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Archive for March 2011

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Enhanced PDF Tool Introduced
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 31, 2011 at 9:02 AM.

Drawings are a big part of any structural steel project, whether viewed on paper prints or an electronic device. Bluebeam Software, which specializes in PDF platform technologies that provide a smart, simple solution to creating, marking up, editing and managing PDF files, introduced its newest tool drawing view and review tool — version 9 of its PDF Revu — on March 22 at ConExpo 2011. The program works in concert with CAD and Microsoft Office programs, and this new release incorporates more than 30 enhanced features to expedite working with drawings electronically. For example, Revu 9’s new 3D PDF viewing capability enables users to navigate through complex models on screen and rotate, spin and zoom to gain a dynamic view of the project.


A new VisualSearch function allows users to highlight a specific element or symbol to find and the program then searches for instances of that element across the current document, all open documents, recent documents or files in a specific folder. It also allows users to instantly apply markups and hyperlinks simultaneously to all identified VisualSearch results, eliminating a time-consuming manual process.


This latest version also allows users to seamlessly convert PDF documents back to their original native MS Office file formats as well as html. And for those craving more control, Bluebeam offers PDF Revu Extreme, which adds optical character recognition for scanning and converting paper documents to text searchable and selectable documents, as well as other advanced functionality.


For more information, visit

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A Conversation With Scott Melnick
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 30, 2011 at 8:53 AM.

scottmelnick_headshot.jpgIt’s story time this month as AISC’s podcast series Steel Profiles presents an interview with Scott Melnick, AISC vice president and editor and publisher of MSC. Anyone who has been associated with AISC for any length of time is likely to have run into Melnick, but even if you think you know him well you’ll learn some very interesting things in listening to his discussion with series host Margaret Matthew.


For example, who has provided his greatest inspiration? (He singles out two people - playbutton_ed.pngone was Luther Burbank, after whom the city in California is named, but that’s not why. Listen to find out who was number two.)


Another example: what is his favorite article in MSC? Listen to this short excerpt to hear about one of his four favorites, then go to on April 1 to learn about the other three and hear the entire podcast.


Also in this podcast: a behind the scenes look at some of the nifty things to expect in May at the 2011 NASCC: The Steel Conference, including an early announcement of one late-breaking addition to the program.


Listen to all the Steel Profiles podcasts available for free easy online streaming at, and for free downloading on iTunes. A new podcast can be found on the first Friday of each month. Happy listening!

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Animation Station
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 29, 2011 at 8:56 AM.

Renderings of the new Steeles West Subway Station and Bus Terminal in Toronto reveal a bold departure from existing transit hubs, as shown in The Architects Newspaper. Final designs for the $159-million project, designed by British architect Will Alsop, of RMJM, with Stevens Group Architects, look “as animated as architecture seen in ‘The Flintstones,’” AN observes.


The project’s facade features large block letters spelling the station name and will be clad with COR-TEN steel, which will oxidize to a rustic, weathered patina. Beyond the entrance, a wide, angular roof swoops over a six-bay York Region Transit bus terminal.


The completed station is scheduled to open in 2015 and will feature several sustainable elements including: green roofs, LED lighting, and water-efficient plumbing fixtures.


View renderings of the project here.

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Reminder: NASCC Study Notes (for students)
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 28, 2011 at 9:01 AM.

If you know an engineering or architectural student who may be coming to NASCC: The Steel Conference in Pittsburgh, be sure they catch the live webinar tomorrow evening about this year’s Students Connection with Industry Sessions (SCIS) program.

Visit our previous Steel in the News post here for more detail about the program and benefits of attending, as well as how to register for the webinar.   

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Steel Shots: Curve Appeal
Posted by Jennifer Jernigan on March 25, 2011 at 9:53 AM.


Curved beam, in shop, with true holes. Photo: Jennifer Jernigan.



The long sweep of curved steel beams can add a lot to the appearance and the function of a structure. But there always have to be connections, and fabricating them takes on a whole new aspect when you go from working on straight pieces to working on curved ones.


Take bolt holes, for example. Today’s high-tech beam line equipment has made drilling hole patterns a lot easier and faster, to say nothing of improving accuracy. But you can’t feed a curved beam through your beam line, so it’s back to using tried and true layout skills and carefully drilling the holes one at a time. No problem, and the end result can be terrific. But all involved — from the owner, the architect, the structural engineer, the detailer, and all the way down to the person running the drill on the fabrication shop floor — have to remember that it’s going to take extra time, care and attention to do it right, just like most things that are worth doing.


Meet the MSC contributing editors.

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Marlins Ballpark Topping Out
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 24, 2011 at 9:35 AM.

About one year away from Opening Day in Miami’s Little Havana district, the new Marlins Ballpark is reaching another milestone: the installation of the last major structural piece of steel to be installed on the retractable roof, which will happen at the Topping Out Ceremony this Friday, March 25.


