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Steel Shots: Learn 2010
Posted by Alison Trost on October 15, 2010 at 8:10 AM.


Learn: An inspector uses a stopwatch to measure the welding speed per single pass of a new weld procedure. The photo was taken in Herrick Corporation’s Stockton, Calif., shop. Photo: Jiun-Wei Lai.


AISC has a multi-faceted mission, but one of the big areas of interest is education.


AISC’s University Programs includes contests, such as the Student Steel Bridge Competition; financial support in the form of scholarships, grants, and fellowships; lecture series; presentations; and other educational tools such as the steel sculpture and discounts on informational publications. For more infomration on University Programs visit the AISC Faculty and Student page


AISC also offers continuing education events including Seminars, Steel Camps, eLearning, and Live Webinars. To find an event that’s just right for you, click on the above links.



The Steel Shot above is the second photo in a series of three submitted for the Student Photo Contest held in conjunction with SteelDay. The contestants submit a series of three photos that demonstrate the SteelDay theme of “Interact. Learn. Build.” The 2010 winner, Jiun-Wei Lai is pursuing his doctorate at University of California Berkeley.


Lai is working toward his doctorate in structural engineering with a focus on earthquake engineering, which he expects to complete in 2011. His current research, which is being carried out under a National Science Foundation grant, is in the field of concentrically braced steel frames. For more information, visit


To see Lai’s first photo, depicting “Interact,” click here.


For more information on 2010 SteelDay events please visit where you can view photos, videos, and more.


A gallery of previously posted Steel Shots is available at

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New Format Materials from CSI
Posted by Alison Trost on October 14, 2010 at 8:17 AM.

The Construction Specifications Institute has released new tables for its OmniClass Construction Classification System. More information is available on the OmniClass website. You can download the new tables simply by registering on the site.


CSI also has released a new edition of its UniFormat. UniFormat harmonizes with CSI’s suite of standards and formats, including MasterFormat’s 50 divisions and the new Preliminary Project Description Format (PPDF),  which guides the development of preliminary project descriptions.

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You Are Under Arrest
Posted by Ted Sheppard on October 13, 2010 at 8:26 AM.

ts.jpgIf you are a steel erector, and you have never been at least threatened with arrest, you have lived a very sheltered life. I am not talking about committing a crime, but trying to build a bridge or a building. I was talking about this to a colleague the other day, and he said that he had actually been put in handcuffs by the state police. I have never had that pleasure, but I have had some interesting adventures.

I was told once that if we set a girder on our falsework bent, the owner’s representative would call the state police and have us arrested. All we wanted to do was build the darn bridge. From an engineering standpoint we were right, and the owner was wrong, but we had to hold up our progress for days until it could be straightened out. I actually was flying home that night, and as I was leaving, I asked our superintendent to see if they would let us put the girder in place but not unhook the derrick. He said that he was reluctant to do so because of the threat. He knew my wife, so I told him that Mary would bake him a cake with a file in it. Well, we didn’t set the girder on the bent.


We were threatened with arrest on a job where one of our cranes on a two-crane lift lost hydraulic fluid at the outrigger, and it could not hold up its end. The girder was partially erected, and we were trying to pick up that end by driving pins in the splice. The police told us we were making too much noise, and if we did not stop, we would be arrested. We made sure everything was safe and decided to fight the battle another day.


The steel hauler on the Canadian side of an international bridge did not have a tractor and trailer that could haul the 80-90 ton pieces that we had. The hauler leased the equipment from a hauler in the United States. I was in the office trailer one day when a man came in and said that the equipment was in Canada illegally. I asked him who he was. He quickly flashed an ID card in front of me and said he was with the RCMP. I did not help matters. I was used to the Hollywood Mountie: full dress uniform, beautiful smile, straight teeth, etc. This man was in civilian clothes and he had terrible teeth. I walked over to the trailer door, looked outside, and said, “Where’s your horse?” He impounded the rig. It was handled well by our hauler, but it was just another distraction.


