Anda di halaman 1dari 117

economical structural

student edition - 2004
(ABN)/ACN (94) 000 973 839
economical structural
student edition - 2004
(ABN)/ACN (94) 000 973 839
Student Edition 2004
Limit States Edition to AS 4100 -- 1990
AUSTRALIAN STEEL INSTITUTE --1979, 1984, 1991, 1996, 2004
909945 77 2
REPRINTED 1992, 1995
E Australian Institute of Steel Construction 1996
While every effort has been made and all reasonable care taken to ensure
the accuracy of the material contained herein the Authors, Editors and
Publishers of this Publication shall not be held to be liable or responsible in
any way whatsoever for any loss or damage costs or expenses howsoever
incurred by any person whether the purchaser of this work or otherwise
including but without in any way limiting any loss or damage costs or
expenses incurred as a result of or in connection with the reliance whether
whole or partial by any person as aforesaid upon any part of the contents of
this publication.
Should expert assistance be required, the services of a competent
professional person should be sought.
Economical Structural Steelwork was first published in 1979 and quickly
became the Institutes most popular publication among practising
designers and students.
This fourth edition has been up--dated in its references to Australian
Standards, practices and cost concepts, and has other amendments. It
continues to provide the useful practical advice given by its previous
editions towards the achievement of the optimum result in structural
E Australian Institute of Steel Construction 1996
While every effort has been made and all reasonable care taken to ensure
the accuracy of the material contained herein the Authors, Editors and
Publishers of this Publication shall not be held to be liable or responsible in
any way whatsoever for any loss or damage costs or expenses howsoever
incurred by any person whether the purchaser of this work or otherwise
including but without in any way limiting any loss or damage costs or
expenses incurred as a result of or in connection with the reliance whether
whole or partial by any person as aforesaid upon any part of the contents of
this publication.
Should expert assistance be required, the services of a competent
professional person should be sought.
When considering steel structures it is not difficult to obtain information on
engineering and technological aspects, but very little is available on howto
choose steelwork economically. Yet more and more the viability of a
building project depends upon critical financial considerations. Thus it is
important for designers to have a good general appreciation of the
components that make upthe cost of fabricatedsteel, andof howdecisions
made at the design stage can influence these costs.
This publication aims to supply some of this information. It is not a design
manual, but rather a publication that discusses froma cost point of viewall
of the matters that a structural steel designer should consider. It takes into
account current fabrication practices and material/labour relationships,
both of which have changed markedly over the last few years.
Adherence to the principles outlined in this publication will do much to
assist designers in reaching decisions that will lead to effective and
economic structures.
It should be noted that this edition has substantially adopted the
rationalised approach to the costing of fabricated steel by using a cost per
metre for sections and cost per square metre for plates, depending on
the size, in lieu of cost per tonne. The reasoning behind this is presented
in a paper entitled: A Rational Approach to Costing Steelwork by T Main,
K B Watson and S Dallas. This paper was presented at the International
Cost Engineering Council/The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors
International Symposium, Construction Economics -- The Essential
Management Tool, Australia, May 1995.
We wish to thank all those who have contributed to this publication and
special acknowledgment goes to all AISC Staff who submitted comments
on the technical and editorial content of this publication.
edited by: Jose R Zaragoza
AISC State
FOREWORD 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Preface 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1. Preliminary Considerations 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.1. Introduction 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2. Factors influencing Framing Cost 1 . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.3. Integrated Design 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2. General Factors Affecting Economy 3 . . . . . . . . .
2.1. Steel Grades 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.1. STRUCTURAL STEEL 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.2. WEATHERING STEEL 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.3. HOLLOW SECTIONS 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.1.4. QUENCHED AND TEMPERED STEEL 4 . . . . . . . . .
2.1.5. CHOICE OF STEEL GRADE 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2. Economy in use of Material 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.1. STEEL PRICING 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.2. PLATES 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.3. SECTIONS 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2.4. SCRAP AND WASTE 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3. Fabrication 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.1. GENERAL 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.2. BEAM AND COLUMN FABRICATION 8 . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.3. GIRDER AND TRUSS FABRICATION 8 . . . . . . . . . .
2.4. Erection 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.2. HANDLING AND TRANSPORT 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.3. CONNECTIONS 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.4. FIELD BOLTING 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.5. FIELD WELDING 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.6. BRACING 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5. Surface Treatment 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.2. STEEL PERFORMANCE 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.3. SURFACE PREPARATION 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.4. PAINT SYSTEMS 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.5. HOT--DIP GALVANIZING 14 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6. Fire Resistance 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.2. REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.6.3. MATERIALS FOR FIRE PROTECTION 16 . . . . . . . .
2.7. Specifications 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.1. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.2. WORKMANSHIP STANDARDS 17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.3. TOLERANCES 17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.4. CAMBERING 18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.5. TEMPORARY BRACING 19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.7.6. INSPECTION 19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3. Framing Concepts and Connection Types 21 . . . .
3.1. Introduction 21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2. Connection Types 21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.1. DESIGN METHODS IN AS 4100 21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.2. FLEXIBLE CONNECTIONS 22 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2.3. RIGID CONNECTIONS 23 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3. Basic Framing Systems 24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.1. TWO--WAY RIGID FRAMEWORK (Fig 3.3) 24 . . . . .
3.3.2. ONE--WAY RIGID FRAMEWORK (Fig 3.4) 24 . . . . . .
3.3.3. TWO--WAY BRACED FRAMEWORK (Fig 3.5) 25 . .
3.3.4. SUMMARY OF FRAMING SYSTEMS 26 . . . . . . . . . .
3.3.5. STABILISING ELEMENTS 27 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4. Cost and Framing System 29 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4.1. MULTI--STOREY BUILDING 30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5. Framing Details 31 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.1. SYMMETRY 31 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.2. RATIONALISATION OF MEMBERS 32 . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.3. STANDARDIZATION 32 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.5.4. SIMPLICITY 32 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.6. Conclusion 33 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4. Industrial Buildings 34 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.1. Introduction 34 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2. Warehouse and Factory Buildings 34 . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.1. GENERAL 34 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.2. STANDARDIZED PORTAL FRAMES 35 . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.4. BRACING OF PORTAL FRAMES 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.6. PURLINS 41 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.7. FLY BRACING 42 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.8. SHEETING 43 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3. Large Span Storage Buildings 43 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.1. SPANS OF 45--70 METRES 43 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.2. SPANS IN EXCESS OF 70 METRES 44 . . . . . . . . . .
4.4. Heavy Industrial Structures 44 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.1. ERECTION 45 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.2. SITE WELDING 45 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.3. BOLTED CONNECTIONS 45 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4.4. FUNCTIONAL CONSTRAINTS 45 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5. Commercial Buildings 46 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.1. Introduction 46 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2. Low--Rise Commercial Buildings 46 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.1. FULLY STEEL--FRAMED 46 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2.2. COMPOSITE FRAMES 47 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3. High--Rise Commercial Buildings 47 . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.1. GENERAL 47 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.2. FULLY RIGID FRAME 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.3. FULLY BRACED FRAMES 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4. Floor Support Systems 52 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5. Composite Construction 54 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5.1. FLOOR SYSTEMS 54 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5.2. COLUMNS 55 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.6. Summary 56 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6. Bolting 57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.1. Introduction 57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.2. Bolt Types 57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.2.1. COMMERCIAL BOLTS 57 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.3. Bolting Categories 58 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4. Factors Affecting Bolting Economy 59 . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.1. BOLT GRADE 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.2. BOLT DIAMETER 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.3. BOLTING CATEGORY 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.4. THREADS IN OR OUT OF SHEAR PLANE 60 . . . . .
6.4.5. BOLT FINISH 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.4.6. INSPECTION 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.5. Summary for Economic Bolting 61 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.5.1. CHECKLIST 61 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.5.2. BOLT USAGE -- FLEXIBLE JOINTS 62 . . . . . . . . . . .
6.5.3. BOLT USAGE--RIGID JOINTS 63 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7. Welding 64 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.1. Introduction 64 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.1.1. PRINCIPLES FOR ECONOMY 64 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.1.2. COST COMPONENTS 64 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2. Types of Welds 65 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2.1. FILLET WELDS (see Fig 7.1) 65 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2.2. BUTT WELDS (see Fig 7.2) 66 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.2.3. BUTT WELDS vs. FILLET WELDS 66 . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.3. Welding Processes 67 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4. Other Cost Factors 68 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.1. WELD CATEGORIES 68 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.2. WELDING SPECIFICATIONS 69 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.4.3. WELDING INSPECTION 69 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7.5. Economical Design and Detailing 70 . . . . . . . . . . . .
8. Detailing for Economy 75 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.1. Detailing on Design Engineers Drawings 75 . . . . .
8.2. Beams 76 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.2.1. GENERAL 76 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.2.2. PLATED SECTIONS 76 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.2.3. WEB PENETRATIONS IN BEAMS 76 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.2.4. CASTELLATED BEAMS 77 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.2.5. THREE--PLATE GIRDERS 78 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3. Columns 80 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3.1. GENERAL 80 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3.2. COLUMN BASE PLATES 80 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3.3. HOLDING--DOWN BOLTS 82 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3.4. COLUMN SPLICES 82 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3.5. COLUMN STIFFENERS 84 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.3.6. BUILT--UP COLUMNS 85 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.4. Trusses 87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.5. Portal Frames 90 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.5.1. CONNECTIONS 90 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.5.2. PORTAL FRAME PRE--SET 91 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.6. Connection Detailing 92 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.6.1. GENERAL 92 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.6.2. SPECIFIC CONNECTIONS 93 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9. References & Further Reading 103 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
10. Standards 105 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
List of Tables
(check currency of information with steel suppliers) 4 . . . .
(per tonne, supply only) 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(in mm) 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLE 2.4 TRANSPORTATION COSTS 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLE 2.5 SURFACE TREATMENT COSTS 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLE 5.1 SHEAR WALL vs LATTICE BRACING 52 . . . . . . . . .
DIFFERENT BOLT DIAMETERS 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
DIFFERENT BOLTING CATEGORIES 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLE 7.1 FILLET WELD COMPARISON 65 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TABLE 8.1 WRENCH CLEARANCES 89 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
List of Figures
Fig. 2.1 Deep end plates can cause jamming 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig. 2.2 Two ways of avoiding the problem
of access to column web connections 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 2.3 Typical connections where allowance for
mill tolerance is needed 18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.1 Flexible connections 22 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.2 Rigid connections 24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.3 Two--way rigid framework 24 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.4 One--way braced, one--way rigid framework 25 . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.5 Two--way braced framework 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.6 Stabilising elements built in steel 27 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.7 Stabilising elements built in reinforced concrete
or masonry 28 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig. 3.8 Floor deck bracing systems 28 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.9 Action of lateral force resisting systems (from Ref 5.2) 29
Fig. 3.10 Frame example 30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 3.11 Relationship between mass/unit area and span 31 . . .
Fig 3.12 Relationship between cost/unit area and span 31 . . . .
Fig. 3.13 Beams for economic fabrication 32 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.1 Steelwork Cost Components for Warehouses 35 . . . . .
Fig 4.2 Configuration of framing systems for a
factory building 35 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.3 Details of bolted portal frame 36 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.4 Details for welded portal frame
(with bolted rafter splice for field erection) 37 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.5 Transportation limitations for portal frames 37 . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.6 Bracing panels 38 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.7 Bracing for long buildings 38 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.8 Details for rod bracing 39 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.9 Details for angle bracing 39 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.10 Details for tubular bracing 40 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.11 Types of supporting columns 40 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.12 Crane runway brackets 40 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.13 Commonly used sections for crane runway girders
and their relative fabrication cost 41 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.14 Standard purlin cleats 42 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.15 Zed section purlins with lap 42 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.16 C section purlins with butt joint 42 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.17 Method of fixing fly bracing to standard punching 43 . .
Fig 4.18 Three--pinned portal truss 43 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 4.19 The basic square grid double layered space frame 44
Fig 5.1 Framing system for low--rise commercial building 46 . . .
Fig 5.2 Stability by masonry 47 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.3 Stability by concrete panels 47 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.4 -- Optimum steel framing systems for buildings
of various heights 49 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.5. Field welded connection details 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.6 Shop welded connection details 50 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.7 Forms of bracing 51 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.8 Bracing should connect to column 51 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.9 Service core 52 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.10 Service core at end of building 52 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.11 Floor support members 53 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.12 Composite floor beam system 54 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.13 Welded stud shear connector 54 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig. 5.14 Profiles of composite galvanized steel decking 54 . . .
Fig 5.15 Composite columns incorporating a
steel erection column 55 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.16 Composite column comprising a concrete--filled
tubular section 56 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 5.17 Cost Components for a Multi--Storey Building 56 . . . . .
Fig 7.1 Types of fillet welds 66 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.2 Types of butt welds 66 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.3 Weld cost graph 67 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.4 Welded beam--to--column moment connection 68 . . . . .
Fig 7.5 Stiffened web plate girder with web penetration 68 . . . .
Fig 7.6 Some common detailing faults resulting in
poor accessibility for welding 72 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.7 Use of bending to reduce welding and
give clean corners 72 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.8 Beam flange with many different plate thicknesses
-- avoid when steel mass saved is less than
100 times mass of weld metal required 73 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.9 Exterior column/spandrel sub--assemblies for
Sears Tower, Chicago 73 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.10 Angle seat detail -- (a) preferable to (b) 74 . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 7.11 These joints are difficult to weld and the welds
may be of questionable quality 74 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.1 Chain of communication 75 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.2 Plated sections 76 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.3 Web penetrations in beams
(in descending order of cost, (d) being least costly) 77 . . . .
Fig 8.4 Typical castellated beam geometry 77 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.5 Evaluation of economics of castellated beam 78 . . . . . .
Fig 8.6 One--sided intermediate web stiffener 79 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.7 Stiffened and unstiffened webs in three plate girders 80
Fig 8.8 Column base plate details (moment resisting or fixed) 81
Fig 8.9 Typical pinned base plates
(full dimensional details can be found in Ref l) 81 . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.10 Holding--down bolt details 82 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.11 Typical holding--down bolt cage 83 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.12 Minimise number of column splices
-- 1 is preferable to 3 83 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.13 Preferred column splice locations 83 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.14 Economic details for built--up columns
in ascending order of fabrication cost 85 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.15 Welded corner details for box columns 85 . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.16 Connections to box columns 86 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.17 Spreading of columns to allow for weld shrinkage 86 .
Fig 8.18 Equivalent truss detailing 87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.19 Single angle welded truss 87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.20 Split tee welded truss 87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.21 Use of universal sections in welded trusses 88 . . . . . . .
Fig 8.22 Use of rectangular hollow sections
in welded trusses 89 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.23 Types of open web joist 89 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.24 End plate details 89 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.25 Clearance at apex joint 90 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.26 Termination of haunch 91 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.27 Attachment of purlins and girts 91 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.28 Precambering details of a rigid frame 91 . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.29 Typical beam details for fabrication economy 92 . . . . .
Fig 8.30 Typical floor beam layout 92 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.31 Angle seat connection 94 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.32 Flexible end plate connection 94 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.33 Angle cleat connection 95 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.34 Web side plate connection 96 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.35 Bearing pad connection 96 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.36 Welded moment connection 97 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.37 Moment end plate connection 98 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.38 Welded splice connection 99 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.39 Bolted splice connection 100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.40 Stiffener connections 101 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.41 Bracing connections 102 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fig 8.42 Connections to concrete cores 102 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1. Preliminary Considerations
1.1. Introduction
It is generally accepted that the objective of engineering design is the
achievement of an acceptable probability that the structure being designed
will retain its fitness for purpose during its planned lifetime. It is also of
utmost importance that the initial costs plus the maintenance costs of the
completed structure be within the limits provided by the Client.
For the design to be successful in the sense just outlined, the designer
should search for design alternatives which consider strength and
serviceability on the one hand, and economic feasibility on the other. In
other words, out of a number of alternative structural solutions which
comply with accepted design criteria for strength and serviceability, the
designer shouldselect thealternative likely tobethelowest overall cost. To
do this successfully, the designer should develop an appreciation of the
basic sources of expenditure in building construction and their effect on the
overall cost of construction.
In practice, the design problemis an optimisation problem. The solution to
any optimisation problem involves having some means of judging the
overall merit of alternatives. With regard to a building, the measure of
overall merit, usually provided by the Client, will involve one or more of the
following criteria:
(a) Functional requirements
(b) Strength and serviceability
(c) Aesthetic satisfaction
(d) Economy in relation to capital and maintenance costs.
This publication deals almost entirely with item (d) above.
In the preliminary and final design, the designer often deals primarily with
member designandconsequently tends toconsider theminimisation of the
mass of the structure as a guiding criterion towards achieving minimum
cost. That is, the designer substitutes the more straightforward criterion of
mass minimisation for the more involved criterion of minimum cost.
In regard to steel structures, a minimummass solution does not nec-
essarily result in a minimumcost solution. Connection detailing and
the resultingcost of fabricationanderectionare more oftenthe major
influences affecting overall cost. Undue preoccupation withthe mini-
misation of the mass of a steel structure can lead to serious errors of
This publication is intended to highlight the manner in which a number of
factors affect the cost of fabrication and erection. It will also highlight the
influence these costs have on the total final cost of a steel structure.
1.2. Factors influencing Framing Cost
Fabricated steel has been traditionally costed on a per tonne basis.
Consequently in discussing the cost of fabricated steel the question often
raised relates to howmuch is the cost per tonne of fabricated steel. Such a
question usually ignores the fact that a large number of factors have a
significant influence on the final cost of fabricated steel.
A more rationalised approach to the costing of fabricated steel is based on
a cost per metre for sections and cost per square metre for plates
depending on the size of the member. Fabrication costs for connections
and erection costs, etc can then be added on a component by component
basis (Ref 3.).
In the design, detailing, fabrication and erection of a steel structure, the
following factors influence the cost of the framing:
(a) Selection of the framing system
(b) Design of the individual members
(c) Design and detailing of the connections
(d) Fabrication processes used
(e) Erection techniques used
(f) Specification for fabrication and erection
(g) Other items such as corrosion protection, fire protection, etc.
The selection of the most efficient framing system is fundamental to
achieving an economical framing solution and aspects relating to this item
are discussed in Sections 3. 4. and 5.
Efficient member design remains an important cost factor tempered by the
comments made in Clause 1.1. Detailed consideration of this item does
not fall within the scope of this publication. One point that does deserve
mention however is the avoidance of the individual design of every beam
and column in an attempt to achieve least mass. The aim should be to
group similar members (e.g. similar main beams in a floor grid) and adopt
the one size for all members of the group. An experienced designer will
optimise the design by being aware that if too much grouping is done, there
will be material wastage. However, if little grouping is done, then there is a
great waste of time on the part of the draftsperson and the erector.
Economic fabrication and erection are significantly affected by economical
connection details. This publication is very concerned with economic
detailing of steelwork and the manner in which detailing influences the cost
of fabrication and erection. Sections 6. 7. and 8. deal with a variety of points
which need consideration.
The specification(item(f) above) is amajor influenceonthecost of boththe
fabrication and erection since it specifies the quality of materials and
workmanship required.
Similarly, the costs of both corrosion protection and fire protection (item(g)
above) are important influences on the final cost. All these items are
discussed in greater detail in Section 2.
1.3. Integrated Design
One of the obstacles to achieving maximum economy is that three of the
most important activities in steel frame construction, namely structural
design, detailing and fabrication, are usually done in isolation from one
another. This is partly due to specialisation in each of the disciplines and
partly because of a lack of an effective dialogue among the people
As a result of this, there often occurs a total preoccupation with the
analytical phase of the design, and a complete absence of rational thinking
about the detailing phase. Consequently, the problems that arise during
the detailing phase are solved by complicating the detail rather than by
modifying the design concept. When the job reaches the fabrication shop,
there is little alternative but to carry out whatever happens to be shown on
the drawings.
A much improved situation results when the design effort is integrated so
that the framework, its members and its connections are considered as a
whole. In this way, it becomes possible to modify the structural framing
concept to allow the use of simpler and less costly connections in the
interest of overall economy.
The cost factors listed in Clause 1.2 should be considered in an integrated
manner so that interactions between the framework, its members and its
connections are considered during the design process. In this way, one
aspect canbealtered toenable another tobeimproved. This enhances the
overall cost efficiency of the final structure.
Obviously, such an approach ideally requires an extensive and up--to--date
knowledge of the steel fabrication and erection industries. Since such
knowledge is not always easily achieved, communication with fabricators
is a useful method of establishing the optimum practical solution. An
interchange of ideas among fabricators, erectors and designers is an ideal
situation for achieving optimisation.
It should be appreciated that what constitutes design and good (i.e.
economical) design will vary depending on whose viewpoint is being
considered. To the designer, an economical design is usually the lightest
member to carry the load. To the fabricator, a good design means high
tonnage output with minimum amount of labour. To the erector a good
design is one where most members are the same size and can be
interchanged without any problems.
Clearly such different viewpoints are best resolved by an integrated and
interactive approach on the part of the steelwork designer.
2. General Factors Affecting Economy
2.1. Steel Grades
Throughout the world the least costly and most commonly used grades of
steel for structural purposes are those generally referred to as normal
strength structural steel.
In Australia such steel is covered by AS 3678 or AS 3679 (Parts 1 & 2). It
has a typical design yield strength of 250/300 MPa (varying above and
below this figure depending on thickness), a tensile strength of at least
410/430 MPa, a minimum elongation of 22% and a carbon equivalent of
0.43/0.44 so as to assure good weldability.
AS 3678 and AS 3679 (Parts 1 & 2) are omnibus standards covering a
family of structural steel grades including variants of the main grades
having superior low temperature toughness.
Plates, rolled sections, welded sections and bars are all produced to these
standards, although not every product is available in every grade. This is
explained more fully in Table 2.1.
AS 3678 and AS 3679 (Parts 1 & 2) also deal with so--called weathering
steel. Weathering Steel contains alloying elements which cause it to
weather to a uniformpatina after which no further corrosion takes place. By
nature of the chemical composition the steel is high strength (Grade 350)
steel. However in Australia it is available in only a limited number of
products----see Table 2.1.
InAustraliastructural hollowsections areproduced totheproduct standard
AS 1163. This standard covers a number of cold--formed (C) grades.
Rectangular hollowsections are available inGrade C350and GradeC450.
Circular hollow sections (CHS) are available in Grade C250 and Grade
rency of information with steel suppliers)
Steel Grade Plates (or
Floor plates)
Hollow Sections
Grade AS
200 Y -- --
250 Y Y (1) --
250L0 -- X --
250L15 + -- --
300 + Y (2) Y
300L15 + -- +
350 Y + --
350L0 -- X --
350L15 + -- --
400 + -- Y
400L15 X -- +
WR350/1 + -- --
WR350/1 L0 + -- --
Grade C250 Y
C350 Y
C450 Y
Quenched &
Tempered Structural
AS 3597
60 Y
70 Y
80 Y
Y = regular grade commonly produced, readily available from stockists
+ = regular grade not commonly produced, availability subject to time limitations and order size
X = non--regular grade, availability subject to time limitations and order size
-- = not manufactured
Notes: 1. Applies to TFB, TFC and small angles.
2. Sections not considered in Note 1 above.
Steel plates are produced in Australia in very high strength heat--treated
grades known as quenched and tempered steel. These steel plates are
useful in special applications where mass reduction is important (eg. crane
booms) or where their high wear resistance is needed (e.g. dump truck
Australian Standard AS 3597 covers these steel plates for structural steel
applications and for use in pressure vessels.
Table 2.1 lists the availability of various products by steel grade. The
indicative relative cost of grades is shown in Table 2.2. For most structures
the greatest economy will be achieved by the selection of the least costly
and most readily available steel, i.e. Grade 300.
In large structures with longer lead times the use of higher grades will often
be worth considering at least for parts of the frame.
Heavy plate members such as bridge girders are one instance where
higher grades may prove economical. Other applications include:
(a) Multi--storey structures, particularly with composite steel beams;
also in maintaining the same column size down a building by
varying steel grades;
(b) Trusses and lattice girders.
Grade 350 steel costs around 10% more than Grade 300, and generally
about 5%more to fabricate. To offset these cost extras, it provides greater
yield strength but no increase in stiffness.
In some frames, significant reduction in steel mass may overcome the
increase in material cost and fabrication cost by the use of higher grades.
Each individual frame must be assessed on its merits, but there are
undoubtedly applications where the use of higher grades is economical.
