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Re: steel connections/ fabricator

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I missed the original post on this thread but in regards to the East Coast versus West Coast detailing issue part of the reason it is rarely done on the West Coast is that it is discouraged by the building code.   UBC Section 1633.2.3 reads "Connections that resist design seismic forces shall be designed and detailed on the drawings".  The commentary to this section from the SEAOC "Recommended Lateral Force Requirements and Commentary C108.2.2 reads "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......".

Thomas Hunt, S.E.
ABS Consulting

"Andrew Kester" <akester(--nospam--at)>

05/23/2004 09:40 AM

Please respond to

steel connections/ fabricator

Scott clarified my point very well (thanks) about steel connections, I guess it was Friday and I was busy so I did not explain myself well. I don't know if their is a nationwide standard on this issue, but it has been talked about a lot in this office. Also, I am new to this office and at my old office we did much smaller jobs so it was no big burden to pretty much show all the steel connections in some detail. At the new office our projects may not all be high rise but are definitely more complicted architecturally.
 My first project that I helped design is in the construction phase and I had to review the shop drawings, so this was a fresh experience to the complexity of some of the connections. Also I am not completely familiar with all of our office standards as well. We dictate certain tasks to the fabricator and his specialty engineer, and we are now putting ultimate reactions on all of our steel to steel connections. We also include standard connection schedules that cover 90% of the situations. But as far as I know, we do not detail every connection or consider every fit-up situation. We do consider constructability as much as possible, but I saw on this project where we could have done a better job of considering fit-up and connections. We had a great fabricator, and I spent a lot of time checking all of his connections and running calcs and checking w/ the AISC book as necessary to verify they met our design intent. But I found this to be much more economical and efficient then spending the time during the design phase trying to design for every situation.
I did not realize this was a East coast practice, but it seems that it is very acceptable in FL at least to let the fabricator choose the connections and detail them to their liking, and we check them for design intent. Of course we are not off the hook nor are we trying to shove responsibiltiy elsewhere, even though I can see someone taking it that way. We feel that they are the experts in steel connections, details, and fit-up, so that is a task best handled by them. Honestly, maybe you guys are used to detailing some of these types of connections, but I wouldn't want anything to do with them (like a beam framing in at 15 degrees or less), it just gives me a headache thinking about. Just like on a concrete job I would not want to detail every bar length.
If anyone sees any problems or issues with these comments I would love to hear about them, and so would my bosses/coworkers as this is an ongoing discussion.
Andrew kester, PE
Longwood, fl