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Engineers vs. Architects: A BIM Impediment?
Posted by Scott Melnick on October 22, 2007 at 9:03 AM.

There’s a great write-up of a recent BIM program in the October 18 issue of AECbytes, a newsletter that presents anaysis, research, and reviews of AEC Technology. Sure, the author, Lachmi Khemlani, covers the technical presentations. (She writes — and is paraphrasing Jim Jacobi of Walter P. Moore — that there is a need for modelers to learn about building systems and components, so the model can be created “the way the building should be built rather than the way it needs to be drawn. Thought has also to be put into how much detail should go in the model.” She also provides the perspectives of a number of other speakers at the BIM program she attended, including AISC’s Tom Faraone, Doug Fitzpatrick from Fitzpatrick Engineering Group, David Pluke from Ericksen Roed & Associates, and Brian J. Donnell of the law firm Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner.


Most interesting to me, though, was her perspective about the seeming hostility between engineers and architects. “I was quite surprised at the number of disparaging comments that were made about architects during the course of the presentations,” Khemlani wrote. “There was talk of architects being terrified of BIM and the need to get them out of the way, so that engineers could take the lead in BIM as well as lead the effort to repair the broken construction system. Architects were adjudged to be the least competent ones to be the keepers of the BIM model, but the current contracts give them this responsibility almost automatically, which is why contracts needed to be changed. The engineers were exhorted to use BIM to get in the owner’s face rather than let the architects get all the glory, do all the marketing, and show all the cool stuff.”


Khemlani describes this attitude as a substantial impediment toward the successful integration of BIM into the mainstream. “I found it particularly ironical to encounter this resentment and antagonism at a BIM conference, when one of the key benefits of BIM is the ability to foster better collaboration between architects and engineers. Clearly, even BIM is not going to be useful here unless there is a change in attitude.”


You can read her entire article by clicking here.

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AISC To End Sponsorship of Metal Building Certification Program
Posted by Scott Melnick on October 18, 2007 at 8:36 AM.

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) have jointly decided to end AISC’s sponsorship of the Metal Building Certification Program effective December 31, 2008, or 12 months from the date of the final participant’s 2008 audit, whichever comes later.


“AISC is focusing its certification efforts on its revitalized fabrication, erection, and bridge certification programs,” explained Roger Ferch, president of AISC. The termination of this Program is not a reflection on the quality or importance of this Certification Program, but rather reflects a concentration by AISC on its core market and participants. “The timing of the transition is designed to give MBMA time to transition to a new sponsor,” Ferch explained.


“MBMA is currently in the process of selecting a new sponsor/administrator for the Program, and anticipates that transition to the revised Metal Building Certification Program under this new sponsor will be seamless, and that there will be no interruption in a company’s certification,” explained Bill Savitz, chairman of MBMA.


The Metal Building Certification Program began in 1989 and currently has 91 participants. The Program is often referenced in project specifications and is designed to assure that certified companies have the manufacturing and engineering capabilities necessary to design and fabricate a quality metal building system.


Both Ferch and Savitz stressed that the two organizations have valued their relationship and expect to continue working together on a variety of future projects. Currently, the two organizations are working jointly on a Tapered Member Design Guide as well as seismic research.


For more information on the current Program and a list of participants, please visit For more information on metal buildings, please visit

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Researcher proposes using mesh-insensitive structural stress methods to predict bridge fatigue
Posted by Scott Melnick on October 11, 2007 at 1:30 PM.

Pingsha Dong, a Battelle scientist, has developed a new method for predicting fatigue and fatigue life. The method, known both as the Verity mesh-insensitive structural stress method and the master S-N curve methodology, has been adopted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as an alternative method in their boiler and pressure vessel codes.


However, Dong noted that the the mesh-insensitive structural stress method is directly applicable to fatigue design and life prediction of steel bridge structures, as well as remaining life assessment for aging bridges. “Recently published full-scale fatigue data for steel bridges and signal masts, funded by the DOT [Department of Transportation] and various states’ DOTs, has been predicted by our method as stipulated in the 2007 ASME Code.”


For more information, read the full story in Cadalyst or in Battelle’s press release.

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Five mistakes that contribute to poor A/E firm cash flow
Posted by Scott Melnick on October 11, 2007 at 10:54 AM.

According to ZweigWhite Research: “Most of the time firms cause or contribute to their cash flow problems. And more often than not, it’s the same problems that bring about poor cash flow again and again.” ZweigWhite (along with their competitor FMI) is a big management consulting firm specializing in the construction industry. They offer a long list of publications as well, with their latest being “A/E Financial Fitness Plan.”