During the ceremony, the steel beam will be signed by more than 800 construction workers as well as Marlins executives, Miami-Dade County officials, and City of Miami officials. After it’s installed, the remaining infill steel will be added prior to decking the center panel of the retractable roof. The last steel beam weighs approximately 6,845 pounds and will measure approximately 38 feet long. The retractable roof is composed of 11,000 pieces of steel held together by welds and more than 115,240 bolts. In all, the retractable roof weighs approximately 7,500 tons. The project remains on time and on budget, and continues to exceed all local employment participation goals.


This 1000-year-old topping out tradition started in Scandinavia when workers would place an evergreen tree on the highest structural element of construction as a symbol of the workers’ respect for nature’s contribution to the building process. This tradition continues as a sign of good faith and well wishes for the building and its inhabitants. The traditional topping out tree will be placed on the last piece of steel at the new Marlins Ballpark.


For more information on the topping out, read the Marlins’ press release.


See regularly updated images of the the exterior construction on Marlins’ New Ballpark Webcam.


View detailed photos and read more about the novel erection and shoring removal plan developed for the project by AISC-member LPR Construction Company on our previous Steel Shots news post here.

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Steelworkers Take the Plunge for Charity
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 23, 2011 at 9:43 AM.

Three Gerdau Ameristeel employees from the company’s St. Paul, Minn., steel mill took a dip in the frigid waters of a local lake on March 12 as part of the Polar Bear Plunge, benefiting Special Olympics Minnesota. The company donated $1,500 to support their staff’s participation in the event. With additional help from family, friends, and co-workers, and a contribution of $500 from Steelworkers Local 7263, the team raised more than $3,000.


The mid-teen temperatures and a five below zero wind chill didn’t stop a team with the ultimate inspiration: Sammi Adler, a 19-year-old Special Olympics participant. Adler is the stepdaughter of team member Bob Krippner, union treasurer and a millwright and hydraulic repairman at the mill. The photo shows Krippner and the rest of Team Dorkfish, consisting of three Gerdau Ameristeel employees and their family members taking the plunge.


The Polar Bear Plunge — presented by Minnesota law enforcement as part of the year-round Law Enforcement Torch Run events to benefit Special Olympics — consists of 14 different events that take place across Minnesota during the coldest months of the year. According to the final results posted on the Special Olympics Minnesota Facebook page, the 2011 Polar Bear Plunges raised a record $2.2 million, with nearly 11,000 Plungers at 14 locations.

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Vote for the 2011 Prize Bridge Awards
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 22, 2011 at 8:29 AM.

Voting is now open for the 2011 Prize Bridge Awards honoring significant and innovative steel bridges constructed in the United States. The competition began in 1928 with first place awarded for the Sixth Street Bridge in Pittsburgh, coincidentally just a few blocks down the river from this year’s NASCC: The Steel Conference venue. Since then, more than 300 bridges have won first place in a variety of categories.


This year winning bridges will be selected from a pool of all the award-winning bridges recognized since the competition began in 1928. There are two concurrent levels of competition that will result in both Industry Choice and People’s Choice award winners.


Explore the past Prize Bridge winners, discover new and old favorites, and vote throughout the month of April on the National Steel Bridge Alliance website at



For a list of the previous award-winning bridges, go to


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NASCC Study Notes (for students)
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 20, 2011 at 9:10 PM.

If you know an engineering or architectural student who may be coming to NASCC: The Steel Conference in Pittsburgh, be sure they catch the live webinar on Tuesday, March 29. Brian Quinn will give a short presentation on this year’s Students Connecting With Industry Sessions (SCIS), scheduled for Thursday, May 12. In addition to describing the program, Quinn also will explain the benefits students earn by attending, which include:



  • Free Lunch on Thursday.
  • $100 Travel Stipend.
  • Free Ticket to Thursday night’s industry dinner at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.


NASCC registration is free for all AISC student members (and membership is free, too!)


Be there for the free, interactive live webinar explaining the NASCC Student Sessions on Tuesday, March 29th from 8:30-9 pm EDT.


For information and to register, go to

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Steel Shots: Steel in the Treetops
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 18, 2011 at 8:39 AM.


Munich-based architecture firm terrain:loenhart&mayr modeled their 80-foot-high observation tower in southern Austria after the steps of a nearby castle built in 1499. The Murturm Nature Observation Tower’s double-helix design provides a striking contrast to the surrounding woods and a place for hikers to observe the Mur River. (Click on the photo for a vantage point from within the tower.) Photos: Hubertus Hamm / Marc Lins, courtesy of terrain:loenhart&mayr


Naturschutzbund, the Austrian Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union, asked Klaus Loenhart of terrain and his partner, Christoph Mayr, to create a place from which to observe the ecological restoration of the Mur River, according to an article in Architectural Record. The river forms part of the border known as the Iron Curtain that divided Europe for more than 40 years. Today these deserted areas taken over by nature have become the Central European Greenbelt. “This is one of the few points where you can actually see something,” Loenhart said. “You can understand where you are.”


Read more about the project and view a slide show by clicking here.

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