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Tapered Steel Beam

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A local steel fabricator has asked me to approve a beam spanning 56’-0” (w21x147) that was sized by others and needs to have a pie-shaped section of the web removed.  The web will be cut down in height to as little as 12” remaining at the end, with a diagonal slope extending for 74” along the longitudinal axis of the beam.  The fabricator would like to cut this pie-shaped section out of the web, fold the top flange down along the new diagonal web and weld it in this location.  Assuming the beam was sized correctly for the loading conditions (by others) my thoughts are that shear will control the design with this new beam (I haven’t actually run the numbers yet).  My questions to the list are does anybody see any harm in performing the web modification as described?  Is this a poor technique and if so, what is a better recommendation?  I’m guessing I’ll have a lack of web material to carry the shear force and the fabricator has suggested adding additional vertical plates between the tapered flanges but showed them at the edge of the flange and not immediately adjacent to the beam web.  Has anybody done this before?  Any specific comments related to weld preparations and/or procedures that are specific to this application are appreciated.  Thanks in advance.




Bill S. Marczewski, P.E.

BSM Structural, LLC

Astoria, Oregon