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Structural engineering general discussion FAQ


Posted: 27 Mar 02


Please feel free to add to it, modify it, and even delete items as you see fit. Its use is optimized when personalized with your individual experiences and tailored to your projects.

This checklist is not intended to be used in an absolute or exact science manner, but rather as an efficient production tool which will likely produce better and safer designs and drawings, than if the checklist had not been used.

The checklist is not intended to be a "how-to" design manual or even a procedural manual, but rather a list of reminders to help verify that all critical calculation and design considerations have been made and that adequate and essential detail information has been provided.

Quality Assurance

It is very easy for a designer to get absorbed in state of the art calculations and design methodologies and then neglect attention to some of the relatively mundane details. These details, although sometimes tedious, are nonetheless essential for a complete and safe structure.

The use off a checklist can help the engineer remember to include or check all of the numerous items which are essential for a complete structural design.

DPIC, liability insurer of engineers, recommends developing and using checklists as a means towards a more aggressive approach to error detection. DPIC states that "Obviously, technical mistakes cause embarrassment and cost time and money. But, more importantly, they can cost lives. The true professional regards checking aids and other sources of information enthusiastically - not resentfully - recognizing that anything that produces a better final product has value."

ICBO has produced a document known as the 1994 UBC Structural Checklist. This is a 96-page document intended for engineers and plan reviewers. It basically itemizes and discusses or rewords every structural element in the code. The document is worth reviewing, especially as a learning tool. It is however a bit lengthy to use consistently on each project and, of course, it only covers Code items.

The checklist herein covers calculations, analysis, Code, design and drawing production issues. The checklist is composed of a series of keywords and phrases intended to "jog your memory" about items to be included in the design and drawing production. It is intended to be used by experienced professionals, consistently and expeditiously on each project. A review of the checklist should take less than one hour.

The experienced engineer may be likened to a licensed airplane pilot who knows and understands all the procedures to fly a plane. The pilot, nonetheless, uses a checklist prior to throttling up the runway for take-off.

Use of Checklist

The checklist consists of two main parts:

+    Calculations, Analysis and Code

+    Design and Drawing Production

The first section uses the Uniform Building Code (UBC) as a point of departure. Typical drawing sequence and materials format the second section.

It is intended that designers, checkers or principals for quality review near the end of a project will use this checklist. Internal office review practices may vary from firm to firm. Some firms perform a quality review at approximately the 30% complete stage, in order to "ratify" the choice of structural system, materials, and force criteria. Parts of the checklist may be used at that stage, prior to proceeding with final analysis and member design.

We routinely keeps a "Follow-up" list during a project. Notations are made for items that will be followed up on later. This allows the engineer to continue his current task, but without forgetting to return to a recent thought. Examples of notations made to a follow-up list include the following:

+    Add laminated wood beams to specifications

+    Get dimension of block wall from architect and show on sheet S2

+    Detail embed plate for bridging connection

+    Show CMU wall joint spacing on plan sheet S1

+    Reference soils report in general notes

+    Show contraction joints in slab on grade

+    Etc.

The follow-up list is generally reviewed in conjunction with this checklist.

While this checklist does not cover everything possible it is believed that calculations and drawings will nonetheless be improved by using the checklist versus not having used the checklist.


ICBO, 1994, Uniform Building Code, Structural Engineering Provisions, International Conference of Building Officials, Whittier California

ICBO, 1997, Uniform Building Code, Structural Engineering Provisions, International Conference of Building Officials, Whittier California

ICBO, 1994, 1994 UBC Structural CheckList, International Conference of Building Officials, Whittier California

DPIC, 1988, Lessons In Professional Liability, Design Professionals Insurance Company, Monterey, California




Verify the that the following items have been addressed and are included in the calculations and Code checks:


Gravity Loading

1.    Review and compare initial dead load assumptions with the weights of the members chosen for final design

2.    Are Dead Loads overly conservative, i.e. very heavy such that wind uplift and lateral overturning are not safe, use .85 dead load or less to resist overturning

3.    Dead load slope correction factors

4.    100 psf at all exits, corridors, common areas

5.    HVAC Loading, RTU's, suspended equipment, tanks

6.    20 psf partition loading (UBC 94 pg 2-3)

7.    [UBC 97 pg 2-2]

8.    Live load reduction (UBC 94 pg 2-4)

9.    [UBC 97 pg 2-3]

10.    Unbalanced loading combinations

11.    Deflection, ponding, vibration perceptibility

12.    Hydrostatic uplift


Load Combinations (UBC 94 pg 2-2)

1.    [UBC 97 pg 2-4]

2.    All combinations included (preliminary design vs final)

3.    1.33 stress increase for combinations with wind and seismic (UBC 94 pg 2-2) [UBC 97 pg 2-5]

