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Free Webinar on Recent Earthquakes
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 29, 2011 at 4:26 PM.


Older buildings with steel frames, such as the Wellington, New Zealand building shown in the above photo, remain standing after a magnitude 4.5 earthquake hit the city just over two months ago. Research on the performance of steel structures in the New Zealand events as well as observations on the devastation in Japan will be discussed in AISC’s free webinar on May 12 at 8:00 a.m. EDT.


First in September, and then again in February, large earthquakes struck New Zealand killing 200 and causing more than $20 billion in damage. On March 11 Japan was rocked by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and a 30-foot tsunami that claimed hundreds of lives, evacuated thousands from their homes, and damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant. Seismic research has begun on the structural damage that occurred in these two disastrous events and you can learn about  it at this year’s NASCC: The Steel Conference on Thursday, May 12 at 8:00 a.m. EDT. Or, if you’re unable to attend the conference in person, AISC will stream the session live over the Internet for free at


Alistair Fussell, manager of Steel Construction New Zealand (SCNZ) will provide an overview of the events in New Zealand with a special emphasis on the performance of steel structures. Included will be a look at the performance of pure Eccentrically Braced Frames (EBFs), combination EBF/Moment Resisting Frames (MRFs), and Concentrically Braced Frames (CBFs). Finally, he’ll provide some details on seismic research currently underway in New Zealand.


Gilberto Mosqueda of the University of Buffalo, who traveled to Japan after the earthquake, will report on what he saw there. His report will consist of preliminary observations of structural seismic and tsunami damage. Structural damage reports are still preliminary, but this session will report on what is currently known.


Detailed information on this special session can be found in AISC’s press release at, here.

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Summer (Steel) Camp on the Coast!
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 28, 2011 at 9:53 AM.

As you’re planning out your summer trips, consider adding New York City or San Francisco to your itinerary - two summer hot spots where you can have fun while receiving two days of continuing education at AISC’s Steel Camp. By attending a Steel Camp event in NYC on June 16-17 or in San Francisco on July 21-22, you can network with your industry colleagues and earn up to 15 continuing education credits (for 15 contact hours of continuing education over the course of the two days) by attending lectures presented by top designers and academics in the structural engineering field such as James Fisher, Ph.D., P.E., from Computerized Structural Design and Rafael Sabelli, S.E., from Walter P Moore. Registration prices run as low as $275.


Topics to be covered in Steel Camp include:


    * HSS Connection Design
    * Chapter N - Quality Control and Assistance
    * Effective Steel Design (with a focus on Seismic Design for San Francisco’s Steel Camp)
    * Design for Stability (NYC only)
    * Panel Discussion (San Francisco only)


To register for Steel Camp and find out more about this event or other upcoming seminars, visit

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Stability During Dismantling
Posted by Ted Sheppard on April 27, 2011 at 9:14 AM.

ts.jpgWhen you are dismantling girders or trusses, you sometimes have drawings and a lot of information. But sometimes you just have the member itself. It is, of course, up in the air, and it may not be easy to inspect its condition. You may do all the calculations and see that it is stable for picking with a single point hookup. This is where you may fall into a trap.


Deterioration of a truss or girder is quite probable if exposed to the elements or in a place where maintenance has been poor. Thicknesses and widths may not be what the drawing says they are. If you can, inspect the member before making any rigging decisions. It may be prudent to use a lifting beam or two cranes to handle the dismantling.


When we did new construction calculations, we always looked for a 1.67 safety factor for allowable over actual stress. When we were dismantling, we raised this to 1.85, and we frequently also used a lifting beam, anticipating that the truss or girder may have been flimsy.


Rust can mislead you. I once wanted to kick the rust from a girder stiffener, and instead my foot went right through it. It had not been designated for replacement, but the owner got a brand new stiffener courtesy of Ted Sheppard.


