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RE: Connections

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Where permitted by the governing building code (i.e., not UBC seismic), I
often defer steel connection design to be performed by the Contractor using
the following procedure: 

1. The contract documents must spell out specific design criteria and
requirements for steel connection design. 

2. Connection design calculations, sealed by a Professional Engineer
registered in the state the project is in, must be submitted prior to steel
fabrication for review by the Engineer. 

3. Either checking of calculations by a qualified engineer other than the
preparer is specified to be performed and documented; or connection
calculations must be fully checked by an in-house engineer upon submittal.
In either case, as a minimum calculations must be reviewed for general
conformance to specified design criteria and the results reviewed by the

The EOR still takes "overall" responsibility for the connections, although
the PE who did the connection design may share responsibility for the design
details. Having a PE do the design before being submitted increases the
probability that the calculations will conform to codes and standard
practices but does not eliminate overall responsibility of the EOR. This can
save some time during design but must be budgeted for the extra review time
during submittals. 

Certainly part of the problem is not getting an adequate fee/budget to do
detailed connection design during the design phase by the Engineer. But I
also feel that an experienced connection designer/detailer can do the
designs more efficiently than someone who only occasionally does such
designs, and the Contractor's engineer can tailor the connections to the
Contractor's and fabricator's preferences. 

Nevertheless, I must admit that during review of such connection submittals,
we often encounter problems with the design as submitted (errors, incomplete
design, code violations, etc). Thus, the biggest risk is in not reviewing
the submitted connection designs and details. 

William C. Sherman, PE
CDM, Denver, CO
Phone: 303-298-1311
Fax: 303-293-8236
email: shermanwc(--nospam--at)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John P. Riley [mailto:jpriley485(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 12:03 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: Connections
> 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?  

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