4.    IF 1.33 stress increase is applied to load combos as .75, then don't also apply 1.33 to stresses

5.    Do not apply that .75 to deflection calculations

6.    Clearly clarify which calculations use Working

7.    Stress/ASD vs LRFD/ULT


Snow Loading (UBC 94 Appendix 16 pg 2-1199)

1.    [UBC 97 pg 2-387]

2.    Snow drift at parapets, equipment, screen walls, low roofs, snow (Pg vs Pf), rain on snow surcharge (UBC 94 pg 2-1203) [UBC 97 pg 2-389]


Wind Loading (UBC 94 pg 2-8) [UBC 97 pg 2-7]

1.    Exposure, Enclosed/partially open

2.    Wind speed: note fastest mile or 3 second gust

3.    Pressures on walls and roof are all applied simultaneously?

4.    1.5 factor of safety for overturning (2/3 dead load resisting moment), except for short, squat buildings

5.    (UBC 94 pg 2-9) [UBC 97 pg 2-7]

6.    Net uplift: Is assumed Dead Load appropriate for resisting wind uplift and overturning?

7.    Uplift forces, H clips at wood trusses, brace bottom/compression flange of beams

8.    Wind drift < .0025 h

9.    Quartering wind, corner columns

10.    Real plan torsion (UBC 94 pg 2-2)

11.    [UBC 97 pg 2-1]

12.    Elements and Components if < 1000 sf (UBC 94 pg

13.    2-33) [UBC 97 pg 2-29]

14.    5 psf interior partition loading (UBC 94 pg 2-6)

15.    [UBC 97 pg 2-3]


Seismic Loading

1.    Irregular structure, plan or vertical (UBC 94 pg 2-14)

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-12]

3.    Simplified static procedure limitations [UBC 97 pg 2-12]

4.    Dynamic analysis trigger (UBC 94 pg 2-14)

5.    [UBC 97 pg 2-12]

6.    Near-source factor [UBC 97 pg 2-11, 2-35]

7.    Base Shear (UBC 94 pg 2-16) [UBC 97 pg 2-14]

8.    97 UBC redundancy, overstrength factors

9.    [UBC 97 pg 2-13]

10.    Seismic weight:

11.    25% of storage live load in seismic weight, (combine Seismic lateral load with 100% of vertical live load + dead load)

12.    10 psf partition seismic weight to floors

13.    (UBC 94 pg 2-16) [UBC 97 pg 2-13]

14.    Snow load if > 30 psf

15.    Operating weight of equipment in seismic weight

16.    Ballpark check: Period T approximately = 0.1 x Number of stories

17.    Ballpark check:: For S=1.5, regular building, Ct =0.020, T=Ct(hn)^.75; the following relationships hold true:

18.    C=2.75 when T < .56 sec

19.    C=2.75 when hn < 85' (approx. 6 stories)

20.    (UBC 94 pg 2-16)

21.    Rw, R with height limits (UBC 94 pg 2-37)

22.    [UBC 97 pg 2-32]

23.    Rw, R combined along different/same axes, use lower value (UBC 94 pg 2-18) [UBC 97 pg 2-15]

24.    Vertical distribution of force formula (UBC 94 pg 2-18)

25.    [UBC 97 pg 2-15]

26.    5% accidental torsion included (UBC 94 pg 2-18)

27.    [UBC 97 pg 2-15]

28.    Column strength (3 Rw/8) load combinations for irregular structures (UBC 94 pg 2-19)

29.    [UBC 97 pg 2-16]

30.    Calculated drift < .04/Rw & .005h ("Calculated" drift does not include 3 Rw/8 factor) (UBC 94 pg 2-20)

31.    [UBC 97 pg 2-16]

32.    3 Rw/8 x deflection, pounding

33.    Deformation Compatibility (UBC 94 pg 2-24)

34.    Building Separations (UBC 94 pg 2-26)

35.    Use 1.7 allowable stress increase for "strength" calculations, but do not include 1.33 stress increase.

36.    Coordinate with .75 factor in load combinations

37.    Delta s vs Delta m [UBC 97 pg 2-16]

38.    P delta (UBC 94 pg 2-20) [UBC 97 pg 2-14]

39.    Vertical component of seismic, effects greater than 1.33 gravity?


Seismic Forces on Parts of Structure

1.    Rigid equipment, > 400 lbs (UBC 94 pg 2-22)

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-18]

3.    2/3 Fp if supported on ground (UBC 94 pg 2-22)

4.    [UBC 97 pg 2-18 formula (32-2)]

5.    If tank with toxic substances, Ip=1.50

6.    (UBC 94 pg 2-35) [UBC 97 pg 2-30]


Seismic Detailed System Requirements

1.    0.85 DL for uplift load combinations (UBC 94 pg 2-23)

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-19, 2-4]

3.    Corner columns, orthogonal effects, SRSS combine

4.    (UBC 94 pg 2-24) [UBC 97 pg 2-19]

