University Programs

NSSBC Clarifications

2018 Official Clarifications

Clarifications are based on the 2018 Official Student Steel Bridge Competition Rules 
All clarifications have been reviewed and approved by the Rules Committee.

Full Index of Clarifications

Click on each section below to read the posted clarifications.

NSSBC Clarifications

1. Mission and Summary

There are no clarifications for Section 1 at this time.

2. Introduction

There are no clarifications for Section 2 at this time.

3. Problem Statement

Q3.1.  Would a team be disqualified for circumventing the intent of the competition if a rule was intentionally violated (e.g., member dimensions)?  Luke Nazaroff, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

A.  Yes.  This would be determined by the head judge at the competition site.  [3, 8.2.2.2]

4. Eligibility

There are no clarifications for Section 4 at this time.

5. Safety

There are no clarifications for Section 5 at this time.

6. Scoring

Q6.1.  REVISION TO RULES.  Was specification 6.2.6 incomplete in the first posting of the 2018 SSBC Rules?  SSBC Rules Committee

A.  Yes.  Before August 28, there was an error in the Rules document available at www.aisc.org/nssbc.  The Rules at that site are now correct.  [6.2.6]


Q6.2.  Does the definition in specification 6.2.3, Total Weight = Measured Weight + Weight Penalties, imply that in revised specification 6.2.6, Total Weight - Measured Weight = Weight Penalties?  Tommy Gagné, Ecole de Technologie Supérieure 

A.  Yes.  [6.2.3, 6.2.6]


Q6.3.  Our team wants a fun theme for our bridge.  Would we be disqualified for using copyrighted material, such as that of the Walt Disney Company?  Arno Cheng, New Mexico State University

A.  That would not be grounds for disqualification.  The effect of thematic material on your display ranking will be determined by judges at the competition.  You are responsible for obtaining whatever permission or license is required by the owner of the copyrights.  [6.2.1.1, 6.2.1.2, 6.2.1.3]


Q6.4.  To what precision will deflections be measured?  Abe Yelon, New Jersey Institute of Technology

A.  That depends on the measuring device provided by the ASCE student chapter that is hosting your conference.  Contact information for host student chapters is at www.asce.org/studentconferences.  [6.2.4, 6.2.6, 11.5.2]

7. Schedule of Competition

There are no clarifications for Section 7 at this time.

8. Material and Component Specifications

Q8.1.  Will there be a penalty for a member that fits in the box described in specification 8.2.2.2 but exceeds one or more of the stated dimensions?  Laxman Dahal, Howard University

A.  No penalty if the member fits in the box in any orientation and can be put in the box with no force other than gravity.  [8.2.2.2]


Q8.2.  Is it legal if the vertical load test triggers release of energy previously stored in a member (for example, by pre-stressing), causing the member or bridge to change shape or dimension?  Travis Shoemaker, Lafayette College

A.  This is likely to result in disqualification for circumventing the intent of the competition, part of which is building a bridge that is functional, stable, and stationary.  At a minimum, it would be penalized as a violation of specification 8.2.2.1.  [3, 8.2.2.1]


Q8.3.  Is a nut considered to be mechanically altered if it is welded to a member?  Mathew Peters, California State University Fresno

A.  No, assuming that the nut is not altered in some other way, and that enough of the nut remains visible so that it appears hexagonal and compliance with specifications may be verified.    [8.2.2.1, 8.2.4.1, 8.2.4.2, 8.2.5, 9.5]


Q8.4. Are loose and welded bolts required to be fully threaded?  Lee Peringer, Western New England University

A.  Loose bolts and externally threaded parts of members shall be threaded completely around the circumference, but are not required to be threaded for the full length.  [8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.3, 8.2.3.2]


Q8.5.  Would there be a penalty for a connection that incorporates a spring even if the spring does not engage before loading?  Joshua Boudreau, Oregon Institute of Technology

A.  Yes.  As a minimum, there would be a penalty for non-compliance with specification 8.2.2.1 because a spring is inherently flexible.  However, a judge could rule that the spring circumvents the intent of the competition, resulting in disqualification.  [3, 8.2.2.1]


