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NSBA Urges Action to Pass Transportation Reauthorization Bill
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 14, 2012 at 8:17 PM.

The current U.S. transportation bill, “Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users,” (SAFETEA-LU) has been extended nine times and is almost 1,000 days overdue. Signed into law in 2005, SAFETEA-LU guarantees funding for highways, highway safety, and public transportation totaling $244 billion, and represents the largest surface transportation investment in U.S. history.


While staff and leadership for the nearly 50-member House and Senate Transportation Reauthorization Conference Committee work towards an agreement on reauthorization legislation, the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA) says there are major public concerns about the potential results of the conference process.


The steel bridge group says that among transportation reauthorization conferees are several newly elected freshman officials, many of whom have not had much experience dealing with transportation-related issues. Ultimately, partisan politics may be slowing the process down, and it is critical that the conference committee moves forward with a full transportation reauthorization bill.
NSBA strongly encourages the structural steel industry and the public to get involved and let your elected officials know how critical transportation funding is to your company, employees and families.


To take action, simply send a pre-written letter to your delegate, urging them to pass a bi-partisan transportation reauthorization bill that is currently set to expire on June 30, 2012. Act now by visiting

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AISC Seeks Higgins Lectureship Award Nominations
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM.

Nominations are now being accepted for AISC’s prestigious T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award, which includes a $15,000 cash award. The award recognizes an outstanding lecturer and author whose technical paper or papers, published during the eligibility period, are considered an outstanding contribution to the engineering literature on fabricated structural steel. The award winner will be recognized and present a lecture at the 2013 NASCC: The Steel Conference, April 17-20, in St. Louis.


AISC encourages anyone involved with steel design and construction to submit nominations by August 1, 2012. Nominations must include the following information:

  • Name and affiliation of the individual nominated
  • Title of the paper(s) for which the individual is nominated, including publication citation
  • If the paper(s) is authored by multiple individuals, identify the principal author
  • Reasons for nomination
  • A copy of the paper(s) as well as any published discussion


This year’s T.R. Higgins Award winner is Michel Bruneau, Ph.D., P.E., professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering at the University at Buffalo, N.Y. He is honored for his papers on steel plate shear wall design, published in AISC’s Engineering Journal and the proceedings of the Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering.


“Receiving the award is a very special honor, and even more so, knowing that T.R. Higgins led the development of plastic design techniques for steel structures, as plastic design is a tool that I use every day in my research endeavors,” commented Bruneau. “My sincere thanks to AISC, the jury members and to all those who contributed to the research recognized by this award.”


For additional award requirements and nomination submission details, go to AISC’s press release, here, or visit

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Free Webinar on New BIM Standard
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 12, 2012 at 3:27 PM.

Looking to learn more about the new open BIM standard, National BIM Standard-United States (NBIMS-US) Version 2 (V2)? The buildingSMART alliance is offering a free webinar to provide users with a better understanding of the first consensus-based BIM standard in the U.S.


You can catch the two-hour live webinar, including a Q&A period, on two different dates:


  • Tuesday, June 19, from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. (EDT)
  • Tuesday, June 26, from 1 p.m. 3 p.m. (EDT)


Instructions to access the webinar on the two available dates can be found at, under “Events.” You will actually register when you sign-in to join the webinar, and there is a limit of 125 members per session; first-come, first-served. If you’re unable to attend the webinar, a live recording of both sessions will be available after the second session.


The new open BIM standard aims to identify a process for the full life cycle of buildings, including planning, design and construction and operations and sustainment. It contains reference standards, information exchange standards (built upon the reference standards), and best practice guidelines on its implementation.


AISC has been heavily involved in the development of NBIMS-US V2, serving on the Board of Direction for the buildingSMART alliance and also on the project committee for the standard. (Visit to learn more about AISC’s Technology Integration Committee and the use of BIM in the structural steel industry.)


To learn more about the new standard and download the document at no charge, go to

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Autodesk Acquires Vela Systems
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM.

Autodesk, a leader in 3D design and engineering software, has acquired Vela Systems, a cloud and mobile field management software provider for the construction industry. The acquisition is intended to help extend the value of building information modeling (BIM) and project data to construction professionals in the field.


Vela Systems’ mobile reporting tools provide immediate visibility into issues in the field, allowing for proactive management and resolution, and reducing expensive overruns that can stem from a more reactive approach. The company’s software and services are integrated with current Autodesk project management and analysis software, including Autodesk Navisworks.


“BIM has tremendous value in the planning and design aspects of construction projects, but if you can’t get that rich data into the field, at the point of construction, you are leaving out the critical ‘last 100 yards’ in the process,” commented Amar Hanspal, senior vice president, Information Modeling and Platform Products Group. “Integrating Vela Systems and its cloud and mobile products with the Autodesk BIM portfolio transforms the business of construction, delivering valuable information to job sites anywhere in the world.”


For more information, see the press release on Autodesk’s website, (direct link:

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Steel Shots: World’s Tallest Children’s Hospital Opens Tomorrow
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM.


The new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago opens its doors tomorrow. At 23 stories, this structural steel high-rise is the tallest children’s hospital in the world. Photo: Tasha Weiss


The much-anticipated Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago opens tomorrow, June 9, after four years of development. The new 1.25 million-sq.-ft structural steel facility, located on 1.8 acres of Northwestern University’s downtown campus, replaces the well-known Children’s Memorial Hospital, located just north of downtown, that had served the area for more than a century.


chicago-childrens-hospital_sitn_bridge2.jpgThe new nearly $1 billion, 23-story hospital features 288 private rooms, state-of-the-art intensive care units and operating rooms and expanded trauma care capabilities. The building includes 9,400 tons of structural steel — and a pedestrian bridge connects the facility to the adjacent Prentice Women’s Hospital to help expedite care to critically ill newborns.