5.    3 Rw/8 x deflection, pounding

6.    Deformation Compatibility (UBC 94 pg 2-24)

7.    [UBC 97 pg 2-19]

8.    Building Separations (UBC 94 pg 2-26)

9.    [UBC 97 pg 2-21]

10.    Use 1.7 allowable stress increase for "strength" calculations, but do not include 1.33 stress increase.

11.    Coordinate with .75 factor in load combinations

12.    Delta s vs Delta m [UBC 97 pg 2-16]

13.    Cladding connections (UBC 94 2-24) [UBC 97 pg 2-19]

14.    Ties

15.    Collectors

16.    Anchor walls, 200 plf min (UBC 94 2-25 and 2-6)

17.    280 plf [UBC 97 pg 2-20, 2-3]

18.    Diaphragms: Deflection

19.    Force equation (31-1) (UBC 94 pg 2-25)

20.    [UBC 97 pg 2-20 eqn (33-1)]

21.    Rw =6 if flexible diaphragm with heavy walls

22.    Continuous crossties

23.    No cross grain bending or nail withdrawal

24.    If plan irregular, then no 1 1/3 stress increase for diaphragms and collectors

25.    Projecting wing motion out of phase

26.    Building Separations (UBC 94 pg 2-26)

27.    [UBC 97 pg 2-21]

28.    Nonbuilding Structures (UBC 94 pg 2-26)

29.    [UBC 97 pg 2-21] and Table 16-P (UBC 94 pg 2-39)

30.    [UBC 97 pg 2-34]

31.    Rigid structures eqn (32-1) (UBC 94 pg 2-27)

32.    [UBC 97 pg 2-21 eqn (34-1)]

33.    Tanks


Global Load Path

1.    Load Path: continuous and in proportion to relative rigidities of elements

2.    Gravity: From roof to foundation, connections

3.    Seismic: From each mass and/or level to foundation, connections

4.    Wind: From walls and roof to foundation, connections



1.    Global

2.    Local

3.    Sloping members, sloping bearing surfaces: forces accounted for?


Computer Analysis

1.    Units consistent, ft, in, kips, degrees vs radians

2.    Member orientation correct? Weak vs strong axis bending.

3.    Global vs local loading direction

4.    Positive y loading is up or down, self weight loading is down

5.    Check plot of model for configuration, load and reaction direction, case by case

6.    AISC unbraced lengths may be greater than the default length of node to node; k, Cm, Cb defaults, x, y directions

7.    Global Restraints: Are global restraints appropriate? If a large horizontal reaction is output, then the foundation must be designed for that force.

8.    Are mid span moments, forces, deflections reported and critical? Or reports at nodes only?

9.    Connection design based on load path vs reported member end force: e.g. For a concentric braced frame with an in-plane offset, the connection of beam to column may need to be designed for the reported end force plus the horizontal component of the brace.

10.    Thermal expansion and contraction stresses (building greater than 200' in plan)


Foundations (UBC 94 pg 2-48) [UBC 97 pg 2-43]

1.    Allowable bearing pressures, net? Working stress?

2.    (UBC 94 pg 2-57) [UBC 97 pg 2-49]

3.    1.33 stress increase OK (UBC 94 pg 2-2, pg 2-56)

4.    [UBC 97 pg 2-49]

5.    Piling: group action reduction factors when closely spaced

6.    Tie piles together for 10% of axial load

7.    (UBC 94 pg 2-52) [UBC 97 pg 2-45]

8.    Lateral earth pressures: Active equivalent fluid pressure

9.    or higher "at rest" pressure if top is constrained (i.e. basement wall)

10.    Hydrostatic pressures or adequately drained condition


Retaining Walls

1.    Factor of Safety and minimum loads (UBC 94 pg 2-6)

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-4]

3.    Surcharge loading, parking, construction equipment

4.    Allowable bearing pressures, net? (UBC 94 pg 2-57)

5.    [UBC 97 pg 2-49]

6.    Check overturning stability, sliding, bearing pressure, concrete bending/shear in wall and footing, assure adequate development length in footing rebar.



1.    Include Load Factors, 1.4 DL, 1.7 LL

2.    Include phi factors on materials

3.    Flexure ballpark check:

4.    As req'd (in^2) = Mu (ft-k) / [4*d (in)]

5.    Spread footings: check bending, one way shear, punching shear

6.    Stirrups for torsion

7.    Shear friction calcs: ld on each side of plane (ACI 11.7.8) similar at construction joints

8.    Lightweight concrete: Reduction factor, lambda, for shear, ld

9.    Splices: factors affecting splice length: f'c, Fy, spacing,cover, col/beam/wall/ductile, top bar, lightweight conc, epoxy coated, excess reinforcing, class A or B, zone 3& 4

10.    Beam deflection, long term creep

11.    One way slabs: crack control: "z" equation


Concrete Seismic

1.    (UBC 94 pg 2-232) [UBC 97 pg 2-154]

2.    Load factors, 1.4 DL , 1.7 LL, 1.4 for seismic combinations UBC 94

3.    1.0x seismic for UBC 97 seismic loads

4.    135 degree stirrups and ties @ 4" oc, ductile detailing


Anchor Bolts and Headed Studs

1.    Reduce capacity for close spacing, edge distance. Use conservative UBC 94 Table 19-E pg 2-267, double tensile values if special inspection, or calculate pullout cones as per pg 2-254.

