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NCI Building Systems conference offers cutting-edge research for building design and development engineers

HOUSTON – NCI Building Systems will host a two-day conference in Houston to unveil the latest research on how metal construction engineers design structures in the near future. The event, taking place September 30 and October 1, 2011 at the Lone Star College Conference Center, will feature presentations from leading researchers and experts in a range of engineering disciplines, and will offer 15 hours of continuing education credit for engineers that attend both days.

“This annual event is centered around issues near and dear to the hearts of engineers involved with metal buildings,” said Jerry Hatch, manager of engineering development for NCI Building Systems. “Not only is this the largest seminar of its kind, but it provides engineers with the opportunity to actually interface with researchers. That’s a real rarity.”

The event, now in its second decade, will present numerous topics for professional engineers, including the behavior of steel building system frames for Earthquake loading and methods for modification and repair of frames in the field. This year, the seminar will also emphasize topics of interest to engineers outside the core discipline of metal construction and Hatch, also chairman of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) Technical Committee, says that engineers in the oil & gas industry might have particular interest in some of the research presented.

“The oil & gas industry uses steel building systems for warehousing, distribution and production facilities, among other uses,” said Hatch. “Also, metal building design relies on the same wind and earthquake analysis technology used for drilling platforms, so the seismic performance information presented at this conference should be quite interesting to engineers in that segment.”

The conference’s featured speaker will be Jill Hasling, president of the Weather Research Center and director of the John C. Freeman Weather Museum. Her presentation, “Weather Gone Wild,” will examine extreme weather events in the Gulf Coast Region over the past decade, and its impact on structures in the area. She says that engineers designing structures along the Gulf – and in the Gulf, in particular – may have new factors to consider based on recent weather patterns.

“In the Gulf of Mexico, there are approximately 3,800 platforms, and in 2005, for example, we had two major storms in one year pass over most of the Gulf oil leases, causing a great deal of damage,” said Hasling. “Likewise, when Hurricane Ike came through in 2008, the oil & gas industry was caught off guard because it was only a category 2 storm, but it caused as much damage as a Category 4 because it was so large.”

Given Houston’s population size and concentration of industry (oil & gas, construction and other), it has become a top market for metal buildings. According to the MBMA, Houston and Texas outpace every city and state in the nation – related to dollars spent for steel buildings – by a significant margin. Further, MBMA member companies have historically supplied nearly 40 percent of the low-rise market in the U.S., according to McGraw Hill Construction Research.
The 2011 Continuing Education Seminar for Professional Engineers will be held at the LoneStar College Conference Center (20515 SH 249 at Louetta Rd., Houston, TX 77070). Each day of the conference will begin at 7:30am. For more information: https://www.certain.com/system/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x1141768b068.