Structural Steel Connections as Example of Delegated Design

September 1, 2021

Standard bolted connection Photos: Blair Bisson P.Eng DIALOG, used with permission

Structural steel connections are one component of construction that is frequently delegated. All structural engineers are capable of design connections, whether they are bolted, welded, riveted, or held together with a ‘miracle’ adhesive. The RPR presents the complete engineering and geometry for the connections, and any additional performance related criteria as generic technical information in the construction documentation.

This allows the SRP to complete the design solution based on best cost and project schedule. The RPR can choose to develop a single set of details or inform the SRP of a single design solution option when there is a preference for one type of connection instead of another. And the final design solution is submitted as a sealed and signed shop drawing prepared by the fabricator’s SRP authenticating  the details are ‘engineered documents.’

Architectural bolted connection.

Delegated design can also be associated with other work where the final outcome of the design solution cannot be validated until after the procurement process is complete, and often includes:

• Structural precast concrete;

• Wind loadbearing steel stud framing;

• Metal building systems;

•Custom curtain wall assemblies;

Architectural welded connection.

• Fall arrest systems, and façade access (window cleaning) apparatus;

• Structural seismic restraints, and anchoring for nonstructural building components;

• Fire suppression systems; and

• Fire alarm systems, to name a few.

Rather than having the RPR detail each design solution; which adds cost to the project; does not provide cost assurance; and does not address potential unique design solutions arising from a fabricator, the choice has historically allowed for the design solution as a sealed and signed shop drawing submitted by the fabricator’s SRP.

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