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Foundations for Metal Building Systems

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Instructor Information: Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE

Course Length: 2 Hours

Sponsored by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute and ASCE Continuing Education  

This is a very effective seminar. Nicely presented.

Purpose and Background

Metal building systems (also called pre-engineered buildings) are designed and manufactured by their suppliers. According to some estimates, these extremely popular structures account for about two thirds of all low-rise nonresidential buildings in the United States. A lot of research and engineering goes into developing design methodologies for metal buildings, but little guidance exists on the topic of designing their foundations.

Some special challenges involved in designing foundations for metal building systems stem from the fact that their primary framing typically exerts significant horizontal reactions on the foundations. In addition, these extremely lightweight structures tend to experience net uplift on their supports. Accordingly, foundations for metal building systems are generally designed to resist a combination of lateral and vertical loads. When the columns are fixed at the bottom, rather than pinned, additional complications arise.

Not all the foundation designers are familiar with these complexities, and some foundation designs for these structures have been either overly complicated or barely adequate (or not adequate at all). This webinar fills the knowledge void by exploring the most common design solutions for pre-engineered building foundations. Among them are tie rods, which can extinguish the opposing lateral reactions, hairpins, which try to incorporate the slab on grade into the lateral force transfer, and many other systems, such as slabs with edge haunches and moment-resisting foundations. The presentation includes several design examples for various design systems.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore the common types of foundations for metal building systems
  • Learn the design methodology for various types of foundations
  • Discover the optimum range of applications for various systems

Webinar Benefits

  • Study the advantages and limitations of common foundation systems
  • Become familiar with some problematic assumptions built into the design of some popular foundation solutions
  • Find out how to estimate column reactions in metal building systems
  • Work through a number of step-by-step design examples
  • Discuss the effects of column base fixity on foundations

Intended Audience

Structural and civil engineers seeking to learn about design of foundations for metal building systems will benefit from this webinar.

Webinar Outline

  • Introduction to metal building systems
  • The main issues
  • Tie rods (with a design example)
  • Hairpins (with a design example)
  • Moment-resisting foundations (with a comprehensive design example)
  • Trench footings, mats
  • Deep foundations
  • Slab with haunch (with a comprehensive design example)
  • Foundations for Quonset Hut-type buildings