On one project I had to dismantle an ore bridge in a steel mill. That was quite difficult. Everything was very heavy, and it required more than one crane plus falsework. When you dismantle any structure or any single member, always be cautious. Always take one more step than you think you need. It will pay off in the end. As one of the superintendents for whom I once worked put it, “When you over rig no one knows it, but when you under rig, everyone knows it.”


Meet the MSC contributing editors.

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ARTIC’s First Construction Contract to Bid Soon
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 26, 2011 at 8:53 AM.

artic-cropped-image-022511_225.jpgThe City of Anaheim, Calif., soon will be soliciting construction bids from contractors for the Shell and Enclosure Contract related its Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) Project. The construction scope of work includes supply, fabrication, and erection of structural steel, glass curtain walls, and ethylene tetrauoroethylene (ETFE) cladding. (The city recently pre-qualified a number of potential contractors for the curtain wall and ETFE cladding work.)


A Contractor Outreach Conference in advance of the Invitation for Bids will be held at the City of Anaheim (Anaheim West Tower - Gordon Hoyt Conference Center - 2nd Floor 201 South Anaheim Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92805) on Thursday, May 5, 2011, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.


To read the full press release on the ARTIC website,, click here.

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Steel Joist Inventor to be Honored
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 25, 2011 at 12:00 PM.

Steel industry innovator Stanley Macomber (1887-1967), the founder of Macomber Inc., Canton, Ohio, will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for revolutionizing the construction industry by his patent for the open web joist system. He and other life-changing inventors will be honored at the annual 2011 National Inventors Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Washington on May 4. View and download his patent titled Composite Joint System at Google patents here.


Macomber is remembered as a genius engineer and respected businessman who acquired more than 30 patents for his inventions and achieved several significant accomplishments in the construction industry. He pushed for the standardization of steel products and, in 1919 was one of those who called together major bridge builders and steel fabricators in Pittsburgh. From that meeting grew the National Steel Fabricators Association, and in 1921 Macomber was elected to a three-year term on its board of directors. It was during his tenure that the organization became the American Institute of Steel Construction.


Macomber’s work with the web joist also provided a foundation for the development of V-LOK interlocking steel framing by his son, Robert Macomber.


Read more about Stanley Macomber’s lifelong impact on the construction industry in the

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Steel Shots: A Look at Steel’s Past
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 22, 2011 at 3:25 PM.


Looking northwest at the structural steel framing being erected for the Gary Works’ converter and mixer, Gary, Ind., May 17, 1916. Photo: Calumet Regional Archives, Indiana University Northwest, Gary, Indiana.


There are lots of old images stashed on the Internet, but it’s always a pleasure to find enlightening commentary along with the photos. One such delight is a group of 36 photographs on the Indiana University website showing the early days of the U.S. Steel Gary Works. Offered as a “site tour,” it also includes background information provided by historian, writer, and teacher John C. Trafny. A Gary native who also has written about several Gary neighborhoods for the Images of America series, Trafny brings both historical context and local insight to the photos of the Gary Works.


The site tour was extracted from the “U.S. Steel Gary Works Photograph Collection, 1906-1971,” which the university’s Digital Library Program assembled as “a comprehensive electronic exhibition portraying the history of one of the nation’s largest planned corporate communities.” This collection was the program’s first big project and became available to the public in 2002. More than 2,200 photos of the steel mill and the town are available for browsing.


Numerous links on the site offer interesting complementary materials. One example: a scan of Carl Sandburg’s 1915 poem “The Mayor of Gary,” from his collection Smoke and Steel, published in 1921.


All in all, the website provides an interesting and thought-provoking look back into steel’s American heritage.

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A Scientific Approach to Taking the Luck Out of Safety
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 21, 2011 at 9:11 AM.

A new book entitled Safe By Accident: Take the Luck out of Safety – Leadership Practices that Build a Sustainable Safety Culture, by Judy Agnew and Aubrey Daniels, offers a scientific approach to improving workplace safety based on the science of human behavior. Published November 1, 2010, by Performance Management Publications (hard cover, $21.95), it is available at Agnew is senior vice president at Aubrey Daniels International (ADI) and holds a Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis. Daniels is the founder and chairman of ADI and an internationally recognized authority on management, leadership and workplace issues.


