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La Tour Eiffel Turns 125
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 31, 2014 at 5:10 PM.

eiffle-tower.jpgThe Eiffel Tower celebrates its 125th birthday today. 


Made from wrought iron (a more common structural material before the rise of structural steel), this illustrious symbol of Paris and France was built by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Exposition Universelle, which was to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. A demonstration of technological prowess at the end of the 19th Century, the tower was a defining moment of the industrial era.


Standing at 1,023 ft, it was the tallest tower in the world at the time of its construction - a title it would hold until the construction of New York’s steel-framed Chrysler Building more than 40 years later - and has been imitated in various places around the world.


An estimated 2,500,000 rivets, 7,300 tons of wrought iron and 60 tons of paint were used in the tower’s construction, which took a little over two years. The original plan was that the tower would only stand for 20 years, but it quickly became an icon. Today it welcomes almost 7 million visitors a year.


In recognition of this special occasion, the Eiffel Tower offers an immersive virtual dive in 1900 and a public digital quiz on its Facebook page, in partnership with the Petit Palais and the “Paris 1900, the City of entertainment” exhibition.


Photo: Benh LIEU SONG

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Top Steel Professionals Recognized for Outstanding Achievements
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 25, 2014 at 5:03 PM.

Nine individuals are receiving distinguished achievement awards from AISC for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of the structural steel design and construction industry. These deserving professionals are honored for making a difference in the fabricated structural steel industry’s success and will be recognized tomorrow afternoon at the 2014 NASCC: The Steel Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto.


AISC’s Lifetime Achievement Award gives special recognition to individuals who have provided outstanding service over a sustained period of years to AISC and the structural steel design/construction/academic community. This year’s award recipients are:


  • Eric S. Kline, PCS, executive vice president at KTA-Tator
  • Charles W. Roeder, P.E., professor at the University of Washington
  • Raymond H.R. Tide, D.Sc., principal at Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates


AISC’s Special Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated notable achievements in structural steel design, construction, research or education. It honors those who have made a positive and substantial impact on the structural steel design and construction industry. This year’s award recipients are:


  • Christopher Higgins, Ph.D., P.E., professor at Oregon State University
  • John Moebes, director of construction at Crate and Barrel
  • James M. Ricles, Ph.D., P.E., Bruce G. Johnston professor of structural engineering at Lehigh University
  • Michael Culmo, P.E., vice president of structures and transportation at CME Associates, Inc.
  • William Wood, Dr. Eng., professor at Portland State University
  • Terry M. Zwick, vice president/general manager at Atlas Iron Works


Photos of this year’s award winners and additional information about their achievements can be found in AISC’s press release. For more information about The Steel Conference, visit To get the latest updates on what’s happening at the show, visit AISC’s Facebook page at or follow @aisc on Twitter. And if you’ll be at the conference, say hello to our MSC staff! Visit Room 830 at the convention center or contact our senior editor Geoff Weisenberger at We’ll be back with more Steel in the News on Monday.

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AISC Names 2013 Safety Award Winners
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM.

Forty-six structural steel facilities are receiving an AISC Safety Award for their safety record during 2013, in the categories of “Shop and Office” or “Field Erection.” Thirty-five reporting facilities earned the Safety Award of Honor, the Institute’s top award for safety, presented for a perfect safety record of no disabling injuries. The Safety Certificate of Merit was won by four reporting facilities and the Safety Certificate of Commendation was won by seven reporting facilities.


“AISC’s annual Safety Awards program recognizes excellent records of safety performance, and we commend these facilities for their effective accident prevention programs,” said Tom Schlafly, AISC’s director of safety. “Periodic recognition of safety in the workplace has been demonstrated to provide worker incentive and a reminder of the importance of safe practices.”


The AISC Safety Awards program is open to AISC fabricator and erector members. To qualify for an AISC Safety Award, a plant or the reporting unit must report a minimum of 300 hours of work in each of the four quarters of a year.


For more information on AISC’s Safety Awards program as well as safety resources for the fabricated and erected structural steel industry, visit

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Former AISC President Neil Zundel Dies
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM.

neil-zundel.jpgNeil Zundel, AISC’s president from 1984-1995, passed away on March 15 at the age of 90. Zundel is widely credited for revitalizing the Institute, creating a pathway for increased market share for structural steel and forging closer ties between fabricators and steel producers.


“Neil brought an era of dynamic leadership and professional management to the office of AISC president during a period in which the industry experienced a severe and prolonged recession,” said H. Louis Gurthet, Zundel’s successor as AISC president. “His optimism and confidence guided AISC to maintain our high standards and capabilities for the structural design and construction community during this critical time. Neil’s legacy of professional management positioned AISC for dynamic growth in the years following his tenure.”