While the information presented in Table 2.1 is indicative of the general
situation, it must be remembered that the steel suppliers are always willing
to discuss special cases where, for example, the economics of a high
strength steel has been considered by the designer and the sections
required are not normally manufactured in that grade. For a project
requiring large tonnage of specific sections, it may be possible to negotiate
a special order with the supplier, provided that an arrangement has been
agreed at an early enough phase in the design.
Conversely, on average projects the designer should always be careful to
keep within the range of readily available products so as to ensure that no
problems of steel procurement occur at the fabrication stage.
OF STRUCTURAL STEEL (per tonne, supply only)
Grade Plates Rolled
AS 3678, AS
3679.1 & AS
Grade 250 100 100 --
250L0 -- 105 --
250L15 105 105 --
300 100 110 130
300L15 105 -- 140
350 110 120 --
350L0 -- 130 --
350L15 120 -- --
400 115 -- 150
400L15 120 -- 155
WR350/1 125 -- --
WR350/1 L0 135 -- --
AS 1163
Grade C250 130
C350 130
C450 130
AS 3597 Quenched
& Tempered Steel
Grade 60 150
70 160
80 160
2.2. Economy in use of Material
As well as having a knowledge of the factors affecting the choice of steel
grade, the designer should also be aware of how design decisions can
avoid unnecessary material cost or wastage. This will involve a study of the
factors discussed below.
Mill prices are expressed in terms of a base price and various extras. The
base price relates to the type of mill product such as plate or sections, while
extras relate to specifics of the particular product or section.
The most common extras for structural quality steel include the size or
designation, standard or non--standard lengths, quantity extras or
discounts related to the total mass of individual order items, and the grade
extras which apply to the quality specification for the material chosen.
Quality extras for structural steel relate to the material specifications and
reflect the costs of alloying elements, of tighter controls on such elements
as carbon, manganese, phosphorus and silicon, and of tighter controls on
manufacturing techniques to meet the specified chemical and mechanical
properties. The cost of additional tests and greater frequency of testing,
necessary for increased stringency of yield strength and notch ductility, are
also reflected in increased quality and testing extras.
Designers should recognise that the more exotic the requirements of the
steel specification, the greater is the probability that other costs associated
with its use, ranging fromprocurement through all stages of fabrication, will
also be increased. Unnecessary demands by specifiers for mill heat
certificates for standard sections to be used on routine projects is another
example of unnecessary costs added onto projects.
The foregoing relates to purchases made direct from the steel mill, but in
Australia most fabricators obtain their steel through steel merchants.
These steel merchants aim to carry comprehensive stocks and are thus
able to offer prompter delivery than would be available through the normal
steelmakers rolling programs.
On the other hand, the larger fabricators are able to meet the mill
requirements for direct purchase and prefer to procure their material this
way. In recent years there has been a trend among some larger fabricators
to limit their mill purchases to main material, and to obtain low--volume
ancillary material from steel merchants as and when required.
In Australia there is not much difference in the cost of steel procured in one
way or the other if all expenses are truly accounted.
The argument about using, wherever possible, the preferred grades and
sizes applies equally to steel obtained from a steel merchant, because
these firms naturally tend to concentrate their stockholding on popular,
fast--moving, items.
2.2.2. PLATES
In Australia there is a rationalised series of preferred plate thicknesses as
listed in Table 2.3.
For practically all structures the designer should operate within this
standard range. Non--preferred thicknesses incur cost premiums and
extended delivery times, and should only be considered on major projects
where the overall saving in using a special thickness is greater than the
direct and indirect cost penalties.
Similarly there are preferred lengths and widths of plates which should be
borne in mind. Major plate elements should be dimensioned as far as
possible so that they can be cut from standard plates with a minimum of
scrap. Smaller plate details such as brackets and gussets should be
considered in the same way, especially when there is a large number of
them. The most common sizes for plates up to 25 mmthick are 1.8mx 6m,
2.4m x 6m, 2.4m x 9m, and 3m x 9m.
(Note: Small plate components may be substituted by flat bars which are
considered as Sections.)
3 25 70
4 28 80
5 32 90
6 36 100
8 40 110
10 45 120
12 50 140
16 55 160
20 60 180
Australia produces a range of welded products, universal sections,
channels, angles, and hollow sections which provides the designer with a
reasonable choice without the proliferation which can lead to problems of
The lowest weight in each nominal size of universal section is the most
structurally efficient and they account for over two--thirds of all UB sales.
The designer shouldtherefore makeevery endeavour to keepto thelowest
weights, although this will not always be possible.
Very long lengths of sections become difficult to keep straight and to
handle, and the mills impose a price extra for them. It should be especially
noted that although universal sections are listed as being available up to
18m long (and up to 27m by inquiry), the usual maximum length found in
stock is around 15m.
The available lengths of structural hollow sections are usually restricted to
6.5m (circulars) or 12m (rectangulars and squares).
The real cost of material is affected by the quantity of scrap and waste, and
designers should be receptive to suggestions for minimising and
controlling the generation of waste. This may include greater
standardisation of structural sizes, or of plate widths and thicknesses, in
order totake advantageof sizeand quantity discounts. It might alsoinclude
amore liberal approachto thesplicing of beams or other structural sections
using standard lengths.
Random splicing, which involves welded splices anywhere within the
length of a rolled structural member, can be particularly effective when
material is sawn to length and fabricated on a conveyorised production
line. Whencarefully controlled, it candramatically reducetheaccumulation
of shorts and thus reduce the total cost. The only real restriction to random
splicing applies to its use for beams subject to severe dynamic loads. Of
course the savings in scrap have to be balanced against the welding costs,
and the designer should be receptive to this technique where it is
2.3. Fabrication
2.3.1. GENERAL
Fabrication costs are a function of complexity and are influenced by:
(a) Size of the component
(b) Size and type of sections involved
(c) Amount of stiffening and reinforcing required
(d) Amount of repetition
(e) Shop and field details
(f) Space requirements in the shop, and
(g) Facilities available for handling, lifting and moving the structural
Fabrication costs are sensitive to simplicity or complexity of detail, and the
degree to which production line techniques can be applied. They are
controlled by the quality of the shop detail drawings, which must reflect the
designers concept for the structure, but must also permit the optimum
utilisation of the fabricators facilities and equipment. Shop drawing
preparation should be guided by the basic principle that they must provide
for economy of fabrication and for economy of erection.
Shop operations basically involve cutting material to size, hole--making for
mechanical fasteners, and assembling and joining. Other operations
include handling, cleaning and corrosion protection. All shop operations
require facilities for lifting and for moving or conveying the structural steel.
Cutting operations include shearing, sawing and flame cutting;
hole--making operations include punching and drilling; assembly
operations include welding and bolting. Increased use of computer
numerically controlled (CNC) fabrication processes is changing the
economics of steel fabrication. Cutting, drilling and welding operations can
now be undertaken by the CNC fabrication process. Information from
computer drafted shop drawings can be fed directly into CNC fabrication
equipment to further improve operational efficiency. Some fabricators are
now bar coding steelwork to facilitate control and monitoring of projects.
Generally welding is the preferred method for shop assembly, with bolting
for field assembly. There are, however, somefabricators withsophisticated
hole--making equipment, who prefer shop bolting to shop welding for
standard connections. Some steel merchants also provide basic cutting
and drilling services to the steel fabricators.
A large part of structural steel fabrication consists of beam and column
work. It embraces framing members consisting of standard rolled shapes
connected by shear or moment connections, and also includes highly
irregular framing members with custom designed built--up sections and
complex connections designed for combinations of shear, moment and
direct tension.
Simple beam and column fabrication lends itself to production line
methods, inwhichthemembers aretransported onaseries of conveyors to
saws which cut the material to length, and to hole--making equipment
which provide holes in either the web or flange or both.
Any additional requirements, such as the attachment of cleats or brackets,
are off--line operations. It is important therefore that connections and other
details be selected so as to provide the maximumnumber of members with
only cutting and holing. Otherwise the economy of using CNC equipment
and the conveyorised beam--line system will be less apparent (see Figs
3.13 and 8.29).
Fabrication of plate girders and trusses differs frombeamand column work
in that it involves assembly in the shop, and calls for adequate space and
handling facilities. Both girders and trusses require special fit--up jigs for
assembly and welding, and the availability of heavy lifting equipment.
Just as with beam and column work, however, the key to productivity and
economical fabrication is the use of simple standard details for stiffeners,
splices, gussets, etc.
For plate girders all details should be designed for automatic welding,
allowing adequate clearances for the welding machines to pass and for
termination of welds at the ends of web stiffeners. Maintaining constant
width flanges within a shop fabricated length of girder permits splicing of
multiple width plate and subsequent stripping to finished width. This will
reduce weld set--up time, eliminate weld starts and stops, and require only
one set of run--on and run--off tabs. Reductions of flange widths, web
depths and plate thicknesses purely to reduce mass should be considered
very carefully as they can significantly increase fabrication costs.
Control of distortioninplategirder fabrication is amajor problem, whichcan
be helpedby designwhich minimises the amount of weldingand avoids the
use of significantly non--symmetrical sections. It is falseeconomy todesign
for minimum web thickness only to require web stiffeners, thereby
increasing the amount of welding and distortion; or to use very light top
flanges in composite girders only to compound the problem of camber
control. See also Clause 8.2.5.
Trusses can be designed in a large variety of configurations which depend
on the truss span, depth and loads to be carried. Therefore, it is impossible
to make general statements regarding the most economical design for
fabrication, other than to stress again the importance of simplicity of detail.
Designers should avoid situations that can cause weld restraint and
problems resulting fromweld induced distortion. As far as possible trusses
in the one project should have the same configuration so that they can all
be fabricated from the one jig.
In truss work, the correct selection of chord members can often remove the
need to turn the truss over during the fabrication (see Clause 8.4). This will
enable the fabricator to complete the entire welding on the truss
component without further handling.
The key to economic fabrication is the use of standards at all stages. This
includes standard procedures, standard schedules, standard drawings,
and above all standard connections and details. Non--standard details are
usually handled as special job standards; however, the net effect of any
specials is to slow production with some loss of fabrication economy.
In the selection of connections the designer should observe the following
(a) Select members and connections to provide a maximum of repe-
tition throughout a structure. This provides the fabricator with the
opportunity to make up jigs and fixtures to speed up the fabrica-
tion process.
(b) As far as possible, select connections so that the assembly of
fitments on a member can be carried out in one position. This will
reduce the number of handling or rotating operations during fab-
(c) Keep the number of components in a connection to a minimum.
(d) Select connections so that assembly of components occurs on
the least number of members.
(e) As far as possible use connections that are standard in the in-
dustry (see Standardized Structural Connections, Ref 1).
(f) Ensure a minimum standard of documentation in line with AISCs
publication: A Guide to the Requirements for Engineering Draw-
ings of Structural Steelwork (Ref 2.12).
(g) Most importantly, keep an open mind on the selection of mem-
bers and connections. Before finally committing a design to the
detail design phase, communicate with the industry and try to
determine the best solution to optimise the use of material and
labour in the fabrication shop. This industry communication can
often be facilitated through the services of AISC.
2.4. Erection
The rate of erection of steel in a structure is controlled by five main factors:
(a) Connection simplicity
(b) Number of members
(c) Number of bolts and/or amount of field welding
(d) Size and efficiency of erection crew, and the equipment at their
(e) Timely supply of steel.
It is interesting to note that of these factors, the first three are under the
control of the designer.
Connections should be simple, and of such a type that the allowable
tolerances (in member size and shape, detailing and fabrication) can be
accommodated during the placing of the members.
The number of members should be kept to a practical minimum, and so
should the number of bolts or amount of field welding. There should be
sufficient access for welding or for tightening bolts using power wrenches.
Bolted connections should be used wherever possible, and field welding
kept to a minimum. Connection plates should be shop welded to one
member, rather than field bolted to both, unless other considerations
Every endeavour should be made to standardise as far as possible
(member sizes, bolt sizes, type of connection, gauge lines, member
spacing, etc.), and careful consideration should be given to howa member
is to be installed with minimum interference by other members, gusset
plates, etc. (see Ref 1).
With an increasing awareness of the importance of employee safety in the
work place, erection methods are changing. Designers and erectors have
a duty of care and should consider safe erection methods. The use of
equipment such as cherry pickers is becoming more common during
erection. Designers need to include anchorage points for safety lines and
harnesses for riggers. These issues are resulting in steelwork being
erected on the ground and then craned up to final position in many projects
to reduce the amount of work done at great heights. This may require
alternative design and detail methods, and utilisation of additional short
term cranage but provides a safer work site. A safer work site will lead to
faster and more economical erection.
As a general rule it is more economical to erect fewer large pieces than
many small pieces, due to the number of lifts involved and the number of
joints to make. Generally this means fabricating larger pieces in the shop to
reduce the number of pieces and field connections. On the other hand,
transportationconstraints may limit thesizeof apiecefor delivery tothesite
and require additional field splices. For example, with long flexible trusses,
the transportation length may have to be curtailed to avoid damage during
transfer to site or to avoid obstructions along the way.
Large sub--assemblies may require to be transported using special
vehicles attended by police escort, and this may add greatly to the final
price of the structure. However, projects outside capital cities could use
this approach as it minimises the size of the site crew required to be
mobilised on a remote or semi--remote site. With greater availability of
larger mobile cranes and trucks, the balance between transport costs and
site costs is changing. Where projects require large site crews, minimising
time spent on site is essential to economical erection. The erection or trial
erection of large components in a fabricators yard before delivery to site is
good practice and a cost savings exercise. Trial erection guards against
fabrication errors being discovered on site which may prove expensive to
Generally, transport costs are high, and therefore considerable economy
can be achieved if vehicles travel fully laden. The dimensions of a typical
load of structural steelwork which requires no special escort are in the
order of 15m long x 3m wide x 2m high. It is important that like pieces are
loaded together to optimise truck capacity, but also that the components be
delivered to site in the order required by the erection sequence (i.e.
columns followed by beams from ground upwards). This will save double
handling on site and also reduce the cost of site storage and possible
The virtue of designing for repetitive components has already been
stressed. The gains can be partly lost on site if interchangeable parts are
given individual mark numbers. This will require the erector to search for a
particular number mark on a member when any one of a considerable
number of members would fit. After completing a design it is worth looking
at marking plans with this idea in mind.
Indicative transportation costs are given in Table 2.4. Costs include the
loading of steelwork onto and off the truck.
Transport Fabrication Shop to
Site (see Note)
Section Mass (kg/m) $/member
60.5 and less 15
60.6 to 160 56
160.1 to 455 225
Note: Allowfor twice the cost of transportation if the surface treatment
is applied at premises other than the fabrication shop.
It is in the final fixing of members that the greatest scope for erection
economy lies. Connections selectedtopermit flexibility infit upshouldbeof
prime concern to designers. The use of one type of bolt and one bolting
procedure throughout a structure will allowthe use of a minimumvariety of
tools on site and provide for speedy erection sequence (see Section 6).
Similarly where site welded connections are required, cleats should be
incorporated to allow mating members to be held together in place for
actual welding.
Angle seat, angle cleat and web side plate connections (see Clause 8.6.2)
provide considerable flexibility in fit--up, and are preferred in braced frames
from a purely erection viewpoint. The flexible end plate connection is not
quite so easy to erect, although its selection may be decided by other
In rigid frames, the following should be taken into consideration for the
design of bolted connections:
(a) The end plate depth should be kept to a minimum to reduce the
tendency to jam during installation (Fig. 2.1).
(b) The tolerance between the face of the end plate and the face of
the column should either be tightly controlled so that the building
plumbs itself automatically, or allowance should be made for
shimming in order to plumb the building. Shimming, however, can
be expensive.
(c) In end plate connections for portal frames careful consideration
should be given to access for installing and tensioning bolts, (see
Table 8.1).
If welded connections are preferred, the following should be taken into
(a) Welded connections are normally erected using a bolted erection
connection. The same criteria should apply to the design of these
connections as described above.
(b) Substantial erection clearance between the end of the girder and
column face should be provided where permitted by the design of
the connection.
(c) Field welding should be kept to a minimum and overhead weld-
ing should be avoided.
(d) Attention should be paid to access for welding and welding in-
(e) Consideration should be given to plumbing the building.
The most significant time delays in the erection of a girder can be expected
to occur when it is installed with the end connection against a column web.
The girder can normally only be manoeuvred in a vertical plane and
frequently jams. Gusset plates, stiffeners, and other members tend to
interfere with its installation. Access for bolting is usually difficult and
sometimes impossible. Every effort should be made to get the connection
outside the flanges of the column, or at least as far out from the web as
possible. This is especially important when the column section is compact.
Consideration should always be given to excluding direct girder/web
connections even if it involves increasing columnweight, and/or fabrication
costs (see Fig. 2.2).
Fig. 2.1 Deep end plates can cause jamming
Fig. 2.2 Two ways of avoiding the problem of access to column
web connections
In projects with a predominance of large connections, threads may be
excluded fromthe shear plane for bearing type connections as this will help
to reduce the number of bolts. However with Australias ISO metric
long--thread bolts, care should be taken that the long stick--through that
occurs does not cause fouling or access problems. In projects with small
connections the saving in number of bolts is not so evident, and it is more
economic to design for threads included in the shear plane. This then
means that bolt lengths can be selected so as to avoid excessive
stick--through. However the two systems (threads--in, threads--out) should
not be mixed on the one job (see Ref 6.1).
Generally, the smaller the bolt the easier it is to install. Bolt diameters
shouldthereforebekept small if this canbedonewithout compromisingthe
objective of keeping the number of bolts to a minimum. M12 bolts are
normally adequate for stairs and girts, while M20 bolts are the maximum
size which should be considered if access for tensioning is poor; otherwise
M24 bolts are acceptable.
Bolts should be specified as snug--tight unless there are compelling
reasons why fully tensionedbolts arenecessary. Thecost of full tensioning,
including associated inspection, is very high and can double the cost of
each installed bolt. Access for wrenches is also less critical where only
snug tightening is to be carried out. Care should be exercised, however,
where a project is designed to overseas codes because some of these
require high strength structural bolts to be always fully tensioned.
It is preferable that only one bolting category (see Section 6) be used on
any onestructure. Whenadeparturefromthegeneral category (e.g. tofully
tensioned bolts, to threads excluded from shear plane, etc.) is
unavoidable, this should be highlighted on erection and detail drawings to
reduce the possibility of the requirement being overlooked by erection
More information on structural bolting is given in Section 6 and Ref 6.1.
Where site welding is used for connections the total amount of welding on
the job should be sufficient to justify the cost of bringing and setting up
welding equipment on the site.
Access for welding is also important, and it should be remembered that a
welder generally requires a substantial and carefully placed working
Otherwise the normal rules for economic welding apply. Fillet welds are
preferred to butt welds, and down--hand welding to any other position. In
most structural work difficult out--of--position welds such as overhead are
very slow and costly. See also Section 7.
2.4.6. BRACING
Bracing is usually difficult and time consuming to install. To reduce erection
time the number of braced bays should be kept to a minimum, i.e. fewer
braced bays with heavier bracing is preferred.
Wherever possible, wall bracing should be connected to columns rather
than beams. This allows bracing to be installed before the beamabove is in
position, hence reducing any interference this beam may cause during
erection. Connecting the brace to the column at its lower end eliminates
interference to the floor system resulting from a gusset plate on the top
flange of a beam.
Connecting wall bracing to the column also usually results in lower
fabrication costs.
2.5. Surface Treatment
Withthedevelopment inrecent years of alarge variety of surfacetreatment
methods, the designer may experience considerable difficulty in selecting
the optimum system for a particular application.
Furthermore, it is often not fully realised that the cost of a sophisticated
multi--coat treatment system can easily be more than the cost of the raw
steel itself. Thus care is needed to avoid unnecessary, and sometimes
unexpected, surface treatment costs.
These costs are a function of surface area which can vary with both: the
type of section used and the class of construction.
For example, a structural hollow section has typically only one--half to
two--thirds of the surface area of an open structural section (UB, UC...) of
equivalent capacity. For this reason, hollowsections are well worth bearing
in mind for applications requiring any significant amount of surface
Heavy steel construction such as for power stations usually averages out
with comparatively less surface area (despite the higher tonnage) than a
typical factory or warehouse where light trusswork may have a much
greater surface area (despite the lower tonnage). Obviously treatment
costs on a per square metre basis will vary widely depending on the actual
surface area to be treated.
Bare steel will corrode only in the presence of both oxygen and moisture.
Corrosion will be accelerated if traces of pollutants such as sulphur dioxide
or chlorides are present -- the so--called aggressive environments.
Steel inside a building is rarely a corrosion risk except in the occasional
casewherethe building houses anaggressive atmosphereas aresult of its
purpose, e.g. a fertiliser factory. It follows therefore that steel needs no
corrosion protection whatsoever in most interior applications such as
multi--storey buildings where the steel framing is eventually concealed.
Where the steelwork remains exposed to viewas in a factory or warehouse
the same negligible risk applies but in these instances the owner may
require a surface finish for a more attractive appearance. The designer
should distinguish between treatment specified to achieve protection from
corrosion and that specified merely to provide decoration. In practice, of
course, any surface finish will attempt to do both.
Detailed advice on the classification of environments and the selection of
appropriate surface treatment systems is contained in AS 2312 Guide to
theprotectionof iron and steel against exterior atmospheric corrosion (see
Section 10).
An important part of any steel treatment system is the preliminary surface
preparation. This canrangefromsimpledegreasing andbrushing, tocostly
chemical or mechanical descaling.
The surface preparation should be matched to the applied finish.
Expensive paint systems will not last if applied to only partially prepared
(e.g. wire--brushed) surfaces. Conversely it is a waste of money applying a
low--cost porous alkyd primer to a descaled white metal surface.
Various methods of surface preparation are covered by AS 1627 Metal
finishing -- preparation and pretreatment of surfaces (see Section 10), and
advice on their selection is contained in AS 2312 (see Section 10).
The most commonly used methods in Australia are wire brushing (suitable
for lowcost paints) and abrasive blasting to Class 2--1/2 of AS 1627 Part 4
(needed for high performance paint systems). Acid descaling (pickling) is
encountered mainly as part of the hot--dip galvanizing process (see Clause
An idea of the costs of various methods of surface preparation is given in
Table 2.5.
Paint Types Hot-- dip
(kg/m) $/sq m $/sq m $/sq m $/sq m $/sq m
60.5 and less 6 6 18 9 17
60.6 to 160 5 5 16 8 23
160.1 to 455 4 4 14 7 33
Notes: 1. Red Oxide Zinc Phosphate (ROZP) 50 m paint thickness
including wire brush.
2. Inorganic Zinc Silicate (ZnSi) 75 mpaint thickness including
Class 2--1/2 blast cleaning.
3. Alkyd Gloss 40 m.
4. MIO 100 m.
5. For double--dip galvanizing, add 30 % to the above rates.
6. For lengths greater than 12 m, check with local galvanizers.
7. Rates include cost of finish painting.
There is a very large selection of paint systems available for structural steel
-- too many to be discussed within the scope of this publication. However,
excellent guidance on the performance and capabilities of various paint
formulations is given in AS 2312.
Probably the most commonly used paint is red oxide zinc phosphate
primer, often referred to as ROZP, which is applied over a wire brushed
preparation. Paints of this type provide an economic base for possible
further decorative coats of conventional oil paint. However being
permeable, ROZP cannot be expected to last if left in the open for more
than normal construction periods.
Another regularly used paint is inorganic zinc silicate primer which is
applied over a Class 2--1/2 abrasive blast preparation. It forms an excellent
base for most high performance paint formulations, or gives good results
as a single coat protection for steel in all but the most aggressive
Paint is normally applied to steel by spraying. It is sometimes suggested
that better coating is achieved by brush application, but there is little
evidence to support this claim. Brush application costs two to three times
as much as spraying, and cannot be used at all for some modern paints;
inorganic zinc silicate is an example.
Table 2.5 includes the cost of the finish painting in the surface treatment
costs. It should be noted that transportation cost should also be
considered if the treatment is done at premises other than the fabrication
shop. Table 2.4 gives an indication of transportation costs.
Galvanizing is carried out by specialist firms and the process requires
precleaning and surface preparation, usually by pickling. The cost of
galvanizing includes these preparatory processes.
Advice on the performance of hot--dip galvanizing, either as a single coat
protection or as a base for paint systems, is contained in AS 2312.
When considering galvanizing the designer should ascertain the scope of
local facilities, and in particular the size of the available galvanizing baths.
The galvanizing bath determines how big an individual component can be
dipped. (Items larger than the bath can sometimes be galvanized by
double dipping but at extra handling cost). Information on bath sizes in
Australia is given in Hot--dip Galvanizing (Ref 2.4).