Q8.6.  May an externally threaded piece of steel that is not a bolt be welded to a member?  Devon Sanborn, University of Wisconsin Platteville

A.  Yes.  The threaded piece becomes part of the member.  [8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.3, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.5]


Q8.7.  May bolts be welded to members?  Scott Darrow, University of Central Florida

A.  Yes.  Bolts welded to members become parts of those members and are referred to as "externally threaded parts" and the members themselves as "externally threaded."  Bolts welded to members are not "loose bolts."  [8.2.2.1, 10.2.3]


Q8.8.  How precise is the box implied by specification 8.2.2.2?  Ruby Roman, University of Southern Florida

A.  Precision varies since each conference will have its own box for checking compliance with that specification.  A member must fit into the box provided by the conference host without forcing.  Since neither box nor members can be fabricated to perfectly exact dimensions, there is a significant probability that a member fabricated to N inches will not fit in a box built to N inches.  Members should be dimensioned to accommodate realistic tolerances.  [8.2.2.2]


Q8.9.  May an additional small piece of steel be used at a member-to-member connection?  Jiachen Zhang, Dalian University of Technology

A.  Yes.  If that supplementary small piece is welded to a member, it is considered to be part of that member.  If it is not welded to a member, it is considered to be a separate member and is governed by all specifications and regulations pertaining to members.  [8.2.2.1, 9.4.1, 10.3.7, 10.4.2, 10.4.3]

9. Structural Specifications

Q9.1.  Will deck bridges be tested for clearance?  Laxman Dahal, Howard University

A.  Yes.  [9.3.4, 9.3.8, 9.3.9, 12.5]


Q9.2.  In a previous year, our team was penalized because our bridge did not have bolts through every pair of contact surfaces.  Will that be required in 2018?  Nick Sabatini, College of New Jersey

A.  No.  Please disregard rules from previous years.  Rules are changed every year.  The 2018 competitions are governed by the 2018 Rules.  [9.4.1]


Q9.3.  May a stringer vary in width and shape along its length?  Cody Gastel, Bradley University



A.  Yes, but stringers shall be contiguous and not interfere with passage of the clearance template.  Furthermore, the tops of the stringers shall be free of discontinuities except those permitted by specification 9.3.10.  [9.2.1, 9.3.8, 9.3.9, 9.3.10]


Q9.4.  Are the stringers required to be two inches wide?  Julia Campbell, University of Texas Arlington

A.  No.  Stringers may be any width that fits within the two-inch wide rabbets in the template and allows unobstructed passage of the template.  [9.3.8, 9.3.9]


Q9.5.  Is there a violation if the template or decking extends laterally beyond the outside edges of the stringers?  Laxman Dahal, Howard University

A.  No.  The stringers shall fit in the rabbets.  [9.2.1, 9.2.2, 9.3.8, 9.3.9]


Q9.6.  May sections of stringers be parts of members that have other functions?  Levi Wolfe, University of Wyoming

A.  Yes.  [9.2.1, 9.3.6, 9.3.8, 9.3.9, 9.3.10]


Q9.7.  Is there a violation if part of the bridge extends beyond the vertical plane defined by the ends of the stringers?  Erik Woelfle, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

A.  Not a violation.  The longitudinal extent of the bridge is limited by the boundaries of the construction zones.  [9.3.6, 9.3.7]


Q9.8.
  How many connections that comply with specifications in sub-sections 9.4 and 9.5 are required to connect two members that are in contact with one another at several places?  Andrew Hauersperger, Trine University

A.  One.  [9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.3, 9.4.4, 9.5]


Q9.9.  Can a steel pin secured with a Cotter key be used in a member-to-member connection?  Gustavo Rivera, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico

A.  Members that touch one another shall be connected by at least one loose bolt secured with a nut or by an externally threaded part of a member secured with a nut.  Loose bolts shall comply with specifications in sub‑sections 8.2.3, and nuts shall comply with specifications in sub-section 8.2.4.  The connection could be augmented with a pin, but if the pin is not welded to a member, it would be considered to be a separate member and would be governed by all specifications and regulations that apply to members.  Similarly, a Cotter key would be considered to be a separate member.  [8.2.1, 8.2.3.1, 8.2.3.2, 8.2.4.1, 8.2.4.2, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.3, 9.4.4]

