Specifications for Steel Castings
Have you been involved in a project with extensive architecturally-exposed steel connections or complex geometric constraints? Or, have you ever considered using standardized steel castings to improve seismic resistance in braced frame construction? Structural steel castings can be a benefit in all of these situations, but may not be as familiar to most engineers as traditional designs.
In the November 2016 SE University Supplemental Session, Carlos de Oliveira, M.A.Sc.,P.Eng., from Cast Connex Corporation, gave a talk on Structural Applications for Steel Castings. During this lunch and learn presentation, Carlos gave a brief history of the use of steel castings, explained how they are manufactured, and discussed when steel castings can be used to benefit the structural design. Both standardized and custom castings can be useful in solving complex structural geometry and connections, and are typically more aesthetically pleasing for the architect. Some of the structural designs shown in his presentation were truly impressive and may inspire some ingenuity in your next design.
Using steel castings may be new to some structural engineers, however, Carlos gave some tips on specifying castings in the contract documents. For custom castings, the engineer and architect need to provide the overall dimensions, configuration, and relationship to other structural and architectural components on the drawings. Then, the engineer should include additional requirements within the specification to delegate the structural design responsibility to the casting supplier by outlining the structural performance requirements (ie. structural loading, structural connection to the castings, and machining requirements), as well as architectural performance requirements (ie. surface finish, and AESS welding requirements).
Carlos also provided some resources for using templates for these specifications for custom and standardized steel castings. These templates are a great tool to get started in specifying structural steel castings for your next project that includes complex geometry or architecturally exposed steel. Click on the slide below to view an excerpt from the specs or click visit http://www.arcat.com/arcatcos/cos48/arc48577.html to view example specs and catalogs for various steel casting connections.