Safe by Accident was written for the leadership of companies who are interested in taking their organizations to the next level in safety. It is very informative on the science behind behavioral based safety programs. Managers and leaders of organizations who currently do not have or are just starting to look at a behavioral-based safety process would find this book very helpful.


Although it calls into question the effectiveness of many “time-honored” safety programs – calling them a waste of time and money and potentially creating a less safe work environment – it does offer suggestions on what to do instead. It is likely that most who read this book will find it hard to reject all the items that the authors feel are ineffective. With that being said, however, it does leave the reader with a more in-depth thought process around the “why” employees work at-risk and what a proactive organization can do to change a culture where that is accepted. At the very least readers of this publication will come away with two or three new ideas or thought processes that will help them to achieve a culture of safety.


This review is by Kris Chipman, Environmental, Health, & Safety Professional at Cianbro Fabrication & Coating Corporation, on behalf of the AISC Safety Committee. It is one of a series of book, training and product reviews available at Please visit the AISC safety page and take advantage of resources there. If you have safety ideas, products that deserve a review, or improvements to our model safety program elements, please send them to




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A 480-Ton Lift Takes Practice
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 20, 2011 at 9:52 AM.

Before the world’s largest cable saddle is hoisted onto the Bay Bridge’s new single-anchor suspension tower next month - 500 feet above the San Francisco Bay - ironworkers tested its sea legs on land last week at an Oakland, Calif. pier. Using a huge barge, they practiced lifting the 480-ton steel piece and fitting it atop a mock-up of the tower. Placed on top of the tower, the saddle will support the cable, which in turn will support the roadway for the new Bay Bridge eastern span.



Check out a one-minute time lapse video of the lift rehearsal in The Oakland Tribune or click on the image (right) to play the video. 


The $6.3 billion eastern span is scheduled to be complete in late 2013.


For more information about the Bay Bridge construction project, go to the Bay Bridge website at You can also follow Bay Bridge updates on Facebook at, as well as subscribe to free video podcasts available on iTunes.

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Seminar: Wind Effects on Buildings
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 19, 2011 at 9:01 AM.

Wind forces can cause movement of buildings of all heights that can result in both temporary and permanent changes in the materials and performance of the building. To gain a better understand of these effects, engineers and others involved in the planning, design, construction, and operation of high-rises and other types of buildings should attend the CCHRB (Chicago Committee on High Rise Buildings) Seminar on Wind Induced Building Movement: The State of Art Measurement, Mitigation and Accommodation on Thursday, June 9, at the Harris Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago. Early registration discounts are available until May 15. Register online at the seminar registration page here or download a form for mail-in registration.


Early registration pricing is $100 for members of CCHRB or co-sponsoring organizations, including AISC, and $125 for non-members. Registrations received on or after May 15 are an additional $25 for both members and non-members.


This half-day seminar will cover four important topics related to wind induced building movement:


1) actual measurement vs predicted movement;
2) human response to building movement;
3) methods of mitigation of movement; and
4) methods of accommodation of movement.


Registration includes a continental breakfast. For more information about the seminar, visit the CCHRB website at

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Nuclear Spec Available For Public Review
Posted by Tasha Weiss on April 18, 2011 at 9:16 AM.

A draft of the 2011 AISC Specification for Safety-Related Steel Structures for Nuclear Facilities (AISC N690) is now available for public review on the AISC website. This document is written as a supplement to the 2010 AISC Specification for Structural Steel Buildings; therefore, the primary revisions are related to revisions in that standard.


The document and public review form are available on the AISC website at, where you can also read the full press release.


Please submit your comments electronically to using the review comment form, or mail to Cynthia Duncan, AISC, Suite 700, 1 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60601-1802 by May 30, 2011. A hard copy is also available for a nominal fee of $15 by calling 312.670.5411 or by emailing

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