Debating Steel - Connection Design

by Alexander Newman, Principal Structural Engineer; Maguire Group, Inc., 225 Foxborough Blvd., Foxborough, MA 02035,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 2, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


The debate about responsibility for structural-steel-connection design is among the hottest engineering disputes of our generation. Meetings have been held on the subject, articles written and government memorandums drafted, yet consensus is still elusive. The factions in this debate are the steel fabricators and the structural engineers. Steel fabricators contend that design engineers increasingly decline to accept responsibility for connection design and force the fabricator to complete what should have been the design engineer's job. Design engineers respond that most steel connections are quite routine and could easily be handled by the fabricators' steel detailers. Despite the finger-pointing, industry trends indicate that both groups will increasingly be held responsible for steel connections, as the concepts of design delegation and shared responsibility take hold.

Subject Headings: Steel | Fabrication | Connections (structural) | Structural steel | Steel structures | Structural response | Structural engineering

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