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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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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Simpson Strong-Tie® SET-3G™ Adhesive Offers a Ductile Solution for Post-Installed Anchorage near a Concrete Edge

Designing post-installed anchorage near a concrete edge is challenging, especially since the ACI provisions for cracked-concrete anchorage went into effect. In the following post, one of our field engineers, Jason Oakley, P.E., explains how SET-3G™ and Anchor Designer™ software from Simpson Strong-Tie make it easier to design a ductile anchor solution.

Engineers often provide holdown anchoring solutions near a concrete edge to help prevent overturning of light-frame shear walls during a seismic (or high-wind) event. Sometimes a post-installed anchor must be used if the cast-in-place anchor was mislocated or misinstalled, or is located where a retrofit or addition is needed. Since the cracked-concrete anchorage design provisions went into effect more than a decade ago, it has been challenging for engineers to offer a near-edge post-installed anchoring solution. This is especially true for structures subject to earthquake loads in seismic design category (SDC) C through F. Simpson Strong-Tie’s new SET-3G epoxy is the first anchoring adhesive in the industry to offer exceptionally high bond-strength values that permit ductile anchorage in concrete near an edge. This blog post will cover a specific example that focuses on Chapter 17 of ACI 318-14 to design a threaded rod, anchored with SET-3G adhesive, used to secure a holdown located 1 3/4″ away from a single concrete edge (Figure 1).
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What Building Professionals Need to Know About Construction Loading

This week’s post was written by Shawn Overholtzer, ICS Business Manager
at Simpson Strong-Tie. 

Understanding construction loading is important as it relates to the acceptable practices in terms of staging and storing construction materials prior to installation. What does “construction loading” mean? This term describes materials and people that are present during the course of construction. It refers to any construction material that is stacked and/or staged on the trusses for any length of time prior to the installation of said materials. This also includes those individuals that are working or walking on the trusses during the course of construction.

One of the most important concepts to understand is that before any construction materials can be loaded on roof or floor trusses, the trusses must be adequately restrained and braced. This must be done in accordance with BCSI-B1 and BCSI-B2. Loading material on trusses prior to adequate restraint and bracing can lead to failure, collapses, injury and even death. This is especially important when structural elements such as roof or floor trusses are involved.
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Good Ideas Come from Many Places — “Necessity Is the Mother of Invention”

You never know where the next great product idea or innovation is going to come from — some of our best new ideas originate with the customers who use our current products. At Simpson Strong-Tie, we welcome any inspiration that can help us serve our customers’ needs even better. With so much competition, however, and because so much research and testing are entailed in developing each new product, the criteria that an idea must meet to gain eventual acceptance are necessarily quite rigorous. In this post, Steve Rotzin, Manager of Intellectual Property and Legal Services at Simpson Strong-Tie, outlines some of these criteria for your consideration.

All of us, at one time or another, dream up a product idea of some sort. My wife was once sanding the tongue-and-groove boards of our living room ceiling and she thought of a very cool idea of gloves that had Velcro on them and users could interchange sandpaper of various grit on any finger of the glove. If you’ve ever sanded anything, this actually made a lot of sense especially for complex shapes and tough to reach spots. I researched it and found out that someone had already thought of it and “patented it.”
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What You Should Know About the New DGH Fire Wall Hanger Options

Does everyone do year-end performance reviews to discuss how you did on your project objectives and professional development goals? I love meeting with my team to recap all their amazing accomplishments for the past year, discussing long-term career plans and figuring out the steps we will take to implement those plans over the next six months, year, and beyond. I hate, hate, hate, hate doing all the paperwork that HR requires – but I am done with it now, so I’ll get over it.

One of our new product objectives for 2017 was to create a new fire wall hanger that could be installed before the drywall. Creating a joist hanger that can span a gap while still meeting the target loads was a challenging task. We released the DG series of fire wall hangers in July. I discussed the use of fire wall hangers in Why Fire-Rated Hangers Are Required in Type III Wood-Frame Buildings.
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New CSS Product Launch — FRCM Strengthening Products

The new FRCM Composite Strengthening Systems™ repair and reinforcement solution from Simpson Strong-Tie combines high-performance sprayable mortar with a carbon-fiber grid that creates a thin structural layer that repairs and strengthens without significantly increasing the structure’s weight or volume. FRCM stands for fabric-reinforced cementitious matrix. Its advantages are similar to those of FRP (that is, strength, low weight and ease of application), but it may also be used to repair, resurface, strengthen and protect in one application, along with providing greater resistance to heat and better long-term durability.
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How Computer Simulation Can Power Innovation

This week’s post was written by Frank Ding, Engineering Analysis & Technical Computing Manager at Simpson Strong-Tie. 

Computer-simulated product testing is being used increasingly in modern engineering and manufacturing because it provides a low-risk, time- and cost-efficient means of modeling system performance using a wide array of variables before a physical prototype has been created. The following Blog post outlines some of the uses and advantages of integrating this technology into the product development process.

The role of test simulation in product design might not be the general focus of the Structural Engineering Blog. However, you may have noticed that computer simulation plots have been cited in a few previous postings. Nowadays, it’s rare to talk about product development without mentioning computer simulation at some point. The aim of this post is to give you a better sense of how test simulation can benefit product development and innovation.
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My Engineering Adventures with Build Change

This week’s post was written by James P. Mwangi, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. – our first annual Simpson Strong-Tie Engineering Excellence Fellow with Build Change. 

Let me start by wishing everyone a happy holiday season.

My fellowship activities started in July 2017. I spent two weeks in New Jersey getting oriented to the Build Change organization and engineering activities around the world. I then spent two days in Pleasanton getting to meet the engineering team and getting updated on Simpson Strong-Tie products and the team leaders.
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Simplify Access to Your Drawings with the Simpson Strong-Tie AutoCAD® Plugin

This week’s post was written by Carolyn O’Hearn, Software and App Marketing Manager at Simpson Strong-Tie.

Accessing engineering drawings, determining whether you have the right ones and loading them into AutoCAD can seem like an exhausting endeavor. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an application that does everything you need in one package? An application that will also save you time, on both retrieval and installation, and give you access to additional applications? Simpson Strong-Tie has developed a new tool that can take care of all these needs.
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