In a severe environment where steelwork is exposed to aggressive
conditions the designer can vastly enhance the corrosion resistance of the
structure by careful attention to a few simple principles. Conversely a
structure with baddetails will not performsatisfactorily nomatter howmuch
has been spent on elaborate multi--coat protective systems.
Fortunately, the principles of good corrosion detailing are generally much
the same as those for economic fabrication. Connections and other details
should be kept as simple as possible with the minimum number of
components. Depressions, pockets, ledges, narrow crevices and
anywhere where water and foreign matter may lodge permanently should
be avoided whenever possible. In really severe situations the use of box
sections, CHSor RHSmight be considered. Several examples of goodand
bad practice are given in AS 2312.
1. The required level of surface treatment and/or corrosion protec-
tion should be decided at the very earliest stage of the design, so
that all design decisions can be made with this in mind.
2. In benign atmospheres such as the interiors of most buildings, or
exposed steelwork in non--polluted non--marine environments,
corrosion rates are generally so low as to not require corrosion
protection. Any painting carried out would therefore be only for
3. Where corrosion protection is required, the extent needs to be
carefully evaluated to ensure that it is appropriate to the circum-
stances. Too much protection is a waste of money, as also is too
little. Obviously professional judgement is needed.
4. The degree of surface preparation should match the surface
treatment system to be applied (see Clause 2.5.3).
5. As painting is substantially a labour intensive process, the cur-
rent trend is to replace multi--coat (3 or 4 coat) systems with one
or two coat systems. Zinc--rich paint systems are consequently
increasingly used, particularly on blast cleaned surfaces. In these
systems, however, film thickness build is vital to a satisfactory
6. Good design practice is essential -- e.g. avoid pockets where wa-
ter and debris can lodge and accelerate coating failure, (see
Clause 2.5.6).
7. Allowance should be made for easy future repainting.
8. Shop painting is always cheaper and more effective than site
painting, but no steel can be handled, transported and erected
without damage to the coating from crane slings, etc. Touching
up of the base coats and the final top coat must therefore be
done on site.
9. Hot--dip galvanizing is a high performance protective system
which is not prone to damage during transport and handling. In
some circumstances it may cost the same as an alternative paint
system (see Table 2.5).
10. Recent developments in the field of corrosion protection have
evolved protective systems greatly superior to those available
some years ago. These systems are expensive but are invalu-
able when appropriate, as in exposed structures in severe indus-
trial or marine environments. However, this has led to waste of
money by the specification of such sophisticated treatments in
circumstances where they are not necessary.
11. Some paint systems require special application techniques, con-
trolled temperature and humidity when being applied, long drying
times or may have a tightly constrained time interval between
successive coats. Designers should be careful of such sensitive
systems, as experience has shown that they are almost impossi-
ble to apply correctly in normal construction industry conditions.
2.6. Fire Resistance
All structural material can be damaged in severe fire conditions and steel,
although non--combustible and making no contribution to a fire, can have
its function impaired. For this reason, building regulations require it to be
protected, usually by a non--combustible insulation, when used for certain
elements of construction in some types of building. Building regulations
prescribe statutory levels of fire resistance for structural steel members in
many types of applications.
The fire resistance level of a building element or structure is determined by
constructing a truly representative prototype of that element or structure
incorporating fire protection materials, systems or coatings where
necessary and submitting that prototype element or structure to the
Standard Fire Test. The Australian Standard Fire Test is given in AS 1530
Part 4 which enables a fire tested element or structure to be assigned a fire
resistance level in accordance with the criteria laid down in the fire test
standard. Fire resistance ratings are expressed in minutes such as 30 min,
60 min, 90 min, 120 min, 180 min or 240 min.
Traditionally, building regulations have been based on the trial--and--error
concept of the practical fire test. This is administratively convenient, but
has two main disadvantages. Firstly, until recently it has been difficult to
predict from a particular test the fire performance of a similar but slightly
different configuration -- calling perhaps for further expensive tests.
Secondly, it has been shown that the conditions of the standard fire test do
not replicate the observed behaviour of actual building fires. The present
day trend is toward the development of fire engineering design rules
whereby the engineer can design for fire performance in the same way as
he or she does for structural performance. The Australian design code AS
4100 contains a comprehensive section on design for fire, and it seems
likely this approach will soon become standard procedure.
Australian Building Regulations require that elements of a structure
achieve specified fire resistance levels (FRL). The level of fire resistance
required for a particular application is related to the expected fire load
within the building (which is in turn related to type of occupancy), to the
building height and area, and to the fire zoning of the building locality and
the on--site positioning. It is not within the scopeof this publication to repeat
the requirements of the various Building Regulations.
The fire ratings of common building elements have become well
established by virtue of accumulated testing and accepted values are
specified in the various Codes and Regulations. Unprotected steelwork
does not normally attract any FRL, except where specialised approaches
are adopted. One example is in open car parks where full scale tests have
demonstrated that bare steel will not reach a critical temperature should a
car catch fire (Ref 2.5).
Another example is composite steel deck floor systems utilising fire
emergency reinforcement (Refs 2.6, 5.4, 5.5).
Where steel has to be protected, the most practicable way is to cover it or
encase it in a protective material. Such material should be:
(a) Non--combustible
(b) Unable to produce smoke or toxic gases at elevated temperature
(c) Able to be efficiently and uniformly applied
(d) Durable to prevent dislodgment, and
(e) Thermally protective.
Table 2.6 compares passivefire protection costs and gives an approximate
indication of their costs. These costs may not tell the whole story where a
protected member is exposed to viewand will be given a decorative finish --
some systems are less costly than others to decorate.
Another important factor to be borne in mind is that dry systems cause less
disruption to other trades and the building schedule, and therefore can
bring significant indirect cost savings in terms of shorter overall
construction time.
Commercially available materials must be able to demonstrate their
capability of achieving a fire resistance level as part of building systems.
The various manufacturers can supply the necessary accreditation and
technical data by reference to tests conducted at recognised fire testing
stations. See also Ref 2.11.
Section Mass Intumescent Paint Vermiculite Spray Vermiculite Spray
Fire Rating Level Fire Rating Level Fire Rating Level
60 min 120 min 180 min
(kg/m) $/sq m $/sq m $/sq m
60.5 and less 108 27 37
60.6 to 160 106 23 35
160.1 to 455 104 17 33
Notes: 1. Rates include supply and paint/spray.
2. Intumescent paint cost includes ZnSi and Class 2--1/2 blast
cleaning costs.
2.7. Specifications
The specification is important because it forms part of the tender
documents and ultimately becomes part of the contract documents. Its
purpose is to cover aspects of the work that fall between the legal contract
clauses and the technical data shown on drawings.
Such aspects may include:
(a) Workmanship standards
(b) Tolerances
(c) Inspection levels etc.
In past years the specification was essential for the designer to convey to
the contractor exactly what was wanted. Nowadays so many of these
matters have been codified that a detailed specification has become less
The specification should not repeat material that is already in the relevant
codes or standards. Nor should it become a repository for information
which should more properly be shown on the drawings -- nowadays most
design offices use standard notes on their drawings in order to handle this
aspect more efficiently. A set of guideline notes are provided in AISCs
Steel Construction Journal, Volume 29, Number 3, September 1995 (Ref
2.1). However, such standard notes should always be checked as each
drawing is prepared to ensure that they are relevant.
A specification should be precise so that both parties to a contract know
what is required, and should clearly state what the contractor is required to
do and what he/she is to refrain fromdoing. Great care must be taken in the
wording, with definitive requirements being stated and all allowable
alternatives clearly specified. Vaguegeneral statements whichcouldmean
different things to different people should be avoided.
The requirements specified should be designed only to produce work of
appropriate quality to the building requirements, while avoiding
unnecessarily tight requirements which only add to the cost.
Experience has shown that short and precise specifications help
considerably in the smooth flow of the work, and thus have a beneficial
influence on costs. Conversely, long and repetitious documents can easily
lead to misunderstanding, contractual arguments and expensive delays.
Standards of workmanship and quality are extremely difficult to define in
words. In the past many specifications attempted to do so by incorporating
such phrases as workmanship shall be of first class quality or members
shall be true to line and neatly finished. However, when tested such
clauses are meaningless and fortunately are becoming rare in modern
In practice the owners and designers interests are best protected by
observing these three principles:
(a) Use the tolerance and workmanship standards specified in the
appropriate Code, e.g. AS 4100.
(b) Select inspection procedures and frequencies appropriate to the
class of work, using Code guidance (e.g. AS 1554) where avail-
(c) Select the fabrication and/or erection contractors on the basis of
proven capability, using their previous work as the most reliable
indicator of their quality. Check that they have quality assurance
Tolerances ontheex--mill dimensions of steel sections andplates arelisted
in AS 3678 and AS 3679 (Parts 1 & 2). The necessity for these tolerances
arises because of factors in the steel--rolling process, including rolling
speed, roll wear, roll adjustment and differential cooling.
A study of the Standards shows that these dimensional tolerances can be
significant enough to warrant consideration in detailing and fabrication; Fig
2.3 gives some examples.
(a) allow for variation in beam depth in flange splice and for off--
centre of webs in web splice.
(b) any connection to column web or column flaange must make al-
lowance for out of square, especially end plate connections -- al-
low for shimming where necessary (may involve tapered shims).
(c) web side plate connection -- allow for out of square of column
flange and off centre of beam web.
Fig 2.3 Typical connections where allowance for mill tolerance is
Experienced fabricators are aware of the possibility of dimensional
variations, and it is normal practice to match members at splices in such a
way as to minimise the effect of these variations.
Tolerances on the dimensions of fabricated members and erected frames
are given in AS 4100.
The tolerances specified can be considered as related to the design
provisions of the Code. Thus for structures designed in accordance with
AS 4100, there is no case for specifying tighter tolerances since the tighter
tolerances are not then consistent with the design assumptions, nor with
the manufacturing tolerances of the raw steel.
These fabrication and erection tolerances can be realistically and
economically achieved and are consistent with world wide practice. They
should not be varied without compelling reason.
It must be particularly noted that the specifying of tighter tolerances can be
a costly decision which, in most applications, will serve no purpose and
destroy consistency. It is also recommended that tolerances be specified
by simple reference to the provisions of AS 4100.
Where dimensional tolerances are not defined, there is plenty of room for
argument and contractual dispute, as most experienced designers and
fabricators know. Conversely, where allowable tolerances are clearly
stated, it is a simple matter to decide whether a component or structure
complies or not.
The practice of cambering beams is intended to provide an upward set
that will counteract the downward deflection due to normal working loads.
Several obvious problems present themselves with this procedure:
(a) It is difficult to calculate accurately the true deflection of a mem-
ber under working loads;
(b) It is difficult to control accurately the degree of camber induced in
a member; and
(c) Cambering requires the fabricator to perform a difficult, and
hence expensive, fabrication operation.
There are two main methods by which rolled sections are cambered. The
first involves the use of some form of heavy press, such as a hydraulic
side--press. These machines are massive and costly, and are found in the
shops of only the largest companies.
Most fabricators employ the alternative method of controlled heating and
shrinking using a standard flame--cutting torch.
Both of these methods involve a degree of trial--and--error in the setting of
the member so that cambering is a slow, labour--intensive and therefore
rather costly procedure in thefabrication process. On simple, well--detailed
beams it can more than double the actual fabrication cost.
It is therefore an operation to be called for only when absolutely necessary.
Generally, where members are ultimately concealed from view, or if
exposed are unlikely to cause visual offence, cambering is pointless. An
exception is sometimes found in steel beam/metal deck composite floor
systems where it is desirable to camber against the deflection due to the
wet concrete because of the springiness of the whole system during
If the requirement to camber is based on a need to offset increased
deflections in light members, consideration should be given to using a
stiffer member without camber. There is certainly scope to do this, as the
saving on cambering costs would, to a large extent, offset the increase in
the cost of the heavier member.
Camber is measured with the member flat on the floor with the web
horizontal. Where a member is specified to be cambered, it is reasonable
to accept a tolerance on the specified camber similar to the
out--of--straightness tolerance of AS 4100. To maintain tolerances closer
than this can be very costly indeed (Ref 2.10).
Problems often arise when the specification requires the erector to supply
temporary bracing for a structure. Sometimes the erector is required to
design this bracing and be responsible for its performance. In line with new
occupational health and safety regulations, erectors should develop
erection plans including temporary bracing requirements with the principal
contractor. These plans may need to be checked by the design engineer.
So--called temporary bracing actually falls into two categories:
(a) Erection Bracing -- the bracing or guys required to support indi-
vidual members during their erection.
(b) Temporary Bracing -- required in order that the steel skeleton re-
mains plumb and in a safe condition after erection is completed,
until permanent bracing elements such as shear walls are built.
Erection bracing is the principal contractors and erectors responsibility in
relation to the supply and its removal on completion.
However, temporary bracing which is to be left in place until other
stabilising elements are built is a different matter. Its design requires
knowledge of the building sequence and of other factors. Normal prudence
would suggest that it must be designed by the Engineer. Any special or
unusual features of the structural design that may limit or affect stability
during erection should be emphasised on the construction drawings.
Whilst some level of routine inspection is obviously necessary in the
owners interest, it should always be remembered that inspection in itself is
a non--productive expense. It should therefore be specified with discretion.
In most contracts most of the inspection is directed at high--strength
bolting, welding and surface treatment. Guidance on inspection levels and
methods is given in the relevant codes and standards:
AS 1554 Structural Steel Welding
AS 2312 Guide to the Protection of Iron and Steel against Exterior
Atmospheric Corrosion
AS 4100 Steel Structures
The specification should define the nature of inspection to be carried out
andthemethods tobeused. This latter is especially important inthecaseof
non--destructive weld testing where there is a range of methods available
with widely varying costs. Specifications requiring 100% x--ray testing on
all butt welds in standard industrial buildings impose significant and
wasteful costs on projects. The welding test requirements for the oil and
gas industry should not be applied on everyday industrial or commercial
structures. Appropriate testing levels are essential for economical
Where an independent inspection authority is to be engaged it should be
made clear in the tender documents whether or not the fabricator is to
cover the cost in his price quotation.
The following guidelines will assist in setting up effective and economic
inspection procedures:
(a) Inspection methods and levels should be compatible with the
quality and tolerance requirements of the codes applying to the
particular class of work. Inspectors should not seek to impose
higher standards.
(b) Early inspection efforts should be directed towards checking that
the fabricators procedures will produce the required results.
Thus inspection will be more intensive at the start of the job, and
can be relaxed to a nominal level when production methods are
(c) The inspectors themselves should not only be experienced in
their particular fields but should also have a steel fabrication
background. This allows the inspector and fabricator to come to
agreement quickly on many day--to--day matters on the basis of
common experience, rather than hold up the work unnecessarily
on minor details.
1. Specifications are not as important as in previous years because
so much has now been codified.
2. Omit meaningless clauses, no matter how well--sounding. They
can achieve nothing but may exacerbate disputes.
3. Do not include information in specifications that should be more
properly shown on drawings.
4. Call up AS 4100 and associated documents.
5. Keep it brief.
3. Framing Concepts and Connection Types
3.1. Introduction
The framing system and framing layout chosen for a particular application
will be influenced by:
(a) Nature and level of the loads to be resisted
(b) Requirements and restrictions on useable space within the
framework, and
(c) Constraints imposed by architectural requirements.
One advantage of steel framing is the diversity of solutions that are
possible for any given application.
There are available to the designer two basic connection types, namely:
Rigid connections, and
Flexible connections.
The above connections may be used in the three basic framing systems
1. Two--way rigid frameworks
2. One--way rigid/one--way braced frameworks, or
3. Two--way braced frameworks.
Judicious selection of the appropriate framing system and connection
types is a prerequisite to an economical structural design. Once a framing
system is selected, the connection types to be used follow directly, thus
setting bounds to the final cost of the structure. Economy in detailing,
fabrication anderectioncanonly servetomovethefinal designtowards the
lower bound of cost established by the framing system.
In the discussions of connection types and framing systems which follow,
no distinction will be made between single or multi--storey buildings since
the basic principles apply to most buildings.
3.2. Connection Types
AS 4100 allows the use of three different design methods, wherein the
behaviour of the connections is fundamental to the design method. These
methods are:
(a) Rigid Construction, in which it is assumed that the connections
have sufficient rigidity to hold the original angles between the
members unchanged.
(b) Semi--Rigid Construction, in which the connections may not have
sufficient rigidity to hold the original angles between the mem-
bers unchanged, but are assumed to have a capacity to furnish a
dependable and known degree of flexural restraint.
(c) Simple Construction, in which the connections are assumed not
to develop bending moments. The stability of the structure is
therefore provided by triangulation (i.e. bracing) or by separate
shear walls -- see Section 3.3 et seq.
Clearly from these brief descriptions it is seen that connection behaviour
has a significant influence on design.
Allied to design methods (a) and (c) above are the basic connection types
noted in Clause 3.1, namely:
Rigid connections, and
Flexible connections.
Design method (b), Semi--Rigid Construction, will not be considered
further in this publication.
Flexibleconnections are usedinsteel structures designedusingthesimple
design method of AS 4100. These connections offer low restraint to beam
rotation, being close in behaviour to that of an ideal pin.
Typical flexible connections are shown in Fig 3.1. The most common
flexible connections in use in Australia are the flexible end plate (Fig 3.1
(c)), the angle cleat (Fig 3.1 (d)), and the web side plate (Fig 3.1 (e)).
Such connections are:
(a) Assumed to behave as a simple support
(b) Simple to fabricate
(c) Simple to erect, and
(d) Less costly of the two connection types.
Flexible connections shown in Fig 3.1 are totally standardised in the AISC
Standardized Structural Connections publication (Ref 1).
(a) Angle Seat (b) Bearing Pad
(c) Flexible End Plate (d) Angle Cleat
(single or double)
(e) Web Side Plate
Fig 3.1 Flexible connections
Rigid connections are used in steel structures designed using the rigid
design method of AS 4100. These connections offer very high restraint to
beam rotation, being close in behaviour to fully fixed (or encastre)
Typical rigid connections are shown in Fig 3.2. The most common rigid
connections in use in Australia are the stub girder connection (Fig 3.2 (b))
and the bolted moment end plate connection (Fig 3.2 (c)). These are also
covered in the AISCStandardized Structural Connections publication (Ref
Rigid connections are:
(a) More complex in fabrication
(b) More difficult to erect where tight tolerances are involved, and
(c) More costly of the two connection types.
(a) Field welded moment connection -- with erection cleat (also use fillet
welded web cleats in lieu of beam web welds).
(b) Stub girder connection -- fully shop welded beam stub, pliced on site.
(c) Bolted Moment End Plate Connection
Fig 3.2 Rigid connections
3.3. Basic Framing Systems
Two--way rigid frameworks comprise two planes of rigid frames
intersecting at right angles using common columns at their intersection.
Such frameworks resist lateral forces in both planes by frame action
without the need for any separate stabilising elements. All the
beam--to--column connections must of necessity be of the rigid type, and
the columns may need to have approximately equal stiffness in both
directions, so that boxed or tubular columns may be employed due to their
high stiffness about both principal axes. Under the action of lateral forces,
there is always some sway as a result of the elastic deformation of the
framework, but there is no problemin designing the structure in such a way
that this sway is kept within an acceptable limit.
The mainadvantage of the two--way rigid framing systemis in thecomplete
freedom in planning it offers. On the minus side is the necessity for the
more costly rigid connections and columns.
Since the rigid design method of AS 4100 is used for this framework, the
analysis can be either by the elastic or the plastic method, the latter being
more mass economical due to a better utilisation of material. It does,
however, require slightly more costly connections.
The main design advantage of a rigid beam--to--column connection lies in
the reduction in the sizes of the floor beams due to the end fixity. Increased
column section mass may, however, counterbalance this saving since
larger bending moments need to be considered in the columns. The
resulting increase in material cost should not exceed the extra cost
involved in the rigid connections for the resulting framework to be an
economical selection.
Fig 3.3 Two--way rigid framework
Typical applications that may use this type of framing include:
(a) Multi--storey frames
(b) Iow--rise rectangular frames (especially where architectural re-
quirements restrict the use of bracing elements)
(c) Heavy industrial structures (especially where planning needs re-
strict the use of bracing elements), and
(d) Architectural structures that can be modelled as two--way rigid
One--way rigid framework has been used quite extensively for the simple
reason that the most commonly employed structural sections, (namely,
universal sections) exhibit high bending resistance about the x--axis and
inferior bending resistance about the y--axis.
The relatively more expensive rigid beam--to--column connection is
required in the unbraced plane, while simple connections of the flexible
type can be utilised in the braced plane. In comparison with the two--way
rigid framing system, there is slightly more restriction in planning the floor
layout since space must be reserved for the stabilising elements. However,
this is seldom a problem since the bracing can be arranged within the
thickness of the perimeter walls or alternatively be tied back to a bracing
As a general rule, it is necessary with this arrangement to construct a rigid
system consisting of either wind girders or a diaphragm having great
rigidity in its own plane and being properly connected to the framing
system. With such a system, it becomes possible to distribute the lateral
forces to the individual stabilising elements. A reinforced concrete floor
slab resting on steel beams is one example of a reliable diaphragmaction.
In the unbraced plane, the frame can be analysed as a rigid frame using the
methods outlined in Clause 3.3.1. In the braced plane, pinned connecting
beams are usually assumed, although rigid connections may be employed
in order to provide beam continuity and/or reduce the lateral deflection of
the frame in this direction. Such a procedure, however, may not be an
economical overall solution.
Typical applications that may use this type of framing include:
(a) Low--rise industrial frames (portal frames)
(b) Rectangular frames (especially where bracing can be accommo-
dated within the perimeter)
(c) Industrial structures, and
(d) Architectural structures (bracing elements are often used as part
of the architectural feature).
Fig 3.4 One--way braced, one--way rigid framework
Two--way braced frameworks depend on stabilising elements arranged so
that lateral forces from all directions can be effectively resisted. The
framework itself can be constructed in the formof beams pin connected to
the columns, in which case the beams are designed as simply supported,
and the columns as essentially axially loaded members, with beam
reactions acting at small eccentricities off the column face. It is most
important with this systemto have a relatively rigid floor systemcapable of
preventing distortion of the framework in plan.
Fromthe design engineers point of viewthis is the easiest framing system
to analyse since there is very little interaction between the framing
members. Not surprisingly the two--way braced system is also very
attractive from the cost point of view, since the simplicity of the member
connections can offset the cost of the somewhat heavier floor beams
required with this system.
The stabilising elements can be orthogonally arranged shear walls, braced
panels or cores (Clause 3.3.5). These stabilising elements have to be
located to give a well balanced system and the floor plan must
accommodate this. In most cases it is possible to utilise the walls around
service blocks or external walls (Clause 3.3.5). External bracing, forming
part of the architectural feature, can also be utilised.
In this type of design, all beams are assumed to be pinned at their
connections to the columns. In fact the connections are not pins but a
flexible type so that free end--rotation can be assumed. The design of the
beams can be carried out without reference to the framing as a whole.
However sincethe beams, designed as pin--ended, tendto belarger insize
than if fixed connections are used, it is imperative to design them to be as
efficient as possible.
One of the ways of securing economy is by making use of any concrete
floor slab present to achieve composite action. The main advantage of
composite action is that it augments the beamwith a concrete flange and
also increases its depth. Ref 5.3 contains a full discussion of composite
steel beam design.
The columns carry only the gravity loads. Some bending is present due to
the eccentric application of the beam reactions, but the effect of this
bending is usually small. The bracing system is usually assumed to take
most of the lateral forces.
Typical applications that may use this type of framing are Iow to
medium--rise rectangular frames (up to 50--storeys -- especially using
cores, either steel framed or slip--formed concrete).
Fig 3.5 Two--way braced framework
Advantages Disadvantages
Two--way rigid No stabilizing elements
required for lateral
forces in any plane.
Freedom of layout plan-
Plastic design methods
can be used if desired --
economical in material.
Continuous beam de-
sign leads to reduced
beam size.
Requires the use of rig-
id connections, which
are more costly than
simple connections.
Columns ideally should
have near equal stiff-
ness in both directions --
hence fabricated box
columns may be need-
Large column move-
One--way rigid /
Simple connections
(least costly type) used
in the braced plane.
Can use I columns --
usually rolled sections.
Can use plastic design
methods and continu-
ous beam design in
plane of rigid connec-
tions -- saving in materi-
Rigid connections used
in unbraced plane.
Some restriction on
planning layout; stabiliz-
ing elements required in
one plane.
Simple connections
possible -- least costly
Usually use I columns.
Beams assumed simply
supported for design;
columns designed for
axial load only at small
Restriction on planning
layout because of re-
quirement for provision
of stabilizing elements.
