FHWA Resource Center
Structural Committee for Economic Fabrication (SCEF)
Date: November 2, 2004
Subject: Meeting Minutes: Structural Committee for Economic Fabrication (SCEF) – October 27, 2004 meeting – Harrisburg, PA
TO: SCEF members
The following are minutes of the meeting of the Structural Committee for Economic Fabrication (SCEF), held on October 27, 2004 at the Hilton Hotel, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Please refer to the attached Agenda. The following issues were discussed; numbering corresponds to agenda items. Action items are shown in bold print.
1. Individual introductions were made. Lou requested that members and attendees review the subcommittee lists circulated and consider joining any subcommittee groups of interest. New members and attendees were also asked to review the general committee roster and provide any updates or revisions, as required.
2. Lou asked for any revisions to the minutes from the last meeting in Dover, Delaware. Hearing none, a motion was made by Bruce Nelson to approve the minutes, as distributed. Bill Via seconded the motion.
Ronnie Medlock (Texas DOT) was introduced. Ronnie is the chairman of the AASHTO-National Steel Bridge Alliance Steel Bridge Collaboration that met in Harrisburg preceding the SCEF meeting. Ronnie gave an overview and history of the NSBA organization and an update on the work performed thus far. Ronnie noted the organization had produced and published eight documents, either guides or guide specifications aimed at producing standardization in the steel bridge industry. The collaboration standards and other information are available on the web at www.steelbridge.org.
3a. Anna Petroski gave an overview of the status of an AISC Component Certification standard being developed. Several SCEF DOT, industry and FHWA members are participating in the task group developing the standard. The intent of developing a new standard is to address those fabrication shops State DOT owners would like to have certified, but whose actual fabrication doesn’t fit well with the existing simple and major bridge certifications. To date, the draft ‘component’ standard is written as a ‘core’ certification with individual supplemental endorsements for basic fabrication, HLMR bearings and expansion joints. The standard requires production of mock-up samples and witness points (NDE, for example). Other endorsements are being considered for sign structures, light poles, railing, drainage items, and possibly for aluminum fabrication. Lou Triandafilou asked Anna to provide a copy of her presentation for posting on the SCEF website. (Note: this has been provided).
Anna also discussed a change to the AWS CWI program being developed. The change will provide for an additional CWI certification endorsement as a ‘qualifier - inspector’ who will be certified to test welders.
3b. Tom Macioce distributed a draft of his subcommittee’s work to standardize design/fabrication of overhead sign structures. The written specification is to be used in conjunction with the 209 series of drawings that the SCEF adopted at the February 2004 meeting. Tom reported that NJ, MD, DE and PA attended the last meeting. The fabrication details developed by the subcommittee are nearly finalized, however they feel it is beneficial to continue to meet periodically.
Craig Beissel, also from PENNDOT, then made a presentation on high mast poles that illustrated a variety of issues contributing to failure either at or near the pole to base plate connection. Lou Triandafilou asked Craig to submit a copy of the presentation to him to post on the SCEF website.
· Craig’s presentation is currently posted on PennDOT’s FTP site at:
ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us under the directory, “transfer.” The file name is, “Status of PA’s High Mast Light Poles – Oct.2004.ppt.” The presentation will be available at that site until mid-December.
· Representatives from each State DOT (whether present or not), industry and other interested SCEF members are requested to review the referenced draft and return comments to Tom Macioce by the end of December.
Following Craig’s presentation, Ronnie Medlock mentioned that Texas DOT is initiating a pooled fund study to study and evaluate sign structures. Karl Frank will be the lead researcher. Any DOT’s interested in contributing to the study (approximately $25,000), are asked to contact Ronnie for more information.
(Note: After the meeting, Ronnie furnished the following information relative to the study: The report for TxDOT’s previously completed work can be found at:. The pooled fund solicitation
Another related report that has been recently completed on this subject is the Iowa report on collapsed high mast light poles. This is available by contacting, email@example.com. Lou also noted that a report (attached) is available from Steve Cook, Michigan DOT, on completed research from Michigan Tech University, titled, “Optimization of Cost and Performance of Overhead Sign Support Structures (OHSS),” dated October 2003, and “Comparison of Steel Overhead Sign Support Structures,” dated November 2003. The study looked at details from 38 states and evaluated performance based on fatigue life analysis according to the AASHTO 2001 specifications.
