particular beam size.  The approval engineer
will have the same table
when he/she reviews the detail drawings and we are
then all working on the
same page.  When special conditions require a detail
beyond the envelope of
the table then that detail should be provided on the
design drawings.  This
method requires front-end effort on the engineer's
part, but assures quicker
detailing, checking, approval and most likely a safer

The issues around bracing are more complex but at the
same time even more
important that they be done properly.  I often see a
max force envelope
provided for bracing which doesn't help the detailer
very much in designing
the connections since the forces don't balance. 
Again, the design engineer
is the only person who has the proper information and
that individual should
be responsible for providing exact design details to
the detailer.

As each of us try to survive in this business,
obviously we have to be
profitable.  Seeking that profit is accomplished in
different ways for each
of our disciplines.  For us detailers, we try to find
that magic software
that will do more with less time, we try to get by
single lining handrail
instead of detailing all the pieces to length, we try
to stack a page full
of pieces that are similar using thus, opposite, left,
right, as noted, etc.
We are in a production mode and we have to find a way
to increase our
efficiency in production.  For us engineers, the
effort is more an issue of
time.  We have to find a way to get the design off the
board and to the next
step as quickly as possible.  In this process each of
us pushes the limit of
acceptance in order to accomplish the profit we must
have.  I certainly
believe that our engineering profession has crossed
the line to the point we
are counter-productive in the total detailing process.
 That won't change,
however, until our detailing profession says enough is
enough.  Unless we
are willing to turn that job back that is poorly
designed and diplomatically
and professionally explain why we are turning it back,
things are not going
to change.  Yes we will lose jobs in the process and
it won't change
quickly.  However if we continue to accept jobs that
are poorly designed is
it our fault or the designer's fault?  Sometimes we
say yes to something we
should say no to.  

I realize I'm preaching to the choir, but Tom Whiteway
woke me up with this
issue.  For whatever reason it seems the disciplines
of engineering and
drafting are historically confrontational.  I would
encourage you to use
your patience and professionally address your concerns
with your fabricator
and/or design team.  Your concerns are justified but
we can't unilaterally
change the design drawing deficiency issues so we must
do it from an
educational, professional and non-confrontational

Have a great day, 


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