A graduate of Princeton University, where he excelled not just academically but also on the football and baseball fields (he was even offered a contract by the Detroit Tigers), he forged a long career with Reynolds Aluminum, eventually becoming group vice president and then president of the company’s German division.


Zundel’s imprint is widely felt in many of AISC’s successes, including the revitalization of the Code of Standard Practice, clarification of the long-standing controversy over design responsibility and the development of new seismic standards following the Northridge Earthquake. But he often said his proudest development at AISC was the growth of the Institute’s university programs. As Zundel once explained, “We’ve developed design guides on the university level to help professors teach steel design. And we’ve helped create excitement among students through the National Steel Bridge-Building Competition. We need to continue this effort to help convince students that steel is not a mature industry but instead is still exciting and evolving.”


For more information on Zundel, please visit

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Steel Shots: Jacks of All Trades
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 14, 2014 at 2:41 PM.


The 70-ft-tall architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) delta frame assemblies for Toronto’s Queen Richmond Centre West building project were inspired by children’s jacks. Photo: Courtesy of Cast Connex


Suspending the new 11-story reinforced concrete office tower above two heritage structures - as part of the Queen Richmond Centre West building project in Toronto - are three, 70-ft-tall architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) delta frames connected by 35,000-lb cast steel nodes engineered, detailed and supplied by Cast Connex (an AISC member).


Each delta frame is an hourglass-shaped frame comprised of steel pipes - four rising from the foundation, meeting at approximately the mid-height of the frame, and continuing through to the tabletop to frame directly below the centerlines of the tower’s columns, which are placed on a 9-m by 11.25-m (29.5-ft by 37-ft) grid. This configuration halved the unbraced length of the inclined pipe columns, significantly reducing their required member size to provide a slim aesthetic. The result was a support concept that was far less obtrusive to the building’s soaring atrium and which would be a distinctive feature of the iconic development.


A tour of Queen Richmond Centre West will take place the Wednesday of NASCC: The Steel Conference (March 26); the project is located just a few blocks from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, NASCC’s home in Toronto. Visit for more information.


You can read more about the project in the March 2014 issue of Modern Steel (available now!).

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Symposium on Tubular Structures: Call for Abstracts
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 13, 2014 at 4:10 PM.

The Federal and State Universities of Rio de Janeiro will host the 15th International Symposium on Tubular Structures (ISTS15), following a series of the successful Symposia under the guidance of the Subcommission for Tubular Structures XV-E of the International Institute of Welding (IIW). The Symposium will take place at Hotel Pestana, in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, May 27-29, 2015. The last two versions were held in Hong Kong, China (2010) and London, UK (2012).


This Symposium is considered the principal showcase for tubular structures and the prime international forum for discussion of research, developments and applications in this field. The conference would be of interest to manufacturers of hollow structural sections (HSS) or related construction products, architects, trade associations, design engineers, steel fabricators, owners or developers of tubular structures, researchers, academics and postgraduate students.


Participants wishing to present a contribution are invited to submit one or more abstracts relating to the topics of the conference. The abstracts should be typewritten in English and not exceed 400 words.


Abstracts, including author’s affiliation, must be submitted by April 4, 2014, to the Organizing Committee. Further details about the abstract & full paper format and submission process are available at the conference webpage:


Notification of acceptance of the submitted contribution will be given by May 30, 2014. The complete manuscript in English, including illustrations, must be submitted to the Organizing Committee by August 20, 2014. Accepted contributions will be announced by November 30, 2014, and are expected to be orally presented, in English, at the conference. One presentation per registered author will be allowed.


A detailed description of the conference topics, as well as registration, fees and other relevant information of ISTS15 can be found at the conference webpage.

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Modjeski and Masters Appoints New Chairman
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 12, 2014 at 3:09 PM.