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-181, 2-168]


Expansion Anchors

1.    Reduce capacity for close spacing, edge distance


Concrete Block Masonry (CMU)

1.    No special inspection if 1/2 stresses are used in design, E does not get divided by 2. (UBC 94 pg 2-310)

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-209]

3.    Check bond length of flexural reinforcement

4.    Minimum 200 plf anchorage of walls to roof

5.    (UBC 94 pg 2-6) [280 plf UBC 97 pg 2-3]

6.    Deflection for lintel or veneer support < L/600 (UBC 94 pg 2-317) [UBC 97 pg 2-2133]


CMU Seismic

1.    Working Stress Design (UBC 94 pg 2-320)

2.    [UBC 97 pg 2-214]

3.    1.5 factor for seismic loads in shearwalls, working stress

4.    (UBC 94 pg 2-321) [UBC 97 pg 2-215]



1.    Verify material grade used i.e. Gr 50 for shapes, but also for plates and small angles?


Steel Beams

1.    Brace compression flange: bottom flange for continuous beams, net wind uplift, design brace for 2% + of flange force

2.    Beam stiffeners required atop steel columns for stability

3.    Torsion accounted for?


Steel Columns

1.    K > 1.0 if moment frame, i.e. column not braced with shearwall or X braced frame.

2.    Moment due to eccentricity of beam end connection used


Steel Connections

1.    Prying Action

2.    Eccentricities on bolt groups

3.    Eccentricities on welds

4.    Gusset plates: width thickness, Whitmore section

5.    Net section

6.    Bolt bearing on thin plates

7.    Bolt capacities, SC or N

8.    Collector and chord forces


Steel Seismic Allowable Stress Design

1.    For 97 UBC, Reduce earthquake forces by E/1.4

2.    (UBC 97 pg 2-5 and 2-255]

3.    Member strength allowables 1.7 * allowable: do not also

4.    include 1.33 stress increase, increase loads by 3Rw/8

5.    (UBC 94 2-359) [UBC 97 pg 2-255]

6.    Column strength, splices, slenderness (UBC 94 2-359)

7.    [UBC 97 pg 2.255]

8.    Ordinary Moment Frame requirements OMF (UBC 94 pg 2-360) [UBC 97 pg 2-256]

9.    Special Moment Frame requirements SMRF (UBC 94 pg 2-360) [UBC 97 pg 2-256]

10.    Connections, seismic provisions, follow Code


Steel Seismic Braced Frames

1.    (UBC 94 pg 2-363) [UBC 97 pg 2-257]


Concentric Braced Frames (CBF)

1.    (UBC 94 pg 2-364) [UBC 97 pg 2-257]

2.    Slenderness minimums

3.    Fas = B Fa for brace member

4.    Max 70 % of braces oriented in same direction

5.    Built-up members, stitch plates, local 1/r

6.    Width thickness minimums

7.    Chevron bracing requirements, 1.5 factor (UBC 94 2211.8.4.1 pg 2-365) apply to diagonal brace member only and not to beams, columns or brace connection [UBC 97 pg 2-258]

8.    No K bracing, no non-concentric bracing

9.    One and two Story buildings, OK to design for 3 Rw/8

10.    [Omega zero] forces with relaxed requirements

11.    Non-building Structures: Rw from Nonbuilding table (UBC 94 pg 2-39) [UBC 97 pg 2-34], need only comply with connection requirements for braced frames (UBC 94 pg 2-365) [UBC 97 pg 2-258]


Steel Seismic Bracing Connections

1.    Brace connections: Seismic*3Rw/8 < 1.7 allowable

2.    (UBC 94 pg 2-366) [UBC 97 pg 2-258]

3.    Net area


Special Concentric Braced Frames (SCBF) (UBC 94 pg 2-364)

1.    [UBC 97 pg 2-258]

2.    Slenderness minimums

3.    Max 70 % of braces oriented in same direction

4.    Built-up members, stitch plates, local 1/r

5.    Width thickness minimums

6.    Chevron bracing requirements, no 1.5 factor for SCBF's,  but check post buckle strength (UBC 94 pg 2-366)

7.    [UBC 97 pg 2-259]


