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TechBrief Guidance for Evaluated Technologies Project


The NIST TechBrief report series consists of individual report volumes - topical, tightly written, and well-illustrated discussions that address practical problems faced by engineering design and construction practitioners. In FY 2014, one such volume will be produced on the design and construction of Buckling-Restrained Braced Frames.


Objective: Buckling-Restrained Braced Frames (BRBF's) are increasingly being employed in the earthquake-resistant design of steel frame buildings, particularly in areas of moderate to high seismicity. By late-FY 2015, this extramural project will develop practitioner-oriented guidance for the seismic analysis, design, and detailing of BRBF's. The guidance will combine current design approaches employed by leading practitioners with recent cutting edge research findings.

What is the new technical idea? This project will synthesize available practitioner and research information on the key areas associated with BRBF design, analysis, and construction. Areas to be addressed include stiffness and strength characteristics of different BRBF systems and their impacts on linear and nonlinear analytical modeling; capacity design provisions; design and detailing of buckling-restrained braces, adjacent members (including shear links) and connections; anchorage requirements (per AISC 3411 and ACI 318-112 Appendix D); innovative configurations; combined flexural and axial load interaction, and implications for Performance-Based Seismic Engineering (PBSE).

What is the research plan? It is anticipated that NIST will retain a new Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contractor in late FY 2013. NIST will award a task order to this new extramural contractor for developing this TechBrief in late FY 2014. The task order will be structured so that the TechBrief will be developed by a small project team of highly qualified practitioners and researchers, consisting of three to four people. At least one leading practitioner and one leading researcher in the structural steel field, both with BRBF experience, will lead the effort, thus ensuring that both best practices and cutting edge research will be addressed. A small peer review panel of equally well-qualified experts will also be retained.

A detailed research plan, including the names of all project participants, will be developed by the contractor during the task order proposal development process. This project description will be revised immediately following task order award to reflect the additional detail that will be provided.


[1] Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings, ANSI/AISC 341, American Institute of Steel Construction, Chicago, IL, 2010.

[2] Building Code Requirements for Structural Concrete, ACI 318-11, American Concrete Institute, Framingham, MI, 2011


Major Accomplishments:

Recent Results:

These new TechBriefs will be the tenth and eleventh in a series of documents that have addressed the following seismic analysis and design issues:

The TechBrief series has had significant impact on the structural engineering community. The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) provided webinars on TechBriefs 1 through 4 in 2011. In addition, TechBrief No. 2 was the subject of a presentation at the 2009 SEAOC Annual Conference, the subject of an article in Structure Magazine[3] and won the SEAONC Award of Merit in 2010 for Excellence in Structural Engineering. TechBrief 4 was also cited in FEMA P-58[4]. The TechBrief series has received high praise from practicing engineers and the university community as a source of concise information from subject matter experts on important structural engineering topics related to seismic design.

Standards and Codes:

Each TechBrief will be a concise synthesis of recent research results, model building code provisions and recommended design practices as developed by recognized experts in structural steel and reinforced masonry, as appropriate. The document will be completely compatible with existing and developing model building code provisions. The braced frame TechBrief will assist designers in their application of AISC 341 (see endnote i) and ASCE 7[5]. The masonry TechBrief will assist designers in their application of MSJC and ASCE 7[5].


[3] “Steel Special Moment Frames: A Historic Perspective” Scott M. Adan and Ronald O. Hamburger, Structure Magazine, June 2010.

[4] Seismic Performance Assessment of Buildings, Volume 1 – Methodology and Volume 2 Implementation Guide, FEMA P-58, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 2012.

[5] Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE/SEI 7-10, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2010.