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Structural Details

Structural Details

Structural Details

  I have found that when I come up with a detail, although it would usually work, there is someone else with more experience who seems to have a better way of doing it. An easier way to construct, more sturdy, etc.
  How did others on this forum, besides years of experience with different situations, become proficient at coming up with good details? Practicing in your spare time, talking to people in the field, etc.???

Nothing to do with details, but somewhat interesting.

RE: Structural Details

Im afraid that experience is the best and probbly only way. There are many books covering good detailing practice which are also of great use.

Nowadays, IMHO, detailers just jump straight onto CAD software and get stuck in without any knowledge of constructing a drawing properly. A few years hand draughting wouldnt go a miss.

If you have any specific queries or details to discuss, I am sure the good people on this forum will be able to help!


RE: Structural Details

Every chance I had as a younger detailer I was studying older plans.  Which wasn't the slightest bit boring because I've always had a fascination with history.  Anyway, you pick up an aweful lot like that.  Different buildings, bridges, structures etc.  Not to mention different engineers and detailers.

RE: Structural Details

Haynewp, I am afraid you have touched on a sore point.  In my experience many persons do not hesitate to express an opinion on structural details for which they are not qualified to judge. These same people are not signing and sealing the plans, and have no responsibility for their opinions.  I am talking about Architects, Owners, and somebody's Uncle Charlie who always did it THIS way.  It can be very aggravating to deal with these types of comments.  I don't think electrical engineers have to deal with this phenomenon very much, probably because you have to be one to fully grasp the drawings.  But for structures, it seems, many people think they are an expert.

Most people barely understand the need to resist gravity forces, let alone lateral ones.  They also do not understand that there can be three ways to solve a structural problem, and all of them can work.  

My suggestion is to be patient and listen to the comments.  Even if you do not adopt the comments, it still helps that you have at least listened to the person. (Assuming you have the time for it!) You may learn something, or not.  

My two cents.  Regards.

RE: Structural Details

I agree with all the above posts, especially SamDamon.

If it helps, you can always use big words like "lateral stability",  "shear lag", and my perennial favorite that sends contractors/architects running scared - "torsional stiffness" when justifying your details.

But seriously, if you want your details to be widely accepted, ask the senior draftsman in your office, or spend some time talking to a construction foreman / shop foreman etc.  Your carreer will absolutely soar once you realize that these guys (gals) can and will help you if you ask. Remember, just because someone doesn't have an engineering degree doesn't mean they don't know better than you!  My greatest professional successes have been the result of asking the guy on the shop floor : How would YOU tackle this problem?

Sure, sometimes they have suggestions which are duds, but you can easily spot those with your engineering background.

Hope this helps.

Another sure-fire carreer booster:
A 2$ box of donuts for the guys on the shop floor can go a long way toward ensuring team spirit and that you get taken seriously. No joke.

RE: Structural Details

If you do only one thing from each of the post above you'll
find your self well ahead and on the right path.

My add to this would be to tell you, get as much
tangible expossure as you can get. If you can get
to the field. Go and see a structure going up as much
as you can. This well help you. You well develope
a sence of what the person in the field my be tring
to see when looking at your detail. And again talk
to the people on the floor or in the field. They
will give you some insight if you need it.

RE: Structural Details

I sincerely wish to agree with all the posts above, but some of my mistakes in past have made me very skeptical, particulary of the shop guys. Some of them may prefer the simplicity of the structure over the safety.

Its is good idea to ask the shop-guy for his opinions, but you have to remember the fact that only you are QUALIFIED to do your job and only you can SEAL them. What do you ask them is very important.

What I have learnt is, make your own detail and then only speak to shop people and ask whether the detail is easy to fabricate or not. Dont expect the shop people to tell you whether the detail will work or not. This is your job, they are not qualified for it. But definitely their say matters on ease with which the detail can be made and try to improve, if they have some genuine difficulties in making it.

In short, design it yourself, before discussing a word with anybody and then you will find the area where you can improve it.


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