10. Construction Regulations

Q10.1.  May a damaged bolt be drilled out?  Ken Allard, University of Vermont

A.  Yes, but only during timed construction or during the connection repair period described in sub-section 9.4.  The drill must be cordless.  The drill, bits, and any and all other tools used to remove the bolt and/or nut must have been in a staging yard at the start of timed construction.  [9.4, 10.1.12, 10.2.3, 10.6.1, 10.6.2]


Q10.2.  May a constructed portion in contact with several footings be divided into separate constructed portions, each of which is in contact with one of those footings?  Hamed Salman, Ecole Polytechnique Montréal

A.  Yes.  [10.1.14, 10.3.10, 10.3.12]


Q10.3.  What would be the penalty if a builder attaches a tool to his or her footwear prior to the start of timed construction and then drops both into the river during construction?  Shirley Knott, University of New Orleans

A.  Construction cannot start if a tool is held by or attached to a builder or to a builder's clothing, which includes footwear.  Construction will be stopped if an article of clothing, including footwear, is removed from a builder.  There will be a penalty if a tool touches the river.  [10.1.12, 10.3.3, 10.4.2, 10.6.1]


Q10.4.  May a builder inside a construction zone partially support a constructed portion while installing a member?  Hamed Salman, Ecole Polytechnique Montréal

A.  Yes, but the constructed portion must also bear on a footing.  [10.1.8, 10.1.14, 10.3.7, 10.3.10, 10.3.12]


Q10.5.  Is "clothing" defined as something that a builder wears at all times during timed construction?  Travis Shoemaker, Lafayette College

A.  "Clothing" is not defined in the rules; the usual usage and definition are intended.  Builders are wearing all articles of clothing at the start of timed construction and continue to wear them for the duration.  [10.3.2, 10.6.1]


Q10.6.  Can clothing touch the ground?  Michael Bennett, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A.  There is no penalty for clothing touching the ground as defined by regulation 10.1.9.  There will be a penalty for clothing touching the floor outside the site boundary or the river.  Clothing, which includes footwear, shall not be removed from a builder during timed construction.  [10.1.3, 10.1.4, 10.1.9, 10.3.3, 10.4.1]


Q10.7.  May a constructed portion be partially supported by contact or connection with a builder's clothing (e.g., tool belt)?  Craig Gray, George Mason University

A.  There is no regulation that specifically prohibits or penalizes this, although it must be done safely in the opinion of a judge.  An item that is not typical clothing, and bears on the ground, and partially supports a constructed portion will result in disqualification for circumventing the intent of the competition, specifically that temporary piers are not permitted.  [3, 5, 10.3.3, 10.3.12, 10.6.1]


Q10.8.  May cable be used as a tool?  Irma Colunga, Technológico de Monterrey

A.  Yes.  Tools are not required to be rigid.  [10.1.12, 10.2.3]


Q10.9.  May a builder's clothing or pouch fully support a constructed portion if the builder is not touching the bridge?  Miles Barber, Cooper Union

A.  No.  Each constructed portion must bear on a footing.  [10.1.8, 10.1.11, 10.1.14, 10.3.10, 10.3.12, 10.4.2]


Q10.10.  May a builder serve as a temporary pier?  Irma Colunga, Technológico de Monterrey

A.  Yes.  A builder or builders in a construction zone may support part of the weight of a constructed portion.  The constructed portion also must bear on a footing.  [10.1.8, 10.1.14, 10.3.10, 10.3.11, 10.3.12]


Q10.11.  May a tool be supported by or attached to a constructed portion or member?  Cody Gastel, Bradley University

A.  Yes, but it must be removed before the end of timed construction.  [10.1.12, 10.2.3, 10.9.1]


Q10.12.  May a constructed portion support another constructed portion?  Zach Cuddihy, University of Alaska Anchorage



