Design Method for Steel Gerber Systems

Vincent Malazo (M.Sc.)

Dr. Imanpour

Gerber systems are the common structural steel roof framing systems used in Canada to resist gravity loads in light single-storey steel structures such as shopping centres, industrial buildings, or warehouses. Gerber systems consist of continuous I-shaped beams with overhanging cantilevers that sit on the top end of columns and simply connected within the span. There are several concerns regarding the application of the systems in practice. The collapse of the roof in a supermarket in Burnaby, BC in 1988 showed that bracing strategies are an important issue in the design of Gerber systems. Although design methods for such structural systems are provided by the Structural Stability Research Council Guide in the U.S.A., the application of such methods imposes several limitations that may lead to non-conservative or over-conservative solutions. Thus, it is required to develop a new design method validated against the results of a full-scale experimental program. In this M.Sc. research project, the stability of Gerber systems will first be evaluated using experimental testing and numerical simulation methods, then a practical design method will be proposed for the framework of the Canadian design standard. The results obtained from a full-scale experimental test program will be used to validate the proposed design method. As Gerber systems are widely used in Canada, the introduction of a practical and efficient design method based on full-scale experimental validation and numerical studies will provide Canadian structural design engineers with a reliable design tool; which will in turn benefit building occupants and owners as well as the steel construction industry.

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Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering

University of Alberta

Edmonton, AB, Canada