3c. John Weisner gave an update on the Regional Welder Certification program that has been spearheaded by Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA). John indicated that MDSHA had circulated their flux core certification program (self-shielding and gas-shielding) for review and comment. Many States responded that they had not received the FCAW welder certification program. John indicated that he would ask Bruce Abernathy to re-circulate it. Denis Dubois indicated that Maine DOT has had a similar certification program for several years that is working reasonably well. VDOT and PENNDOT both responded that they accept the SMAW welder certification program adopted by the SCEF a few years ago, but don’t specify or require it.
After the States receive the FCAW welder certification programs from MDSHA, they are requested to return comments to Bruce Abernathy or John Weisner by the end of December.
Anna Petroski also gave an update (attached) on where AWS is taking their certified welder program in the next 2-3 years. It is being called the “Next Generation” program. SCEF members were encouraged to review the merits of this program in light of the discussion above by John.
4. John Yadlosky made a presentation on Florida DOT’s implementation of the AASHTO/NSBA steel bridge collaboration documents. John worked with Andy Kottenstette (Robert W. Hunt Co.) to develop and implement the collaboration standards for Florida DOT. John had 10 hard copies available and asked that anyone who didn’t receive a copy, but wants one, to contact him. Unlike Texas who re-titled the documents to fit into their specifications, Florida decided to ‘cut and paste’ portions of the documents they wanted into their specifications. In addition, John presented Florida DOT’s Quality Assurance inspection manual developed largely from the AASHTO/NSBA S4.1 QA/QC document.
(Note: Prior to the SCEF meeting, the individual members of the Collaboration agreed to meet with 1 state in each of 4 regions of the country in order to explore in detail a process that could be used to implement the national documents.)
5. Subcommittee Progress Reports by Chairpersons
5a. Marv Blimline from MDSHA said that he reviewed the various states’ Large Movement Expansion Joint standards, but didn’t find a lot of commonality. Marv indicated that he had located a folder from a previous chairman with work already completed by the subcommittee that would be beneficial. He will begin finalizing details and have something to report at the next meeting in February.
5b. Patti Kiehl from PENNDOT reported that she recently distributed a draft LRFD version of the SCEF HLMR Bearings specification to subcommittee members for review. Comments will be obtained in time to have a final copy ready for distribution and balloting at the next general committee meeting in February.
(Note: A question has arisen as to whether or not it would be acceptable to attach a guide bar to a guided pot bearing by using a partial penetration (PP) weld on 1 side of the bar, and a fillet weld on the other side. SCEF section 184.108.40.206.2 only states that the guide bar can be machined, welded or bolted, but does not provide any specifics about welding. According to AASHTO, transversely loaded PP welds are not allowed under fatigue, yet the pot bearings resist lateral loads due to normal environmental loads (i.e. wind) prescribed by AASHTO.
One of our States justifies the use of PP welds in this instance by first referring to AASHTO section 220.127.116.11.4, which states that transversely loaded PP groove welds shall not be used; and then referring to section 18.104.22.168.1 which states that these provisions shall be applied only to details subjected to a net applied tensile stress.
We would like to hear from each of the SCEF States regarding their interpretation of these AASHTO provisions, and whether or not they are allowing PP welds on guided bearing bars.)
5c. Eric Kline (KTA Tator) provided an update on the NSBA collaboration activities for the Structural Coatings subcommittee report. Guide specification S8.1 has already been produced and published by AASHTO, addressing only inorganic zinc as the primer. Since then, comments have been received to add organic zinc. The task group has revised the document to include IOZ and OZ materials and will retain the original document title (S8.1) rather than renumber it; this comment was received and will be adopted in consideration of those states that simply referenced the original document. The revised document is currently being reviewed and balloted by SSPC. If adopted, the document will be supported by NSBA, AASHTO and SSPC.
(Note: Subsequent to the meeting, VDOT submitted comments on the document, expressing their support for it, but noting they would need to review it with their fabricators to determine the affect on current practices. They did raise an issue over Table 5.2 in the document, surface cleanliness requirement for chlorides. A test method is not specified, only a reference to an SSPC document that allows various methods. Depending on the sensitivity of the method used there could be different results. AASHTO/NSBA will take up discussion on this issue on a national scale).
