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Re: Connections

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If you fall under the jurisdiction of the UBC then you are forbidden to delegate the design of connections, that resist seismic loads, to the steel fabricator.

UBC Section 1633.2.3 Connections.  Connections that resist design seismic forces shall be designed and detailed on the drawings.

SEAOC (Blue Book) Commentary Section C108.2.3  Connections.  In some geographical regions, particularly those with low seismicity, a practice has evolved that leaves the design and detailing of connections to the fabricator or constructor (notwithstanding its criticism by the American Society of Civil Engineers).  This practice is absolutely prohibited by this provision.  Connection failures have been a common cause of severe damage and collapse in structures during past earthquakes.  It is essential that the engineer design the connections and present the detailed requirements on the construction documents.  Also, it is recommended that there be a thorough detailed review of the related connection details of manufactured elements when these are used within the structural system.

Thomas Hunt, S.E.
ABS Consulting

"John P. Riley" <jpriley485(--nospam--at)>

11/26/2003 11:03 AM

Please respond to


What are the thoughts about the EOR leaving all structural steel
connections, including moment connections, up to the fabricator, requiring
design by a registered structural engineer, of course?  I used to think this
was shirking one's duty, but I'm in the process of rethinking it.

For me, moment connections can be time-consuming.  And since the fabricator
may desire a different scheme than I present, due to his in-house
capabilities, I might have to revisit the connections during the shop
drawing phase, effectively designing them twice.

My personal feeling is that structural engineers expend greater technical
effort per dollar fee than some design professionals; it almost seems
justified to split the connections off.  It's certainly not significantly
different than letting someone else design our trusses for us, joists and
joist girders.  You have to draw the line somewhere.

And I need to make up my mind about this quickly; I'm about ready to do this
dirty deed on a current fastrack project.


PS:  I've been away from the list for quite some time.  Sorry if this has
been adequately covered in the past.

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