Structural engineers typically design steel connections that follow prescribed building code requirements based on lab empirical testing, computational model verification, and engineering judgment. However, many projects have situations where the connection design must be validated using engineering judgment or even perform a more comprehensive connection analysis.
These practices have several challenges:
- First, when designing non-typical connection designs not explicitly covered by the building codes, the engineer may not have the experience to just use engineering judgment unless they use time-intensive, computational modeling and simulation methods.
- Second, creating such computational models to study and validate connection behavior can consume a lot of time on projects, impacting profitability.
- Third, the reliability of steel connection designs can vary from project to project. In fact, when deviations happen in fabrication and erection, the actual connection behavior may perform quite differently than anticipated. Therefore, engineers are looking for a more accurate, project-specific way of studying connection behavior to better understand their connection designs, while doing so productively.