Best Practices: The Art of the RFI

Nothing will ruin your day faster than getting a call from a builder reporting an issue with trusses you’ve designed.  You hear their frustration as they are faced with a potential delay and additional work to implement a fix.  We all desire to eliminate those calls from our daily business, and one way to do so is to work only on jobs with a perfect set of drawings.  You know, the drawings with dimensions that are 100% correct, have no errors in the listed wall heights, the heel heights are clearly spelled out with the location of the HVAC equipment and lines identified, and every load path is well thought out.

The truth, though, is that there’s really no such thing as a perfect set of drawings, because there will always be some area needing further clarification to ensure the trusses you design won’t have issues.  Although this reality is typically viewed as a source of frustration, it can be an opportunity to provide extra value to your customers by helping them resolve issues before they become a problem in the field.  To do this requires a trained eye to identify issues and the use of an RFI (Request for Information) to work through these issues with the appropriate parties involved.  In this article, we will walk through some best practices of using an RFI to help eliminate those calls.
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Study Shows Effectiveness of Hazard Mitigation Measures

When properly enforced, building codes are very effective for ensuring that buildings meet certain minimal requirements for strength and safety. Recent studies by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have shown, however, that additional risk-mitigation measures can be beneficial even in proportion to the added costs. In the following post, Randy Shackelford, P.E., of Simpson Strong-Tie, shares some of the NIBS 2017 study benefit-cost results for two mitigation types — building beyond minimum code requirements, and federal mitigation grants.
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Epoxy vs Acrylic Adhesive Systems, Which Is Right For Me?

Not all anchoring adhesives are created equal. There are important differences between acrylic-based and epoxy-based adhesive systems — differences that affect installation, gel and cure times, and anchoring performance. In the following post, Marlou Rodriguez, S.E., of Simpson Strong-Tie, lays out some of the comparative installation advantages of each system.

There are two common types of adhesives for anchoring threaded rod or rebar into concrete — epoxy-based systems and acrylic-based systems. What’s the difference? When should you specify one rather than the other? This blog post will help you understand the differences and guide you in choosing the best adhesive for your anchoring solution.
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New NCSEA Survey Promoting Stronger Connections Among Structural Engineers

Structural engineers mostly take rightful pride in their skills and the importance of what they do. In other respects, however, job satisfaction can be uneven within the field, without much opportunity for engineers to address questions of professional engagement, mentorship, compensation or equity. The Structural Engineering, Engagement, and Equity (SE3) survey, sponsored by NCSEA, is an attempt to remedy this shortcoming. In the following post, Annie Kao, a structural engineer with Simpson Strong-Tie, gives an overview of this development. 
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Construction Referees: Evaluation Processes for Alternative Building Products

In a perfect world, every single product used in building would undergo a rigorous, independent evaluation process to determine its compliance with established safety codes and standards prior to its appearance in the market. “Alternative” building products and design methods are very much a reality of the construction industry, however. All the same, when Designers and building officials must decide whether to specify or approve such products, there are still review organizations and processes that help them evaluate whether or not the products meet the required safety standards to protect the public. In this post, Jeff Ellis, Simpson Strong-Tie Director of Codes and Compliance, delineates the process involved when an evaluation service entity, such as ICC-ES, issues an evaluation report (ER) for an alternative building product or method.
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NASCC 2018: Debuting Our Newest Yield Link Connection

This year the NASCC (North American Steel Construction Conference) will be in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference is the annual educational and networking event for the structural steel industry, which attracts attendees and exhibitors from all over the world. With more than 130 sessions this year, the conference will provide attendees the opportunity to learn the latest in research, design, technology and best practice in the steel industry.
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Drive a New Path: Resisting Uplift with Structural Fasteners

Structural screws are designed and tested to do hard work, but that doesn’t make them hard to use. In this post, Simpson Strong-Tie structural engineer Bryan Wert explains how the load-rated strength, versatility and easy installation of the code-listed Strong-Drive® SDWC Truss screw and SDWF Floor-to-Floor screw make it a cinch to create a continuous load path to resist wind uplift. Learn more during our May 2 webinar.

Winter’s finally shedding her blanket and unveiling springtime in Texas. There’s now a short window of picture-perfect weather where my purchases at Home Depot are no longer foam hose bib covers to protect outdoor faucets from freezing temperature, but aren’t quite yet tiki torches and floats for the pool for hot and humid summer days. I find myself in the garden center looking at the freshly delivered trees, shrubs and flowers, along with just about every other adult in my city. This year, my wife’s decided we need to surround our outdoor living space with hanging planters displaying perky red, purple, yellow and blue flowers.
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Timber Strong Gives Engineering Students Real-World Experience

Structural engineering, like every other research field, advances by educating new generations of students in the principles and practice of the discipline. Knowing that, Simpson Strong-Tie has teamed with the Binational Softwood Lumber Council and the American Wood Council to co-sponsor and coordinate the Timber Strong Design-Build Competition, an annual design contest held at the ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference in Tempe, Arizona.
Engineering students will test their civil and environmental engineering skills this spring when they compete in the annual Timber Strong Design-Build Competition. Eighteen universities will send teams of students to Tempe, Arizona, to participate at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC).
The objective of the competition, taking place April 12–14, is to give students valuable real-world engineering design experience:
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Q&A About Fabric-Reinforced Cementitious Matrix

On February 14, we hosted the third interactive webinar in the Simpson Strong-Tie Composite Strengthening Systems™ Best Practices Series: “Introducing Fabric-Reinforced Cementitious Matrix (FRCM).”

Simpson Strong-Tie engineering manager Brad Erickson, S.E., P.E., and Simpson Strong-Tie senior product manager Mark Kennedy, PMP, conducted an informative discussion of this new product solution. You can view the webinar in our Training Center and take a course to earn one hour of CEUs, PDHs and AIA LU/HSW credits. The course and webinar discuss installation steps, identify projects where FRCM would be ideal, and cite testing and industry standards associated with FRCM.
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