Little interaction be-
tween elements.
Heavier beam sizes.
Construction elements whose function is to provide a means of stabilising
the framework in either one or two planes may be divided into the following
(a) Triangulated steel bracing panels using the X, K, or diamond pat-
tern of diagonal members -- Fig 3.6(a);
(b) Vertical Vierendeel cantilevers in steel -- Fig 3.6(b);
(c) Triangulated steel core -- Fig 3.6(c);
(d) Reinforced concrete or masonry shear walls -- Fig 3.7(a);
(e) Reinforced concrete or masonry cores or shear tubes -- Figs
3.7(c) and (d);
(f) Brick in--fill panels and walls -- Fig 3.7(e);
(g) Light metal cladding used on the stressed skin principle.
(a) Triangulated bracing systems
(b) Vertical Vierendeel cantilever
(c) Triangulated core
Fig 3.6 Stabilising elements built in steel
Whenstabilisingelements are constructedof concreteor masonry, it is well
to remember that some means of temporary bracing may be required
during the early construction phase, since the steelwork may not have
sufficient in--built resistance to withstand lateral forces prior to construction
of the stabilising elements. Rigid systems of wind girders or diaphragms
(Fig 3.8) may also be required to distribute lateral forces to the stabilising
Openings can readily be incorporated in all types of stabilising elements,
although there is some restriction on the maximum size of openings. It is
important, however, to distinguish between the low--rise building which
does not require large stabilising elements, and tall building where the
stabilising elements are required to carry very large forces and have a
relatively high stiffness.
(a) Shear Wall (b) Opening may be
accommodated in shear wall
(c) Shear tube (d) Corner walls
(e) Brick in--fill wall
Fig 3.7 Stabilising elements built in reinforced concrete or
(a) Wind girders as sole means of transfer of wind forces
(b) Concrete floor slab as diaphragm
Fig. 3.8 Floor deck bracing systems
(i) Rigid frame action
(ii) Steel lattice bracing
(iii) In--fill wall panel
(iv) Transverse wall
(v) Stairwell walls
(a) Vertical systems
(i) Lateral force transmitted to foundation at every column -- no horizontal
(ii) Horizontal wind girder
(iii) Use of floor as diaphragm
(b) Horizontal bracing systems
Fig 3.9 Action of lateral force resisting systems (from Ref 5.2)
3.4. Cost and Framing System
The type of framing systemselected to satisfy all the design constraints will
have a profound effect on the structural cost. The labour cost in the
fabrication of a fully braced system employing simple flexible connections
is much less than the labour cost in fabricating a fully rigid system using
more complex moment connections. On average the rigid framework
requires about 2.5 times the labour cost input in the fabrication process.
To achieve the most economical final structure the designer has to find a
solution which, within the various constraints, will provide for maximum
cost effect in both material and fabrication labour input.
The following example illustrates the way in which cost effective solutions
can be achieved and the importance of selecting a framing systemof least
cost to serve function. A minimum mass solution may not always produce
the best cost effect-- in this case the minimum mass fully rigid frame
requires substantial additional labour input for connections in comparison
with the simpler flexible connections used in the braced system. Thus the
apparent savings in material cost are less thanthe increasein labour costs.
The adoption of a fully rigid frame, although of significantly lower mass of
material, will not produce the best economical solution unless such a
system is demanded by constraints such as freedom of layout or
architectural bias against cross bracing.
In structures such as city buildings even greater benefit in cost is achieved
by using the service core as a stabilising element in lieu of cross bracing.
Braced Frame Elastic Design
48.1 tonnes of beams and columns
at cost ratio 1.0 = 48.1
5.5 tonnes of bracing
at cost ratio 0.8 = 4.4
53.6 tonnes, Total Cost = 52.5
Unraced Frame Plastic Design
38.2 tonnes of beams and columns
at cost ratio 2.0 = 76.4
38.2 tonnes, Total Cost = 76.4
Fig. 3.10 Frame example
Similarly in other types of structure the framing system will influence final
cost. In typical factory buildings, for instance, which were once framed by
column--and--truss systems, it is quite clear that the rigid portal frame is the
most economical system. Fig 3.11 shows that truss systems are obviously
more efficient on a mass/ unit area basis. However, on a cost basis, the
inherent simplicity of the portal frame renders it less costly to fabricate and
shows up as the economical solution within the range shown (see Fig
Fig 3.11 Relationship between mass/unit area and span
Fig 3.12 Relationship between cost/unit area and span
These examples are intended to illustrate the importance of carrying out an
examination of framing system costs at the earliest design concept stage.
The best end result will be obtained by selecting the framing systemwhich
will satisfy function and economy.
3.5. Framing Details
Having thus selected the framing system as previously discussed, it is
important to consider framing details for that particular system so that the
best cost effect will be achieved.
In general the following points must be considered.
In many cases symmetry is available in framing systems simply as a result
of functional requirement e.g. city building frames. However in other types
of structure it is often possible to arrange symmetrical layout without
prejudice to function. Symmetry will invariably lead to the possibility of
repetition and this will provide for the most economical fabrication and
The grouping of members in a framework with respect to type and size will
also have advantages in fabrication and erection economy. Series of
members of the same size and length will be processed more efficiently in
the shop. At the erection stage the greater number of identical items will
provide for speedy erection.
Obviously in grouping of members considerable skill is required of the
designer. Too much grouping of member size can be wasteful of material
andtoo littlewill addto detailing, fabrication anderection costs. In general it
is advisable to minimise the number of highly individualised members and
thus provide for maximum repetition and interchangeability.
The AISC publication Standardized Structural Connections (Ref 1)
contains highly standardized data for both simple flexible connections and
rigid connections. The use of such a system, with constant dimensional
criteria, allows for efficient fabrication by optimising the use of modern
automated equipment in the fabrication shop.
It is also recommended that the designer consider the various suitable
alternatives withinaparticular connectiongroup(i.e. either flexibleor rigid).
This will allow the fabricator to select from the Standardized Structural
Connections publication the connection type which can most economically
be fabricated with the equipment available and which will satisfy the
designers requirements.
The important thing to remember is that the greater part of the fabrication
process is involved in preparing members to be connected to one another
and the more standardization, especially with respect to connection
geometry, which can be incorporated in a design, the better will be the final
Finally, in selecting connection types, try to consider groups of members
requiring only one operation in the shop. This can be accomplished by
arranging for aseries of members (e.g. primary floor beams) to require only
cutting to length and holing, while another series (e.g. beams connecting to
primary beams) to require only cutting and welded fitments (see Fig 3.13).
Group 1 Cutting and holing only
Group 2 Cutting and welding only
Fig. 3.13 Beams for economic fabrication
Bolts and Welds (Fasteners)
It is advisable to consider the standardization of fasteners within a given
Where possible, adopt the use of one bolt size, grade and procedure within
the structure. See Section 6. Similarly, use one electrode strength grade,
one weld category and if possible one weld size (in the case of fillet welds).
See Section 7.
Simple detailing for such things as stiffeners, bracing gussets, attachment
cleats and base plates, will produce the greatest economy in fabricated
work. The number of man--hours spent can increase dramatically if such
details become complex. See Section 8.
The following general examples show how cost extras can be incurred:
Structure A Commercial Building
A relatively simple beamand column framework with repetition of bay size
andminimumbracingcomponents; standardconnections (twotypes) used
throughout with snug--tightened bolts.
Structure B Similar Building
This example is considerably more complex having varying bay sizes,
spandrel periphery trusses and extensive bracing in the wall planes;
connections are of several types and custom designed, some using
fully--tensioned bolts.
Cost Index
Structure A Structure B
Material 1.00 1.00
Shop Labour 1.00 2.08
Painting 1.00 1.22
Shop Detailing 1.00 1.67
Erection 1.00 1.25
Notes: 1. Cost indices are presented for the purpose of comparison
2. Some common items such as administrative overheads,
profit and builders mark--up have been excluded from this
It can be seen therefore that for two structures performing similar function
the final cost of structural steel is sensitive to the complexity of work
required. For example, the introduction of truss work into the framing
system together with more complex connections has more than doubled
the shop labour component for Structure B. Also costs are higher for shop
detailing (increased complexity required additional time), painting
(increased surface area for truss work) and erection (complex connections
and fully--tensioned bolts add to cost).
3.6. Conclusion
The selection of the systemfor a steel framework is the most fundamental
determinant of the final cost of the erected structure. Once the basic
framing system is selected, the connection types which may be used are
chosen. Thus, the basic cost of the erected framework is predetermined,
recognising that this cost may vary within a certain range. Economic
detailing, fabrication and erection can only move the final cost towards the
minimum possible within this range.
It is essential that at the preliminary design stage the full range of
alternative framing systems are evaluated and compared before making
the final selection. This comparison of alternatives must be done on the
basis of erected cost -- not on the basis of mass.
Good design i.e. economical design, should take into account all the
influences which have an effect on the form and cost of the final structure.
The economics of designmust beconsideredinthis context sincetheclient
is mainly concerned with what he/she pays for-- a complete building which
meets his/her needs at least cost.
4. Industrial Buildings
4.1. Introduction
Steel--framed buildings in common use for industrial purposes can be
classified into three broad categories:
(a) Warehouse and factory buildings
(b) Large span storage buildings, and
(c) Heavy industrial process plant structures.
In the design of industrial buildings, function more than any other factor will
dictate the degree of complication and hence the economy possible.
Towards this end, the designer should obtain as much knowledge as
possible of the industrial process or purpose for which the building is
intended, and of the limitations this might force on the structure.
In this way, an optimum balance between function and economy can be
The main dimensions of an industrial building are usually determined from
a combination of functional and design considerations.
Its width is derived first froman owners study of the spacerequired to carry
out the processing or storage operations. The designer then needs to
consider whether this width can be provided economically by a single clear
span, or whether multi--bay spans are feasible.
Likewise the overall length is usually readily determined by the owner, but
the designer should give thought to the optimum bay length. Some of the
factors affecting the choice are:
1. Foundation conditions, and their ability to accept the column
2. Crane runway girder considerations (see Clause 4.2.5)
3. Purlin and girt capacities (see Clause 4.2.6)
4. Masonry bond dimensions, and
5. Tilt--up concrete panel size and available cranage.
The building height is again usually a functional consideration; for buildings
with overhead travelling cranes the critical dimension is the clearance
required under the hook.
In most areas of Australia there is no snow, and therefore fairly low roof
pitches are practicable. The steeper the slope the better the structural
action, but this benefit is usually outweighed by additional sheeting costs.
In practice, roof pitches between 5_ and 10_ are preferred. These pitches
are suitable for any of the continuous length steel sheet roofing profiles,
some of which are adequate for pitches down to 1_.
4.2. Warehouse and Factory Buildings
4.2.1. GENERAL
In the early days of steel--framed industrial buildings the economic solution
was a column--and--truss configuration (Fig 4.2 (a)). However, since truss
fabrication is inherently labour intensive, rising labour costs have excluded
these truss systems from normal factory or warehouse applications.
Presently, rigid portal frames fabricated from universal beams offer the
most economic structural solution in the usual span range of 15 to 45
metres. For very large spans, portal trusses (see Fig 4.18) are often used
in lieu of the portal frame.
Although the portal frame may require a greater mass of steel than the
equivalent column--and--truss arrangement, the savings in the cost of
fabrication and erection due to the relative simplicity of the work almost
always make it the optimum system in the span range given above.
To minimise the overall cost of warehouse and factory buildings, designers
should be aware of the major steelwork cost components. Effort can then
be focused on cost components that can reduce the overall cost. Figure
4.1 shows the various cost components in relation to a warehouse.
Overseas, particularly in North America, the portal frame structure has
been developed to the stage where many companies offer a standard
range of buildings in spans up to as much as 50m. Economies of scale and
production line manufacture have made these catalogue buildings a
cost--effective choice for many industrial as well as commercial
The same manufacturing and marketing techniques have been attempted
in Australia, but withlimited success, probably dueto our much smaller and
more widespread demand. As a consequence, practically all larger portal
frame structures built in Australia today are custom designed and
manufactured. This is not as inefficient as it may sound, because there are
many standardized routines in both the design office and the fabrication
On the other hand, smaller buildings (sheds, garages, etc) are widely
available in Australia as standard catalogue items. Nowadays these are
often manufactured entirely from cold--formed sections rather than from
traditional hot--rolled sections.
Roof & Wall
Sheeting sup-
ply & fix =
Purlins & Girts
Supply & Fix =
Steel Supply =
Fabrication = 15%
Surface treatment 2%
Steel erection 2%
Fig 4.1 Steelwork Cost Components for Warehouses
(a) Column and Truss
(b) Portal Frame
Fig 4.2 Configuration of framing systems for a factory building
Fig 4.3 Details of bolted portal frame
In this case, a client engages an Architect and Consulting Engineer who
prepare design drawings and submit the project to tender. The contract is
usually awarded to a builder who then sub--contracts the structural
steelwork to a steel fabricator on the basis of the Consulting Engineers
The portal frames will usually consist of universal sections in order to be
economic in fabrication -- see Fig 4.3. A variety of connection details are
encountered, but only a limited number are truly economic for suchframes.
Fig 4.4 shows examples of economic details using bolted knee and apex
joints, while Fig 4.5 shows examples of economic details for frames using
shop welded knee and apex joints and bolted rafter splices.
For spans up to 20m a uniform column and rafter section is the most
economic but for greater spans haunching of the rafter may provide a more
economical system. Haunching is most economically achieved by using a
cut universal beamsectioninthemanner showninFig4.3, withthedepthof
the section at the haunch about twicethe rafter depth. The haunch length is
usually of the order of 10%--15% of the span of the rafter.
Fig 4.4 Details for welded portal frame (with bolted rafter splice for
field erection)
The selection of either bolted or shop--welded knee and apex joints will be
governed by the span of the frame and the transport and erection facilities
available for a particular job.
In general the dimensions given in Fig 4.5 are a guide to limitations on
maximum size imposed by transportation considerations.
For frames of larger dimensions than those indicated in Fig 4.5,
consideration would have to be given either to special transport facilities or
additional field splices.
A further discussion on portal frame details can be found in Clause 8.5.
Fig 4.5 Transportation limitations for portal frames
Bracing Disposition
The typical disposition of bracing panels for portal frames buildings is
shown in Fig 4.6.
For shorter buildings (up to 60--80m), a single end braced bay is all that is
necessary to stabilise the building structure. However, this arrangement
requires wind forces on the opposite end to the braced bay to be
transferred along the building length by way of longitudinal eave and ridge
struts. This may require heavy struts, and it is often more economic to
provide braced panels in each end bay and remove the necessity to
provide these substantial struts.
Temperature expansion of buildings 60--80m long is most commonly and
economically catered for either by allowing the expansion force to act on
the end bay bracing or by the use of slotted holes (or oversize holes) in the
connections of the longitudinal struts to the columns.
In longer buildings (over 60--80m), corner bracing can be a disadvantage
since the expansion involved is too much to be accommodated by the
above methods. In such cases, a central expansion joint can be provided
(thus effectively making two buildings -- Fig 4.7(a)) or alternatively, the
bracing can be provided near the central interior bays -- Fig 4.7(b). For the
latter alternative, substantial longitudinal struts may be required to transmit
wind forces from the end walls through to the braced bays. Whether this
solution is economic depends on the increase in size of the longitudinal
struts required for the latter solution compared to the additional cost of the
extra column in the expansion joint solution.
Fig 4.6 Bracing panels
(a) Use of central expansion joint for buildings over 60--80m long
(b) Alternative bracing system for buildings over 60--80m long
Fig 4.7 Bracing for long buildings
Bracing Details
For sheds and small buildings rod bracing, tensioned by turnbuckle or by
deliberately detailing short, is the most economic solution, although there
is an alternative school of thought which uses angle bracing. With rod
bracing, the ability to plumb frames and square the buildings by using the
turnbuckle adjustment makes for easier erection.
For wide frame spacing, rod bracing will tend to sag over the longer span
involved and may present some problems ineffectively bracing the roof. As
well, rod bracing in the walls may become subject to physical damage
during occupancy. Angle bracing can overcome these difficulties.
Tubular sections are efficient members for bracing in larger structures.
Their inherent properties provide high load carrying capacities for low
mass of material and make circular and rectangular hollow sections (CHS
and RHS) very attractive from a design point of view. However, for these
advantages to be reflected in the overall economy of the fabricated
structure attention should be paid to the end connections since their
preparation involves the largest part of the fabrication cost, (see Ref 4.7).
Economic connection details for bracing members are shown in Figs 4.8,
4.9 and 4.10.
(a) End connection
(b) Simple crossover intersection
(c) Intersection using a pipe piece
(no turnbuckles needed)
Fig 4.8 Details for rod bracing
(a) End connection (b) Typical
Fig 4.9 Details for angle bracing
(a) Flattened end (CHS only)
(b) Welded tee end
(c) Slotted end plate
(d) Typical intersection
Fig 4.10 Details for tubular bracing
The most common crane type used in portal frame industrial buildings is
the electric overhead travelling crane. The crane bridge travels on two
longitudinal girders which are supported at each portal frame of the
building structure. The design of a crane runway girder must be considered
as an integral part of the whole building. At the same time, it must be
recognised that because of the dynamic forces imposed on the runway
girder, extreme economy in member and connection design is not
recommended and is considered unwise. The best solution may be a
heavier structure providing lower maintenance cost in the future operation
of the crane.
Fig 4.11 Types of supporting columns
Fig 4.12 Crane runway brackets
Fig 4.13 Commonly used sections for crane runway girders and
their relative fabrication cost
The method of supporting the crane runway girder depends on the
magnitude of the crane wheel reactions (i.e. on the crane capacity and the
crane classification) and upon the structural characteristics of the portal
frame column. Fig 4.11 shows some typical arrangements as follows:
(a) Separate crane column, acting with the frame column
(b) Combined frame and crane column
(c) Separate crane column, acting separately from the frame column
(d) Light frame column bracket, with the frame column acting as both
frame and crane column.
Generally types (a), (b) and (c) in Fig 4.11 will be chosen for heavier
capacity cranes as classified in AS 1418. In most factory type buildings,
cranes will be of lowto mediumcapacity (up to 5 tonnes) in which case the
crane runway girders could be supported on a column bracket (type (d)).
This bracket should be proportioned to minimise stiffening of the frame
column (see Fig 4.12).
Ref 4.4 is a publication on the design of crane runway girders and outlines
the factors which affect the overall economy of both the crane girder and
the enclosing structure. Fig 4.13 shows the most commonly used crane
girder sections in portal frame industrial buildings, and gives an indication
of their relative fabrication cost. Ref 4.4 gives more detail and discusses
other types of runway girders.
The cost of continuous girders is usually higher than for simply supported
girders since the efficiency of the member is offset by higher erectioncosts.
However, the most economical compromise is often to design and detail
the girder as continuous over two frame spans. This allows the fabrication
of either rolled members or plate girders fromstock material and therefore
minimises fabrication costs while still reducing the total number of girders
to be erected.
4.2.6. PURLINS
The sheet cladding of industrial buildings is attached to a framework of
secondary members which is itself connected to the main frame. These
secondary members are known as purlins (for roof sheeting) or girts (for
wall sheeting); the term purlin is used when referring generally to both
In Australia industrial purlins consist almost exclusively of cold--formed
members -- usually Zed or C sections, often formed from hot--dip
galvanized strip. These members are available from several
manufacturers and in a variety of depths ranging from 100mm up to
350mm in 50mm increments. The availability of section depths varies in
each State. Availability of the larger sections should be confirmed with
suppliers before being specified to avoid unnecessary delays and cost to
the project.
For average industrial buildings a purlin 200 mm deep appears to
represent an economic optimum, and it is the capacity of this size that often
fixes the frame spacing typically 6 to 8m. The supply and fixing of purlins
and girts represent about 24% of the total steelwork cost for a warehouse.
Judicious selection of purlins, and attention to design loads and details can
contribute to a significant reduction in overall project cost (see Fig 4.1).
Purlins are bolted to the rafters by means of a simple welded cleat (Fig
4.14). Most manufacturers specify M12 bolts and some provide special
purlin bolts having an M12 thread and an M16 shank. Purlin and cleat
bolt--hole geometry has been standardized by the Australian Institute of
Steel Construction in the Standardized Structural Connections and most
manufacturers conform to these standards (Ref 1).
Zed section purlins are shaped so that they can be lapped, and this feature
allows the designer to take advantage of partial or complete continuity at
the splices (Fig 4.15). However in some cases the structural advantages of
continuity may be off--set by extra cost and complication in the purlins
Csection purlins are normally used simply supported at the ends (Fig 4.16)
or continuous over two spans.
For shorter bay lengths purlins can be obtained long enough to be used
continuously over two spans. This reduces deflection compared with
simple spans but does not give the same structural performance as a fully
lapped system.
The performance of purlin systems requires in most cases the provision of
adequatelateral stability by means of ties or bridging. Purlin manufacturers
supply such systems, and some also offer accessory items such as raking
girts, fascias, etc.
Details of proprietary purlin systems, design information and load tables
can be obtained from manufacturers literature.
Fig 4.14 Standard purlin cleats
Fig 4.15 Zed section purlins with lap
Fig 4.16 C section purlins with butt joint
In a portal frame building either flange of both the rafters and the columns
canbeacompressionflange dependingupon theassumedmagnitude and
direction of wind loading. The exterior flanges are normally adequately
laterally braced by the purlins and girts, but sometimes the design may
require the provision of bracing to the otherwise unrestrained interior
This is most conveniently accomplished by the inclusion of so--called fly
bracing at purlin intersections (see Fig 4.17). This can easily become a
very costly detail, and unnecessary expense can be avoided by the use of
the simple flat bar arrangement as shown.
Fig 4.17 Method of fixing fly bracing to standard punching
Coated steel sheeting are the most popular and economic cladding
material for both the roof and walls of industrial buildings. (There may in
some circumstances be regulatory constraints on its use in walling).
A variety of profiles is available, ranging from traditional corrugated
sheeting to sophisticated concealed fix products. All of these sheets are
manufactured fromcontinuous strip and therefore can be supplied in most
cases so as to eliminate end laps. It is usual practice for sheeting to be
custom cut by the manufacturer in the precise quantities and lengths
needed for each particular project.
Except in cyclonic areas, steel roofing is capable of spanning about 1200
mm in the case of corrugated sheeting up to as much as 2700 mm for
stronger and deeper profiles. These figures relate to interior spans. End
spans for screw--fixed products should normally be limited to about
three--quarters of these figures. For walling, spans can be 25% to 50%
It can be seen that the choice of cladding determines the purlin spacing
which in turn can influence some of the basic design parameters such as
purlin size and bay length.
Steel sheeting is readily fixed to cold--formed purlins by means of
self--tapping screws. Special heavy duty self--drilling self--tapping screws
with in--built neoprene seals are normally used.
Concealed--fix profiles are secured by separate clips or straps which are
normally attached to the purlins. On the finished job these straps are
hidden and there is no piercing of the cladding surface.
Where sheeting is to be painted for decorative purposes or to provide
added protection, considerable economy can be gained by the use of
pre--painted cladding. The factory--applied finish avoids costly site painting
and provides far superior paint adhesion and quality.
Full details of steel sheet cladding profiles, accessories, design and fixing
data etc., are obtained from manufacturers literature.
4.3. Large Span Storage Buildings
4.3.1. SPANS OF 45--70 METRES
When buildings of over 45m clear span are required for such purposes as
container storage, etc., consideration should be given to the use of
portal--truss systems for economy. Spans of 45 to 70m are economically
satisfied with such systems (Fig 4.18).
Fig 4.18 Three--pinned portal truss
The factors affecting the economy of the fabricated structure in such truss
systems are those common to truss--work in general and these are
discussed in Clause 8.4. Other considerations such as bracing, sheeting,
etc., are as discussed in Clause 4.2.
Spans greater than 70m are required for structures such as aircraft
hangars, large stadia or storage buildings. Several buildings have been
built in recent years using a space frame system of the flat double layer
type (Fig 4.19), although other types are also available.
The success of space structures, as in all structures, greatly depends on
the use of anefficient jointing method (or connection). InAustralia there are
several proprietary joints readily available and a full discussion of space
frame systems may be found in Refs 4.5 and 4.6.
The inherent economy of space structures lies in the fact that the frame is
made up of a large number of similar elements which can be fabricated in a
mass production operation. The erection of the frame can be often
accomplished by assembling the frame on site at ground level and jacking
it into position on the column supports.
From an overall economy point of view, however, space frames should be
considered only for applications where extremely large clear spans are
required to satisfy building function. They may be selected for other
applications purely for architectural reasons.
