January 13, 2014
University Lofts Cold Formed Steel Project, Binghamton, NY
The University Lofts in Binghamton, NY is a cold formed steel framed building 6 stories high. The project consists of a replacement for a six story section of an old department store that burnt down, and a two story addition on top of the rear of the existing building. The main thing about the structure is it is completely cold formed steel. The sections are all custom roll formed on a Howick Machine, and the trusses and wall panels are pre-fabricated in Winchester, VA and trucked up to New York. The roll forming and prefabrication was being done by Vanguard Steel and we did the structural engineering.
What I like about this system is the freedom I have as a designer. Look at this truss:
The web is cut automatically by the forming machine, and if you look at the crimping in the flanges of the top and bottom chords, that is done too as part of the roll forming. Even the holes for the screws are cut by the Howick machine.
Here’s some photos of the process:
The easiest way to explain this is to show this video:
Since everything is custom cut directly from the shop drawings by the machine, there is much less labor, and very little waste. It allows very fast construction. I like the system because it fabricates directly from the shop drawings to the machine, which provides more assurance that my design is being followed. I don’t have to worry about all the members being put in the right place, the connections being done correctly, or the right size members being used.
In addition, the trusses like the ones I designed would be next to impossible to do with standard cold formed steel construction – to cut out the flanges and lips in the top and bottom chords and cut the webbing would be horribly time consuming for labor and time. Yet, this type of truss is phenomenally strong and allows us to make long spans and carry heavy loads. Using this system they are exceedingly easy to fabricate.