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According to the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), NASCC: The Steel Conference provides an opportunity to learn the latest design concepts, construction techniques, and research related to structural steel construction. The 2017 conference, taking place March 22-24 in San Antonio, Texas, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, will offer more than 130 technical sessions and feature more than 220 exhibitors showcasing the latest equipment, software, and tools.

Attendees can earn as many as 17 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) by attending the conference’s expert-led sessions, plus an additional 4 PDHs if they attend the optional preconference short course. Unlike most conferences, which offer a general call for papers, The Steel Conference planning committee selects topics first, then seeks out the top experts in those areas. Technical sessions are organized into 16 tracks:

  • Bridges
  • Business
  • Case studies
  • Coatings
  • Connections
  • Constructability
  • Design and analysis
  • Detailing
  • Erection
  • Legal
  • Project management
  • Quality
  • Roundtable
  • Shop operations
  • Sustainability
  • Technology

The following selected sessions provide a sense of the many topics covered in some of the tracks likely to interest structural engineers:

Bridge track — Understanding and Reevaluating Fracture Critical (three parts); Long Span Steel Bridges; Competitive Steel Solution for Short Spans; Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing; What’s New in the 8th Edition Steel Specification (two parts); Corrosion Protection Strategies for Steel Bridges; Steel Bridge Erection Made Simple; Engineering for Stability in Bridge Construction; and Three-Dimensional Finite Element Analysis Software for Straight or Curved Steel Bridges during Construction.

Case study track — San Antonio Military Medical Center; The Little Site That Could: 150 N Riverside; Circuit of the Americas Observation Tower and Amphitheater; Hat Truss Trick — Overcoming Design and Erection Challenges of a 24-Story Vertically-Hung Gravity Load System; Case Studies of Successful Design Assist Projects; 181 Fremont Street — A State-of-the-Art Collaboration of Structural Design, Fabrication, and Erection Methodology; Signature Footbridges: Technical and Aesthetic Design Considerations; and Winning IDEAS in Steel-framed Building Design (two parts).

Connections track — Secrets of the Manual to Get it Done; Design and Detailing Considerations for Cantilever Moment Connections through W-Shaped and HSS Columns; Introduction to Structural Fasteners: Principles, Properties, and Provisions; Practical Advice for Reviewing Software-Generated Connection Designs; and Field Connections — Safe and Economical Tips.

Constructability track — 50 Tips for Designing Constructible Steel Buildings; Moving Forward with High-Strength Steel; Economic Alternative Paths for Progressive Collapse Design; What Engineers Need to Know about What Fabricators Can Do (Bending and Rolling); What Should Engineers Know about IBC Chapter 17?; Modular Construction Best Practices — When, Where, and Why or Why Not; and Safe and Efficient Installation of Steel Joists and Metal Deck.

Design and analysis track — The AISC 15th Edition Steel Construction Manual; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Drawing Notes; Case Studies in Structural Fire Engineering; The New HSS Design Manuals: Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4; The New and Improved Design Guide 11, 2nd ed. — Vibrations of Steel-Framed Systems Due to Human Activity; Designing Castellated and Cellular Beams Using AISC Design Guide 31; Everything You Wanted to Know About Diaphragms (But Were Afraid to Ask); Current Views from Past Higgins Award Winners: Michael Engelhardt; Can Staggered Trusses Be Used in Seismic Zones?; Load Paths — There is Not Always a Yellow Brick Road; Building Design — The Intelligent Approach; Entertaining with Steel, from Theatrical Rigging to Concert Touring Structures; New Design Guide 32: AISC N690 Appendix N9 — Design of Modular Composite Walls for Safety Related Nuclear Facilities; What Makes a “Special Moment Frame” Special?; Retrofitting Design and Analysis of Existing Steel Joist-Framed Buildings; ASCE 37: Design Loads on Structures During Construction; Design of Steel-Framed Parking Garages; Efficient Lateral Load Resisting Systems for Low-Rise Buildings; Lateral Torsional Buckling and its Influence on the Strength of Beams; Practical Uses of Non-Linear Pushover Analysis; Do Standardized, Symmetric Loading Protocols Accurately Predict the Performance of BRB under Real Earthquake Motions?; Lateral Drift and Façade Attachment; Structural Design of Staircases; AISC Research: The Chevron Effect: Shear and Bending Moment Demands for Beams in Concentrically Braced Frames; Wind Design Considerations for Joist and Joist Girders; AISC Research: Sloped Connections and Connections with Fillet Welded Continuity Plates for Seismic Applications; How the 360-16 Chapter K Changes Affect HSS Design; Transfer Structures that Work for Big and Complicated Load Paths; Design Practicum 1: Special Moment Frame Connections; and Design Practicum 2: Special Concentrically Braced Frame.

