In manufacturing and heavy industrial organizations, the focus of all production facilities is the process and equipment within the structure. When upgrading or expanding systems, engineers attempt to best utilize as much existing space as possible, often resulting in the need to remove or modify the existing building structure. The most common casualty of process modifications is an x-brace, which appears to be “useless”; however, removal of x-braces and other lateral force resisting systems (LFRS) can create a life safety hazard and risks destroying equipment in your facility. These catastrophic problems may not be apparent until it is too late.
An x-brace is part of a structure’s LFRS and is typically used to resist wind, seismic loads and other less common types of lateral loading. The brace is how the forces applied in a horizontal direction at floors or the roof are transferred to the ground. (Seismic works slightly differently, but for the purposes of this discussion, we will ignore this.) Due to life safety considerations, the current building code in Ohio requires buildings be designed to a mean recurrence interval of 700 years (5% probability of exceedance in 50 years) for wind and two-thirds of the 2,475 year (2% […]