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SCI CONNECT – May 2020

Over a period of many years SCI has produced engineering software for numerous clients. These products have generally evolved as new design codes are introduced as options - mainly Eurocodes to complement previous national standards but we have also looked at some non-European codes. However, when you introduce a new code you inevitably get different answers, which are not always appreciated by our software clients as they tend to be trading in very competitive markets.

Design codes include factors that down rate resistances to allow for variability in the strengths of materials and to allow for inaccuracies in modelling (how well simple equations reflect reality), and increase loads (to allow for their variability). The use of these factors results in a margin of safety that (according to statistics) will result in failure one in every so many times. Whatever the 'so many' is will obviously be a large number. A history of things not falling down is no evidence that the rules used are 'right', unless that very rare one in whatever has arisen and the structure just stood up.

There is an additional dimension to code evolution which I know well as chairman of the Eurocode 4 committee. When writing the old national standards we only had to get agreement between a small group of people all with a similar background and educational philosophy. With the Eurocodes we have to accommodate lots of views and engineers who, for example, seek a different balance between safety and economy (for a whole range of reasons). As a result of their education there are also some engineers who will not accept a semi-empirical approach (there must always be a mechanical model to explain behaviour, no matter how complex a problem is). When National Standards Bodies such as BSI vote for new rules they may accept some loss of economy but they are much less likely to accept what they feel is a reduction in previous levels of safety - so as drafts get agreed the rules tend towards the lowest common denominator. There is currently debate in Europe from some who believe the Eurocodes do not give the reliability they are supposed to for lightweight structures (steel, composite, timber), and suggest bigger safety factors.

So, you would not expect to get the same answer applying different codes, and it would be very difficult to say which is 'right' and which is 'wrong'. But in a real world where large projects can develop over a considerable time (years), it is easy to understand how code changes can cause real problems.

Graham Couchman

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SCI Assessed
Re-use of Steel
Members Advisory
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SCI Webinars, Courses
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New Members
SCI Courses
Steel Connection Design Torsion
10 May 20 - Webinar for ALL
Steel Connection Design Curved Steel
16 Jun 20 - Member Only webinar
Steel Connection Design Connection Stiffness
14 Jul 20 - Member Only webinar
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SCI Assessed achieved for Armatherm™ 500

Reducing heat flow within a building's thermal envelope reduces energy consumption as well as potential condensation issues. Armatherm™ 500 thermal break material significantly reduces energy lost from thermal bridging in building envelope connections.

Following the independent review of test data and supporting analysis, SCI have awarded SCI Assessed status to Armatherm™ 500 for grades 250, 320 and 490.

Armatherm™ 500 structural thermal break material is a high strength, thermoset polyurethane manufactured in several densities. The scope of the assessment includes relevant properties for structural thermal break materials, such as; compressive strength, elastic modulus, thermal conductivity, water absorption and long-term creep.

This is second SCI Assessed certificate for Armadillo Noise & Vibration Ltd as they already have SCI Assessed for their Armatherm FRR product. A full searchable list of SCI Assessed products is available on the SCI website.

Please contact Andrew Way at SCI for SCI Assessed enquiries.

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SCI/NHBC Stage 1 System Certification Renewals

This certification scheme is for light steel framing systems in accordance with Chapter 6.10 of the NHBC Standards. The certification covers structural strength, stability and durability. Over recent weeks the following companies have renewed their Stage 1 certificates for a further 3 years;

All companies should be aware that their certification can be extended with the SCI Product Certification scheme to include additional performance requirements such as; behaviour in fire, acoustic performance, thermal performance and factory production control. Where companies have an existing Stage 1 Certificate which has an impending renewal, this can be incorporated in to the SCI Product Certification process and cost.

Please contact Andrew Way at SCI for SCI/NHBC Stage 1 certificate renewals.

SCI Product Certification - Light Steel Frame

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Newton Steel Framing LTD
PROGRESS - Reuse of Steel-Framed Buildings dissemination

Following the successful dissemination over the last month of the Progress Project and its findings the presentations, which have been made over four weeks during May can be found online here.

The Protocol for reusing structural steel can be found here

Progress - Re-use of Steel
Members in the News

J&D Pierce have just been awarded another project for Amazon in a D&B

J&D Pierce have just been awarded another project for Amazon in a D&B contract, this time at Gateshead. With over 10,500 tonnes of steel and four floors for robotic pickers deflection and tolerance control are critical. Pierce's state of the art cutting & drilling facility and their robotic plater will therefore come to the fore. This adds to the other two Amazon projects on their order book.

J&D Pierce have just been awarded another project for Amazon in a D&B

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Fusion system delivers during lockdown

Fusion Building Systems has been able to complete the installation of its offsite light steel frame system for Jehu Group's Orchard House social housing scheme in Swansea during the Coronavirus outbreak, thanks to it requiring only a handful of personnel to be on site.

Fusion started on site in early March, installing two storeys of its lightweight system for residential accommodation over existing units at Kingsway in central Swansea. With a six week build programme ahead of it, site works ran through the Government's lock down period for Coronavirus, meaning that social distancing requirements needed to be adhered to if work was to continue. But, because the installation of Fusion's offsite panellised system requires only a handful of personnel to be on site at any one time, the build was able to continue.