Fig 4.19 The basic square grid double layered space frame
4.4. Heavy Industrial Structures
These structures can be considered as almost entirely customdesigned to
fulfil the function demanded of the engineering or manufacturing process
involved. It is therefore most important that the designer adopt a
rationalised approach to member selection and standardized connection
details in order to achieve the most economic frame within the functional
In structures such as steel--mill buildings or power stations, the members
are often massive in comparison with normal building structures and
certain considerations assume greater importance.
The proposed method and sequence of erection should be considered at
the preliminary design stage.
The columns in such structures are often of very stiff box--section with fixed
bases and it is obviously not possible to spring such a column during the
erection of a girder. The girder--to--column connection must be selected to
permit easy placing of the girder between columns and ready access to
complete the connection fastening. End plate connections are usually not
preferred in cases such as these, since the need to fabricate girders short
and subsequently shim on site adds greatly to the final cost of the erected
structural work. Web side plate or angle cleat connections, on the other
hand, provide flexibility in fabrication and erection tolerances, and
generally will bemoreeconomic for simpleflexibleconnections inindustrial
structures. Connections are discussed in more detail in Clause 8.6.
In heavy industrial structures there is usually a great number of large
connections each involving a considerable amount of site work. In these
circumstances it may be worthwhile considering field welded connections.
This is because the cost of establishing welding equipment on the job, and
of moving it around, can readily be spread over the total amount of work to
give an economic result (see Section 7).
Although the general rule for economy is to design bolted connections with
threads included in the shear plane, this may not apply in projects with a
predominance of large connections -- for example 50 or more bolts per
For these connections significant savings in the number of bolts (and
therefore in the physical size of the details, the number of holes to be drilled
and the time needed for erection) can often be made by designing for
threads excluded (see Clause 6.4.4).
In large process plants and similar structures it is sometimes impractical to
adhere to all the guidelines for economy in fabricated steelwork. For
example the need to accommodate a variety of machinery, equipment and
services can make it difficult to maintain uniform column spacings or to
rationalise on a single floor beam size. Likewise bracing can often present
a problem, and may have to be fitted in by the designer.
While these departures from optimum practice may be unavoidable, the
designer should nevertheless maintain an overall philosophy of:
Simplicity -- keep the number of members down to a minimum to
satisfy the structural and functional requirements.
Standardization -- use as many beams and columns of the same
size and mass as possible; standardize the connections used.
Symmetry -- although in these custom designed structures it is
often difficult, it should be remembered that connection selection
and bracing disposition can lead to symmetry in members and
layout. Obvious economy will be gained by providing for
repetition in the fabrication shop.
5. Commercial Buildings
5.1. Introduction
In contrast to the industrial structures discussed in Section 4, where the
criterion controlling the framing arrangement was often building function,
the commercial or office type building is usually of a more regular layout. It
is this characteristic which allows the greatest economy to be obtained
through standardization and repetition of structural elements and
This category of steel building comprises a grid of steel beams connected
to steel columns (or composite columns or concrete shear walls) using
either simple or rigid connections. Resistance to lateral loads may be
provided by using some form of bracing with steel elements or other types
such as in--fill walls or shear walls, or by frame action using rigid
This type of building can be divided into two categories:
(a) Low--Rise Commercial -- e.g. suburban office blocks of up to 4
storeys, schools, shopping centres, etc.
(b) High--Rise Commercial -- e.g. city office buildings, hospitals.
5.2. Low--Rise Commercial Buildings
This category can be further sub--divided into:
1. Fully steel--framed structures.
2. Composite frames (steel frames connected to concrete cores or
utilising masonry in--fill panels).
Low--rise buildings fully framed in steel offer advantages in building speed
andtherefore inthe overall economy of the final building. Becauselow--rise
buildings do not require large stabilising elements, a steel frame using only
simple connections can be used, offering economy in both fabrication and
erection. The stabilising element is usually provided in the form of a steel
cross--bracingsysteminone or two directions which canbe incorporated in
a facade treatment so as not to intrude into window openings.
Another framing system which has been used successfully for low--rise
buildings is the one--way--rigid, one--way--braced system (see Fig 5.1).
Fig 5.1 Framing system for low--rise commercial building
This is essentially an extension of the industrial portal frame structure and
results in an economic solution for small commercial buildings where
freedom of layout and planning can be provided across the building width
since no internal columns or bracing elements are necessary.
In the design of such a building, it should be recognised that bays of equal
size will assist in gaining maximumeconomy by allowing the repetitive use
of similar sized beam and column sections. The economic detailing of
beams and columns is most important in achieving overall economy and
aspects of this are contained in Section 8.
Undoubtedly the greatest advantage of a fully steel framed structure lies in
the ability to erect the entire structural framework on prepared footings, as
a self sustaining system before any other building trades are required on
site. With proper planning, this feature can lead to faster building speed
and the elimination of many of the problems associated with diverse trades
on site simultaneously.
Currently a favoured type of construction for steel low--rise commercial
buildings is the provision of a stabilising element comprising a masonry or
reinforced concrete core, with the steel floor beams connected with simple
connections between periphery steel columns and the concrete core. For
the low--rise commercial building, it is also common to use in--fill masonry
panels to provide lateral stability. Examples of these systems are shown in
Fig 3.7.
Typical details of such a framing arrangement are shown in Fig 5.2 for the
casewheremasonry panels are usedto provide the stabilisingelement ina
building frame.
Fig 5.2 Stability by masonry
For the case shown in Fig 5.2 it should be remembered that the steel frame
must be effectively temporarily braced during erection and properly
plumbed before the brickwork or blockwork can be laid. If the temporary
bracing has to be removed after stability is provided by the infill panels it
could be placed on the inner flange of the columns in order to facilitate later
removal and in order not to interfere unduly with the masonry work.
Fig 5.3 Stability by concrete panels
Fig 5.3 shows an alternative method of providing a stabilising element in
the formof a concrete panel cast between two adjacent steel columns and
tied into each. In this case, the wall thus produced would normally be
considered as load--bearing and would support stair--landings etc.,
throughout the height of the building.
In addition to the concept of composite frames, the use of composite
beam--slab systems will provide best economy in these buildings. This is
discussed in Clause 5.5.
5.3. High--Rise Commercial Buildings
5.3.1. GENERAL
In Australia at present a high--rise commercial building will usually be a city
office block of up to 50 floors. In these buildings, a regular column grid can
be established resulting in repetitive bays in one or both directions. As
previously mentioned, regularity of bays is important since it leads to
maximum economy due to repetition.
The architectural and aesthetic requirements usually control the exterior
column spacing and therefore the bay sizes. A panel wall design with
columns contained within the wall thickness allows maximum freedom in
bay size selection, whereas when columns are exposed externally as an
architectural feature this results in the least flexibility in bay size selection.
Bay sizes should be selected to produce minimum storey height. It is
noteworthy that a saving of 75 mmper floor in a 20 storey building will save
1500mmof exterior andinterior wall, partitioning, columns, lifts, etc. Onthe
other hand, columns cannot be spaced so closely as to detract from the
usefulness of the space through which they pass. Selection of bay sizes is
always a compromise between these two considerations.
In a way similar to low--rise commercial buildings, high--rise commercial
buildings can be sub--divided into:
(a) Fully steel--framed structures, and
(b) Steel frames connected to reinforced concrete cores.
In the selection of the best framing system the most important
consideration is to find a structural form which is highly efficient under
lateral loadings and which does not require an unreasonable premium in
frame cost to resist those forces.
Avast number of alternative steel framing systems have been successfully
used in the past, but not all of these are economic under todays conditions.
Fig 5.4 shows some of the frame types suitable for buildings of various
Fig 5.4 -- Optimum steel framing systems for buildings of various heights
From a planning and layout point of view this system obviously creates
maximumfreedomsincenostabilising elements are required in thevertical
planes of the building framework.
The systemis suitable for buildings up to 30 storeys in height but should be
considered only when constraints of planning and layout are unavoidable.
It has the advantage of allowing efficient use of material because of the
considerable interaction between beams and columns due to the use of
rigid connections with resultant continuity in beams. However, in todays
situation, rigid connections are more costly to fabricate and this will often
offset any savings in material. In addition columns will generally be more
expensive because equal stiffness about both axes is required.
In the USA where frames of this type have been in use for many years, the
basic method was to erect columns and field--weld beams at floor levels --
see Fig 5.5.
Fig 5.5. Field welded connection details
However, since this method required the field welding of the most critical
joints in the structure, where both high quality welds and high construction
speed was required (both being subject to weather and operator skill), this
method has been refined by transferring the welding operation from the
field back into the shop. This is accomplished by using the Christmas Tree
concept as shown in Figs 5.6 and 7.9.
In view of the relative costs of shop and field welding, the stub girder shop
welded to the column will generally prove a more economic solution for
rigid framework.
Fully braced frames of the type mentioned beloware braced tubes where
stability against lateral forces is provided by the braced action of the
external building wall framing.
Fig 5.6 Shop welded connection details
Bracing across full building width
If thetotal facadewidth of the building can beconsidered as a vertical truss,
the resulting frame offers maximum stability against lateral forces and this
system can be used for almost unlimited storey height.
The advantages of braced frames lie in the use of simple flexible
connections throughout and these are the most economical to fabricate. In
addition, smaller columns can be used, often merely rolled sections. The
floor beams on the other hand will tend to be heavier because no beam
continuity is available but this mass addition will almost always be more
than compensated by the less costly fabrication required.
Bracing by shear truss in external walls
For buildings upto50storeys ashear truss intheplaneof theexternal walls
provides good stability characteristics and has the advantage of not
intruding into facade treatment as much as the full width bracing
Architecturally, cross bracing has never been readily accepted. Some
exceptions to this do exist overseas and in Australia, but in general
engineers are expected by their architect to conceal bracing in building
facades, and this can often be done by accepting a compromise between
the space possible in a bay opening and the bending induced in floor
beams-- see Fig 5.7.
Fig 5.7 Forms of bracing
Fig 5.8 Bracing should connect to column
Since building structures of the type under discussion invariably require a
Core in which are contained lifts, stairs, service ducts etc., it is convenient
to consider the core as a major stabilising element to resist lateral forces.
The floor beams are simply connected between steel periphery columns
and the core structure, with resultant economies in fabrication and
Steel framed service core
A fully braced core structure using steel elements can be erected very
quickly as a free standing structure and provides convenient access to all
levels of the building throughout the construction phase.
Bracing can normally be placed to accommodate the necessary openings
and provide adequate stabilising function for buildings up to 50 storeys.
Slip--formed concrete core
Development of efficient slip--forming techniques has resulted in the
construction of concrete cores becoming a fast, economic building
process. Because such a central core is essential to house building
services such as lifts, stairs, ducting, etc., it is logical to consider using the
strong core as the major stabilising element for a multi--storey building (see
Fig 5.9). This systemhas been successfully used in many recent buildings
constructed in Australia and overseas.
Using this method of stabilising the frame, the lateral forces on the external
walls of thebuildingare transmitted tothe corethrough thefloors. Thefloor,
which usually consists of a concrete slab acting compositely with its steel
supporting beams (see Clause 5.4), is considered as a deep horizontal
diaphragm, and is extremely effective in transmitting lateral forces to the
central core.
The position of the concrete core within the building has a significant effect
on its structural behaviour under lateral loads. If the core is asymmetrical,
rotation in addition to translation will be generated under lateral loads. This
is an important consideration when the core is situated at the extreme end
of a rectangular shaped building -- see Fig 5.10.
Fig 5.9 Service core
Fig 5.10 Service core at end of building
In such a case, it is often necessary to employ the use of an auxiliary steel
bracing system in the end wall remote from the core. Thus the stability of
the building in the direction shown is shared by the core and the bracing
In general, when building structures using concrete cores as stabilising
elements, connections of steel beams to periphery columns and
connections of floor beams to floor beams can be of the flexible type. The
connection of the floor beam to the concrete core must also be executed
economically and methods of making such connections are discussed in
Section 8.
Table 5.1 summarises situations where the use of shear walls or cores are
advantageous, and also lists situations where steel lattice bracing may be
more appropriate.
5.4. Floor Support Systems
Supporting members, suitable for use in floor systems for steel--framed
commercial buildings include the following (see Fig 5.11):
Universal sections (UB)
Welded Beams (WB) or plate girders
Hybrid girders
Castellated girders.
Universal sections are in general use in steel framed construction, except
where long spans and/or heavy loads necessitate the use of larger
members. Theuniversal beamsections cover a reasonable range of spans
and loading conditions, and are best suited for use as main or secondary
beams. Cover plates can be welded to the flanges to increase capacity but
it is usually more economic to use a standard welded I--Section. Electrical
services and airconditioning ducts can penetrate through the web to avoid
adding to overall floor depth. Simple and economic detailing of such
openings is essential (Section 8 contains suggested details). Universal
and standard welded I--Sections require little fabrication except at the
beam--to--column or beam--to--beam connections.
Non--standard welded Beams or plate girders cater for larger spans and
heavier loads than universal sections. The flange plates are normally fillet
welded to a single web plate. However, box girders can be fabricated using
two web plates where very heavy loads are involved. Like universal
sections, plate girders can have web holes to enable the electrical services
and airconditioning to pass through. Economic fabrication of these
members is possible using automatic submerged arc welding (see Section
Hybrid girders are plate girders using a stronger grade of steel on the
tension flange of the beam and possibly part of the web. One economical
way of fabrication is to cut two universal sections of different grades
symmetrically and reweld them with a central web butt weld. The beams
may be made castellated or can have a solid web. These girders are
particularly suitedwhere thebeamis to bemade compositewith aconcrete
floor slab, but have been rarely used in Australia.
The profiled cutting and rewelding of a universal section to form a
castellated girder containing web openings results in a girder which is
deeper, stronger and stiffer than the original section. The web openings
can be used for ducts and piping. Consequently, castellated girders can
permit a reduction in the overall mass of the floor system, leading to
savings in total building cost. The savings in material must, however, be
considered against the increased cost of fabrication with this type of girder.
Computer numerically controlled (CNC) cutting and welding equipment
has improved the economic viability of castellated beams.
Further discussion of these beam types is contained in Section 8.
One other type of floor support system deserves some mention -- the stub
girder system. This is a novel system reported from its use in the United
States to increase the economic span limit for steel beams while, at the
same time, providing space for mechanical ducts without any increase in
floor height. The system consists of short lengths (stubs) of rolled section
welded at intervals to the top flanges of the girder, the stub beams being
spaced at intervals which allow secondary floor beams and ducts to pass
between the floor slab and the girder.
Fig 5.11 Floor support members
5.5. Composite Construction
The current trend to steel framing for commercial buildings has been due to
a large extent to the development of composite construction techniques.
This concept is based on designing a structure to rely on some degree of
interaction between elements of different materials. The economical use of
materials should be the keynote in all modern building design. Composite
steel--concrete construction in slabs, beams and columns, using both steel
and concrete to maximumadvantage, is one of the most effective means of
achieving this objective.
In composite structural framing the term composite steel beam refers to a
floor system comprising a steel beam acting with a concrete slab
component on its top flange, interconnected to the slab such that both form
an integral unit. The principal advantage of this lies in the fact that the
concrete slab not only spans between and distributes the loads to the main
beams but also forms part of the beams themselves (Fig 5.12).
Fig 5.12 Composite floor beam system
In the types of composite beam--slab systems in this discussion, the
concrete slab can be constructed in several ways. One of the best
nowadays is to cast it on profiled steel sheeting -- the sheeting serving as
permanent formwork when the slab is poured. The method of achieving
composite beamaction involves the provision of some formof mechanical
connection between the beam and slab at the interface. These elements
are known as shear connectors, of which the most economic type is the
welded stud (see Fig 5.13).
Fig 5.13 Welded stud shear connector
A conventionally formed slab system could be used as an alternative, but
rising costs of the removable formwork material and the associated labour
are making steel decking systems more attractive. In addition, the
provision of extensive propping to the underside of formwork and the time
delay in its removal mean that following trades are hindered in proceeding,
thus negating the advantage of steels fast construction.
If steel deckingis tobeusedit is probably better touseatypewhichwill also
act compositely with the slab by becoming the positive reinforcement.
Several forms of composite steel decking are currently available in
Australia and are made from high--strength zinc--coated steel. Typical
profiles are shown in Fig 5.14.
Fig. 5.14 Profiles of composite galvanized steel decking
The use of composite steel decking provides for double economy. Firstly, it
provides a lowcost and efficient floor slab by eliminating the need for all or
most of the lower reinforcement. Secondly, it has the benefits of permanent
formwork such as speedy installation, a weather and safety cover, and an
immediate working platform for other trades.
Steel decking is used to its optimum advantage in steel framed buildings
because full advantage can be taken of sheet continuity to increase slab
load capacity and because the resultant slab can also be made composite
with the steel beams. This means that composite action is achieved in two
(a) Within the slab, and
(b) Between beam and slab.
Design methods for composite floors are readily available (see Refs 5.3,
5.4, and 5.5).
5.5.2. COLUMNS
The concrete encased steel column is a further example of composite
action. Encasing of columns is often required to satisfy the architectural
features of building facades and to provide fire protection to the steel
column. The opportunity exists to consider a relatively small steel column
section, designed to carry construction loadings, which can be
subsequently encased and, as a composite section, designed to carry total
vertical loading. The steel column can be used as reinforcement in the final
composite column, or, where a larger final section is required additional
reinforcement can be introduced (see Fig 5.15).
Fig 5.15 Composite columns incorporating a steel erection column
By proceeding in this way the erection of the structural frame is not
controlled by the time taken for the forming, pouring and curing the final
shape of a wholly concrete column. The steel column can be designed to
support say 6 to 10 floors of structure, and the building programis planned
so that the encasement of the lower columns becomes a relatively
non--critical item in the construction sequence.
The converse of a concrete encased steel column is a steel tubular column
filled with concrete, which also provides composite action.
Small or mediumsized columns might be RHSor CHS; larger columns are
box or tubular sections fabricated from steel plates -- see Fig 5.16.
These tubular composite columns make for quick and easy erection and of
course they eliminate the need for concrete formwork. In the larger sizes
their overall economy depends upon the ability of the fabricator to
manufacture the tubular sections efficiently.
Fig 5.16 Composite column comprising a concrete--filled tubular
5.6. Summary
From a technological point of view, the design of commercial buildings is
relatively well understood. However, in todays scene the important point to
remember is that such buildings, in order to be viable business ventures,
require to be constructed with maximum economy of time, materials and
Many city buildings in Australia in recent years have been constructed
using the steel frame to concrete core method and it is apparent that this
system is proving economic in the current situation. High on--site labour
costs are causing a return to the principle of prefabricating building
elements off--site and then simply assembling them to form a building
structure. As tall buildings, by virtue of their large number of identical floors,
require a vast number of repetitive structural members, it is in these
structures that economy can be achieved by the adoption of rationalised
member design and standardization of connections. Steel beams which
connect periphery columns to a central core and carry the slab on steel
sheet decking (composite with the steel beams) will usually prove a most
economic solution in commercial buildings.
When assessing different structural systems, designers should be
cognizant of the relative cost components (see Fig 5.17) to enable a more
rational approach to the framing system.
Steel Deck Supply
& Fix = 21%
Slab = 23%
Steel Supply
= 31%
= 8%
Surface Treatment = 13% Steel Erection = 4 %
Fig 5.17 Cost Components for a Multi--Storey Building
6. Bolting
6.1. Introduction
The selection of a bolt for use in a structural steelwork connection will need
to have regard to a variety of factors including:
(a) Load capacity of available bolt types
(b) Cost of the installed fastener
(c) Amount of joint slippage
(d) Nature of the forces to be resisted
(e) Degree of flexibility/rigidity desired in the joint;
in order to obtain, at least cost, a safe bolted connection.
Bolting of Steel Structures (Ref 6.1) contains a detailed discussion of all of
the above factors and provides a state--of--the--art summary of matters
related to the use of bolts in steel structures.
This section concentrates on aspects which affect the economic use of
bolts. Ref 6.1 should be consulted for more details of all aspects of the use
of bolts in steel structures.
The cost of a bolted connection includes:
1. Cost of obtaining, cutting and holing components
2. Cost of the bolts
3. Cost of installing the bolts
4. Cost of inspection.
Every bolt specified should be a bolt that is needed -- bolt numbers should
be kept to the minimum needed from strength considerations.
The cost of installing bolts can vary considerably, depending on the bolting
6.2. Bolt Types
The two basic metric bolt types in use in structural engineering in Australia
(a) the commercial (Strength Grade 4.6) bolt;
(b) the high--strength structural (Strength Grade 8.8) bolt.
The identification of high--strength structural bolt and nut assemblies can
be readily made from the bolt head and nut markings (see Ref 6.1). In
addition, a distinguishing feature is the larger bolt head and nut of the
high--strength structural bolt compared to the commercial bolt.
Only a limited range of sizes of these bolts is of interest to structural
The commercial bolt is commonly used in the following diameters (the
prefix M is used to designate ISO metric bolts):
M12 -- purlin and girt applications
M16 -- cleats, brackets (relatively lightly loaded)
M20, M24 -- general structural connections, holding down bolts
M30, M36 -- holding down bolts.
The high--strength structural bolt is most commonly used in diameters:
M16 -- designed connections in small members:
M20, M24, M30, M36 -- flexible connections, rigid connections.
Larger sizes (M30, M36) ofthe high--strength structural bolt
should be avoided when full tensioning is required, since
on--site tensioning can be difficult and requires special
equipment to achieve the minimum bolt tensions.
6.3. Bolting Categories
In Australia a standard bolting category system has been adopted for use
by designers and detailers. This system is summarised in Table 6.1.
Category 4.6/S refers to commercial bolts of Strength Grade 4.6
conforming to AS 1111 tightened using a standard wrench to a snug--tight
Category 8.8/S refers to any bolt of Strength Grade 8.8, tightened using a
standard wrench to a snug--tight conditionin thesame way as for category
4.6/S. Essentially, these bolts are used as higher gradecommercial bolts in
order to increase the capacity of certain connection types. In practice they
will normally be high--strength structural bolts of Grade 8.8 to AS 1252, but
any other bolt of Grade 8.8 would be satisfactory.
Category 8.8/TF and 8.8/TB (or 8.8/T when referring generally to both
types) refer specifically to high--strength structural bolts of Strength Grade
8.8 conforming to AS 1252, fully tensioned in a controlled manner to the
requirements of AS 4100.
The systemof category designation identifies the bolt being used by using
its strength grade designation (4.6 or 8.8) and identifies the installation
procedure by a supplementary letter (S -- snug; T -- full tensioning).
Method of
Nominal Bolt Tensile Strength
Nominal Bolt Yield Strength
Bolt Name Standard
4.6/S Snug 400 240 Commercial AS1111
8.8/S Snug 830 660 High Strength
(Friction type
Full tensioning to AS4100 830 660 High Strength
(Bearing type
Full tensioning to AS4100 830 660 High Strength
For 8.8/T categories, the type of joint is identified by an additional letter (F --
friction--type joint; B -- bearing--type joint).
As a consequence the high--strength structural bolt may be specified in
three ways:
(a) Snug--tightened-- category 8.8/S
(b) Fully tensioned, friction--type -- category 8.8/TF
(c) Fully tensioned, bearing--type -- category 8.8/TB;
the level of tensioning being, of course, the same for both 8.8/TF and
8.8/TB categories.
Two symbols have been added to the bolting category designations 4.6/S,
8.8/S, 8.8/TB.
N: bolt in shear with threads iNcluded in the shear plane (e.g.
8.8 N/S).
X: bolt in shear with threads eXcluded from the shear plane
(e.g. 8.8 X/S).
In practice 8.8/S category would mainly be used in flexible joints where the
extra capacity of the stronger bolt (compared to 4.6/S category) makes it
economical. It is recommended that 8.8/TF category be used only in rigid
joints where a no--slip joint is essential. Note also that 8.8/TF is the only
category requiring attention to the contact surfaces.
Asummary of the usage of Grade 4.6 and 8.8 bolts is contained in Clauses
6.5.2 and 6.5.3.
6.4. Factors Affecting Bolting Economy
For a given diameter, and assuming snug--tight category, Grade 8.8 bolts
offer far better structural economy thanGrade 4.6. This is because aGrade
8.8 bolt costs only around 30%more than Grade 4.6, but has over twicethe
shear capacity; moreover the installation labour cost is the same for both.