Steel Seismic Bracing Connections for SCBF's

1.    Brace connections: Seismic*3Rw/8 < 1.7 allowable (UBC 94 pg 2-366) [UBC 97 pg 2-259]

2.    Net area

3.    Gusset plates

4.    Bracing configuration

5.    Columns, splices (UBC 94 pg 2-367) [UBC 97 pg 2-259]


Eccentric Braced Frames

1.    (UBC 94 pg 2-367) [UBC 97 pg 2-259]

2.    Bottom flange of beam must be braced, hence do not locate in exterior walls of elevator shafts, or similar.

3.    Prescriptive, follow code


Zone 1 and 2 Steel Frames

1.    (UBC 94 pg 2-369) [UBC 97 pg 2-261]

2.    Relaxed requirements



1.    Allowable stress adjustment factors for: duration, size, repetitive member, flat use, wet use etc.

2.    Wind: 1.6 duration factor in lieu of 1.33; members only, not connections (UBC 94 pg 2-810)

3.    [UBC 97 pg 2-291]

4.    SPF studs, low allowable shear and E

5.    Dead load slope correction factors


Wood Connections

1.    Bolts: Min edge distance, end dist, spacing

2.    Nails: Adequate penetration, reductions for wet use

3.    Increases for metal side plates

4.    No cross grain tension or bending stresses

5.    No heel cuts or bottom notches near bearing (UBC 94 pg 2-813) [UBC 97 pg 2-292]

6.    Adequate bearing area for engineered products, LVL, PSL


Wood Seismic

1.    Ties

2.    Collectors

3.    Chords

4.    Anchorage to heavy walls, 200 plf min (UBC 94 2-25 and 2-6)

5.    [UBC 97 pg 2-3 and 2-20]

6.    Diaphragms: Flexible, Deflection

7.    Force equation (31-1) (UBC 94 pg 2-25)

8.    [UBC 97 pg 2-20, eqn (33-1)]

9.    Rw =6 if flexible diaphragm with heavy walls

10.    Continuous cross ties

11.    Large diaphragm openings detailed (UBC 94 pg 2-825)

12.    [UBC 97 pg 2-279]


Calculation Epilogue

1.    Review and compare initial dead load assumptions with those of the members chosen for final design.

2.    Check camber calculations, check self weight of truss and self weight of gusset plates.

3.    Key plans accurate and up to date

4.    Verify that engineers show units in all equations

5.    Building Department calculations for: Stairs, handrail/guardrail, ceiling assemblies, interior partitions, suspended equipment etc.

6.    Title sheet with project identification for Building

7.    Department use: Project name, project address,

8.    permit number, scope of work.

9.    Design Basis: for Building Department use: Code used, wind speed, see general notes above.

10.    Index and cross reference calculation sections, pages

11.    Sign and seal calculations



Verify the that the following information has been adequately defined:


