ARTICLE

Cross Bracing: Why It’s Important

Cross bracing is a commonly utilized piece of a building’s structural system, particularly in industrial, warehouse and commercial buildings. It is sometimes removed to make room for door and window installations, or at building expansion lines.

It also can be damaged due to vehicular collisions. Does this sound familiar? Do you have cross bracing at your facility that has been removed or damaged? Here’s why you should care.

Why is Cross Bracing Required and Where is it Located?

Cross bracing is used to keep buildings stable when the wind blows and during seismic events, such as an earthquake. It also limits the building’s lateral movement, reducing the likelihood of damage to the structure’s components and cladding. Typically constructed from steel rods, angles or tubes, cross bracing includes diagonal members in a vertical plane, placed in the shape of an X. Cross bracing is typically located in line with building columns and may be concealed within non-structural wall systems.

Evidence of Missing or Damaged Cross Bracing

Cross bracing can be viewed as a nuisance if a door or window needs to be added to a wall where cross bracing is present, or when planning a building expansion and the cross bracing is located in a less than ideal spot. Often times the result is the cross bracing gets removed to make room for the building modifications which can put the building at-risk for collapse and damage. A similar risk exists if there is damaged cross bracing in a building.

Evidence of missing cross bracing includes vacant bolt holes through columns and gusset plates near the base of the column. Evidence of damaged cross bracing includes bent diagonal members that comprise the cross bracing and partially removed portions of one or more of those members.

As a structural engineer, I am able to visually survey your building for evidence of missing or damaged cross bracing, review drawings of your building to determine if and where cross bracing should be present and assist in determining cross bracing relocation, replacement and repair solutions.

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Is your building at-risk for collapse and damage to components and cladding due to missing or damaged cross bracing? Are you looking for options to relocate, replace or repair cross bracing?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Schneider, PE is a structural engineer and project manager at Origin Design. He has experience designing both industrial and commercial facilities, and is highly experienced in the evaluation of existing structures to determine structural reinforcing requirements for building additions, truck dock additions, and other proposed modifications to existing structures.

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