Bolt Diameter High--strength structural bolt (Grade 8.8) x
100 mm long, with nut & hardened washer
Cost Index (supply
Cost Index per kNof
shear capacity
Notes: 1. The indicative cost ratios quoted are valid only within this
2. Shear capacity calculations are based on strength limit state
For this reason Grade 8.8 bolts are rapidly taking over as the standard
grade for structural engineering.
Of course where fully tensioned categories are used; Grade 8.8 bolts to AS
1252 are mandatory -- see Clause 6.4.3.
One application for Grade 4.6 is in foundation bolts, especially where
welded cages are used.
Bolts of M20 and M24 diameter represent an optimum in many respects
such as: purchase price (see Table 6.2), hole drilling, and site installation.
They should be preferred in all applications wherever possible.
Where special circumstances demand the choice of larger diameters (M30
or M36) they should be specified with the knowledge that a cost premium
will be involved.
M30 and M36 bolts are not recommended for applications requiring full
tensioning (8.8/TF or 8.8/TB) because it is difficult to obtain suitable
portable equipment capable of inducing the high shank tensions required
by AS 4100.
Table 6.3 shows that snug--tightened bolts of Grade 8.8 (i.e. 8.8/S
category) offer the best value in terms of cost per kNof shear capacity. This
is therefore the preferred bolting method.
Category 8.8/TB provides no greater structural capacity and would
therefore be used only where some other consideration warrants it. An
instance is where connection behaviour depends on therigidity afforded by
tensioned bolts as in rigid portal frame construction. 8.8/TB category has
also been used on bolted bridges where the tensioning is merely a
safeguard against nuts working loose in service.
Category 8.8/TF (friction--type joint) offers the poorest economy of all the
options on a cost per kilonewton basis (see Table 6.3). It should be used
only in applications where joint slippage cannot be tolerated. An exampleis
a structure supporting vibrating machinery such as a coal washery.
The plain shank area of a bolt is approximately 30% greater than the core
area at the threads. Thus an apparent gain of 30% in shear capacity is
available if the threaded part of the bolt can be kept out of the joint shear
However, this benefit can often be illusory, especially on average
connections with up to only 10 or so bolts. Any savings in bolts must be
measured against the cost of longer bolts required, possible installation
problems and the higher cost of supervision needed to ensure threads
On the other hand on major structures with joints of around 50 bolts or
more, agoodcasecanbe madefor basingthe designon threads excluded.
Savings accrue from fewer bolts, fewer holes, smaller gusset plates and
reduced installation time, while there is usually already a high level of
supervision on these large projects to ensure correct installation.
One final point to be borne in mind is that there is never a case for
considering 4.6/S category with threads excluded, i.e. Category 4.6X/S. It
will always be more economic to use Category 8.8N/S.
The topic of threads in vs. threads out is discussed in more detail in Ref 6.1.
The available choices are plain uncoated, zinc coated or hot--dip
galvanized. Galvanized bolts do not cost very much more than plain bolts
and are now supplied as standard finish for Grade 8.8 bolts.
In general the bolt finish should be matched to that of the structure itself.
Uncoated bolts are satisfactory in lowcorrosion environments; galvanized
bolts are needed where corrosion may be a consideration. They perform
better and are much less costly than site--painted bolts.
Care is needed when galvanized bolts are to be fully tensioned, although
proper procedures and good housekeeping on site will obviate problems --
see Ref 6.1.
(One M20 galvanized bolt installed in a group, threads included)
Capacity (kN)
Cost Index
Cost Index per
kN of Shear
Notes: 1. The indicative cost ratios quoted are valid only within this
2. The above comparison is based on strength limit state. Since
serviceability generally governs for 8.8/TFbolts, they havebeen
excluded from this table.
Part of the cost of bolt installation is the necessary inspection. With 4.6/S
and 8.8/Scategories such inspection is minimal, and requires only a visual
check that the correct type and number of bolts have been installed. Since
the level of tightening is only snug, and this is achieved in the normal
course of erection, no further checking is required.
In contrast fully tensioned bolts (8.8/TF and 8.8/TB categories) require
detailed inspection in accordance with AS 4100 to confirm that the
tensioning procedure has been carried out. The inspection cost is a big
component of the total in--place cost of a bolt. Inspection procedures are
outlined in AS 4100 and are discussed in Ref 6.1.
6.5. Summary for Economic Bolting
The essential points to be considered in the economical design of bolted
connections are:
(a) Standardize as much as possible for a project.
(b) Adopt simple detailing.
(c) Only one bolt diameter and one bolting category should be used
in smaller structures; more variety may be justified on a larger
structure, but different diameters or categories should be used in
accordance with a predetermined philosophy.
(d) Only one nominal size of bolt should be used in any single con-
nection to facilitate the operation of punching or drilling holes,
regardless of the size of the structure.
(e) Arrange for a minimum number of field connections by making
large sub--assemblies in the shop.
(f) Bolts in double shear are markedly more efficient and thought
should always be given to arranging the connection details ac-
cordingly if practicable. In some instances (e.g. flange splices)
such an arrangement can be negated by increased erection diffi-
(g) If possible, avoid bolted connections with more than 5 bolts in
line parallel to the force, otherwise reduction in bolt efficiency will
result (see Ref 6.1).
(h) Try not to mix 8.8/S and 8.8/T bolting categories on the one job.
(i) For economy, it may appear desirable to exclude threads from
the shear plane. However, practical reasons dictate that usually
threads are considered included in the shear plane, unless detail-
ing of the bolts indicates exclusion is possible (see Ref 6.1).
(j) Corrosion protection of the bolts should be matched to the end
use of the structure.
The following flow chart is for bolt usage with flexible joints:
Not calculated or
very low stress levels
Structural Joints
Commercial Bolts
Property Class 4.6 to AS
1111 -- Snug tightened
Commercial Bolts
Property Class 4.6 to AS
1111 -- Snug tightened
High Strength Structural Bolts
Property Class 8.8 to AS
1252 -- Snug Tightened.
Category 4.6/S
Category 4.6/S
Category 8.8/S
Threads in shear or
bearing plane is most
common situation
Low capacity
Twice capacity of 4.6/S
Threads included in shear plane
Threads excluded from shear plane
No stick through problem
Possible stick--through problem
Most realistic from erection viewpoint
Difficult to inspect
Lower capacity (30% less)
than threads excluded
Greater capacity than threads included
(See Clauses 6.4.4)
The following flow chart is for bolt usage with rigid joints:
Friction Type
High Strength Structural Bolts Property Class 8.8 to AS 1252
Fully tensioned to AS 4100 (Category 8.8/T)
Category 8.8 / TF
Threads permitted in shear plane
(See Clauses 6.4.4)
Category 8.8 / TB
Bearing Type
No slip
Lower Capacity than 8.8 / TB
Design for no slip in the
serviceability limit state but also
check for strength limit state.
Slip occurs
Higher Capacity than 8.8 / TF
Threads included
in shear plane
Threads excluded
from shear plane
No stick--through problem Possible stick--through
Most realistic from erection viewpoint
Difficult to inspect
Lower capacity (30% less)
than threads excluded
Maximum Capacity
7. Welding
7.1. Introduction
The aim of weld design should be to provide the necessary structural
performance throughout the lifetime of the structure for the lowest
completed cost. To achieve this attention must be given to:
(a) Eonomical design and detailing
(b) Good welding procedure and correct process selection, and
(c) Responsible inspection.
The design and detailing will greatly dictate whether or not an economical
welded connection can be produced and consequently is one area where
great attention should be paid. Whereas the selection of the welding
procedure and process to be used is the province of the fabricator, the
detailing of the welded connection can often influence or limit the range of
options available. Consequently, the design and detailing of the welded
connection must have some regard to the processes and procedures
available if an economical welded connection is to result. Responsible
inspection is also a vital item in keeping the final cost to a minimum.
The design engineer can best approach the objective of obtaining, at least
cost, a safe welded steel structure or connection by considering the
following influences during the design:
1. Available welding processes that might be used
2. Welding consumable selection
3. Code requirements (AS 4100, AS 1554)
4. Joint details and type of weld
5. Size of weld
6. Whether to use shop or field welds
7. Accessibility
8. Responsible specification
9. Inspection.
The cost of welding can be considered as follows:
Cost of actual
Time to weld
per unit length

Length of

Cost per
Time to weld
per unit length
Weld Volume
Deposition Rate
Operating Factor =
Actual Arc Time
Total Time
Cost per Hour =labour rate plus oncost
These relationships indicate that a designer or detailer can minimise the
cost of welding by attention to the following items:
(a) Minimising weld volume
(b) Allowing for the use of high deposition rate processes; in some
connections, the detailing can restrict the use of a particular pro-
cess thus forcing the fabricator to use a less efficient process
(c) Considering other factors which influence the deposition rate. For
example, downhand welding is far more productive than over-
head or vertical welding, so that details should be oriented for
downhand welding wherever practicable
(d) Using clean and simple detailing to assist in maintaining as high
an operating factor as possible
(e) Aiming to permit as much welding in the shop as possible, be-
cause the cost per hour and the operating factor are both more
favourable in the shop than in the field
(f) Selecting the material grade to assist in eliminating or minimising
the costs of preheating or post weld treatment.
7.2. Types of Welds
7.2.1. FILLET WELDS (see Fig 7.1)
The features of fillet welds are:
(a) Economically attractive up to 12--16 mm leg size
(b) Minimum edge preparation
(c) Easy fit--up without tight tolerances
(d) Poorer load carrying capacity than equivalent complete penetra-
tion butt weld and poorer fatigue characteristics
(e) Intermittent fillet welds are permitted but these are usually only
economical for limited applications involving the use of manual or
semi--automatic processes; in many applications, a full length
fillet weld of one size may be placed more economically using a
fully or semi--automatic process
(f) In the horizontal--vee (HV) fillet position, up to 8 mm fillet sizes
may be placed in a single pass using manual metal arc pro-
cesses; with other processes (semi--automatic or automatic) a
larger single pass fillet weld is possible. Such processes are now
commonly used.
(g) If more than a single pass fillet weld is used, the cost of the weld
can increase significantly.
Fillet size (mm) Weld strength
relative to 4mm
Weld area rela-
tive to 4mm
Increase in
weld strength
for next size
Increase in
weld area for
next size (%)
4 1.00 1.00 25 56
5 1.25 1.56 20 44
6 1.50 2.25 33 78
8 2.00 4.00 25 56
10 2.50 6.25 20 44
12 3.00 9.00 33 78
16 4.00 16.00
The cross--sectional area of a fillet weld varies as the square of the leg size
while the strength of a fillet weld (which is based on the effective throat)
varies only linearly with the leg size. As indicated in Table 7.1, there is a
heavy cost penalty in over--welding.
Automatic processes canreduce thecost of a fillet weld since, in addition to
improving productivity, the increased penetration allows a reduced leg size
for the same throat thickness.
Fig 7.1 Types of fillet welds
(a) Complete penetration butt welds
(b) Partial penetration butt welds
Fig 7.2 Types of butt welds
7.2.2. BUTT WELDS (see Fig 7.2)
Two forms of butt weld are permitted in AS 1554 and AS 4100:
(a) Complete penetration -- used where the full strength of the con-
nected parts is required. Such a joint is given the full strength of
the joined components.
(b) Partial penetration -- used where less than full strength is accept-
able, such as in low stress areas. These welds are less costly
than complete penetration, although attention is needed to en-
sure that the specified depth of penetration is achieved in prac-
tice. These welds are permitted to carry only shear and compres-
sion loads and have low ratings for fatigue conditions.
Typical details of both types are shown in Fig 7.2.
Butt welds usually require special edge preparation which (depending on
the preparation type and the cutting practice) can add to the cost. Types of
edge preparation normally in use are:
1. Square (no special preparation)
2. Single or double bevel
3. Single or double V
4. Single or double J
5. Single or double U.
When selecting joint preparations for butt welds, prequalified preparations
should be used wherever possible to obviate the need for qualification
testing of the weld geometry.
In selecting the included angle in a butt weld preparation, it has been
demonstrated that, in general terms, the smaller the included angle in the
preparation the less is the weld volume (Ref 7.2). There is a need to temper
this provision with a consideration for leaving sufficient angle for electrode
access -- the requirements will vary between processes.
It is therefore probably better for the design engineer to specify the
requirements (e.g. complete penetration butt weld or partial penetration
butt weld, depthof penetration 12mm) and allowthe fabricator to select the
best weld geometry/welding process combination to achieve the desired
result. All such proposals can be submitted to the designer for approval if
It is important to note that the volume of weld metal in a butt weld (partial
penetration or complete penetration) depends on the type of preparation
used as well as the depth of penetration. In contrast, the fillet weld
increases in weld volume as the square of the leg size.
In comparing the relative costs of butt welds and fillet welds, these differing
relationships should be borne in mind, in addition to the fact that the butt
weld usually requires edge preparation while the fillet weld does not.
The relative economics of the two will depend on the application and on the
fabricators equipment and methods, and it is quite feasible for individual
fabricators to cost various sizes of both types and plot a graph which will
look something like Fig 7.3. The crossover point of weld size belowwhich a
fillet weld is the cheaper solution lies generally in the range 12--16 mm for
many applications.
Fig 7.3 Weld cost graph
7.3. Welding Processes
The welding processes of interest in the welding of structural steel are:
(a) Manual metal arc (MMAW)
(b) Flux cored arc (FCAW)
(c) Gas shielded metal arc (GMAW)
(d) Submerged arc (SAW)
(e) Electroslag (ESW)
(f) Stud welding.
For efficient design, it is necessary tounderstandthebasic features of each
welding process, to know its advantages and disadvantages and to
understand the implication that the design can have on process selection,
since it is necessary that a design is realistic in terms of both weld cost and
weld quality.
Manual metal arc welding (stick electrode welding) is the simplest and
most flexible of all the processes and is suitable for welding in all positions
both in the shop and in the field. However, it is capable of only low
deposition rates and has an intrinsically poor productivity because of the
stop--start nature of the process. It is gradually being superseded by more
efficient and economic continuous wire processes.
Flux cored arc welding employs a continuous hollow electrode which
contains the flux. It is capable of relatively high deposition rates, is suitable
for all positions and in its gasless form is ideal for field welding.
Gas metal arc welding uses a continuous solid wire electrode shielded by
inert gas. It too is a high productivity flexible process, and is replacing
manual metal arc welding in many fabrication shops.
Submerged arc welding is another continuous wire process, where the arc
is submerged under a layer of flux. It is essentially a very high deposition
method intended for automatic or semi--automatic set--ups in the shop;
automatic machines for welding plate girders use this process. Some
specialised field applications have also been developed.
Electroslag welding is a special automatic process normally used by the
larger fabricators to butt weld plates. It is a single pass vertical process and
is economic for plates 25 mm thick and above.
Stud welding uses special equipment for the attachment of shear studs to
steel members in composite construction. It is a portable process suitable
for field use, but can be readily adapted to an automatic or semi--automatic
set--up in the shop.
These welding processes are described in greater detail in Ref 7.1.
There can be startling savings in the cost of welds produced by the more
modern processes. For example, considering a 6 mmdownhand fillet weld
made by manual welding using traditional rutile electrodes, the cost can be
halved if iron powder electrodes are employed. This cost in turn can be
halved again by adopting a suitable continuous wire process.
Thus the designer should take great care to avoid introducing unnecessary
costs in a job by restricting, through the details or the specification, the use
of the optimum welding process.
7.4. Other Cost Factors
The Structural Steel Welding Code, AS 1554 specifies two categories of
weld, these being:
GP -- General Purpose
SP -- Structural Purpose
The difference between the two arises from the more stringent quality and
inspection requirements of the SP category over the GP category.
The Steel Structures Design Code AS 4100 has been used as the
reference standard from which the permissible levels of imperfections for
GPand SPwelds have been set. In other words, AS1554 and AS4100 are
Category GP
The GP weld is the less stringent of the categories. It is intended for use in
joints which are statically loaded, and where the design load on the weld is
significantly below its full design capacity. It should be noted that for GP
Category, the capacity factor is 0.6 as compared to a range of 0.70 to 0.90
for the SP Category (see Table 3.4 of AS 4100 -- 1990).
Category SP
The SP category is the full--strength structural weld for use in static
applications where the higher range of capacity factors is used. SP
category is also mandatory for dynamic (fatigue) applications -- see AS
4100 and AS 1554.
Choice of Weld Category
GP category welds will occur quite frequently in certain types of
application. The designer should always endeavour to specify GP weld
category where appropriate in order that advantage may be taken of the
lower production costs associated with it. Only under circumstances where
weld failure could cause a complete collapse of the structure or lead to
severe risk or loss of life, should a designer contemplate specifying as SP
category those welds which could otherwise, according to the guidelines
given in the Standard, be categorised as GP.
Mixing Weld Categories
Weld categories can be mixed on a project but should not be mixed along a
weld. In Fig 7.4, for example, it would be quite in order in a welded
beam--to--column moment connection to have SP weld category for the
flange butt welds but either SPor GPfor the fillet welds along the web or for
the fillet welds along the column stiffeners.
Fig 7.4 Welded beam--to--column moment connection
The web--flange fillet welds in a three--plate girder (Fig 7.5) may have
stress levels which vary along the beam such that an SP category weld
may be required at the ends of the beam, while GP category welds are
sufficient elsewhere. Obviously, inthis caseanSPcategory weld shouldbe
specified for the full length, but weld inspection should be concentrated at
the ends of the beam. If a length of weld which does not comply with the SP
category was found in the central portion, it could still be accepted if it
complied with GP category.
It would, however, be quite in order to specify GP category welds for
intermediate web stiffeners or stiffening around a web penetration.
Fig 7.5 Stiffened web plate girder with web penetration
It is essential that the drawings and specifications detail the functional
requirements of the design clearly and concisely but avoid needless over
detailing or over specification of items which are better left to the fabricator
or erector. It is advisable to avoid generalising with such items as no
under--cut permitted or all welds to be smooth and free from defects or
weld all round as these too often lead to confusion and extra cost.
Flexibility in the approach to design is important particularly in considering
proposals for alternative welding details or procedures. The fabricator or
erector may have alternative methods to improve productivity and reduce
costs and theseshould not necessarily beexcluded by a rigid specification.
If tendering is involved, prices for the tender specification and for viable
alternatives could be useful.
It is generally quite sufficient to nominate only the functional requirements
plus compliance with an appropriate welding code, such as AS 1554, for
satisfactory results. Standards are prepared for use as reference
documents and it is not usually necessary to depart fromthemunless very
good reasons exist.
Where welding is specified in accordance with an Australian Standard, it
should be the one relevant to the service conditions, e.g. specifying
pressure vessel standards for a multi--storey office building is poor design.
Fitness for service should be the sole criterion for the quality level specified
and for the specification of the appropriate levels of inspection. Any
departure from normal levels is likely to increase costs and should be
called for only when really required.
Fabrication costs are very sensitive to the required weld quality and the
type and standard of inspection. Modern equipment and techniques for
welding and testing of welds make it possible to provide near perfect
weldments if so required. However, this also adds considerably to the cost.
If such standards are not necessary, the benefits previously gained by
careful economic design are frequently negated. It rests with the design
engineer to determine the critical areas of a structure requiring close
inspection and then to set a realistic standard for the inspector to follow.
In setting guidelines for the inspector, the best results are achieved by
nominating the use of the Structural Steel Welding Code, AS 1554. This
Standard is well understood by both fabricators and inspection
organisations and usually results in a good job being achieved at a
reasonable cost. A confusing and often expensive practice sometimes
adopted is to rewrite some existing Standard clauses into the specification
in an attempt to achieve a higher standard than that provided by the
Standard. This should be avoided because it usually leads to anomalies
and contractual problems.
Fitness for purpose should be the rule in setting inspection standards and
AS 1554 provides realistic levels of both workmanship and inspection
suited specifically for various weld quality levels required in structural
fabrication .
7.5. Economical Design and Detailing
The essential requirement of weld design is that adequate structural
performance be provided. Usually a variety of alternative methods of
achieving this aim are available and the cost aspects of the alternatives
need to be looked at.
The principal considerations in economical detailing of weldments are:
(a) Simplicity -- details of welded attachments and details of end con-
nections should be simple and consist of the fewest possible
number of component parts.
(b) Weld volume -- only the minimum required weld volume, as de-
termined by structural calculations, should be specified.
(c) Accessibility -- welding electrodes must be able to be positioned
in such a way that good quality welding can be achieved without
difficulty and without undue strain on the operator.
(d) Erection -- proper detailing should allow for reasonable fit--up tol-
erances and weld preparations.
(e) Inspection -- all welds should be located in positions so that visu-
al examination and/or nondestructive testing can be carried out
The following rules are suggested as basic to economical weld design and
detailing (see also Refs 7.2 and 7.3):
(1) Design with welding in mind.
This requires an appreciation of the cost components in welding, the types
of weld available, the types of processes and procedures available and
their limitations.
(2) Do not specify oversize welds.
The most cost effective weld is the smallest weld that provides the required
strength. It is good weld design practice to provide only that amount of
welding which ensures that the welded fabrication can performits intended
Specifying oversize welds can be harmful in two ways. Firstly, the cost is
unnecessarily increased and secondly, oversize welds cause increased
shrinkage forces which may lead to distortion.
As an example, an 8mmfillet is only 33%stronger than a6 mmfillet, yet the
volume of weld metal is 78% higher (Table 7.1). Thus, the cost of
production of a joint can be significantly increased, not only due to the
increased volume of weld metal required but more importantly due to the
increased time in welding the joint.
The only qualifying point that should be raised is that the minimum weld
sizes required by AS 1554 have to be observed and hence some oversize
welds may be unavoidable.
The weld all round philosophy should be avoided as it can lead to
unnecessary additional cost.
(3) Use welding judiciously when using it to reduce material mass.
If welding is used to reduce the amount of material (e.g. by splicing to
change flange plate thicknesses or to provide stiffeners to a thin web in a
three--plate girder), thenbesure thecost of the weldingis less than thecost
saving in material cost. Weld metal costs many times more than parent
material (somewhere from 50--100 times), and it is often cheaper to
increase component mass so as to reduce weld metal volume.
(4) Keep the number of pieces to be welded to the minimumpractica-
Asimpledesignwiththefewest number of pieces is themost economic and
often results in a better product.
(5) Remember the special effects of welding such as distortion (Ref
(6) Allow welding to be used to maximum advantage.
This particularly applies to allowing the fabricator to take advantage of high
production processes, and in many cases may be best achieved by
consultation with the fabricator. The detailing of a weldment can often
restrict the fabricator to only the one process, and this may not always be
the most suitable.
(7) Aim for as much shop fabrication as possible.
(8) Keep in mind the economics of fillet welding (Clause 7.2.1).
Fillet welds are usually limited to 6 mmleg size for most processes (notably
manual metal arc), although with other processes, under certain
conditions, a 10 mm or larger single pass fillet weld is possible; (for
example a 20 mm single pass fillet weld is possible using tandem
submerged arc welding but such processes are not commonly used when
welding short runs on most simple connections). Before specifying large
fillet welds, the situation should be checked with the fabricator. Larger
single pass fillet welds can be placed in the flat natural vee position. If more
than a single pass is required, the cost of the weld increases significantly.
Single run continuous fillet welds are usually more economic than
intermittent fillet welds of a larger size.
(9) Keep in mind the economics of butt welding (Clause 7.2.2).
Complete penetration welds need only be specified when they are really
required, and the use of partial penetration welds can reduce weld metal
and give other gains which add up to an improvement in productivity. If
complete penetration welds are demanded, the use of backing bars with
welds fromone side which do not need back gouging or turning of the work
piece, may lead to improvement.
If selecting joint preparations, use prequalified preparations (AS 1554) to
avoid qualification testing.
Select the smallest included angle consistent with achieving the desired
penetration. Better still, specify only, say, complete penetration butt weld
(or specify acceptable alternative details) on the drawing and allow the
fabricator to select the method he can do best and most economically.
(10) Use fillets in preference to butt welds wherever possible.
Butt welds usually involve edge preparation, which adds to costs, and as a
result fillet welds are cheaper than butt welds up to about 16 mmthickness
of connected plates. (Other considerations, such as joints which may be
subjected to fatigue, may dictate the use of a butt weld in preference to a
less costly fillet weld.)
(11) Provide adequate access.
Another way the designer can significantly help productivity is to ensure
adequate access for welding. This is vital as it is essential to ensure always
that the appropriate quality of weld can be made.
Examples of badaccessibility -- together withsuggestedimprovements are
shown in Fig 7.6.
(a) Gussets too close to flanges
(b) Angle seats too tight against flanges
(c) Correction: Use butt weld in lieu of fillet
(d) Correction: Use larger channel (e)
(f) Column stiffener details
Fig 7.6 Some common detailing faults resulting in poor
accessibility for welding
(12) Consider the method of fabrication.