All Drawings, General

1.    Title block, project name, drawn by, checked by

2.    Sheet number (matches architect's system)

3.    Sheet title (matches architect's index)

4.    Issue date (updated)


6.    Autocad plot Time and Date stamp

7.    Revisions ballooned, w/ triangle, dated, revision block description

8.    Firm Logo and job #


All Plans, General

1.    North Arrow, scale shown, bar scale

2.    Not to scale items labeled NTS

3.    Grid lines and dimensions shown and consistent at each level, all extents dimensioned

4.    Existing construction shown as double dashed line or labeled "(E)" or "EXISTING"

5.    New construction located with respect to existing

6.    "Field verify" dimensions clearly noted and reasonable

7.    Recessed areas defined or noted


Foundation Plans

1.    Datum elevation defined, coordinated with civil, architect

2.    Pipe penetrations through footings, slab; sleeved

3.    Compaction and quality of fill defined


Floor Framing Plans

1.    Elevations: Top of steel, top of concrete, finished floor, joist bearing, top of plywood, top of column

2.    Does fabricator have enough information to determine length of steel beams and columns? Rebar?

3.    HVAC duct openings shown, located and framed

4.    Vertical Bracing locations shown, type

5.    Moment connections locations shown


Roof Framing Plans

1.    Roof drainage accounted for, built up insulation or
2.    sloping top of steel, slopes, work points

3.    HVAC openings shown, framed

4.    Weight of roof top equipment shown on drawing


General Notes

1.    Abbreviation list, symbols and marks defined

2.    Safety and means and methods of construction disclaimer

3.    Shore and protect existing

4.    Design Basis: Code used (i.e. UBC `97)

5.    Clearly clarify which loads are Working

6.    Stress level /ASD and which are Ultimate,

7.    LRFD/USD

8.    Live load listed

9.    Snow load, exposure, rain on snow surcharge

10.    Wind speed (fastest mile or 3 second gust), exposure, enclosed/partially open, Importance factor

11.    Seismic zone, Z, R/Rw, I, S, C


Material Specifications: Concrete, Steel etc., See below

1.    Coordinate with specifications

2.    No proprietary product names on Government jobs


Soils report referenced

1.    Basis of foundation design noted, allowable bearing pressure, equivalent fluid pressure etc.

2.    Geotechnical site presence and soils verification defined

3.    Submittals defined (shop drawings, etc.)

4.    Field testing defined (compaction, concrete, UT)

5.    Special Inspection, list types required (periodic/continuous)

6.    Structural Observation




Concrete Notes

1.    f'c, regular weight, w/c ratio, slump, fly ash, admixtures

2.    Air entrained 5 to 7 % where subject to frost

3.    Rebar: Grade 40/60, A706 where welded

4.    Concrete cover

5.    Splice lengths called out

6.    Hook dimensions


Concrete Plans

1.    All slab rebar called out

2.    All beam marks labeled

3.    Top of concrete elevation

4.    Show where slopes to drain, recesses


Concrete Detailing

1.    Adequate hook embedment

2.    Adequate development length

3.    Rebar spacing large enough to allow flow of concrete between bars, at splice locations also

4.    Add bars at openings, reentrant corners

5.    Corner bars at wall and beam intersections

6.    Section cuts are consistent for layering of bars (walls, slabs, beams)

7.    Construction joints are located, type (keyed, rough etc.)


Steel Embed Plates

1.    Adequate thickness if field welded (prevent concrete popping)

2.    Adequate room or weep holes to allow concrete to flow under horizontal plates

3.    Nelson studs in specifications

4.    Stud or anchor bolt locations compatible with rebar


Spread Footings

1.    All footings have ID mark, or sizes and detail callout

2.    Detail and schedule

3.    Plan dimensions, location, thickness, bottom of footing elevation

4.    Bottom below frost depth, or below soils report recommendation

5.    Sleeve holes for utilities, max size allowed, add bars

6.    Step continuous footing where elevation changes


Retaining Walls

1.    Contraction and construction joints

2.    Allow movement at top to occur

3.    Drainage behind wall, drain rock with geotextile fabric

4.    Detail length of lap splice between vertical bars in wall and footing dowels


Drilled Piers, Caissons

1.    Plan showing location with individual piers numbered

2.    Tip elevation, top elevation,

3.    6" socket into rock

4.    Reinforcing called out

5.    Spiral lap splice length

6.    If the doweled rebars protruding from top of pier have hooks, are they compatible with casing removal?

7.    Hooked bars compatible with grade beam rebar?


Auger Cast Piles

1.    No rebar cages within pile


Concrete Driven Piles

1.    Precast performance specification

2.    Dowels to grade beams


Slab on Grade (SOG)

1.    Top of Concrete (TOC) elevation, thickness, reinforcing or mesh called out 2" sand, membrane, 4" drain rock

2.    Support for mesh or rebar, height, type and spacing

3.    Joints: spacing, type: contraction, construction weakened plane, keyed, thickened edge, greased dowel

4.    Sawcut within 12 hours of pour, or plastic strip

5.    Expansion joint material at walls or existing construction (floating slab), or dowels for tied together construction

6.    Expansion joint material around steel columns

7.    Sump in pits, specify rebar

8.    Edge detail: with steel angle, guardrails


Concrete Floors

1.    Finish: Hard Trowel/Broom, F number

2.    Recesses, slopes, drains, openings shown on structural

3.    Curbs, housekeeping pads; locate and detail


Concrete Beams and Columns

1.    Stirrup and tie spacing and size, type of hook 90/135

2.    Corner bars at corners and intersections

3.    Intersecting bars are compatible and layered

4.    Rebar spacing large enough to allow flow of concrete between bars, at splice locations also

5.    Avoid hooking both ends of a continuos bar, accurate length problems

6.    Chamfer corners

7.    "Top bar" splice length values for horz top bars


Concrete Walls

1.    Add bars at openings and re-entrant corners

2.    Corner bars at wall intersections and corners

3.    Add bars around handrail post sleeves

4.    Damproofing, bituminous coating (basements)

5.    Construction joints: keyed, waterstops, chemical/jet fuel resistant material

6.    Foundation dowel lap length

7.    "Top bar" splice length values for horz top bars

8.    #3 rebar on each side of handrail sleeves



1.    Wall h/t < 42

2.    Chord bar connection

3.    Continuous cross ties



1.    Performance specification, design responsibility, seal by fabricator

2.    Allowable camber, deflection, weight

3.    Detail shear transfer and load path

4.    Wall panels, see UBC 94 pg 2-216, and Cladding UBC 94 pg 2-24 [UBC 97 pg 2-144 and 2-19]


Concrete Masonry Units (CMU)


CMU Notes

1.    Block grade N, lightweight or normal weight if exposed to weather, moisture controlled, compressive strength

2.    Rebar grade, lap splice 40+ bar diameters

3.    Horizontal bed joint reinforcement, size, type, spacing

4.    Mortar type M if below grade, otherwise type S

5.    Grout 3/8" max aggregate size, f'g, 8 to 10" slump

6.    f'm (=1500 psi), bond pattern (running/stack)


