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SSBC Rules and Clarifications

2019 Official Rules

Download the Official Rules for the 2019 Student Steel Bridge Competition.

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2019 Official Clarifications

Clarifications are based on the Student Steel Bridge Competition 2019 Official 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.

SSBC 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

There are no clarifications for Section 3 at this time.

4. Eligibility

Q4.1. Are students required to be members of AISC in order to compete in a Regional Event or the National Finals? Andrew Assadollahi, Christian Brothers University

A. No, there is no requirement that team members be a member of AISC in order to compete in the Student Steel Bridge Competition. A team consists of undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the school for which they are representing during all or part of the fall through spring of the current competition academic year. If interested, student membership in AISC is complimentary for full-time students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs at accredited U.S. universities and are studying engineering, architecture or construction management. [4.3.2, 4.3.3]

5. Safety

There are no clarifications for Section 5 at this time.

6. Scoring

Q6.1. Is the name of the school used to identify the bridge required to be the full formal name of the school or can a typical abbreviated version of the school name be used? Kristen Gough, Metropolitan State University of Denver

A. An abbreviated version of the school name can be used provided that the school can be easily identified from the abbreviated version. Abbreviations that are typical of multiple schools are not permitted. A bridge that cannot be easily identified will receive a poor aesthetics rating. The name on the bridge should match exactly the name on the poster. [6.2.1.2, 6.2.1.3]


Q6.2. How are “decorated supports” defined in the context of aesthetics judging? Caroline Best, Western New England University

A. Decorated supports refer to a support structure for the poster or bridge that has been modified in some way to enhance its look. No support structure is allowed for the bridge as aesthetics judging is conducted based on the presentation of the bridge exactly as it will be erected during timed construction. The bridge piers must be in contact with the ground in the same manner as they will be in contact with the footings at the end of timed construction. Aesthetics judging also considers the required poster. This poster can be placed on a stand or support structure provided that the stand or support structure is functional and without any embellishments that are not needed for it to serve its purpose of holding the poster. [6.2.1, 6.2.1.1, 6.2.1.3]

7. Schedule of Competition

There are no clarifications for Section 7 at this time.

8. Material and Component Specifications

Q8.1. Does an externally threaded part need to be a bolt or a nut welded to a member? Sébastien Lépine-Lacroix, Université de Sherbrooke

A. No, an externally threaded part does not need to be a bolt or a nut. An externally threaded part is any threaded piece that is welded to a member and has continuous threads around its full circumference.  [8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.3, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.5]


Q8.2. Can steel cable be used in a bridge? Adam Iturria, Missouri State University

A. No, members that make up the constructed portion of the bridge shall not have flexible parts. [8.2.2.1]


Q8.3. May a member purposefully be designed such that it will not fit within a right rectangular prism of dimensions of 3’-6” x 6” x 4” while accepting the weight penalty associated with Section 8.2? Ben Meseroll, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A. No. Section 3 states that any attempt to gain an advantage by circumventing the intent of the competition as expressed by the rules will be grounds for disqualifying a bridge. [3, 8.2, 8.2.2.2]


Q8.4. Are plates that are used to hold other members together considered members provided they remain rigid? Erin Nebel, University of Colorado - Boulder

A. Yes. A plate or multiple plates welded together constitute a separate member if they are made out of steel, are rigid with no moving parts and are not welded to another member. As such, they are governed by all specifications and regulations pertaining to members. However if the plates are not part of the final constructed bridge, then they are considered tools and are governed by all specifications and regulations pertaining to tools. [Glossary, 8.1, 8.2.2.1, 9.4.1, 10.2.4, 10.3.7, 10.4.2, 10.4.3]


Q8.5. What type of magnet will the judges use to test the steel’s magnetism? Varand Aghakhani, California State University, Long Beach

A. Any permanent magnet that is attracted to steel can be used to determine if the steel making up the bridge is strongly magnetic. The exact type of magnet used is dependent on the host school. [8.1, 12.1]


Q8.6. Are connections with internal threads allowed where the internal threads are not a result of a welded nut? Seth Caudle, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

A. No. The bridge will be disqualified if any bolt or externally threaded part of a member is not secured with a loose or welded nut. Even if the connection is augmented with a loose nut, there will be a penalty of 25 pounds added to the weight of the bridge for each and every threaded hole or member with internal threads. Each individual nut must also be visible for inspection purposes. [Glossary, 8.2, 8.2.4.1, 8.2.4.2, 8.2.5, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.4, 9.5]