Allow welds to be made in the downhand position wherever practicable.
This can often be achieved by the fabricator using special jigs and
Always try to aid fabrication by designing to allowthe maximumuse of jigs
and positioners -- certainly try to make designs so that their use is not
(13) Avoid dictating the manner of making a welded joint.
The fabricator knows the best joint preparation and welding procedure for
ease, economy and quality of joint using the facilities available. The
designer who details the fabrication method must accept responsibility for
any fabrication problems and extra cost.
Ensuring the method of fabrication is acceptable can be achieved by
calling for compliance with a recognised Code or Standard (AS 1554) and
requiring the proposed fabrication and welding procedure to be submitted
for concurrence on important jobs.
Fig 7.7 Use of bending to reduce welding and give clean corners
(14) Be receptive to alternative proposals.
Be prepared to accept alternative welded joints/details proposed by the
fabricator which have clear advantages.
(15) Recognise the value of consultation with the fabricator.
(16) Use minimum number of joints by:
(a) Using largest size of plate/section available consistent with the
functional requirements
(b) Bending or forming in place of welding (Fig 7.7)
(c) Considering the use of castings, forgings in lieu of complex
welded joints
(d) Avoiding excessive detail to reduce parent metal mass -- see
item (3) and Fig 7.8.
Fig 7.8 Beam flange with many different plate thicknesses -- avoid
when steel mass saved is less than 100 times mass of weld metal
(17) Standardise joint details as much as practicable to reduce vari-
Different sized welds at a joint will require changes in current and electrode
size by the operator. This causes lost time and a drop in the operating
factor. Aim to have the minimum variety of weld sizes and types on a
member or at a joint.
(18) Use sub--assemblies to give:
(a) Easier handling and positioning for downhand welding
(b) Better access for welding
(c) Less site welding and more shop welding (see Fig 7.9).
Fig 7.9 Exterior column/spandrel sub--assemblies for Sears Tower,
(19) Use non--destructive testing judiciously.
The use of non--destructive testing of welds is very disruptive to the flowof
work and adds considerably to the cost of a structure. Much of this cost will
be avoided if non--destructive testing is restricted to critical joints and
carried out on a random basis only after careful development of weld
procedures. Modern welding Codes encourage this approach.
(20) Test only where required.
Testing of welders and weld procedures for each job is expensive. Where
practicable, consideration should be given to accepting welders and
procedures approved by recognised authorities for other similar work.
(21) Specify weld quality consistent with service requirements.
Fitness for purpose should be the guiding rule in specifying weld quality.
Higher quality specified unnecessarily or for its own sake is wasteful and
costly (see Clause 7.4.2).
Specify tolerances to limits consistent with the purpose of the weld.
Adequate tolerances are necessary in order to allow for ease of fit--up.
(22) Avoid, asfar aspracticable, requiringturningof members toweld
on other side.
Examples are:
(a) Avoid putting stiffeners on both sides of a plate girder web
(b) Truss detailing which requires one side welding only (see Clause
(c) Angle seat to column flange connections -- a narrow seat in lieu
of wide seat avoids turning the member (see Fig 7.10).
(a) (b)
Fig 7.10 Angle seat detail -- (a) preferable to (b)
(23) Avoid joints which create difficult welding procedures.
Joints which create difficult welding procedures, such as two round bars
side by side, acute angle intersections, etc., should be avoided. Such
welds prove time-- consuming and are of questionable quality (see Fig
Such joints also cause difficulties with any post--weld treatments,
(deslagging, brushing, grinding and corrosion protection).
Fig 7.11 These joints are difficult to weld and the welds may be of
questionable quality
(24) Consult Economic Design of Weldments (Ref 7.3) for further ad-
vice on ways to use welding effectively and economically.
8. Detailing for Economy
8.1. Detailing on Design Engineers Drawings
It is in the design office that the potential economy of any steel structure is
effectively determined. Judicious decisions on details at this stage can
provide for simple, economic methods to be used at the fabrication stage.
The designer is faced with the problem that a different fabrication and
erection technique could be favoured by each individual fabricator likely to
tender for the project. It is a good idea at the outset for the designer to have
some preliminary discussions with likely fabricators to check on latest
techniques prevailing in the industry. From these discussions the design
and detailing approach for the structure can be carried out with factors
influencing economics firmly in mind.
In the normal course of events a steel structure passes through several
separate stages involving design, detailing, fabrication and erection. With
this in mind, it is important for designers to remember that a minimum of
design detailing by them will assist towards economy, since the shop
detailer is then left free to make the most efficient use of the particular
fabricators capabilities (Ref 2.12). The need for this flexibility is often
overlooked by designers in their anxiety to specify their requirements.
Suchthings as afabricators ability tofabricate largesub--assemblies inthe
shop and subsequently transport to site and erect themwill obviously have
a bearing on the design of connection types and therefore on the economy
of the overall project. In this regard it must be stressed that a maximum of
work done in the shop will almost always produce better quality and more
economical structures.
In the presentation of working drawings therefore, the basic key is
communications which normally take place through a chain as illustrated
in Fig 8.1.
Fig 8.1 Chain of communication
The processes involved in the design can be summarised in the following
(a) Initial communication
(b) Structural concept including consideration of connection types
(c) Integrated design
(d) Connection detailing
(e) Framing plans.
The Engineers structural framing plans must contain all the necessary
information to enable the fabricator to have shop drawings prepared for the
individual members, as well as the marking plans to identify each member
for the erection phase.
The following discussion is intended to highlight aspects of the detailing of
both members and connections to achieve economy in the overall
fabrication and erection of structural elements.
As an additional consideration the use of AISC Standardized Structural
Connections (Ref 1) will enable designers to specify standardized
connections directly fromthepublicationwithout detailing, andif necessary
permit alternatives to be offered by the fabricator with the confidence of
assured design capacity and behaviour.
8.2. Beams
8.2.1. GENERAL
The simplest and therefore the most economic beams in structures will be
of rolled universal sections. Wherever possible, it will almost always prove
more economic in one--off types of steel structures to use a universal
section or welded beam section as a beam, even if a heavier solution
results. The alternative fabrication of a three--plate girder introduces plate
preparation, assembly and welding, the costs of which will generally
exceed the cost of additional material in the rolled universal section or
standard WB section, unless a vast amount of repetition is required.
Where headroom limitations apply (distance from ceiling soffit to floor
level), it may be necessary to consider plating a universal section of a
limited depth instead of choosing a deeper beam. Here, the extra cost of
supplying plates, assembling and welding causes the cost of the member
to rise, and a plated solution should only be used when a net saving in cost
results compared to other feasible alternatives.
Attention to the detailing of the member will assist in keeping fabrication
costs down. For example, selecting cover plate widths as shown in Fig 8.2
will allowtheweldingof bothplates tothebeamtobedoneinthedownhand
position without the need to turn the member during fabrication.
Fig 8.2 Plated sections
Holes cut in the webs of beams to provide access for service ducts have
provedtobe very costly inthe past due touneconomic detailing. This is due
to the fact that, traditionally, these openings have beencompensated for by
the provision of extensive stiffening systems around the openings (see Fig
The position of such openings in the beam length obviously has a major
effect on the degree of stiffening required -- openings near the centre of
uniformly loaded beams will require little or no stiffening, while openings
placednear thesupports may requirestiffening. Anearly dialoguebetween
the structural engineer and the building services designer can lead to
ductingbeing locatedin afavourable positionstructurally without detriment
to service requirements.
Plain circular openings as shownin Fig 8.3(d) obviously represent themost
economic solution. These can be cut by automatic means and result in
minimum additional fabrication costs. If additional stiffening is required for
round holes, it is most economic to use a pipe piece, fillet welded to the
beam web (see Fig 8.3(c)).
Fig 8.3 Web penetrations in beams (in descending order of cost,
(d) being least costly)
Where rectangular holes cannot be avoided and stiffening is necessary,
this can be economically accomplished by a web hole with half--pipe
cuttings and make--up plates or, alternatively, simply reinforcing the beam
web using square edge flat bars fillet welded to one side of the beam web
as shown in Fig 8.3(b).
By judicious planning, the duct penetrations required in beams should be
selected in position, size and shape to gain maximum economy in the
fabrication of such beams.
Castellated beams are fabricated by cutting a profiled line in the web of a
universal beam -- Fig 8.4. Circular profiles in lieu of the hexagonal profiles
are also available from fabricators using computer controlled fabrication
equipment. The beam halves are then offset longitudinally and the part
webs welded on member centreline.
=overall depth of castellated section
=nominal depth of original section
D =actual depth of original section
Original section = 530UB82
=530 D =528
=528 +265 =793
Fig 8.4 Typical castellated beam geometry
Design paramters
Span 7m full restraint, Grade 300 steel
= 900 kN
Rolled Section Solution
610UB113, Mass = 113 kg/m
Castellated Beam Solution
800CUB82 cut from 530UB82
Mass = 82 kg/m
Comparison of cost indices:
Rolled section (610UB113) 1.00
Castellated Beam using CNC equipment 1.02
Castellated beam w/o CNC equipment 1.39
Rolled section is more economic in this solution in this instance, although
using CNC (Computer Numeric Control) Equipment could be just as
Each individual situation should be readily assessed based on using
updated cost information.
Fig 8.5 Evaluation of economics of castellated beam
The use of castellated beams in steel structures is often seen as a method
of increasing beam strength while using the same mass of material. While
many instances have been reported where savings have been effected, it
must again be remembered that a fabrication cost has been introduced
which could be larger than the saving made in material cost -- depending
upon the quantities required and the methods used.
The cost involved for this additional fabrication varies depending on the
equipment available within individual fabrication shops. In some cases,
problems can be encountered with distortion of the beam during cutting
thus requiring subsequent straightening of the members and adding
further to the cost. In general, most fabricating shops are now
well--equipped to undertake the fabrication of castellated beams, but
designers should carefully investigate the relative cost differences with the
industry before specifying this type of section.
In the example shown in Fig 8.5 the heavier 610UB113 would be more
economic than the castellated 530UB82. This example highlights the need
to consider each case on its merits by applying up--to--date cost data to the
examination of the alternative solutions.
Where beams are required of greater depth than the largest universal
beam, consideration should be given to three--plate girders or the
standardized range of welded sections. These will most often offer more
economic solutions than trusses for such applications as floor supporting
beams. Three--plate girders are fabricated in modern automatic assembly
and welding machines using the submerged arc welding process.
In designing and detailing three--plate girders the following considerations
are important in achieving economy:
(a) Use flat bar or preferred plate widths and thicknesses for the
flange and web plates
(b) Use edge trimmed plate of preferred width wherever possible for
the web plate to avoid additional cutting in the fabrication shop.
This type of prepared plate can be fillet welded to the flange plate
without further preparation of the edge.
(c) When considering changing the flange width or thickness in order
to reduce mass, take account of the lengths of plate available
and whether continuation of an oversize plate is a more eco-
nomical solution than introducing butt welded splices in the
flange plate. As a rule of thumb, it is probably economic to
change the flange thickness when:
Steel mass saved in flange > 100 x mass of weld metal required
Where lengths of girders are such that butt welded splices are necessary,
locate the changes of flange plate size to suit the available lengths of plate.
(d) The cost increase for three plate girders with stiffened webs
against unstiffened webs is about 10--25%, depending on the de-
tailing adopted. Consequently, when evaluating whether to use a
stiffened rather than an unstiffened web, the cost saving due to
the reduced mass of the web plate with a stiffened web must ex-
ceed this cost differential, for the stiffened web solution to be
(e) If using a vertically stiffened web, use one sided stiffeners to
avoid having to turn the girder during fabrication (see Fig 8.6).
Terminate intermediate stiffeners by the allowable 4t from the
flange (see AS 4100) -- this avoids cutting stiffeners accurately to
length (see Fig 8.6).
(f) Avoid the use of horizontal web stiffeners if at all possible.
The example shown in Fig 8.7 illustrates an evaluation of the relative
economics of stiffened vs. unstiffened webs in a typical three--plate girder
Fig 8.6 One--sided intermediate web stiffener
Load bearing stiffeners in both cases 8mm & 12mm webs
Load bear-
stiffeners in
both cases
8mm & 12
mm webs
Total Mass = 5.5 tonnes
Cost Ratio = 1.0
Mass x Cost Ratio = 5.5
[ Cheaper Solution in this case ]
Stiffeners: 90x6 square edge flat bars, both sides, at 1500 mmcentres (18
Stiffeners: 90x6 square edge flat bars, one side, at 1500 mmcentres (9 off)
Total Mass = 5.0 tonnes
Cost Ratio = 1.25 for two sided (average)
= 1.15 for one sided (average)
Mass x Cost Ratio = 6.3 two sided; 5.7 one sided
The unstiffened web solution is most often the most economic solution but
it is not intended to suggest that this is always so.
Each individual situation can be readily assessed by the above process
using updated values of the cost ratio for the stiffened web solution.
Fig 8.7 Stiffened and unstiffened webs in three plate girders
8.3. Columns
8.3.1. GENERAL
The most economical columns in most building frames will usually be
universal beam or column sections. These sections are available in a
range of sizes which suit most applications. For applications where good
appearance is important, square hollow sections could be considered.
In high--rise buildings it is often economical to consider composite
columns, where a relatively small universal column is sufficient to carry
dead and construction loads and which, when encased in concrete,
becomes a composite column able to carry additional live loads (see
Clause 5.5.2).
In the design of column base plates, it is advisable once again to question
the wisdomof minimising the mass of material and so introduce extensive
fabrication, compared to a heavier base plate simply welded to the column
Fig 8.8 shows three alternative details for moment resisting base plates.
(a) Slab base plate (b) Extended flange
slab base
(c) Gusseted base plate -- avoid, too expensive
(d) A pipe sleeve allows easy entry of anchor bolts in a double baseplate
Fig 8.8 Column base plate details (moment resisting or fixed)
Slab base plate (a) is used widely. It calls for a thicker base plate than the
gusseted base plate (c) but requires far less labour for fabrication and
therefore it is more economical. Column flanges can be extended as
shown in (b) to present a larger bearing surface.
Fillet welds should always be preferred for welding the column shaft to the
base plate. Only in very rare instances will complete penetration butt welds
be required -- these should be avoided if possible for maximum economy.
Typical details for pinned base plate connections are shown in Fig 8.9. For
the nominally pinned base, there is no need to provide true pin or rocker
connections as these are unnecessarily expensive to fabricate.
Standardised dimensions for pinned base plates are available in AISC
Standardized Structural Connections (Ref 1).
Notes: Weld: 6E41 continuous;
Bolts: 4.6/S;
Column shafts with cold sawn ends
provide full bearing contact;
All dimensions in millimetres
Fig 8.9 Typical pinned base plates (full dimensional details can be
found in Ref l)
One of the greatest problems facing the fabricator/erector of structural
steelwork is inaccuracies in the placing of holding--down bolts. This
operation is beyond the fabricators control and if corrective measures are
required on site they usually lead to cost extras and subsequent
contractual difficulties.
Several methods have been adopted to overcome this problem and it is
essential that the designer presents to the builder very explicit instructions
on the method to be used in fixing the bolts. Fig 8.10 shows two typical
holding--down bolt details. More detailed information may be found in Ref
In addition to providing flexibility in individual bolt location to ensure
matching with base plate drilling, it is good practice to cage bolt groups as
shown in Fig 8.11.
Fig 8.10 Holding--down bolt details
In high--rise buildings economies can be achieved by running column
shafts through three or four floors rather than providing splices at say every
second floor (Fig 8.12). Since lengths up to 18m(but see Clause 2.2.3) are
now available in most column sections, the greatest economy will be
gained in maintaining the same section mass for 3 or 4 floors thus reducing
the number of splices required.
Column splices can be welded or bolted. The relative economics of field
welding should be checked with the fabricator before deciding on adopting
this method. Bolted splices will almost always be an economical detail. Fig
8.38 shows typical economic welded splices in columns; Fig 8.39 shows
typical economic bolted splices. Further information on column splices can
be obtained in Ref 1.
It is essential to locate column splices at a convenient level above the floor
beams in order to provide comfortable access for the erection personnel to
field weld or install the bolts (Fig 8.13).
Fig 8.11 Typical holding--down bolt cage
Fig 8.12 Minimise number of column splices -- 1 is preferable to 3
Fig 8.13 Preferred column splice locations
In rigid framed structures, the connections between the beams and
columns very often require special stiffening of the column section in order
to provide for the satisfactory transfer of forces. These stiffeners add
considerably to the fabricated cost of the columns and consideration
should be given at the design stage to investigating the alternative use of a
heavier column section which requires no stiffening.
The example shows how such an evaluation can be carried out. For the
case investigated, it is seen that to increase the size of the column section
from a 250UC89 to a 310UC137 is a more economical solution than using
the smaller UC with stiffening.
SOLUTION 1: Stiffen 250UC89
SOLUTION 2: Increase Column Size
to Avoid Stiffening
Requires 310UC137 to avoid any column stiffening at all.
250UC89 = $101 /m
310UC137 = $160 /m
Cost difference = $59 /m
Consider 3m column lift:
Solution 1:
Requires 4 stiffeners at $61 = $244
Solution 2:
Requires 3m x $59 /m = $177
Solution 2 is the more economic
The use of a heavier column with a thicker web and flange may prove more
economic in situations such as that illustrated, especially for short column
lifts. Each individual situation can be readily assessed by the above
process using updated cost information.
Evaluation of economics of the use of column stiffeners at rigid
beam--to--column connection
Where universal column sections have insufficient capacity for a particular
application, the use of built--up columns has to be considered. Such
columns can be fabricated in a variety of shapes. Fig 8.14 shows economic
details for built--up columns in ascending order of fabrication cost.
In box columns the detail at the corner can heavily influence fabrication
costs. Where possible the use of fillet welds will afford the best economy --
Fig 8.15 (a) and (b). Where fillet weld sizes required are greater than
12--16mm, partial penetration welds should be considered (Fig 8.15(c)) as
amoreeconomic solution. Complete penetration butt welds at corner joints
will be rarely required and should only be considered in the vicinity of very
heavily loaded rigid beam--to--column connections.
Fig 8.14 Economic details for built--up columns in ascending order
of fabrication cost
Fig 8.15 Welded corner details for box columns
Splices in box columns can be either welded or bolted, but more often than
not the welded alternative is selected because a bolted splice is only
practicable in large box columns where access can be provided to the
inside of the box. A partial penetration welded box column splice can be
carried out using the detail shown in Fig 8.16 (a). Fig 8.16 (b) shows a
girder connection to box column -- site welded. This connection requires
accurate fabrication in the overall length of the girder and may present
problems if a considerable run of beams in a line are delivered to site with
tolerances in length cumulative. In addition, allowance must be made in
column erection for weld shrinkage, since the relatively large weld volume
required in heavy girder flanges will cause significant shrinkage in length.
Columns must be spread by the shrinkage dimension, as shownin Fig 8.17
and for heavy box columns this can lead to erection difficulty.
Fig 8.16(c) shows a girder--to--column connection which avoids the
problems encountered with the direct welded connection shown in Fig
8.16(b). In the case of a girder stub welded to column in the shop, the
control of welding procedures and fabrication tolerances generally will lead
to a more economic weld and better quality assurance. The subsequent
site splicing of the girder to the stub can be either welded or bolted, but the
bolted alternative will normally be less costly. In the caseof heavy industrial
structures using grid flooring however, the bolted flange splice will interfere
with this type of flooring, and consideration should be given to welding the
splice for such applications.
Fig 8.16(d) shows a bolted girder--to--box column connection. Where
flexible connections are used, the angle cleat connection provides good
sitefit--up. The webcleats areusually loosely shop--bolted tothe girder and
allow movement for any out--of--tolerance during erection. For box
columns, provisionmust bemadeinthis connectionfor access totheinside
of the column for bolt installation.
Alternatively, where flexible girder--to--box column connections are
employed, the web side plate connection will provide about equal
economy. The web side plate can be welded to the column face, thus
avoiding the problem of internal access.
Fig 8.16 Connections to box columns
Fig 8.17 Spreading of columns to allow for weld shrinkage
8.4. Trusses
Welded trusses have in the past provided very efficient building elements
because of the favourable mass/span ratio possible. Although for many
industrial building applications, such systems as saw--tooth trusses have
beensupersededby theportal framesystem, therearestill many longspan
applications where truss portals provide an economic solution (see Clause
In general, trusses fabricated by welding should preferably use specially
developed details suitable for economical welded truss fabrication rather
than details borrowed from the days of riveted construction. For too long
the old riveted details have been used on welded trusses, on the basis of
simply replacing rivets by equivalent welding (see Fig 8.18). This leads to
uneconomic fabrication, since it introduces an unnecessary amount of
welding and, most importantly, since it requires the truss to be turned
during fabrication to weld the angles to the gussets on each side.
Several alternative details offer far more economic welded truss
fabrication. Fig 8.19 shows a detail where single angles have been used as
both the truss chords and the web members. This provides for the most
economic truss fabrication since all welding can be done from one side,
thus avoiding turning of the truss during fabrication. Additionally, the
gussets have been eliminated by using a long leg angle as a chord
member. Obviously this detail requires the designer to consider the
eccentricities involved in the design, but it appears in most cases that the
use of slightly heavier angles will cater for these eccentricities.
Fig 8.18 Equivalent truss detailing
Alternatively a T--section can be used for truss chord members with single
angle web members welded to the vertical leg of the tee (see Fig 8.20). The
T--sections would usually be split universal beam or column sections -- an
operation that can be economically carried out by most fabricators.
Fig 8.19 Single angle welded truss
Fig 8.20 Split tee welded truss
(a) Coincident intersection points. Double mitred member ends
(b) Preferred. Spread intersection points. Single mitred member ends
Fig 8.21 Use of universal sections in welded trusses
In large heavy trusses, (i.e. those fabricated from universal beam or
column sections), care must be taken with detailing to ensure optimum
economy. In these
cases the detail at the intersection of members can lead to very costly
fabrication and it is suggested that the spreading of intersection points can
provide a better detail where members can be plain mitre cut to length
rather than having double mitre end preparations. The resulting
eccentricity can usually be accommodated by the relatively massive chord
members in such trusses. Fig 8.21 illustrates the use of universal sections
in a welded truss while Fig 8.22 illustrates the use of rectangular hollow
sections. In both cases, detail (b) is preferable to detail (a).
Although trusses are usually considered as roof framing members there
are other areas where they offer economical light framing members.
Such a case is in multi--storey construction where secondary floor
members at relatively close centres are required. Economy can be
achieved by the fact that a large number of these members will be required
and the use of mass--produced truss members can be considered. In other
parts of theworldtheopenwebjoist lends itself tothis applicationandmany
notable buildings have incorporated such joists as floor members. Fig 8.23
shows the traditional open web joists (a), as well as a proprietary light
weight truss (b). These light weight joists are nolonger madeas astandard
item and are usually uneconomic for structural applications unless large
quantities are required.
(a) Coincident intersection points. Double mitred member ends
(b) Preferred. Spread intersection points. Single mitred member ends
Fig 8.22 Use of rectangular hollow sections in welded trusses
Fig 8.23 Types of open web joist
(a) Non preferred (b) Preferred
Fig 8.24 End plate details
Recommended Minimum
Dimensions (mm)
X (M20 and M24 bolts only)
for Air
for Hand
0 60 60 60
5 60 100 60
7.5 60 100 60
10 60 100 60
The use of a universal joint does offer some possibility of reducing this
dimension, and while this may be seen as an advantage from a design
point of view, it should be noted that an impact wrench with a universal joint
and socket is generally difficult to handle for an operator some height from
ground level and sitting on only the width of the beam flange. In addition,
the use of a universal joint reduces the efficiency of the impact wrench and
this can be a problemin tensioning M24 bolts or larger, especially if located
some distance from the source of the compressed air supply.
8.5. Portal Frames
A discussion of various aspects of the economics of portal frame steel
buildings is contained in Clause 4.2. A number of other items of concern to
the economic detailing of these frames is contained in this Section.
In portal frames using bolted end plate connections for the knee and apex
joints (see Fig 4.2), close attention must be paid to the detailing of these
connections, especially where tensioned bolts (8.8/TB category) are
employed --the most common practice. Any cost savings obtained by
simplifying connection details to make fabrication simpler can be lost
during site erection if clearance problems are encountered during site
assembly. Recommended dimensions for such connections, extracted
from Ref 1, are given in Table 8.1. These dimensions are sufficient to
ensure that the bolts can be installed and tensioned, since sufficient
clearance is provided to accommodate either hand or air wrenches.