CMU Reinforcing

1.    Vertical bar size and spacing, foundation dowels tomatch, show lap splice length and hook

2.    Horizontal bond beams, locations and max spacing, size

3.    Additional rebar: corners, wall intersections, door and window openings (extend 24" beyond openings), below beam bearings

4.    Define which cells to grout (cells w/ rebar only, or all cells)

5.    Note if 1/2 stresses were used and No Special Inspection required


CMU Plans

1.    Dimension to only one face of wall (nominal dimension problems)

2.    Wall joint spacing, type


CMU Details

1.    Joint types, cut rebar and joint reinforcement at joints except at floor and roof bond beams

2.    Lateral bracing at top of non-bearing walls, with vertical slots


CMU Lintels

1.    Bottom of lintel elevation, minimum depth, reinforcing

2.    Bearing condition, extend bars 8"+ beyond opening


Structural Steel

Steel Notes

1.    Grade of Steel (A36, Gr50) Shapes, Plates, Tubes, Pipes

2.    High strength bolts (A325, A490), Anchor bolts (A307)

3.    Weld electrode(E70)

4.    Surface prep (SSPC-SP6 etc.)

5.    Paint: None/primer/galvanize/galvanize and paint, surface prep (none if fireproofed)

6.    UT testing for complete penetration welds

7.    Procedures for welding SMRF's

8.    All grout to be non-shrink, cementitious, flowable

9.    Expansion anchor (i.e. Hilti...), Epoxy, Headed studs

10.    Powder Actuated Fasteners (i.e. Hilti...) size, penetration


Steel Framing Plans

1.    Top of steel defined

2.    Edge of deck condition, edge angles defined

3.    Cladding connection detail

4.    Framing for roof screen columns and braces

5.    Vertical bracing locations shown, type

6.    Moment connections located


Steel Beams

1.    All beam sizes are labeled

2.    Camber, composite stud size, length and spacing


Steel Columns

1.    All columns have ID or size shown, orientation, schedule

2.    Top of column, bottom of baseplate elevation

3.    Splice elevation and type

4.    Baseplate type called out, detailed


Steel Tubes

1.    Slot tube with plate, or less costly shear tab


Steel Bracing

1.    Spacing of double angle spacers, stitch plates

2.    Verify locations do not conflict with windows, louvers etc


Steel Details, Connections

1.    Work points defined

2.    Weld sizes, lengths, symbols, electrodes, procedures, inspections

3.    Bolt sizes, quantity, type (A325N, A325SC, A307), scheduled per beam depth or location

4.    Hole types: STD, OVS, short or long slots and orientation of slot

5.    Snug tight, fully pretensioned or slip critical; inspection

6.    Faying surfaces for SC bolts, no paint

7.    Erection sequence, plausibility (shop weld, field bolt)

8.    Special detail for W6 and C6 connections w/ 2 bolts

9.    Allowance for k fillet, coping, wrench clearance

10.    Web stiffeners req'd for steel beams continuous over tops of columns for stability.

11.    Web stiffeners req'd for handrail posts at steel beams?

12.    If fabricator is to design any connections, then provide performance specification, define which members, provide all loads, define scope and responsibility, require fabricator's seal.


Steel Baseplates

1.    Plan dimensions, thickness

2.    Anchor bolts; length, embedment, projection, threads, min edge distance, minimum of 4 bolts for erection safety

3.    (OSHA requirement)

4.    L bolts or nut with plate washer

5.    Oversized holes OK, std holes, shear key required?,

6.    embedded studs

7.    Weld to column (avoid fillet welds in tension for high seismic loads in critical locations)

8.    Grout: "non-shrink", thickness, relief holes for large baseplates

9.    Bracing work points defined


Open Web Steel Joists

1.    Joist bearing elevation

2.    2 1/2" bearing depth compatible with adjacent and parallel steel beam connections

3.    Performance specification, design responsibility, seal by fabricator

4.    Bridging design by fabricator, connection to building by designer, detail connection

5.    Define loads for design, including dead load to be used, equipment, roof screens, snow (Pg vs Pf), snow drift, rain on snow surcharge, live load reduction

6.    Define collector loading

7.    Specify deflection criteria, vibration

8.    Paint (primer/none)

9.    2 1/2" tall hat or tube steel between joist bearings for shear transfer (between metal deck and collector beam), weld size and spacing

10.    Bolted connections required at top of column locations

11.    (OSHA requirement)

