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Archives for August 2008

Steel Beam Design Specifications: Getting the Answers You Need

When you are looking for steel beam design specifications, where do you go? If you have a degree in structural engineering or architecture, you may be able to perform the calculations required for a steel beam design specifications yourself. However, most of the population requires some form of assistance in order to compile steel beam design specifications for building projects.

Steel Beam Design Specifications: Resources Available to Some

Some individuals have access to a team of professionals capable of calculating steel beam specifications and any other construction related calculation needed. Students may have access to an engineering library complete with tables, equations, and values necessary to calculate steel beam design specifications.

For a price, some structural analysts and architects provide consultation services for steel beam design specifications and other construction problems. (These fees may vary greatly and are not regulated.)

Steel Beam Design Specifications: Resources Available to Everyone

A structural engineer in the field, a civil engineer in an office, or a homeowner planning a remodeling project all may need to calculate steel beam design specifications. One option is to obtain this information through a professional. Some architects and structural engineers offer their consultations services to the public for a fee.

Another option is to post your question on a structural engineering or construction related discussion forum and hope you receive a reliable answer in a timely manner. This option has obvious drawbacks and may be a good choice for obtaining a general answer, but is not reliable enough for construction and application purposes.

The most reliable option for obtaining steel beam design specifications is a structural analysis software program. Many companies offer a trial version of this type of software if you only plan to use the software to solve a single steel beam design problem.

For others who require repeated steel beam design specifications, investing in a structural analysis software program is a wise choice. Structural analysis software programs range in price and features, with a program to fit nearly any structural analysis need. Take the time to research which structural analysis software program is right for you.

Steel beam design specifications can come from a variety of different sources and the perfect source for you may well be a structural analysis software program. A fee trial of a structural analysis program can provide the solution to your steel beam design specifications.

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The Most Used Engineering Terminology Defined

The most used engineering terminology can be confusing to the average consumer. Understanding the common jargon used in structural engineering can help you communicate with your architect, engineer, or construction manager more effectively.

Beam
A structural member, usually horizontal, with a main function to carry loads cross-ways to its longitudinal axis. These loads usually result in bending of the beam member. Examples of beams are simple, continuous, and cantilever.

Beam-Column
This is a structural member whose main function is to carry loads both parallel and transverse to the longitudinal axis.

Cantilever
Cantilever refers to the part of a member that extends freely over a beam, which is not supported at its end.

Collateral Load

Collateral load is additional dead loads (not the weight of people and not the weight of the building itself), such as plumbing, duct work, ceilings, and other components of the structure.

Column
A column is a main vertical member that carries axial loads from the main roof beams or girders to the foundation parallel to its longitudinal axis.

Continuity
Continuity is the term given to a structural system describing the transfer of loads and stresses from member to member as if there were no connections.

Damping
Damping is the rate of decay of amplitude for floor vibrations.

Dead Load
Dead load describes the loads from the weight of the permanent components of the structure.

Deflection
Deflection is the displacement of a structural member or system under a load.

Dynamic Load
This type of load varies over time.

Footing
A footing is a slab of concrete under a column, wall, or other structural to transfer the loads of the member into the surrounding soil.

Foundation
A foundation supports a building or structure.

G-Type Joist Girder
A type of Joist Girder using joists located at panel points where diagonal webs intersect the top chord of the joist only.

Gable
A gable is located above the elevation of the eave line of a double-sloped roof.

Gage
Gage can refer to the thickness of a sheet of material or the distance between centerlines in a set of holes, usually perpendicular to the joist or joist girder.

Girder
A girder is the main horizontal member spanning between two main supports and carries other members or vertical loads within the structure.

Grade
The ground elevation of the soil.

Header
A member that carries other supporting members and is placed between other beams.

Hip Roof
A roof sloping from all four sides of a building.

Joist
A structural load-carrying member with an open web system which supports floors and roofs utilizing hot-rolled or cold-formed steel and is designed as a simple span member.

Kip
1000 pounds.

Live Load
Non-permanent loads on a structure created by the use of the structure.

Load
An outside force that affects the structure or its members.

Modulus of Elasticity (E)
The value is usually 29,000 ksi for structural steels and is also called Young’s Modulus. It calculates the slope of the straight-line portion of the stress-strain curve in the elastic range.

Moment
Moment is the tendency of a force to cause a rotation about a point or axis which in turn produces bending stresses.

Moment of Inertia (I)
A measure of the resistance to rotation offered by a member’s geometry and size.

Pitch
Pitch is the slope of a member defined as the ratio of the total rise to the total width

Reaction
Reaction is the force or moment developed at the points of a support.

Seismic Load
Loads produced during the seismic movements of an earthquake.

Shear
Forces resulting in two touching parts of a material to slide in opposite directions parallel to their plane of contact.

Span
The distance between supports.

Structural Steels
Steels suitable for load-carrying members in a structure.

Strut
A structural brace that resists axial forces.

Stud
A vertical wall member used to attach other structures, such as walls.