Short course

In addition to the technical sessions, an optional preconference short course on Tuesday, March 21, from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Fundamentals of Stability for Steel Design — offers 4.0 PDHs. Taught by Ronald D. Ziemian, Ph.D., professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and associate dean in the College of Engineering, Bucknell University (www.bucknell.edu/engineering-college-of/deans-office-staff/ronald-d-ziemian.html), the course will provide an overview of the behavior compression, flexural, and beam-column members as well as an introduction to system stability. Several strength limit states will be covered, including elastic and inelastic flexural, lateral torsional, and flexural-torsional buckling, as well as full cross-section yielding. With an eye toward design, the difference between a bifurcation and an instability resulting from a loss in stiffness due to second-order effects and material yielding, as the maximum resistance of physical structures is approached, will be emphasized. A full range of topics, including the direct analysis and effective length method will be reviewed. An extra fee and registration is required to attend this short course.

T.R. Higgins Lecture

On Friday (2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.), Todd Helwig, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, at the University of Texas at Austin and 2017 recipient of the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award, will lecture on the stability of flexural systems in steel buildings and bridges with a particular emphasis on bracing requirements. The presentation will highlight the results from large-scale experiments and computational studies on I-shaped beams, trusses, and box girders. Discussions on lean-on techniques, system buckling of narrow girder systems, and other bracing applications will be highlighted. Several factors that impact the effectiveness of bracing will be emphasized along with simple design methodologies for various bracing system applications.

Helwig currently holds the J. Neils Thompson Centennial Teaching Fellowship in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He has also co-developed and taught a number of courses for the Structural Stability Research Council (SSRC), AISC, and the National Highway Institute. Since 1994, more than 5,000 practicing engineers have attended his lectures.

He was recognized in 2005 with a top innovation award by the Texas Department of Transportation for his work related to lateral bracing of bridge girders on permanent metal deck forms. In 2010, AISC recognized his work on stability bracing systems in steel bridges with a Special Achievement Award. He is currently the chair of SSRC.

Special sessions

This year, NASCC offers two special tracks that provide deeper dives into their respective topics. SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings, has developed a four-hour program to provide bridge designers with information on specifying coatings. The second special track is a series of related seminars on legal issues impacting the design and construction of steel buildings and bridges.

In addition, AISC has created a new program to explore “Solutions for Equity in the Workforce.” This special 2.5-hour session is being held on the opening day of the conference and offers a look at what diversity means for the design community and construction industry, with an emphasis on what works and what doesn’t when creating solutions that can increase equity within the workplace. The session includes lunch and costs an additional $25.

Stability Conference

The SSRC’s Annual Stability Conference has been held in conjunction with the Steel Conference since 2001. In addition to technical sessions with more than 30 papers, the Stability Conference includes the 2017 Beedle Award and MAJR Medal presentations. SSRC also holds its annual meeting immediately prior to the conference. Admission to all Annual Stability Conference sessions is included with The Steel Conference registration.

The technical session topics are: Stability of Thin-walled Components and Assemblages; Special Topics in Structural Stability; Stability of Thin-walled Columns; Stability at Elevated Temperatures; Stability of Steel Bridges; Stability of Members and Systems; Advances in Stability Bracing; Stability of Beam-Columns; Stability of Flexural Members; Stability of Assemblages and Systems; Stability of Columns; Stability of Wall Systems; Stability of Shells; Stability of Plates; and Advances in Stability Analysis.

Exhibit hall

The NASCC exhibit hall features more than 220 exhibitors demonstrating their latest products, including fabrication equipment, bridge products, detailing software, connection products, safety equipment, engineering software, and coatings.

Exhibit hall hours are:

  • Wednesday, March 22: 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 23: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 24: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

AISC member and nonmember conference registrations are available that provide access to all of the technical sessions, the keynote address, the T.R. Higgins Lecture, and the exhibition hall. Single-day and exhibit-hall-only registrations also are available, as well as student, educator, and public agency registrations.

Visit www.aisc.org/nascc to register or view more conference information, including the advance program.


Information provided by the American Institute of Steel Construction (www.aisc.org).

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