In addition to requiring only minimal personnel on site, in accordance with guidance from Public Health England, Fusion and Jehu revised their site health and safety procedures and staff welfare management to ensure all could work safely. For example, Fusion ensured all vehicles were equipped with hand sanitisers and disinfectant sprays; breaks for site installers were rotated to have fewer staff present at any one time; a one-way system was implemented for stair use and 2m intervals were marked throughout the construction site, to help personnel maintain appropriate distancing. Read more

Fusion system delivers during lockdown

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Members Advisory Desk Service email alerts

The new Advisory Desk service emails sent this month included;

  • A new Advisory Desk Note: AD 441: Minimum degree of shear connection in composite beams.
  • A new Advisory Desk Note: AD 442: Designing to facilitate cost effective operation and maintenance of steel and composite bridges.

If you are an SCI Sole Trader or Corporate Member and not receiving these emails alerts go to the SCI Information Portal and in your Profile click on notifications/alerts and select the notifications you require.

All the Advisory Desk Notes and Questions and Answers together with other technical resources are all available at all times on the SCI Information Portal.

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SCI Advisory Questions and Answers

For SCI Sole Trader and Corporate members, SCI offers support through our Advisory Desk Service. For questions asked which we feel are pertinent to the wider member audience we publish anonymously the questions and answers.

Where some questions relate to SCI Publications we publish the question and answers in Connect.

This month our published question is about; The effect of stiffeners on lateral-torsional buckling resistance

Question: Do a pair of full depth web stiffeners provide restraint to the compression flange of an unrestrained beam?

Please see the answers to this Advisory Question /Answer - Ref No 7146-20 and all Advisory questions on the SCI Information Portal.

The Advisory Desk Service is for SCI Corporate and Sole Trader Members | +44 (0) 1344 636525

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SCI Courses, Webinars and Events

New SCI Training Online

Due to the current situation with social distancing SCI has taken the decision to move its public training on-line for the time being. We are currently offering three new training courses, they include;

Straight to the point: Steel design using the Blue Book
One half day course.
Tuesday 23 June - 0930-1230

This half day course is designed for technicians who want a practical demonstration of how to use the Eurocode Blue Book immediately to select steel members. Read more

£120.00 SCI Members
£150.00 Non-Members

Second-order effects and frame stability
A four hour course taken in 2 x two-hour sessions
Tuesday 7 July - session 1 - 1000 - 1200
Thursday 9 July - session 2 - 1000 - 1200

This course will demonstrate that second-order effects are always present, and how they are managed in design. Starting with members and then moving on to entire frames. Read more

£120.00 SCI Members
£150.00 Non-Members

Nominally Pinned Connections
A four hour course taken in 2 x two-hour sessions
Tuesday - 21 July - session 1 - 1000 - 1200
Thursday - 23 July - session 2 - 1000 - 1200

These two sessions will cover the design of nominally pinned connections, based around the rules in the Green Book. In addition to the standardised connections, the course will address the more involved situations. Read more

£120.00 SCI Members
£150.00 Non-Members

For a description of each course and to book a place go to our events calendar.

Realising the Steel Design,  10 December 2019.

Next SCI Member webinar is;

Curved Steel
Tuesday 16 June

There is no guidance in design standards when steel is curved on plan or in elevation, so other references must be used. This webinar will cover how steel is curved, what steel properties are changed by the curving process and how design expressions may be modified to account for the form of the member and the modified properties.

Register to view this webinar.

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Connection Stiffness
Tuesday 14 Jul

Common UK practice has been to use intuition and experience to assess the stiffness of a connection - nominally pinned or nominally rigid. Previous satisfactory experience is one approach permitted in the Eurocode, but calculation processes are presented and software often has the facility to calculate connection stiffness. The webinar will look at the principles, the calculations and some software to draw comparisons.

Register to view this webinar.

Next Free Webinar for all to view.

Wednesday 10 Jun

Members subject to torsion may be few and far between - but such members need careful consideration if the effects of twist are to be controlled. This webinar will use the SCI's guide on the subject demonstrating by example how the design charts are to be used, and how both resistance and deformation can be calculated.

Register to view this webinar.

Free Member Webinar

FABIG Lunchtime Webinar Series (Fire And Blast Information Group)

SCI's Fire And Blast Information Group (FABIG) next Lunchtime Webinar will be:

3rd June 2020: Are unconfined hydrogen vapor cloud explosions credible? By Darren Malik, BakerRisk.

Future FABIG webinars will be held every two weeks until the end of July, and more details on forthcoming webinars can be found on the Events page of the FABIG website.

Please note that access to the FABIG Webinars is restricted to corporate Members of FABIG. The full list of FABIG Members is provided for information.

For more information on FABIG and the FABIG Webinars, please contact Guillaume Vannier, the FABIG Project Manager at SCI.

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SCI Publications

Our SCI Bookshop is still open for Electronic Publications. Under the current circumstances it is difficult to provide hard copies, however we hope to resolve this very soon. Thank you for your patience.

Visit the SCI WebShop.

New Members

SCI would like to welcome new members;


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