Although steel frame buildings are generally sound and durable, they are still subject to face a lot of pressure due to lift, torsion, and compression. With frequent exposure to such elements, a steel building may become susceptible to lateral displacements that can affect its structural integrity.
In order to reduce the pressure imposed on a steel building, a bracing system is used during its construction in addition to its secondary framing. What is a bracing system? A bracing system is utilized to make a steel building more stable in lengthwise direction by preventing the building from moving.
Accordingly, when properly integrated, a bracing system can also increase a steel building’s ability to withstand high winds as well as seismic forces caused by earthquakes, not to mention that they can serve a secondary purpose of improving the shape of the building.
The type, size as well as amount of bracing required in a steel building will be determined by several factors including the terrain and location of the structure and the weight loads that the building is expected to bear.
However, almost all steel frame buildings come with standard flange braces that attach to girts, purlins, and eave struts and then connected to the main structural members. Flange braces help prevent the main frame from buckling under the load and also aid in aligning purlins and eave struts for easier roof installation.
Bracing methods for steel buildings Apart from the standard flange bracing, additional bracing systems and methods can also be used on steel frame buildings depending on the loads they are expected to bear. These include the diaphragm action, x-bracing, fixed base columns and brace to interior main frame just to name a few.
Diaphragm action is a bracing method that uses the diaphragm resistance of the building’s wall panels to transfer lateral loads to the foundation. These lateral loads usually refer to wind and earthquake loads, though other loads like hydro static and earth pressure can also be resisted by diaphragm action bracing-bracing is used when diaphragm action is either inadequate or not allowed. It uses a cable or rod bracing in between the columns, which in turn help transfer longitudinal forces into the foundation. Fixed base columnist an ideal alternative if the openings on the wall of a steel building do not allow for X-bracing.
A fixed base column aids in transferring load to the foundation through its base plate condition. However, because this type of bracing requires a fixed base, a special foundation design is necessary to accommodate this type of bracing. Brace to interior main frame is an ideal bracing method for a steel building with an open frame end wall.
Once attached, the bracing helps support the weight of the roof at the end of the open bay, while transferring the lateral forces to the main frame’s first interior. Getting the right bracing system is essential to ensuring the overall structural integrity of a steel building. As such, if you are planning to own one for whatever purpose you have in mind, be sure to consult your steel building manufacturer about the need for a bracing so as to avoid problems down the road. Jessie Moore is an avid writer who is particularly interested in writing insightful posts about steel building technology and construction. She is also a regular contributor for Steel Buildings UK.