But I Don’t Design Cold-Formed Steel…

For the first half-dozen years of my professional career, my experience with cold-formed steel (CFS) consisted of sizing studs for non-structural walls and red-marking the bracing details on architectural plans. When the dotcom bubble burst, my firm needed to shift its focus from high-tech commercial and industrial to more multifamily design work. Several developers we worked with built with CFS, so in addition to designing condominiums instead of cleanrooms, I was designing CFS.

Less than 10% of engineers have any exposure to CFS design as part of their undergraduate education. OK – so this is based on an informal survey of about 50 colleagues, but I suspect if I were to hire a market research firm for lots of money, I’d pretty much get the same response.

Maybe this explains why a majority of CFS design is done by a relatively small group of engineers – probably the 10% who studied it in school.

But even though many engineers may never do significant CFS design, all engineers should have a working knowledge of how to design these elements. Has any of this ever happened to you?

  • You spend an inordinate amount of time reviewing CFS shop drawings for a curtain wall because you’re not sure what you’re looking at.
  • You turn down a job from a good client because it requires CFS design, and you are too busy to learn what you need to know to complete the project.
  • A small building in a larger project you are designing is CFS, and you lose money on this portion of the project because of your limited training and/or experience.

So… what is an engineer to do? Here are a handful of helpful resources – some may be dated, but the concepts still ring true:

Cold-Formed Steel Engineers Institute

STRUCTURE Magazine

General

What new types of design have you needed to learn to stay competitive in today’s market? Let us know by posting a comment.

-Paul

4 thoughts on “But I Don’t Design Cold-Formed Steel…

    • Jason – Thanks for the feedback! Hope you’ll continue to comment on posts you find of interest. And we’re throwing your name in the hat for one of our “prize packs”.                     

  1. Jason – Thanks for the feedback! Hope you’ll continue to comment on posts you find of interest. And we’re throwing your name in the hat for one of our “prize packs”.

  2. Pingback: Know Your Code | Structural Engineering Blog

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