Modern Steel Construction » Steel in the News » November 2007

Archive for November 2007

Back to all posts

What’s in a Name?
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on November 26, 2007 at 3:34 PM.

Does a “+” look better than a “&”? 


Should you go with a three-letter acronym that’s easy to remember?


Or how about inventing a new, exciting word? 


When it comes to naming themselves, architectural (and structural engineering, for that matter) firms have changed their strategies over the years. A recent article from the online magazine Slate provides a brief history on how firms brand themselves. Check it out here.

Bookmark and Share

Kentucky Fabricator Wins Free QMC Audit
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on November 7, 2007 at 3:20 PM.

Since October 2006, Quality Management Company, LLC, provider of quality audits for the AISC Certification program, has been administering a voluntary customer satisfaction survey of AISC Certified Fabricators and Erectors upon receipt of their certificate. Companies that complete the survey are automatically entered into a semi-annual drawing for a free QMC audit. Harry Gordon Steel Company, Inc., a fabricator in Lexington, Ky., has won QMC’s most recent drawing for a free audit.


The objective of the survey is to improve the certification process from invoicing to the audit to issuing the certificate. QMC will draw for another free audit in about six months, so keep those surveys coming in!

Bookmark and Share

ASCE/SEI Requests Public Comments
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on November 7, 2007 at 3:19 PM.

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Engineering Institute (ASCE/SEI) today announced it will conduct a public comment period on the second supplement to its Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures standard (ASCE 7-05). The public comment period is now open and will run until December 4, 2007.


The purpose of the standard is to provide minimum load requirements for the design of buildings and other structures that are subject to building code requirements. This supplement addresses changes to seismic design requirements for building and non-building structures.


To participate in the public comment period, contact Phillip Mariscal, ASCE standards administrator, at or 703.295.6338. For more information on the standard or ASCE’s standards program, please contact Karen Albers at or 703.295.6404.

Bookmark and Share

AISC Requests HSS Data from Independent Testing
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on November 7, 2007 at 3:17 PM.

During the past few months, a number of companies in the U.S. and Canada, including producers of hollow structural sections (HSS) and steel service centers, have sponsored a limited number of tests by independent testing facilities on HSS material imported from China, as well as HSS material produced in North America. As a result of those independent tests, the companies have raised questions about the mechanical properties of the imported HSS, as well as the credibility and reliability of the documentation provided when the products entered the U.S. and Canada from some of the newer sources in our market. (For more information on HSS products, including a list of traditional suppliers to the domestic market, please visit


“AISC has not been involved in any of this HSS testing. Nor have we thoroughly reviewed the test data,” said Roger Ferch, AISC president. “We believe it is premature to draw any conclusions from any of the tests that have been conducted.” It is important to note, however, that from the data we have been provided, AISC has not concluded that there is a building code issue.


AISC is seeking to compile all available test data from its members and others in the steel industry willing to provide their test data. We request anyone who has sponsored recent tests on imported or domestic HSS to please contact Roger Ferch at or 312.670-5401.

Bookmark and Share

2007 Bridge Symposium
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on November 7, 2007 at 3:15 PM.

“Steel Going Strong” is the theme of the 2007 World Steel Bridge Symposium, to take place December 4–7, 2007 in New Orleans.


The WSBS gathers steel bridge owners, designers, and contractors from around the world to discuss all aspects of steel bridge design and construction. The exhibit hall is full of products and services to advance the state-of-the-art of the steel bridge industry. WSBS attendees come to the symposium to learn about the latest innovations in steel bridges.


Focus areas of the symposium’s many sessions include, but are not be limited to: short span bridges; intermediate span bridges; case studies featuring the use of high-performance steel; restoration, rehabilitation, and reuse; fabrication, construction, and erection; innovative bridge designs; and inspection and maintenance. In addition, this year’s program features half-day workshops on AISC Certification and quality management, as well as pre-conference workshops on prefabricated bridge elements and systems and accelerated construction technologies.


The highlight of this year’s symposium banquet will be the presentation of the 2007 Prize Bridge Awards.


For exhibit and sponsorship information, contact Jody Lovsness at 402.758.9099 or For general information, contact Elizabeth Purdy at 312.670.5421 or Visit for the latest information.

Bookmark and Share

The Buzz on Bim
Posted by Scott Melnick on November 6, 2007 at 4:26 PM.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard a lot of buzz about BIM lately. The problem is getting good, reliable information about Building Information Modeling and Interoperability. McGraw Hill, the publisher of ENR and Architectural Record, has just released a nice white paper on the subject and is providing free access (visit
 to access the SmartMarket Report on “Interoperability in the Construction Industry”).


What are some of the key findings?

  • About 3.1% of project costs are related to software non-interoperability.
  • NIST estimates the lack of interoperability to cost the capital facilities market $15.6 billion per year.
  • A quarter of building team members now report they use some form of BIM frequently.
  • Architects are key proponents of BIM but many architects report they are hampered by the lack of interoperability among the various software applications used on projects.


Of particular interest is the move by the International Code Council (the folks who bring us the International Building Code) to develop “SMARTcodes,” which could be used to conduct automated code compliance checking of electronic building plans.


The report also includes information on some of the most celebrated BIM success stories, including the 2.4-million-sq-ft Lansing Delta Township GM Plant.


And if you want even more information, be sure to check out AISC’s BIM resources at or check out Luke Faulkner’s article in the November 2006 issue of MSC.

Bookmark and Share

Steel Webcam Focuses on Chicago Staggered Truss Project
Posted by Scott Melnick on November 2, 2007 at 4:23 PM.

For those of you who haven’t seen a staggered truss project up close, AISC has set a camera up in the middle of Chicago to film the new Staybridge Suites project as it emerges from the ground (visit to view the webcam). AISC’s interest in the project started about five years ago when the Steel Solutions Center was asked to complete a conceptual solution showing how the hotel could be economically built in steel.




The 17-story luxury hotel — Chicago’s first staggered truss project — was designed by Valerio DeWalt Train and Structural Affiliates International. And the fabricator/erector is AISC-member K & K Iron Works.


So what’s a staggered truss system anyway? The system was first developed by Bill LeMessurier back in the 1960s and was pretty popular on the East coast but is now spreading throughout the country. Essentially, staggered truss structural steel framing is a story-high truss system that spans the entire width of the building with the trusses staggered from floor-to-floor. The system works in harmony with precast concrete plank, which is a light, dry, all-weather system. The benefits of staggered truss include more column-free space for design freedom, semi-finished floor and ceiling in one operation, lower foundation costs and seismic loads, as well as quicker erection and completion.


Have fun checking out the webcam. And if you know of other interesting steel-related webcams, be sure to visit the MSC reader feedback section and post the URL.

Bookmark and Share

Looking for a Steel Design Textbook?
Posted by Scott Melnick on November 2, 2007 at 8:32 AM.

AISC’s own Lou Geschwindner has published a new text book intended for a first course in steel design for civil and architectural engineers. Dr. G. is both vice president of engineering and research at AISC and a professor emeritus of architectural engineering at Penn State.


Sure the book contains all of the usual stuff on the unified ASD and LRFD steel spec: structural material, tension members, compression members, bending members, plate girders, members treated subjected to combined axial load and bending, bracing design, composite members, connection design, and an introduction to seismic force resistance. The cool part, though, is the examples and homework problems — complete with a website to find the answers.


The book, Unified Design of Steel Structures, is available for $131.95 from the publisher by visiting or from for just $111.95. A quick Google search, though, shows the best price might be at, where I found it for just $78.37.

Bookmark and Share