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steel studs on columns?

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While flying up to watch my poor Packers lose this last weekend, I saw some new steel framing at the Orlando Airport that made me curious. It looks to be a two story steel frame, perhaps moment frame on the second story to roof level. On the first story level, the wide flange columns had steel studs welded to them at maybe 12" o.c. to at least two sides of column. This appareared to be at a corner column. My only guess is they are going to tie into the column with a concrete tie column or wall and use a CMU or concrete wall for lateral bracing on the first floor. But I would think if this were the case the top few studs would see all of the force, that the column would not be stiff enough to transfer all of the force into the wall element very evenly.
And per all of that talk on field welding... Talking with my uncle, a retired steam fitter, they weld huge steel pipes together with butt splice complete joint penetration bevel welds, in the middle of a Wisconsin winter, all of the time... These pipes carry water and steam and may not have the stress in them that a wide flange butt welded will have, but I think as structural engineers we don't have to be so scared of field welding if it is really necessary! (Though may avoid it when it is not necessary due to costs.)
Andrew Kester, PE
Principal/Project Manager
ADK Structural Engineering, PLLC
1510 E Colonial Ave., Suite 301
Orlando, FL 32803

N:Andrew Kester;PE
FN:Andrew Kester, PE