Among the top mistakes pointed out in the book are:


  1. Opening projects without contracts in place. Without a contract, your firm will have no leg to stand on if there is any kind of dispute.
  2. Relying on project managers to schedule billing. Don’t rely on your project managers to tell the accounting department when an invoice should be sent.
  3. Poorly designed or confusing invoices. Make sure your invoices clearly state total amounts due (current and past) as well as terms and deadlines for payment.
  4. Relying on project managers to manage the collection process. Don’t rely on your already-busy project managers to monitor collection procedures. They don’t like doing it, and who can blame them?
  5. Not having a defined collection policy. A collection policy is a specific set of steps that you take to collect an invoice. Make sure that it’s simple, systematic, and consistently followed.


For more information, visit ZweigWhite.

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Does the “Seismic Design Manual” include the new Seismic Provisions? Does it include a road map of how to navigate the ASCE-7 05 and steel design in SDC D?
Posted by Keith Grubb on October 1, 2007 at 12:51 PM.

Yes the 2005 Seismic Provisions is included as part of the Seismic Design Manual. You can also download a copy of the Seismic Provisions alone at There are references to ASCE 7 in the SDM, but I would suggest looking at the ASCE 7-05 document itself, for a complete roadmap of the document.

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Art Museum of Western Virginia Tops Out
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on October 1, 2007 at 9:10 AM.

This summer, the Art Museum of Western Virginia, located in downtown Roanoke, celebrated the topping out its new museum building. The new 81,000-sq.-ft facility is being built to better accommodate the Art Museum’s growing collection and enable it to meet the demands for its education and outreach programs.


The building will be a dramatic composition of flowing, layered forms in steel, patinated zinc, and high-performance glass, paying sculptural tribute to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.


Construction remains on schedule. Installation of the metal panels that form the exterior wall enclosure has begun, and numerous ZEPPS panels (Zahner Engineered Profiled Panel System), which are used to provide the protruding, cantilevered edges of the building’s undulating roof, have been installed. Once all of the panels and the remaining roofing substructure are in place, the structure will be ready for the stainless steel roof application.


Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the Art Museum’s steel was fabricated by Superior Steel, Knoxville, Tenn. (AISC Member). The new facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2008.

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AISC to Offer Online Education Series
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on October 1, 2007 at 9:10 AM.

Beginning October 1, AISC will introduce a monthly series of online audio and video short-courses at These 1- to 1.5-hour courses can be viewed for free, and after passing a test on the course content, a CEU form valid in all states can be purchased for only $25.


The scheduled courses currently include the following:


Oct. 1, 2007

Ted Galambos

Shakedown Behavior of Steel-Framed Structures


Nov. 1, 2007

Stan Rolfe

Fatigue and Fracture Control in Steel Structures


Dec. 1, 2007

Geoff Kulak

High-Strength Bolting: The Essentials


Jan. 1, 2008

Ron Ziemian

Basic Introduction to Nonlinear Analysis


Feb. 1, 2008

Shankar Nair

A New Approach to Design for Stability


March 1, 2008

Greg Dierelein

Seismic Design and Behavior of Composite RCS Frames


April 1, 2008

Mike Engelhardt

Basic Concepts in Ductile Detailing of Steel Structures

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SSTC Fall Seminars
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on October 1, 2007 at 9:08 AM.

The Steel Structures Technology Center has announced three one-day, seven-hour seminars and a two-hour evening seminar. All four seminars are conducted in cooperation with the International Code Council (ICC).


Structural Steel and Bolting Inspection includes International Building Code (IBC) special inspection requirements, steel materials, steel fabrication and erection, and high-strength bolting (one day).


Structural Welding Inspection includes IBC special inspection requirements and welding inspection under American Welding Society (AWS) structural welding codes (one day).


Inspection of Seismic Steel Frames includes AISC, IBC, and AWS requirements for connection details, welding, bolting, inspection, and nondestructive testing for steel buildings designed to the AISC Seismic Provisions (one day).


Plan Reading for Steel Construction includes structural design and shop drawings (two-hour evening format).


For seminar dates and more information, visit

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2007 World Steel Bridge Symposium Coming to New Orleans
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on October 1, 2007 at 9:06 AM.

The 2007 World Steel Bridge Symposium marches into New Orleans in just a couple of months. Hosted by the National Steel Bridge Alliance, a division of AISC, the annual event will take place December 4-7 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. WSBS will host steel bridge owners, designers, and contractors from around the world to discuss all aspects of steel bridge design and construction. The exhibit hall will be full of products and services to advance the state-of-the-art of the steel bridge industry, and attendees will learn about the latest innovations in steel bridges.


Program features will include:


  • Short-span bridges
  • Intermediate-span bridges
  • Case studies featuring the use of high-performance steel
  • Modular and accelerated bridge construction
  • Restoration, rehabilitation, and re-use
  • Fabricating, constructing, and erecting
  • Innovative bridge designs
  • Inspection and maintenance


If you are interested in exhibiting or sponsoring at the 2007 WSBS, please contact Jody Lovsness at 402.758.9099 or For more information on the symposium, visit

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