Monday, September 14, 2015

Refining some definitions and changed the name of the group

{Previously posted in LinkedIn group I created: Pre-Engineered manufactured structural Building products, and have since shut down. It having a membership of 30 people. Most of these people also in my group Pre-Engineered Manufactured Building Systems Group which has over 2000 members.}

Pre-Engineered manufactured structural Building products, is the term I have adopted to refer to objects which are designed once and then made and installed many times. But this raises issues of suitability. The Australian standard for scaffolding identifies 2 issues (from memory) as follows:

  1. Systems
  2. Installation
I am adding components to this to bring to three situations:

  1. Components
  2. systems
  3. Installations
Components may be assembles or single part objects. A bolt is a component but typically used as part of an assembly comprising: bolts, nut and washers long with the items being clamped. Similarly a balustrade comprises of posts and rails, these are components, the balustrade is a system, and a specific application on a specific building project is an installation.

Whilst components and systems may be suitable in their own right they may not be suitable for a specific application. A balustrade for example may be suitable for a residential application but unsuitable for a public installation subject to crowd loading. Similarly a kit for a sail-shade may be suitable for one wind environment and unsuitable for another. Now several such sail-shade kits used to construct a larger area sail-shade represents a building system.

In-order to use a sail-shade kit as a component of a larger structure, need adequate information about the structure to make assessment of its suitability.

The emphasis of this group is the design, or rather selection of structural building products that are supposed to be complete in their own right, no custom variations are permitted, but the products may be used as components in larger assemblies. (eg. structural sections are components, as are bolts)

What information and quality assurance is missing from the existing industry and what improvements are required?

A fixed size carport or garden shed is here considered a component, on condition that custom variations do not impose any structural changes. If want to install doors wider than the spacing of the frames, and have to remove columns to achieve, then no longer a finished product, it is now considered a building system and the specific building needs to be designed.

The garden shed as selection issues and installation issues to be resolved. Likewise the carport. Further more a carport attached to an existing building introduces requirements for assessing and strengthening of the existing structure. Which may be complicated by lack of information about the otherwise pre-engineered or proprietary building system: timber framing (AS1684) and cold-formed steel framing. The carport kit a component but the existing house a building system.

The issue for me is that the existence of these products doesn't remove the need for design or engineering assessment. Educated in mechanical and manufacturing I find the lack of quality in both design and manufacture in this sector of the building industry appalling. Production supposed to be moved off-site into a factory to improve quality not reduce it.

So more education and information required on manufactured buildings, and developing the industry that supplies.


A few weeks back was going to collapse back to one group to simplify where to put things, but discovered actually acquired some members, so change the name slightly instead. But not really any help to my thoughts. My perception been slightly distorted by concepts of PEMB/PMBS, and also the scaffolding code referring to systems and installations.

A product, is the end result of a production process, and usable in its own right. Thus a brick is a product, as is a structural steel section, and SIP's, and likewise a water tank and a garden shed.

The public typically doesn't want to waste time on design and engineering, and wants development approval and building permits to be issued as quickly as possible. They therefore go to manufacturers of sheds. But then start to introduce variations, imposing a need for custom design and engineering.

So have an industry that emerges based on selling a product, but otherwise is really selling a building system. However, given that I have a generic sense of product and process, the building system is also a product.

When I originally created the two groups, the idea was one be focused on cold-formed steel sheds and similar buildings, and this group here be for everything else. But there are too many generic issues across all the products and systems, that I don't want to repeat topics.

A SIP is a product in its own right, it may be used to construct a larger building assembly, which is also a product in its own right, or it may be included as a component in a building system.

The issue for this group is that the SIP is useless, and cannot become a part of larger assembly or building system, unless it has a proper technical specification. A stock standard building built from SIP's is also useless unless it has a proper technical specification. The technical specification is required in order to assess the suitability of the SIP for installation in some larger assembly. For the building a technical specification is required to assess the site specific and environmental parameters, along with actual building purpose and select an appropriate building fit-for-function.

So decided to return to original focus of structural products that are manufactured, also not overly concerned whether classed as building: since also relates to water tanks, scaffolding, industrial racking, bridges and multitude of other structures.

The issue is expect to buy off-the-shelf and put to use with no formal design input, no custom features are permitted which influence structural performance.

Apologies for any inconvenience, but this should be the last change for the name of this group.