Torsion Loads
A load that causes a member to twist about its longitudinal axis. A couple or moment in a plane perpendicular to the axis produces simple torsion.

These most used structural engineering terminology definitions provide a baseline understanding of engineering jargon for the average consumer. Detailed definitions can be obtained from visiting a professional engineering website or professional journal.

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Structural Engineering of Historic Buildings

The structural engineering of historic buildings is often focused on retrofitting these structures with life-saving alterations such as fire safety equipment and earthquake proof systems. Historic buildings are often built soundly, but due to the age of the building materials, the structure may be unstable or unsafe in the event of a fire or earthquake.

Most historic buildings are exempt from the newer federal building codes, but if the building owner wishes to change the use of the historic building, such as opening it up to public access or running a business from inside the historic building, certain building code requirements must be fulfilled. This most often results in calling in a structural engineer or architect to assist with the retrofitting or alteration of the historic building.

Structural Engineering of Historic Buildings: Energy Conservation

Some historic buildings require structural engineering expertise to aid in the conservation of energy. With today’s rising energy costs, energy conservation is a necessity for many building owners. This often involves placing insulating thermal paned glass over the historic glass of the buildings to help reduce heating and cooling costs.

The addition of awnings and shading devices can also help with energy conservation without altering the historic structure. Insulation is often added, and masonry walls can be coated with a waterproofing substance to further aid in energy conservation.

Structural Engineering of Historic Buildings: Seismic Retrofitting

Seismic retrofitting concentrates on preserving the structural integrity of the structure and reduce the likelihood of personal injuries should an earthquake occur. Seismic retrofitting also seeks to limit the amount of damage the historic building incurs during an earthquake.

Seismic retrofitting of a historic building may include bracing or tying parapets, chimneys, or ornamentation on the structure. It also involves reinforcing the emergency egress routes inside the building to help preserve life during an earthquake. Floor to wall framing may be enhanced and masonry walls often require addition support to limit the amount of damage from an earthquake.

Structural Engineering of Historic Buildings: Fire Safety Retrofitting

Fire safety retrofitting in historic buildings is a common occurrence. Retrofitting fire safety devices poses a unique problem for structural engineers. The fire safety systems must provide maximum protection in the event. Emergency exits are also examining and altered when necessary to provide a route of escape in the event of a fire. For a detailed government report about retrofitting of historical buildings for fire safety, view theThe General Services Administration “Fire Safety in Historic Buildings” Report Here.

The structural engineering of historic buildings is a delicate procedure that requires the skill and expertise of an experienced structural engineer and a team of consultants. The preservation of historic buildings is a specialty area and one of great interest to many citizens. For more information about the preservation of historic buildings, you can visit The National Park Service website.

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Why Builders Prefer Structural Analysis Software

Structural design and residential construction are common tasks for the building contractor. A contractor, architect, structural engineer, or the consumer may take part in the structural design process. Residential construction is a complicated process, and many consumers and professionals turn to a structural analysis software program to assist with the structural design process.

Structural analysis software programs assist the purchaser with a wide variety of building design applications. Beam design, footing design, and column design are all included in quality structural analysis software.

The structural design of a building is critical to the structure’s stability. One misplaced column or beam can result in property damage, personal injury, or collapse of the building. Structural design programs assist the designer in creating a stable, attractive residential design that fits the needs of the consumer.

The structural design of a residential building is much more than a floor plan and aesthetic design. It is also a blueprint for a sound structure that is designed to withstand the forces of nature, the effect of the residents, and the ravages of time.

Structural Design and Residential Construction: From the Contractor’s Point of View

A building contractor values his or her time. A contractor works on a tight schedule and places enormous importance on meeting the needs of the consumer. An unhappy homeowner is bad for business. The majority of consumers hire a contractor with a set budget.

They want to get the most values out of their new home as is possible. Errors in the structural design of a residential construction project can be costly for both the contractor and the homeowner. Structural analysis software helps eliminate design errors before a single brick is laid or the first nail is driven.

Residential construction can be very stressful for the homeowner. Many homeowners can become finicky, demanding, or downright hostile during this stressful period. Last minute changes to the structural design of a residence equate more stress for the building contractor as well. With the use of a structural analysis software program, these last minute changes are quickly and easily integrated into the existing residential construction plan.

Structural Design and Residential Construction: From the Home-owner’s Point of View

Every homeowner wants a quality home that does not drain his or her bank account. Having realistic expectations about the structural design of a residence in relation to budget set for the residential construction helps reduce the stress level for the homeowner.

A structural analysis software program helps the consumer plan out the details of the structural design and evaluates the cost effectiveness of such a plan. Having a detailed residential construction plan also aids the homeowner in setting a realistic budge for the project.

A structural analysis software program helps eliminate problems in the structural design of the home and thereby reduces the cost of construction by eliminating the need for alterations during the construction phase.

Structural design and residential construction are completed more quickly and smoothly when the homeowners or building contractors decide to use a structural analysis software program.

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