12.    Joist girder bottom chord stabilization plate, label "do not weld"


Metal Deck

1.    Depth, Gauge, Manufacturer, Section properties

2.    Galvanized or painted, vented, WWF

3.    Welding: Size, type and spacing; ends, edges, sidelaps

4.    Direction of span shown

5.    Minimum gage thickness of end dam material

6.    Reinforcement at openings, Support at column openings

7.    Detail connections in load path from diaphragm to vertical shear resisting elements


Steel Stairs

1.    Performance specification, design responsibility, seal by fabricator

2.    Slotted holes at connection to floor slab


Steel Bar Grating

1.    Galvanized/painted, thickness, size, attachment to framing

2.    Span direction, support at large holes


Steel Piling

1.    See trade association guidelines


Cold Formed Steel

1.    Gauge, size, section properties, grade

2.    Punched webs OK? stiffened flanges

3.    Weld lengths, screw size and quantity

4.    Bridging (walls and roof/floors)

5.    Strap bracing locations, details


Expansion Anchors

1.    Diameter, Embedment, Min edge distance, spacing


Epoxy Anchors

1.    Diameter, Embedment, Min edge distance, spacing

2.    Use only if non-rated construction and less than 130 degrees F.




Wood Notes

1.    Plywood (roof, floor, shearwall) thickness, span rating, exposure, finish, T&G, blocked/unblocked, nailing pattern

2.    Equivalent OSB OK?

3.    Glue to floor plywood to joist (adhesive AFG-01)

4.    Framing material and grade( DF#2, SP #2, SPF #2) for joists, rafters, studs, beams, columns, sills

5.    Plates in contact with concrete are Preservative Treated

6.    Framing hardware (Simpson, Kant-Sag) note to fill all holes with nails or bolts

7.    Nails Common/box, lengths, galvanized if exterior

8.    Anchor bolts, through bolts, lag screws (A307)


Wood Framing Plans

1.    Top of plate or joist bearing elevation

2.    Differentiate bearing walls from non-bearing walls

3.    Continuous cross ties for roof of concrete tilt-up or CMU wall building

4.    Shearwall locations shown

5.    Shearwall nailing, sill nailing/bolting, anchor bolts

6.    Hold downs dimensioned adequately for concrete workers to locate

7.    Hold Down size, bolts, embedment, post size

8.    Dimensions are to face of stud UNO

9.    Typical door and window headers called out

10.    Large diaphragm openings detailed (UBC 94 pg 2-825) [UBC 97 pg 2-279]


Wood Details

1.    Shrinkage considered

2.    Minimum bolt edge and end distance (4d and 7d)

3.    No cross grain tension or bending stresses

4.    No nails in withdrawal

5.    Detail connection load path from diaphragm to vertical shear resisting elements

6.    Blocking at 4' oc at walls parallel to joists

7.    Continuous 2x6 studs at tall walls

8.    Note to "edge nail" shearwall plywood to hold down post

9.    Minimum distance of wood above earth, exterior and crawl space (UBC 94 pg 2-829) [UBC 97 pg 2-276]


Manufactured Wood Products

1.    Floor stiffness, vibration, perceptibility

2.    Allowable Fb, E, Wet-use

3.    Hanger type, size and nail quantity, web stiffeners

4.    Glulam beam camber

5.    Adequate nailer thickness for top mounted hangers


Prefabricated Wood Trusses

1.    Performance specification, design responsibility, seal by fabricator

2.    Bridging and connection responsibility

3.    Define loads for design, including dead load to be used, equipment, snow (Pg vs Pf), snow drift, rain on snow surcharge, live load reduction

4.    Dead load should be realistic for net wind uplift condition


Specify deflection criteria, inter-panel deflection

1.    Roof slope, ceiling profile

2.    Define bearing type, dimensions, and cantilever/overhang dimensions

3.    Define "no bearing" partition walls

4.    H clips at net wind uplift conditions

5.    Show plywood sheathing below valley trusses and below "California Framing"


Wood Piling

1.    Preservative treated above water table


Metal Buildings

1.    Wind columns are (or are not) allowed

2.    Rebar in slab (hair pins) for outward horizontal forces at column bases

3.    Performance specification, design responsibility, seal by fabricator


Architectural Interface

1.    Intra-discipline coordination; Architectural, civil, mechanical, electrical etc

2.    Partitions: Top of wall: lateral bracing and vertical slotted connection

3.    At sloping roofs, do horizontal or large members protrude through ceiling or roof.

4.    Parapets secure for wind, window washers

5.    Heavy items connected to structure?

6.    Brick veneer ties


Cladding and Windows

1.    Performance specification, design responsibility, seal by fabricator

2.    Diagonal brace to top of windows


1.    Can it be built without skyhooks?

2.    Sequence of construction

3.    Rebar congestion

4.    Bolt tightening access

5.    Likely locations of construction joints


Drawing Production Epilogue

1.    Review "follow-up list"

2.    Has information been called out in more than one location on the drawings? If so, is it consistent and/or is it necessary to show the item in more than one location.

3.    Are all section callouts cut or noted from plans?

4.    Do Specifications match drawing notes?


Final Review and Plotting

1.    Issue date (updated)


3.    Revisions ballooned, w/ triangle, dated, revision block

4.    Description

5.    Engineer's seal and signature

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