Glitches in Flitch Beam Design

by James D. Wiesenfeld, Professor; New york Institute of Technology, School of Architecture, Old Westbury, NY 11568,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 9, Pg. 65-66

Document Type: Feature article


Wiesenfeld proposes a set of design criteria for flitch beams. These beams, in which wood and steel sections are bolted together to act as a single structural unit, are currently covered by no industry standard or code. They are used in situations where load requirements make built-up wood beams impractical and are becoming increasingly popular in residential construction. There is now considerable variation in design methods for flitch beams, and the lack of a specification for them has created the danger that they would not be able to stand up to the extreme conditions typically required in building codes. Using the example of a beam spanning 11.5 ft and carrying a uniformly distributed load of 1,000 lb ft. Wiesenfeld describes a four step design process that involves determining appropriate size of the wood and steel sections, sizing and spacing bolts for load transfer, checking bolt spacing for lateral bracing requirements, and checking bearing stresses resulting from applied loads and reactions.

Subject Headings: Wood beams | Load factors | Bolts | Standards and codes | Load transfer | Beams | Residential construction | Building design

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