In the design of the end plates, designers can approach the proportioning
of the end plate to resist the bending moment developed due to the
behaviour of the plate under loading in two ways; viz:
(a) Use a thick unstiffened end plate
(b) Use a thin stiffened end plate.
Fig 8.24(a) shows an excessively stiffened thin end plate which would be
an extremely expensive detail compared to the thicker end plate detail of
Fig 8.24 (b). For this reason, (b) is much preferred. Another problem with
excessively stiffened end--plates is that insufficient clearance may then
exist toallowthebolts tobe installed. Design guidanceon thedesign of end
plates without stiffening may be found in Ref 2.
At a bolted apex joint, care must also be taken to allowsufficient clearance
between the adjacent purlin cleat and the end plate to enable the end plate
bolts to be installed and tensioned. The dimension Z (see Fig 8.25) must
be larger than the bolt length to be installed plus a clearance dimension,
and also be large enough to permit the wrench socket to be placed on the
Where split universal sections are usedto hauncha portal frame rafter (see
Fig 4.2), stoppingshort thefillet weldjoiningthesplit haunchtotheflangeof
the rafter is suggested as an economical and structurally sound device.
Any fillet weld placed in the tight confines of the junction is likely to be of
doubtful quality due to the difficult access involved -- see Fig 8.26.
The recommended method of attaching purlins and girts in portal frame
buildings is illustrated in Fig 8.27.
Fig 8.25 Clearance at apex joint
Fig 8.26 Termination of haunch
1. Place girts and purlins to most effectively shed water and debris
with due consideration to ease of erection.
2. Ensure adequate clearance to avoid interference with cleat weld-
3. Design cleats to accommodate standard punching -- refer to
manufacturers brochures.
4. Ensure adequate capacity in top girt to carry load from sag rods.
Fig 8.27 Attachment of purlins and girts
In order to ensure that the columns of a portal frame will be within the basic
erection tolerances in the final erected position, it is necessary to provide a
pre--set of the frame during fabrication.
This is done by determining the deflection at the frame ridge under dead
loads and calculating the resultant horizontal deflection at the knee joints.
This latter dimension is then used in the set--out for fabrication to pre--set
the geometry of the frame -- see Fig 8.28.
Fig 8.28 Precambering details of a rigid frame
8.6. Connection Detailing
8.6.1. GENERAL
In general, the greatest economy in detailing of beam--to--column and
beam--to--beam connections is achieved by selecting combinations of
connections to require only one type of operation to be executed on each
member in the fabrication shop. Preferred ways in which this can be
achieved are suggested in Fig 8.29.
Such a method of selecting connections enables the fabricator to reduce
the handling operations required to fabricate the member and lends itself
readily to a flow--through system in the shop.
Preferred -- Holed only
Preferred -- Welded Fitments Only
Fig 8.29 Typical beam details for fabrication economy
The designer and detailer should look at rationalising the selection of
details and connections in this way. Naturally, holing operations on any
group of similar members would use the same set--out parameters (gauge
lines, pitch, hole diameter, etc).
An example of this type of selection process can be illustrated using the
beammarking plan shown in Fig 8.30. In this instance, the frame is braced
in both planes and flexible connections only are to be used.
In this frame the critical connections are those to the two box columns. If
these columns are small they cannot accept connections requiring bolting
through their walls. If they are large, bolting through may be possible (with
some difficulty and expense) but the connections must be of a type where
the beams can be entered without the need to spring the very rigid
On both grounds the logical choice is Fig 8.34, web side plate (WP), for
every connection to the box columns.
By the rule of symmetry (Clause 4.4.4.) use the WPconnection at the other
end of the beams in question, B1, B4, B8 and B9. By the rule of
standardization use the WP connection on both ends of the other
longitudinal beams B7 and B10, checking that there will be adequate
clearanceat thoseends of B7, B8, B9andB10whichframe intothewebs of
the l--section columns. Standardise further by using the WP connection
also at both ends of B3 and at the column end of B6 (see Summary below).
For the connections selected so far, the beams require only to be cut to
length and drilled. Therefore the connections for the transverse members
framing into themshould be chosen so that the beams require only further
drilling (as in Fig 8.29 upper).
Choosing Fig 8.33, angle cleat (AC) will achieve this aim. Another option is
Fig 8.32, flexible end plate.
Fig 8.30 Typical floor beam layout
We now have a frame requiring only two different connection types,
selected in such a way as to minimise fabrication and erection costs.
The columns themselves require welded fitments only. Beams B1, B3, B4,
B7, B8, B9 and B10 require only cutting to length and drilling. Beams B2,
B5, and B6 again require only cutting to length and drilling (assuming the
AC connection).
All beams havethesametypeof connectionat eachendexcept B6whereit
is necessary to make a minor compromise of WP at one end and ACat the
This Clause presents notes on the efficient and economic detailing of a
variety of individual connection types, as follows:
Fig 8.31 Angle seat connection
8.32 Flexible end plate connection
8.33 Angle cleat connection
8.34 Web side plate connection
8.35 Bearing pad connection
8.36 Welded moment connection
8.37 Moment end plate connection
8.38 Welded splice connection
8.39 Bolted splice connection
8.40 Stiffener connections
8.41 Bracing connections
8.42 Connections to concrete cores
The recommendations made in this Clause follow the AISC Standardized
Structural Connections (Ref 1).
Use bolted restraint cleats for maximum economy and to allow
margin for rolling tolerances on rolled section beams.
For welded seats, it may be necessary to taper the vertical leg of the
seat in cases where the seat is welded to an H--section column web
between flanges to allow access for welding see Fig 7.6 (b).
Check length of seat to ensure satisfactory fit onto column. Where
the seat is wider than the column flange, welded angle seats require
welding from behind the column flange. This involves turning the
column and may prove costly -- see Fig 7.10.
Observe recommendations on economical aspects of the use of
bolting (Section 6) and welding (Section 7).
Fig 8.31 Angle seat connection
Select gauge g to ensure bolt clearance, (usually 90 mm).
Fabrication of this type of connection requires close control in cutting
the beam to length. Adequate consideration must be given to
squaring the beam ends such that both end plates are parallel and
the effect of any beam camber does not result in out--of--square end
plates which makes erection and field fit--up difficult. Shims may be
required on runs of beams to compensate for mill and shop
The use of this connection for two sided beam--to--beam
connections should be considered carefully. Installation of bolts in
the end plates can cause difficulties in this case. When unequal
sized beams are used, special coping of the bottom flange of the
smaller beam may be required to prevent it fouling the bolts.
Since the end plate is intended to behave flexibly, damage of the
end plate during transport is not normally of concern and may be
rectified on site.
Observe recommendations on economical aspects of the use of
bolting (Section 6) and welding (Section 7).
Fig 8.32 Flexible end plate connection
Cleat holes must allow for variations in beam depth due to standard rolling tolerances and also provide for erection tolerances. Standard holes (2
mm larger than nominal bolt diameter) are usually sufficient.
Check that cleat components will fit between column flanges for connections to column webs.
The use of this connection for two sided beam--to--beam connections should be considered carefully. Installation of bolts in the outstanding legs of
the angle cleats can cause difficulties in this case. When unequal sized beams are used, special coping of the bottom flange of the smaller beam
may be required to prevent fouling the bolts.
For double angle cleats, the nominal gauge required in the supporting member is (2 g
+ t). Standard gauges can hence accommodate only
certain web thicknesses (t) of the supporting member when using normal holes (2 mm clearance). Drifting widens the range of web thicknesses
that can be accommodated, but may result in some distortion of the cleat. Alternatively, a special gauge may be used in the supporting member.
In order to obviate both drifting or the use of a special gauge, custom detailed horizontal slotted holes may be used in the outstanding leg of the
angle cleat component. Alternatively, oversize (4 mm larger than nominal bolt diameter) holes could be used, but this may complicate levelling the
supported member during erection.
Observe recommendations on economical aspects of the use of bolting (Section 6).
Fig 8.33 Angle cleat connection
Bolt holes must allow for variations in beam depth due to standard
rolling tolerances and also provide for erection tolerances. Standard
holes (2 mm larger than nominal bolt dia.) are usually sufficient.
In connections to column webs, a check must be made on the length
of bolt to ensure sufficient clearance is available between the side
plate and the inside of the column flange to permit the bolt to be
Erection clearances must be especially considered for this detail
because of the necessity to angle beams into place during erection.
This consideration is most important for the case of a series of
beams in the one row, all connected between the same main
supporting members.
Observe recommendations on economical aspects of the use of
bolting (Section 6) and welding (Section 7).
Fig 8.34 Web side plate connection
The connection may need to be shimmed to suit during erection.
The connection detail consequently includes provision for shims of
0--5mm nominal thickness. Shims will need to be holed to the same
gauge as the end plate.
Sawn or machine flame cut edges are recommended at the bearing
interface in order to avoid edges with slopes, such as
Check width of components when welding to H--section column web
to allow access for welding -- see Fig 7.6 (b). Where the bearing pad
is wider than a column flange, welding is required from behind the
column. This involves turning the column and may prove costly.
Observe recommendations on economical aspects of welding
(Section 7).
Fig 8.35 Bearing pad connection
(a) Stub Girder Connection, Fully shop welded beam stub, spliced on site.
(b) Field Welded Moment Connection -- including erection cleat.
(c) Field Welded Moment Connection -- using fillet welded web cleat(s)
The economics of field welding should be checked with the fabricator before it is specified.
Flange weld preparation assumes the use of a backing strip -- which
requires coping of the beam web.
Details (b) and (c) are not considered as economical in Australia.
Observe recommendations on economical aspects of welding (Section 7).
Site welding should be kept to a minimum, and should be used in an integrated manner.
Fig 8.36 Welded moment connection
Holes are normally 2 mm larger than the nominal bolt diameter, although oversize or slotted holes may be used.
Fillet welds or butt welds may be used as the beam flange to end plate weld. A discussion of the use of fillet welds larger than 8 mm as related to
available welding processes is contained in Section 7.
Fillet welds only are recommended for the beam web to end plate weld.
Fabrication of this type of connection requires close control in cutting the beam to length and adequate consideration must be given to squaring
the beam ends such that end plates at each end are parallel and the effect of any beam camber does not result in out--of--square end plates
which makes erection and field fit--up difficult. Shims may be required to compensate for mill and shop tolerances.
Select a gauge for the end plate bolts which allows sufficient clearance to install the bolts.
Bolts adjacent to the tension flange should be as close as possible to the flange. Dimensions must be sufficient to ensure that bolts can be
installed and tensioned -- sufficient clearance must be provided, see Table 8.1.
Stiffeners on the end plate should be avoided -- a thicker end plate is recommended instead.
Observe the recommendations on economical aspects of the use of bolting (Section 6).
Fig 8.37 Moment end plate connection
The economics of field welding should be checked with the
fabricator before it is specified.
Flange weld preparation assumes the use of a backing strip -- which
requires coping of beam web. The backing strip should be required
to be removed only in special instances.
Details avoid accurate fitting up of member sections.
A shop splice with complete penetration welding without web plate is
a detail used at the discretion of a fabricator and is not a detail in
use as a site connection.
Edges required to be prepared for bearing can be obtained
satisfactorily and economically by cold sawing.
Column splices should be located in positions where access can be
easily obtained for site welding -- as in Fig 8.13.
Fig 8.38 Welded splice connection
Where flange splice plates are used, assemble joints with nuts to
outside of splice plate as in (a). This arrangement is recommended
for ease of tensioning, since in universal sections sufficient
clearance is not always available between flanges for a standard air
Members can be prepared for bearing satisfactorily and
economically by cold sawing.
The cap plate detail of (d) is usually reserved for column splices
between members with significant differences in member depth.
In order to accommodate out--of--alignment of member webs at a
splice, the use of shims may be necessary. To mitigate the effects of
any out--of--alignment, holes in member flanges should be located
using the centre--line of the member web as a reference point.
In order to accommodate out--of--square of member flanges at a
splice, the use of tapered shims may be necessary.
Column splices should be located in positions where access can be
easily obtained for the installation of the bolts -- as in Fig 8.13.
Fig 8.39 Bolted splice connection
1. The use of column stiffeners should be kept to a minimum for
maximum economy, commensurate with design requirements.
2. All welding of stiffeners should be shop welding.
3. Only tension stiffeners need be welded to the inside face of the
column flange(s). Compression stiffeners may be fitted against
the inside face of the column flange.
4. Fillet weld sizes on stiffeners should be 6 or 8 mm, to ensure
single pass welds. Welds to column web may be one--sided.
5. Where tension stiffeners extend across the full column depth
(A2), the tension stiffeners should be (fillet) welded to the column
flange and only fillet welded to the column web where flange fillet
welds have insufficient capacity to transmit the design force in
the stiffener. Where tension stiffeners extend only part way
across the column depth (A1), welding to the column web is re-
6. Compression stiffeners should be fillet welded to the column
web. When diagonal shear stiffeners are used, it is recom-
mended that compression stiffeners be fillet welded to the col-
umn flange adjacent to the shear stiffener.
7. Tension and compression stiffeners need to be cropped 30 mm
to clear column section radiused fillets.
8. Shear (diagonal) stiffeners are fillet welded at their ends in the
manner shown below. Fillet welding along the stiffener length
may be introduced either to increase the capacity and/or to re-
duce the l/r of the stiffeners.
Fig 8.40 Stiffener connections
(a) Bracing gussets should be detailed as rectangular shapes to re-
duce marking--off and cutting time.
(b) In braced frames it will generally prove more economic to weld
bracing gussets to columns rather than to beams. The eccentrici-
ty caused by spreading intersection points can usually be easily
accommodated by the column section.
(c) For roof bracing, the most economic solution will be to weld gus-
sets to the rafter top flange. Where this cannot be done, the gus-
set can be welded to the rafter web but sufficient clearance must
be provided for welding electrode access.
Fig 8.41 Bracing connections
(a) A steel plate of fairly generous proportions is presented flush with
the exterior wall of the core to which is welded a web side plate
at the time of erection. Such a connection does not impose strict
tolerances on (i) beam overall length (by using slotted holes in
the web side plate) or (ii) beam level and lateral location (catered
for in the site positioning of the web side plate provided the em-
bedded plate is reasonably oversize). If anchor lugs are tack--
welded into the general reinforcement cage, little drift of the em-
bedded plate will occur during slip forming.
(b) The older method employed for this connection is that of leaving
a cored hole in the wall of the slip--formed core. Originally it was
thought necessary to embed a steel seating in this opening in
which to bolt the bottom flange of the beam. This is not now rec-
ommended since the accurate positioning of this cored hole, in-
cluding an embedded seating, is almost impossible to achieve on
site. It is now considered better to leave a simple cored opening
in the wall, pack the beam to level alignment during the erection
phase, and fully grout up the remaining opening.
From an economy viewpoint the alternative (b) should normally be better.
However, in the overall building design it is suggested that designers
consult with the slip--core contractor to check the more economical
method. It is possiblethat insomecases alarge number of coredopenings,
with resultant complication of reinforcement pattern, would be more
expensive than the embedded plate shown in alternative (a).
Fig 8.42 Connections to concrete cores
9. References & Further Reading
1. Standardized Structural Connections: Australian Institute of
Steel Construction.
2. Hogan, T. J. and Thomas, 1. R., Design of Structural
Connections, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, 4th ed.,
Note: References not mentioned specifically in the text are listed for the
purpose of further reading or as additional references.
3. Main T., Watson, K.B., and Dallas S., A Rational Approach to
Costing Steelwork, International Cost Engineering Council/The
Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors International
Symposium, Construction Economics -- The Essential
Management Tool, Australia, May 1995.
4. Standards Association of Australia/Australian Institute of Steel
Construction, Steel Structures, Part 1 -- Planning, SAA MA1.1
5. Standards Association of Australia/Australian Institute of Steel
Construction, Steel Structures, Part 7 -- Design, SAA MA1.7
6. Firkins, A., Design for Economy Third Conference on Steel
Developments, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, 1985.
7. Day, G. A. Fabrication and its Future, Steel Fabrication Journal
No. 42, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, February 1982.
8. Potter, P. D. Fast Steel Erection, Steel Fabrication Journal No.
46, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, February 1983.
9. Oakes, D. L. T. Philosophy for Economical Design, Fabrication
and Erection, Steel Construction Vol. 17 No. 4, Australian
Institute of Steel Construction, 1983.
10. Hot--Dip Galvanizing Galvanizers Association of Australia, 13th
ed., 1993.
11. Macpherson, 1. J. Unprotected Steel Framed Open Deck Car
Parking Structures -- A Case Study, Metal Structures
Conference Adelaide 1976, Institution of Engineers Australia.
12. Resevsky, C. G. Economical Fire--Rated Composite Steel Floor
now established in Australia, Steel Construction Vol. 7 No. 3,
Australian Institute of Steel Construction 1973.
13. Steel Structures Manual, Part 8 -- Fabrication, SAA MA1.8,
Standards Association of Australia, 1982.
14. Steel Structures Manual, Part 9-- Erection, SAA MA1.9,
Standards Association of Australia, 1975.
15. Hogan, T. J. and Firkins, A, Welding in a Limit State Steel
Structures Code, Tables 1, 2 and 3, Proceedings of 31 st Annual
Conference, Australian Welding Institute, October 1983.
16. Quinn, N. Specifications: the Fabricator, Steel Fabrication
Journal No. 40, Australian Institute of Steel Construction, August
17. Handbook of Fire Protection Materials for Structural Steel
Australian Institute of Steel Construction 1990.
18. A Guide to the Requirements for Engineering Drawings of
Structural Steelwork, Steel Construction Journal, Vol. 29, No. 3,
September, 1995.
19. Steel Structures Manual, Part 3 -- Forms of Construction, SAA
MA1.3, Standards Association of Australia, 1971.
20. Gaylord, E. H. and Gaylord, C. N., Structural Engineering
Handbook, Section 19.2, McGraw Hill Book Co., 2nd ed., 1979.
21. Macdonald, A. J., Wind Loading on Buildings, Applied Science
Publishers Ltd., 1975.
22. Gorenc, B. E., Tinyou, R., and Syam, A. Steel Designers
Handbook, University of New South Wales Press, 6th Edition,
23. Gorenc, B. E. Crane Runway Girders, Australian Institute of
Steel Construction, 1983.
24. Wide Span Structures, Steel Construction Vol. 16 No. 2,
Australian Institute of Steel Construction, 1982.
25. Australian Conference on Space Structures, Australian Institute
of Steel Construction, Papers, Melbourne 4/5 May, 1982.
26. Firkins, A., Connections for Tubular Bracing Members, Steel
Fabrication Journal No. 46, February 1983.
27. Schueller, W., High--Rise Building Structures, John Wiley, 1977.
28. Hart, F., Henn, W. and Sontag, H., Multi--Storey Buildings in
Steel, Crosby Lockwood Staples, English Edition edited by G. B.
Godfrey, 2nd ed., 1985.
29. Patrick, M. and Poon, S.L., Composite Beam Design and Safe
Load Tables Australian Institute of Steel Construction, 1989.
30. CONDECK Technical Design Manual, Stramit Metal Industries.
31. BONDEK II Composite Slabs, BD II -- 2A Composite Design
Manual, BHP Building Products.
32. Johnson, R. P. and Smith, D. G. E. A Simple Design Method for
Composite Columns, Steel Construction Vol. 16 No. 4,
Australian Institute of Steel Construction 1982.
33. Firkins, A., City Buildings, Steel Construction Vol. 17 No. 1,
Australian Institute of Steel Construction 1983.
34. Firkins, A., City Buildings -- The Steel Solution Structural Steel
Conference, Singapore Structural Steel Society, 1984.
35. Hogan, T. J. and Firkins, A., Economic Design and Construction
of Medium Rise Commercial Buildings using Structural Steel
Pacific Structural Steel Conference, NZ Heavy Engineering
Research Association 1986.
Section 6. BOLTING
36. Firkins, A. and Hogan, T. J., Bolting of Steel Structures,
Australian Institute of Steel Construction .
37. Fisher, J. W., Kulak, G. and Struik, J. H. A., Guide to Design
Criteria for Bolted and Riveted Joints, John Wiley, 1987.
Section 7. WELDING
38. The Lincoln Electric Company, The Procedure Handbook of Arc
Welding, 1 2th Edition, 1973.
39. Blodgett, O. W., Twelve Commandments to Design Engineers,
reprinted in Steel Fabrication Journal, Nos. 9, 10 and 11,
Australian Institute of Steel Construction, November 1973/May
40. Australian Welding Research Association, Economic Design of
Weldments, AWRA Technical Note 8, March 1979.
41. Magnusson, D. J., Using the Structural Welding Code Steel
Fabrication Journal NQ 48, Australian Institute of Steel
Construction, August 1983.
42. Firkins, A., Design for Welding Australian Welding Institute
Conference, 1988.
43. Firkins, A., and McGeachie, 1., Fillet Welds -- What Size is
Normal? Asian Pacific Regional Welding Conference,
International Institute of Welding, 1988.
10. Standards
This list does not purport tobeexhaustive, but covers most of thestandards
currently in print that are likely to concern the structural steel fabrication
AS 1085.1 Railway Permanent Way Material, Part 1: Steel Rails.
AS 1163 Structural Steel Hollow Sections.
AS 1450 Steel Tubes for Mechanical Purposes.
AS 1594 Hot--Rolled Steel Flat Products.
AS 3597 Structural and Pressure Vessel Steel -- Quenched and
Tempered Plate.
AS 3678 Structural Steel -- Hot--Rolled Plates, Floorplates and Slabs.
AS 3679.1 Structural Steel, Part 1: Hot--Rolled Bars and Sections.
AS 3679.2 Structural Steel, Part 2: Welded Sections.
AS 1110 ISO Metric Hexagon Precision Bolts and Screws.
AS 1111 ISO Metric Hexagon Commercial Bolts and Screws.
AS 1112 ISO Metric Hexagon Nuts including Thin Nuts, Slotted Nuts
and Castle Nuts.
AS 1214 Hot--dip Galvanized Coatings on Threaded Fasteners.
AS 1237 Flat Metal Washers for General Engineering Purposes.
AS 1252 High--Strength Steel Bolts with Associated Nuts and
Washers for Structural Engineering.
AS 1275 Metric Screw Threads for Fasteners.
AS 1559 Fasteners -- Bolts, Nuts and Washers for Tower
AS 1167.2 Welding and Brazing -- Filler Metals, Part 2: Filler Metal for
AS 1553 Covered Electrodes for Welding (Parts 1 to 3).
AS 1858 Electrodes and Fluxes for Submerged--Arc Welding (Parts 1
and 2).
AS 2203.1 Cored Electrodes for Arc--welding, Part 1: Ferritic Steel
AS 1418.1 Cranes (including hoists and winches), Part 1: General
AS 1538 Cold--formed Steel Structures Code.
AS 1554 Structural Steel Welding (Parts 1 to 6).
AS 1562.1 Design and Installation of Sheet Roof and Wall Cladding,
Part 1: Metal.
AS 1657 Fixed Platforms, Walkways, Stairways and Ladders --
Design, Construction and Installation.
AS 1796 Certification of Welders and Welding Supervisors.
AS 2214 Certification of Welding Supervisors -- Structural Steel
AS 2327.1 Composite Construction in Structural Steel and Concrete,
Part 1: Simply Supported Beams.
AS 4100 Steel Structures.
AS 1627 Metal Finishing -- Preparation and Pretreatment of Surfaces
(Parts 0 to 7, 9, and 10).
AS 1650 Hot--dipped Galvanized Coatings on Ferrous Articles.
AS 2311 The Painting of Buildings.
AS 2312 Guide to the Protection of Iron and Steel against Exterior
Atmospheric Corrosion.
AS 1391 Methods for Tensile Testing of Metals.
AS 1530.4 Methods for Fire Tests on Building Materials, Components
and Structures, Part 4: Fire Resistance Test of Elements of
Building Construction.
AS 1544.2 Methods for Impact Tests on Metals, Part 2: Charpy
AS 1710 Non--Destructive Testing of Carbon and Low Alloy Steel
Plate -- Test Methods and Quality Classification.
AS 1929 Non--destructive Testing -- Glossary of Terms.
AS 2177 Non--destructive Testing -- Radiography of Welded Butt
Joints in Metal (Parts 1 and 2).
AS 2205 Methods of Destructive Testing of Welds in Metal (Set of
AS 2207 Non--destructive Testing -- Ultrasonic Testing of Fusion
Welded Joints in Carbon and Low Alloy Steel.
AS 1101.3 Graphic Symbols for General Engineering, Part 3: Welding
and Non--Destructive Examination.
AS 2812 Welding, Brazing and Cutting of Metals -- Glossary of