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Banging Bolts?

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A friend of mine works in a new building where there have been strange sounds which have been difficult to identify. The e-mail message below is what he received from management to explain the problem:


It has been over two weeks since we have had a report of the loud noises that were occurring in the building.  We believe we have identified the source and would like to share the following information with you.


The project design and construction team conducted a thorough inspection of the building, including the plumbing, mechanical and structural systems.  A couple of independent consultants also assisted in this effort.  All of the systems at Carson One were found to be safe and sound.


The suspected cause of the noise is a phenomena known as "banging bolts".  The team is confirming this information and will issue a report for the record.  The cause of the noise is the high strength bolts at the structural steel connections making final adjustments as the building is loaded; it is a natural occurrence and does not reflect on the building's structural integrity.  Most of these adjustments occur during construction, some occur early in occupancy (as many of you have heard) and eventually they stop completely.  These adjustments have been reported as long as two years after construction of a building.


We will update you as new information is received and appreciate your patience as we deal with these issues. 


Does this sound reasonable? I’ve never heard of “banging bolts”, but I don’t do a lot of steel work, so maybe it is common.




T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509