In preparation for the next SCEF Coatings subcommittee meeting in February 2005, all States should review the guide document and be prepared to discuss with industry the testing currently being performed for surface contaminants, and by which methods.
Eric also described another project approved for Phase I (proof of concept) and funding from FHWA. This project will involve both laboratory and actual project application, monitoring and testing of a single coat paint system. Coating thickness would be limited to 9-10 mils, total thickness. The subcommittee identified the three ‘best’ individual vendors with a single coat candidate paint system. Laboratory testing of the paint system (specimens subjected to rigorous environmental/durability testing) will begin soon. The subcommittee is also attempting to identify interested DOT’s willing to apply the paint systems to new bridges (shop applied) during the first quarter of 2005. The project would allow the DOT to be compensated for the cost of the paint, testing and evaluation (annually for 5 years). The DOT would be required to compensate the contractor for the actual application.
State DOTs are requested to respond directly to Mr. Kline regarding their interest in participating in the referenced 1-coat paint study. (Note: The MDSHA has already expressed their interest in participating).
5d. Joe Bracken gave an update on the High Strength Bolt subcommittee. Joe noted that the subcommittee was aware of a parallel effort underway by the NSBA Task Group 4 for certifying inspectors of shop-applied bolts, but that the SCEF subcommittee was focusing on project installed bolting personnel qualifications and criteria. The minutes from the subcommittee’s last task group are attached.
The SCEF members, and particularly the bolting subcommittee, are requested to review the AASHTO/NSBA steel bridge collaboration’s document on bolt inspector certification, and return any comments to Joe by the end of December.
7. Tom Calzone gave a presentation on the effectiveness of different solvents and solutions used to remove fastener lubricants as measured by paint adhesion. Tom’s presentation showed that although a variety of cleaning materials provided acceptable results, an inexpensive foaming window cleaner solution yielded excellent results and was easy to apply and remove. Lou asked Tom to forward to him a copy of his presentation for posting on the resource center’s web site (copy attached).
8. Recently, the SCEF general committee adopted standardized PQR and WPS welding forms for steel fabrication. Since then, PENNDOT, in cooperation with the Robert W. Hunt Co., has developed similar standardized PQR and WPS forms for aluminum fabrication. Joe Bracken distributed copies of the PENNDOT forms. Bob Horwhat will forward electronic copies of the forms for distribution with the meeting minutes (copies attached).
Members are asked to review the forms and provide any comments back to Joe or Bob Horwhat by the end of December. It is anticipated that these ‘aluminum’ forms can be added to the existing steel forms.
9/10. Member states were asked to report on their use and implementation of HPS. This item was coupled with item 10, use of electronic submittal of shop drawings :
Two more HPS bridges were put in service last year and one is currently under construction using an innovative corrugated HPS web (Presentation attached). This brings PennDOT’s total to about 10 HPS bridges. PENNDOT revised their Design Manual to encourage the use of electronic submittal of shop drawings for initial reviews. Final approval is still a ‘paper’ copy.
Two projects were fabricated last year; one a hybrid which had some issues with ‘cleaning’ where they found the HPS flanges harder to (blast) clean than the webs; the other was a total HPS girder project with few issues. There are no HPS projects currently under design. Maine encourages the use of electronic submittal of shop drawings, even through final approval.
One HPS project designed last year enabled the DOT to reduce the structure from 3 spans to 2. Hybrid girders were designed for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Maryland likes the concept of submitting shop drawings electronically, but is unable to implement it due to technology (training/equipment) issues at the DOT level.
Virginia routinely utilizes HPS (hybrid) girders for spans 150’ and above. There are currently two or three projects in design. Virginia supports electronic exchange of shop drawings but it has seen very limited use.
Their first HPS bridge project is currently under construction – a 4 span hybrid girder bridge. Delaware has not permitted electronic submittal of shop drawings yet.
One HPS 100W with HPS 70W combination hybrid girder project is currently under design. North Carolina would like to initiate electronic submittal of shop drawings and is currently addressing related issues with their fabricators.
