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Steel flitch plates

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I'm reviewing a design to strengthen an existing
triple 2x wood beam by adding steel plates to the
outside faces.  Buckling is a concern for plates in
compression.  Bearing is also a concern because any
capacity developed into the plates has to be balanced
by a support reaction of the plates at the bearings. 
If the plates do not bear on the support, then any
load in the plates is transferred in and out of the
members through bolt shear alone.

So, I've convinced myself this is not an acceptable
detail.  However, its been done many times before and
I'm just wondering if there aren't any old-school
"design guides" that might indicate ways to properly
bolt these plates in place so that they do actually
support some load.  This might save me raining on my
architect's parade.

The same question would also pertain to using steel
channels, except that possible buckling would be much
easier to eliminate.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Jim Wilson, PE
Stroudsburg PA

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