Do Structural Steel Connectors Have to Be Made From Steel?

No-one can foresee accidents in a building’s construction but most times they can be prevented. The majority of structural accidents usually occur because of loose connections. In cases where a joint connects to a beam, which in turn is connected to a column, failing to provide a tight and sturdy connection could lead to inconceivable damage, not just to the structure but also to the property, and could even endanger people’s lives.

For a more efficient approach to structural safety, most steel structures should be using steel connectors. It’s the structural engineer who provides the building plans and it’s he who should give clear and precise instructions on the steel connectors which are needed. These specifications should then be followed to ensure that the steel structure is properly connected for everyone’s safety. However, what you may not know is that structural engineers don’t usually design the connectors that they use.

Historically, it’s always been the role of the steel fabricator to create the various types of steel connectors that are needed for a project. How it works usually, is that the fabricator gets the different sizes of connectors which the engineer needs and then fabricates them for the right fit. Afterwards, the engineer checks them and approves their use. It sounds a long-winded process, but it’s what works for steel structures already built.

Understanding the difference between pin connectors and fixed connections

Ensuring the right fit of the connector should always be key to any design and if that means fabricating certain types for each user, then that’s the best way to go. We can’t stress enough the importance of these steel connectors in building a structure that is robust and sturdy. It’s also crucial to understand the difference between pin connectors and fixed connections. While it may seem that a fixed connection is the best type to use, pin connectors also have their uses.

Sometimes, the beam that’s bolted to a column may need a pin connector. This allows for the angles created along the beam to be adjusted. By using a pin connector the beam can be securely placed and while it’s not possible to move it up or down or in and out, it can be rotated just a tiny bit, which could make all the difference. When using a fixed connector, on the other hand, it’s impossible for any rotation to take place, and while in many cases this is good, sometimes a structure may need the beams to be rotated just slightly to adjust them.

All of the above possibilities in steel structures rely on the use of steel because of one fact – it’s the most reliable material for safe structures. Always talk to your fabricator if you have any concerns or questions about steel to ensure the best outcome for your project. You can call Metro Steel on 07 3204 1000 or drop by our facility at Kabi Circuit, Deception Bay and speak to us face to face.

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