HPS girders have been used on several projects over the past few years and there are some currently under design. New Jersey utilizes HPS70W wherever it’s cost effective. Use of electronic shop drawing exchange or distribution was not covered at this meeting.
New York State DOT and the Thruway Authority have produced several HPS bridges, however, there are none currently under design. Some are still in fabrication. HPS design guidance was requested. New York reviews approximately 90% of their shop drawings internally and reported that they use the electronic mode of exchange extensively.
Texas’s use of HPS is similar to VDOT, i.e. hybrid (HPS flanges) girders and pier caps. Texas has not seen a lot of electronic submittal of shop drawings, but encourages its use.
11. Member states were asked to report on current steel bid prices and the use of price adjustment clauses:
The State is still seeing a range in bid prices on any given day. For example, on a recent project, one contractor had a $1/lb price for structural steel, whereas another (quoting from the same steel supplier) had a $1.30/lb cost. PENNDOT did work with the industry to develop an index based special provision, however, it was declined by the contractor’s association because it included a provision for cost adjustment (rebate) to the State if the index went up. The contractor’s association was concerned that although the index may go up, their suppliers cost may remain unchanged due to volatility. Discussions are ongoing concerning current projects that were affected by the change in the first quarter of the year.
The steel price issue is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. VDOT has worked with contractors on some ongoing projects to compensate them for some of the cost. 100% state funds were utilized. Currently, there are cost escalation clauses in some new contracts, but unsure if these are index or invoice based.
The Contractor’s Association is pursuing compensation/relief for those projects that were impacted during the first quarter of this year. Monetary relief has been provided on 2 major projects. An index/invoice system was utilized. 100% state funds were utilized. Contractors did not want clauses on new contracts.
Contactor associations have approached the DOT but nothing is yet planned. Delaware has experienced inflated bids in the recent past due to lack of bidders. Overall bids have increased by about 30% in the past 3 years, but the State is unsure whether this was related specifically to the escalation of steel costs; perhaps due to a shortage of contractors bidding their work.
New contracts do not include escalation clauses. Existing contracts can be supplemented on a hardship basis, however, none have occurred to date. The state will negotiate rates if the contractor provides proper documentation.
An indexing system is being utilized for new projects. An invoice-based adjustment is being considered for projects that have already been let. These are posted on the New York DOT website and labeled articles 401 and 402. This has been implemented at the Commissioner’s level.
No escalation or adjustment provisions have been utilized. However, the Department is currently in negotiations with their contractor’s association in an attempt to develop a system.
A special provision is included in contracts for payment of plate steel when the fabricator receives it. No cost escalation language is included, however.
Alex Wilson, ISG Inc, stated that in his opinion there is no reason to think that current trends in the steel market will change. He believes the market will remain unpredictable with large price fluctuations influenced by a lot of factors, including global (China) demands.
NSBA is currently lobbying FHWA to approve a guide specification for a steel price escalation clause. AASHTO has posted a recommended escalation formula on its web site, www.aashto.org
State DOTs are requested to review the recommended AASHTO price escalation formula and submit any objections/comments to AASHTO.
- VDOT inquired as to whether there was interest in adding curved girder (diaphragm) details to the standard girder detail drawings that have previously been developed by SCEF. The consensus was that this would be beneficial. Charles will work with John Yadlosky (HDR Inc) and Paul Rimmer (NYSDOT) on this issue, through the AASHTO/NSBA steel bridge collaboration task group addressing standard details.
Tom Macioce indicated that PENNDOT has already developed some details and that he would forward this information to Charles.
- Lou informed the group that a specification was being developed for ultrasonic impact treatment of fatigue prone welded details. The standard will be submitted to AWS and AASHTO for review. KS and VA currently have specifications.
- John Weisner indicated that the agenda for the metals session of the QA workshop has not yet been finalized. The agenda is due to PENNDOT, who is hosting the workshop, within two weeks.
Action Item: Anyone with ideas to contribute for the metals session should forward them to John as soon as possible.
As a final reminder, it was noted the next general committee meeting will be held on Tuesday morning, February 8, 2005, from 8 AM until noon, in conjunction with the Quality Assurance workshop in Carlisle, PA. The Structural Coatings Subcommittee will meet on the afternoon of the 8th, from 1 pm to 5 pm. More details will follow.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 4:30 PM.