Q8.7. Are the threads of a loose bolt or externally threaded part required to be in the shear plane of the connection? Kienan Dalesandro, Pennsylvania State Harrisburg

A. No. Loose bolts and externally threaded parts are not required to be threaded over their full length and there is no restriction in regards to whether the threads are excluded or not excluded from the shear plane. The threads of loose bolts and externally threaded parts do need to extend around its full circumference and the terminal threads need to extend beyond or be flush with the outer face of the nut. [Glossary, 8.2.3.1, 8.2.3.2, 9.4.2]


Q8.8. Are U-bolts considered bolts? Christopher Wongsavanh, California State University, Fullerton

A.  No. U-bolts are not considered bolts within the AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition because they do not have a head. Although not explicitly stated, the rules require bolts to have a head. The length of a loose bolt requires measurement from the bottom of the head to the end of the bolt, which is not possible with a U-bolt. The head of a loose bolt also needs to be in contact with the outer ply of the connection and must be visible. Since U-bolts do not have a head, these rules would be violated. If welded to a member, a U-bolt is considered an externally threaded part of the member. [8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.3, 8.2.3.1, 8.2.3.2, 9.4, 9.5]


Q8.9. May a member be able to fold or be collapsible? Jude Rene Vallon, New York City College of Technology

A.  No. A single member shall retain its shape, dimensions and rigidity during construction and shall not have moving or flexible parts. [8.2.2.1]


Q8.10. May a turnbuckle be used as part of the bridge? Jarad Roschi, Saint Martin’s University

A.  No. The bridge shall consist of only nuts, bolts and members. A turnbuckle is either a member by itself or if welded to a member then it is part of that member. Since a turnbuckle has threaded holes, it violates the rule that holes in members or in parts of a member shall not be threaded. There would be a penalty if a turnbuckle is used as a nut unless it is threaded for its full length and has the external shape of a single hexagonal prism over its full length. [8.2.1, 8.2.2.1, 8.2.4, 8.2.5]


Q8.11. Are bolts with button heads allowed to be used? Carthney Laukon, Saint Martin’s University

A.  Yes. The shape of bolt heads is not restricted, but modifications to bolts, including heads, are penalized. [8.2.3]


Q8.12.
Is play or limited relative motion between connected elements in the bridge permitted in the constructed bridge? Kienan Dalesandro, Penn State Harrisburg

A. Yes, but the decking must be able to be placed such that it does not distort the bridge from its as-built condition and the play in the connection should not reduce the stability of the bridge which will lead to the bridge not being approved for load testing. Each element of the connection, including the connected members, loose bolt or externally threaded part of the member(s) and loose or welded nut must be rigid and made of steel. [8.1, 8.2.2.1, 8.2.3.1, 8.2.4.1, 9.2.4, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.3, 9.4.4, 11.1]

9. Structural Specifications

Q9.1. May the stringers be different lengths provided that they each are at least twenty-two feet long? Alexa Janikowski, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

A. The stringers must be straight and contiguous over the full length of the bridge, such that they can support the decking anywhere along the span. Since the two rabbets of the clearance template, held plumb and perpendicular to the span of the bridge, must be in contact with the tops of both stringers along the full length of the stringers during verification of the passageway clearance, the stringers must be equal length (at least 22 feet in length, but no more than 23 feet). Failure to meet this requirement may lead to the bridge being deemed unsafe to load test by the head judge. Measurements of L1, L2 and S are taken from the east end of the right side stringer as shown in the Lateral Load Test Plan and Vertical Load Test Plan and Elevation Drawings. [9.2.1, 9.3.6, 9.3.8, 9.3.9, 9.3.10]


Q9.2. Does there have to be at least one loose bolt or one loose nut for a connection between two members to satisfy the requirements of Section 9.4.1? Varand Aghakhani, California State University, Long Beach

A. No. A connection satisfying the requirements of Section 9.4.1 can consist of any combination of a loose bolt or an externally threaded part and a loose nut or a welded nut provided that the combination needs to be unscrewed in order to separate the two members being connected. A bolt welded to a member is considered an externally threaded part of that member. [Glossary, 8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.3, 8.2.3, 8.2.4, 9.4.1]


Q9.3. Are the stringers required to be two inches wide? Lukas Barr, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

A. No. Stringers may be any width that fits within the two-inch wide rabbets in the clearance template while allowing the clearance template to pass unobstructed along the stringers length. [Glossary, 9.3.9, 9.3.10]


Q9.4.
May the stringer on the right side of the bridge terminate at the staggered leg leaving a corner of the bridge missing? Callum Langford, West Virginia Institute of Technology