zprucz-headshot_sitn.jpgModjeski and Masters has appointed Zolan Prucz, Ph.D., P.E., as its new Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. In this new role, Prucz will help guide strategic direction of the firm following the retirement of John Kulicki (the 2012 recipient of AISC’s J. Lloyd Kimbrough Award for his significant achievements in bridge analysis and design.)
Prucz began his career with Modjeski and Masters in 1983 and has become an authority on engineering aspects related to bridge vessel collision and bridge protection design. Other areas of expertise include an understanding of the effects of corrosion and fatigue on steel bridges, deterioration of timber bridges, seismic evaluations, and bridge damage and collapse investigations. He served as principal investigator and project manager for a statewide study for Louisiana DOTD, whose scope was to evaluate vulnerability to vessel collision of 28 bridges in the state.  As a follow up to study, Prucz helped to develop vessel collision design criteria for movable bridges – the results of which are contained in the AASHTO LRFD Movable Highway Bridge Design Specifications. He was also instrumental in the development of a system-wide bridge fatigue damage and timber bridge rating assessment methodology for several first class railroads.
“I have always felt honored to be part of a company that holds technical excellence and superior client service above all else,” said Prucz. “I look forward to this new position and the opportunity it brings to work so closely with the firm’s leadership team to provide our clients with high quality engineering services and help employees reach their full potential through professional growth and development opportunities.”

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Steel Bridge Collaboration Meeting Coming to New Orleans
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 7, 2014 at 1:49 PM.

aashto-nsba_logos_2010.gifIf you’re a steel bridge professional interested in exchanging ideas with others in the industry, you should consider attending the next AASHTO/NSBA Steel Bridge Collaboration meeting to be held in New Orleans April 8-9 at the Hilton New Orleans/St. Charles Avenue.


All collaboration meetings are free and open to anyone interested in participating; however registration is requested.


An NSBA-sponsored dinner will be held the evening of Tuesday, April 8; RSVPs must be received by Monday, March 17. A block of hotel rooms have been reserved at a special rate, and those reservations must also be made by March 17.


For more information, see the meeting announcement.


The mission of the Collaboration is to achieve quality and value in steel bridges by standardization of design, fabrication, and erection and by the sharing of resources. Through the Collaboration, steel bridge professionals work together in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect to develop details, specifications and practices and to exchange knowledge, technology and expertise.


To learn more, visit

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Joist Standard Available for Public Review
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 6, 2014 at 10:42 AM.

The 2015 draft of the Steel Joist Institute’s “Single Joist Standard Specification for K-, LH-, and DLH-Series and Joist Girders” is available for public review until May 31, 2014. The consolidation effort of these three separate American National Standards (ANS) into one ANS will eliminate contradictions between the series and provide a simplified approach for the specifying professional.


The specifications and review forms are available for download on the SJI website at along with the review forms. Comments may be submitted online, or by sending them to Ken Charles, SJI’s managing director, at by May 31, 2014, for consideration. Printed copies of the specification document also are available for $24 by calling 843.407.4091.


For additional information, visit

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General Contractors Recognize BIM Expertise of Structural Steel Industry
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 4, 2014 at 5:59 PM.

BIM adoption by general contractors has skyrocketed from 28% to 74% since 2007 according to a recent market report published by McGraw-Hill Construction. These same general contractors point to structural steel fabricators and erectors as the most BIM-savvy of trade contractors indicating that 62% have high or very high BIM skills compared to only 13% for concrete and masonry contractors.


While experiencing a positive return-on-investment for their BIM activities, general contractors point to BIM as an effective means of reducing errors, omissions, rework and cost on construction projects.


The independent report states “the steel fabricators/erectors stand out as the leaders in BIM proficiency…It stands to reason that as more general contractors expand their BIM programs, these two categories of specialty contractor (steel and HVAC) will rise in esteem and value for their BIM capabilities.” You can read the full report here.


Roger Ferch, president of AISC, commented “it is rewarding to see our industry’s long-term commitment to develop BIM tools and expertise recognized by the contractors we work with on a daily basis. Clearly, if a general contractor wants to get the most out of their BIM investment they will select structural steel as a framing system and work with the steel fabricator early in the project’s life.”


“We didn’t get here by accident,” added Chris Moor, AISC’s director of industry initiatives and chair of the National BIM Standard - United States Project Committee. “AISC and the structural steel industry has been leading this effort for almost two decades.”


AISC is not resting on its laurels and continues to analyze the industry looking for opportunities to increase the efficiency of its members and their clients. The construction industry is changing and evolving. As the requirement and need to share information and knowledge among project team members grow, AISC is leading the way, developing new ways and means of sharing data between distributed team members and organizations. In addition, within the structural steel industry itself, technological advances of software, machinery and robotics places us at the edge of a new era of even more automation and efficiency. And AISC again leads the way here, evolving the way we exchange data between the Building Information Model and the shop floor; the management tools and the automated equipment.


AISC introduced BIMsteel (, a series of interoperability initiatives, in early 2013 with the aim of developing new processes and providing new solutions that help the industry take advantage of these opportunities and ensure that we achieve the potential this new era promises.

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