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Antiquated Structural Systems

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Instructor information: Matthew Stuart, P.E., F.ASCE

Course Length: 1.5 Hours

This webinar was co-sponsored by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute and ASCE Continuing Education. 

Purpose and Background

All of the information provided in this course has been previously published from a series of separate articles in the STRUCTURE Magazine jointly distributed by the NCSEA, CASE and ASCE/SEI.

This course is intended to present a compilation of the available knowledge on a number of antiquated structural systems including the S.M.I. reinforced concrete slab system, clay tile arched floors, one and two-way tile and unit masonry joists systems, prefabricated clay tile and concrete block framing systems. In addition, information is provided about the early development of precast concrete, structural steel composite stub girder construction and post-tensioned concrete. Additional topics include wrought and cast iron, open web steel joists and other miscellaneous systems.

The designs of the antiquated structural systems presented in this course were originally based on the basic engineering theories and construction experience of their respective era. Load tables were also commonly developed and published by most of the manufacturers. The problem with all of these systems, when encountered in an existing building, is the absence of existing drawings. This makes it difficult to determine the internal reinforcement and, subsequently, the load carrying capacity of the system. This course will identify the many different types of products that have been in use at one time or another and, therefore, assist the users in their research of an antiquated or archaic system.

Learning Outcomes

Engineers involved with renovation and rehabilitation projects need to be aware of the specifics of antiquated structural systems in order to develop non-destructive and unobtrusive solutions. Information concerning antiquated structural systems provided by this course has been compiled and made available because the history of older structural systems is far less documented than the history of architecture. This course will provide the user with an understanding of at least 10 different antiquated structural systems that one can typically encounter in urban areas of the U.S. At the conclusion of this course, attendees will be able to have a better understanding of the many different types of older structural systems that are still encountered in urban areas.

Webinar Benefits

  • Become knowledgeable of different types of antiquated structural systems
  • Become knowledgeable of the history of pre-stressed concrete construction in the U.S.
  • Become knowledgeable of history and development of stub girder construction in the U.S.
  • Learn about the early development and use of post-tensioned concrete construction in the U.S.
  • Become familiar with the history and development of open web steel joists
  • Become familiar with the methods used to evaluate and modify existing open web steel joists

Intended Audience

Structural engineers and architects will benefit from this webinar.

Webinar Outline


  • Definition of antiquated structural systems
  • Reasons for the need to understand in situ antiquated structural systems
  • Methods of investigation
  • Reasons for the lack of historical information
  • Outdated local code live load requirements
  • Options for solutions to retrofitting existing buildings

Antiquated structural systems

  • S.M.I. reinforced concrete slab system
  • Clay tile arched floors
  • One and two-way tile and unit masonry joists systems
  • Prefabricated clay tile and concrete block framing systems
  • Precast concrete
  • Structural steel composite stub girders
  • Post-tensioned concrete construction
  • Wrought and cast iron
  • Open web steel joists
  • Miscellaneous systems including masonry, draped mesh, brick arch, and reinforced concrete floor framing