A.  Yes.  When several constructed portions are in contact with one another, they are considered to be a single constructed portion.  [10.1.14, 10.3.10, 10.3.12]


Q10.13.  May a connected combination of tools weigh more than fifteen pounds if each individual tool in the combination weighs less than fifteen pounds?  Ryan Stevens, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A.  Yes, but the combination shall be assembled after the start of timed construction.  [10.2.3, 10.61]


Q10.14.  May a constructed portion that is supported on a footing temporarily extend over part of a transportation zone?  Ruby Roman, University of South Florida

A.  Yes, but the constructed portion shall be in contact with a footing at all times, and builders must be in the construction zone when touching the constructed portion.  Furthermore, the construction process shall be deemed safe by the judge.  There will be a penalty if the constructed portion touches ground outside the footing.  [10.1.14, 10.3.1, 10.3.10, 10.3.11, 10.3.12, 10.3.13, 10.3.14, 10.4.2]


Q10.15.  May a builder attach a tool to his or her boot during timed construction and then use that attached tool to partially support a constructed portion of the bridge?  Miles Barber, Cooper Union

A.  Yes, but if any part of that tool touches the floor while supporting a constructed portion, the team will be disqualified for circumventing the intent of the competition, specifically that temporary piers are not permitted.  If any part of that tool touches the floor while not supporting a constructed portion, there will be an accident penalty.  The constructed portion shall be in contact with a footing at all times.  [3, 10.1.8, 10.1.12, 10.1.14, 10.3.12, 10.4.2]


Q10.16.  Is a tool that is in contact with a constructed portion considered to be part of that constructed portion?  Hamed Salman, Polytechnique Montreal

A.  No.  [8.2.1, 10.1.12, 10.1.14]


Q10.17.  May a builder in a transportation zone pass a member to a builder in the construction zone who is partially supporting a constructed portion?  Connor Eshleman, University of Alaska Anchorage

A.  Yes.  [10.1.5, 10.1.6]


Q10.18.  May a builder on one side of the river pass a member, tool, nut, or bolt to a builder on the other side of the river?  Max Schumacher, North Dakota State University

A.  Yes, but the item shall not be thrown.  [10.3.5, 10.3.8, 10.3.9]


Q10.19.  Construction site boundaries and features may be marked with tape.  Is the intended line the center of the tape or one of the edges?  Xiaolei Chu, Southwest Jiaotong University

A.  The host student chapter is responsible for laying out the construction site, typically following directions found at 2018SSBCTapingPlan.pdf (Adobe PDF format) and 2018SSBCTapingPlan.dxf (AutoCAD 2007 DXF format).  You may want to ask the host student chapter for confirmation.  [10.1.3, 4.2.2]

11. Load Test Instructions

Q11.1.  Is the deflection measuring device for the decking unit at L2 initialized before or after that decking unit is placed?  Hamed Salman, Ecole Polytechnique Montréal

A.  Both deflection measuring devices are initialized after both decking units and the 100-pound preload are on the bridge.  [11.5.1.1, 11.5.3, 12.2]


Q11.2.  Where is sway measured?  Fugeny, Zhejiang University

A.  Sway is measured at the center of the right side of the decking unit located at L1.  The measurement should be made as close as possible to the top of the stringer, which is the same level as the bottom of the decking unit.  [11.3, 11.4.2, 11.5.1.3]

12. Equipment Provided by Host

Q12.1.  Why is the minimum clearance under the bridge lower this year?  SSBC Rules Committee

A.  The reduced clearance accommodates 3-ton automotive jack stands as safety supports, which may be more convenient than other options.  If your student chapter is hosting and uses jack stands, please tell the Rules Committee how well they worked and if there were difficulties.   [9.3.4, 9.3.5, 11.2.3, 12.3]

13. Interpretation of Rules

There are no clarifications for Section 13 at this time.

14. Judging

There are no clarifications for Section 14 at this time.

15. Appeals

There are no clarifications for Section 15 at this time.

16. Index of Definitions

There are no clarifications for Section 16 at this time.

APPENDIX

  • Construction Site
  • Bridge Diagrams
  • Lateral Loading Plans
  • Vertical Loading Plans