Once while working on another bridge job, I went to the post office to pick up the mail. When I got back, there were three state police cars on the job, and there was a lot of shouting going on. They raided our job in order to pick up a scofflaw. A little over-kill in my opinion, and I told that to the sergeant at the police barracks. The young man they were after was a Native American, and he ran. He eluded capture and made it back to the reservation. The police were very upset. Again we were just trying to build a bridge. Police: Keep Out.



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New Steel Distribution Center Picks Prime Location
Posted by Alison Trost on October 12, 2010 at 8:31 AM.

Pittsburgh-based structural steel distributor Triad Metals has announced plans to build a new 170,000-sq.ft facility in Columbia City, Ind. Its first Midwest location, the facility will have both rail and highway access. It’s also very close to one of its suppliers, Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics Inc.


More information is available on the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette website (click here).

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Steel Upgrade Bolsters BU Capacity
Posted by Alison Trost on October 11, 2010 at 8:48 AM.

The restoration of Brown University’s Alpert Medical School in downtown Providence, R.I., is now under way. The process includes removing concrete columns from the building and replacing them with steel, which will then permit the construction of larger, two-story lecture halls. Local contractors are doing much of the work.


Read more about the project on the Brown Daily Herald website by clicking here. An independent, student-run newspaper, the Brown Daily Herald has been serving the university community since 1891.


You also can see photos and read the university’s perspective on the project at

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Steel Shots: Interact 2010
Posted by Alison Trost on October 8, 2010 at 9:26 AM.

SteelShots: Interact 

Interact: Three ironworkers work to make a bolted connection in the CITRIS Building on the University of California Berkeley campus. Photo: Jiun-Wei Lai. (Click on photo for larger image.)


More than 8,000 people attended about 200 free events across the U.S. on September 24 for the second annual national SteelDay. Hosted by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), its members, and other affiliated organizations, SteelDay is the structural steel industry’s largest networking and educational event for the design and construction community. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, this year’s SteelDay nearly doubled its number of in-person attendees (not including live webinar attendance) and added dozens of event locations.


As part of the celebration, AISC Education sponsored the second annual Student Photo Competition. Students were invited to submit a set of three photos demonstrating the theme of SteelDay: “Interact. Learn. Build.” The winning 2010 submissions come from Jiun-Wei Lai, a student at the University of California Berkeley.


Be sure to check the next few Friday Steel Shots for the other winning photos.


To review a gallery of past Steel Shots, visit

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Wide Recognition for SteelDay
Posted by Alison Trost on October 7, 2010 at 9:03 AM.

Eight government proclamations were signed acknowledging the critical role of structural steel in the country’s infrastructure, economy, and employment in recognition of SteelDay 2010. In addition numerous state and local dignitaries attended several of the more than 200 SteelDay events across the country on September 24, hosted by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), its members, and other affiliated organizations.


An AISC press release lists many of the governors and other notable figures who issued statements and attended events.


If you attended a SteelDay 2010 event and would like to provide some feedback, please visit, where photos, videos, and more information can be found.

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Atlas Tube Goes Solar
Posted by Alison Trost on October 6, 2010 at 9:38 AM.

Atlas Tube is teaming up with Windsor, Ontario-based OYA Solar, Inc. to install the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system in North America. This system, which will provide 30% of the company’s annual energy consumption, will be installed at the Atlas plant in Harrow, Ontario.  


For more information on the project read the article on the Solar Industry magazine website.


For additional information on the PV technology itself, visit

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Exposed Steel Graces Family Home
Posted by Alison Trost on October 5, 2010 at 9:35 AM.

Steel along with floor to ceiling windows were the crucial elements for a new 4,100 sq. ft. home on two acres in Covina, California. The focus for the design team was to keep this home as open as possible so views of the property could be seen throughout. The design team turned to steel with exposed beams in most rooms.


Click here for some must see photos of the finished project from the Los Angeles Times website.

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Online Cost Comparison of Steel Protection Systems
Posted by Alison Trost on October 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM.

The American Galvanizers Association has launched its new updated, user friendly, online life-cycle cost calculator. This tool allows users to compare the initial and life-cycle costs for hot-dip galvanized steel with more than 30 paint and metallizing systems.


The LCC Calculator factors in project size, steel composition, environmental conditions, planned project life, and inflation and interested rates. To use this calculator go to

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