Steel construction has significant benefits over its counterparts like wood and concrete construction such as excellent strength to weight ratio, fire resistance, ease of installation and cost-effective maintenance. With these benefits, though, come some challenges that can best be resolved by a thorough knowledge of structural steel domain and connection engineering in a structure.
For large establishments like bridge, skyscraper and power plans Structural steel is a key element of the entire structural system. Steel columns, girders, beams, roof joists, decks, handrails, studs and framing are a few examples of basic steel construction elements. An experienced Structural engineer understands not only how to interconnect these elements for better strength but also the basics of how the structural system will perform in severe climate conditions.
Historically, 8 out of 10 structural steel failures happen at connections - where a column connects to end plate, where a column connects to a beam or joist, etc. The Structural Engineer is responsible for the detailing and design of the steel elements and provides directions for the connections.
In American construction as specified by AISC standard the Engineer provides size and dimensions of the elements and the Steel Fabricators designs the connections. The Engineer will then review and approve the shop drawings.
The fixed connection between beam-column-end plates must not rotate. So for a beam-column fixed connection there may be a plate on the top and bottom flanges of the beam that needs to be welded to the column. If a column is embedded 4-5 feet deep in a concrete pier, it will not rotate.
The shop drawer must know if any fixed connections are needed and detail how they are realized. Just providing more attention to such details increases the likelihood of a successful structure.
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