On the hospital’s northeast side, a 12-story cantilever starts at the 11th floor, which was a challenge to build. During construction, structural engineering firm Ruby & Associates designed a temporary multi-cable system to provide the needed support until the permanent vertical trusses, on floors 16 to 22, were installed.


This extraordinary structure is also the first healthcare facility of its size to be modeled entirely in 3D software. Every member of the project team, from the designer to subcontractor, used the digital model to communicate on this project, which could only have been accomplished with the entire project team’s collaboration and the use of structural steel.


Back in the fall of 2009, the Associated Steel Erectors (ASE) and AISC hosted a presentation and project site tour of the hospital during its construction stage. More than 150 engineering and design professionals and students learned about the building’s various challenges and solutions from members of the project team, and saw firsthand the latest design technologies and processes in steel construction for healthcare.


You can view photos and the actual presentations from the event, as well as download the speakers’ PowerPoint presentations, by visiting AISC’s Children’s Hospital Tour multimedia page.


To learn more about the building of the new hospital, visit

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LEED 2012 Postponed Until 2013, Renamed LEED v4
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 7, 2012 at 4:13 PM.

In response to growing concerns from the building market, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that it will postpone ballot on the LEED Rating System Development (LEED 2012) until as late as June 1, 2013. Because of the date change, the new version of LEED has been renamed to LEED v4.


The delay comes from a lack of readiness voiced by building industry professionals, many of whom are LEED users. USGBC will use this time to provide the marketplace with a full understanding of the new program prior to ballot, and will keep LEED 2009 available for three more years while the industry gradually moves to LEED v4.


“USGBC has taken a wise step back here,” commented John Cross, AISC’s vice president of marketing. “LEED 2012 contained many concepts that certainly raise the bar for green buildings, but those concepts were not necessarily well integrated with each other and current industry practices. The additional year provides a real opportunity for USGBC to not only publish the ‘greenest’ version of LEED, but also the one that will be the most accepted and used.”


In addition to the ballot date change, USGBC is committing to a fifth public comment period that will run from October 2 to December 10, corresponding with this year’s Greenbuild conference in San Francisco (which takes place November 14-16). Public forums and educational sessions will be held to help stakeholders better understand the next draft, and the event will also serve as a platform to debut new resources designed to enhance the LEED user experience.


USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi has issued a public statement about the LEED 2012 postponement, available on USGBC’s website at (direct link:

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HGG Offers New Robotic Profile Cutting Line
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 6, 2012 at 4:02 PM.


HGG, global specialists in 3D profiling, has introduced its new Robotic Profile Cutting Line. RPC is specifically designed for plasma cutting a variety of profiles for steel construction, including I/H beam and square/rectangular tubing profiles. Its scanning vision system, combined with electronic measuring devices, eliminates time-consuming machine tactility.


The new RPC’s laser triangulation vision system automatically scans beams for common imperfections (including flanges that are not always perfectly straight and bodies that are off-center or twisted).


Its electronic measuring devices compare the outside shape and position dimensions of the raw material to the cutting program, automatically compensating for any deviation without interrupting material preparation or profile cutting time–and less grinding is required after parts are cut.


To watch HGG’s new RPC in action on YouTube, go to For more information on RPC, visit

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UC Berkeley Wins National Student Steel Bridge Competition
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 5, 2012 at 8:49 AM.

uc-berkeley_sitn.jpgA team of University of California, Berkeley students have been named champions in this year’s ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition, held over Memorial Day weekend at Clemson University, S.C. Coming in second and third place overall were the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.


Nearly 600 students from the qualifying 47 university teams convened to display their engineering prowess in the competition finals. The annual event, now in its 21st year, challenges civil engineering students to work together to design, fabricate and construct their scaled steel bridges, capable of holding 2,500 lbs., in the shortest time and under specific building constraints.


The bridges were judged in six key categories related to steel design and construction: construction speed; stiffness; lightness; economy; display; and efficiency. The teams with the best combined rankings across all six categories earn overall award recognition.


This is the second time UC Berkeley has won the national title. Their steel bridge entry, ApoCALypse, placed first in the categories of economy and construction speed, second in efficiency and third in lightness.


“Everyone was motivated and resilient this year after what happened last year,” (UC Berkeley’s bridge failed last year’s lateral load test) commented Sabrina Odah, bridge project manager for the UC Berkeley team. “We didn’t let that failure break us. We all had the sense that this was our year.”


To view the top three winners in each category and learn more about the competition, go to AISC’s press release, here, or visit You can find photos from this year’s event on Clemson University’s Flickr page at

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Steel Shots: Award-Winning Bridges
Posted by Tasha Weiss on June 1, 2012 at 5:03 PM.


Columbus’ Main Street Bridge, steel-framed and 663 ft long, spans the Scioto River near downtown. The bridge is a 2012 Prize Bridge Award winner in the Long Span category. (Photo: Copyright Brad Feinknopf; courtesy of HNTB Corp.)


Eighteen bridges have earned national recognition in the 2012 Prize Bridge Awards Competition. Conducted by the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA), the program honors outstanding and innovative steel bridges constructed in the U.S.


The awards are presented in several categories: major span, long span, medium span, short span, movable span, reconstructed, special purpose, accelerated bridge construction and sustainability. This year’s winners range from a pair of charming New England pedestrian bridges to the longest cable-stayed bridge in the U.S.


All of this year’s winners are featured in the June issue of MSC (available now!), with detailed project descriptions and photographs of each; you can read the article here.


Click here to learn more about the Prize Bridge Awards.

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