A.   No. The decking unit must be able to be placed anywhere along the bridge span where the bridge span is determined based on the longest side of the bridge. Without a continuous stringer over the whole length of the bridge, the lateral load test will not be able to be conducted for load cases 3, 4 or 5 leading to disqualification of the bridge. See clarification Q9.1 for further information in regards to requirements for the stringers. [7.1, 9.2.1, 9.2.2, 9.3.6, 9.3.7, 9.3.9, 9.3.10, 11.4.1, 11.4.2]


Q9.5. Is there a violation if the head of a bolt rests on the top side of a stringer? Absalon Pineda, University of Arizona

A.  Yes. The tops of the stringers shall be free of discontinuities except those permitted by Specification 9.3.11. The clearance template must be able to be slid without obstruction along the full length of the stringers with the tops of the rabbets in contact at all times with the tops of the stringers. A bolt head resting on the top of a stringer will obstruct the passage of the clearance template and would be subject to the penalties specified in Specification 9.3. A bolt head resting on the top of a stringer also may violate the requirements of Specifications 9.2.1 and 9.2.3. [9.2.1, 9.2.3, 9.3, 9.3.9, 9.3.10, 9.3.11]


Q9.6. If two members are in contact with one another at multiple locations, how many connections are required that comply with Sections 9.4 and 9.5? Austin Doucet, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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


Q9.7. May parts of members that have other functions also function as sections of stringers and thereby count toward the stringer’s overall length? Paul Ryan, Florida Institute of Technology

A.  Yes, but the stringer, including any section that is part of a member that has another function, shall be contiguous and not interfere with passage of the clearance template. [9.2.1, 9.3.6, 9.3.7, 9.3.8, 9.3.9, 9.3.10, 9.3.11]


Q9.8. As discussed in Section 9.4.3., how is "completely surrounded by the member" defined with respect to hole requirements for holes where a loose bolt or externally threaded part of another member will be placed? Erin Lafferty, The College of New Jersey

A.  A hole that will receive a loose bolt or externally threaded part of another member must be continuously surrounded by material associated with the member in which the hole is placed. In other words, there shall be a closed, continuous perimeter of material around the hole no matter the shape of the hole. Such holes in the outer plies of a connection shall be small enough that the nut or bolt head cannot pass through. As such, the only way to insert or remove the loose bolt or externally threaded part of another member is by inserting it into or taking it out through the hole. A nut welded to a member satisfies this condition as it becomes part of the member once welded to it and forms a closed, continuous perimeter of material around the hole. [8.2.2.1, 8.2.5, 9.4.3]


Q9.9. May the shape of the stringer vary along its length? Corey Albrecht, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

A.  Yes. There is no restriction on the shape of the stringer, but the stringer shall be contiguous and not interfere with the passage of the clearance template. Furthermore, the tops of the stringers shall be free of discontinuities except those permitted between adjacent members by Specification 9.3.11. See also Clarification 9.3. [Glossary, 9.2.1, 9.3.9, 9.3.10, 9.3.11]


Q9.10. What size hole is required in order to be able to inspect a connection that is embedded in a member? Taylor Knight, University of Texas at Tyler

A. The hole size must be large enough to be able to easily see each individual nut, head of a loose bolt and threaded end of a bolt or member that is part of the connection so that the connection requirements of Section 9.4 can be checked. [9.4, 9.5]


Q9.11. May more than two members be connected with a single bolt? Shoshanna Johnson, University of Alaska Anchorage

A. Yes. [8.2.2.1, 8.2.2.2, 9.4.1, 9.4.2, 9.4.3, 9.4.4, 9.5]


Q9.12. When checking the straight, clear passageway requirements, will the clearance template be lifted to avoid cross-bracing or other obstructions that are below the top of the stringer? Darby Glaab, The United States Air Force Academy

A. No. Throughout checking the straight, clear passageway requirements, the tops of both stringers shall remain in contact with the top of the rabbets along the full length of the stringers. Any obstruction to the passage of the clearance template along the top of the stringers, even if that obstruction is below the tops of the stringers will be subject to a weight penalty. [9.3, 9.3.9, 9.3.10]


Q9.13. May two nuts be used on the same bolt if the purpose of the first nut is to act as a spacer? Marie Dela Cruz, Colorado State University

A. No, each individual loose nut or the head of a loose bolt must be in contact with the outer ply of the connection. Two nuts on a single bolt will place one of the nuts or the bolt head not in contact with the outer ply of the connection. [9.4.4]


Q9.14. May two members that are not in contact with each other after timed construction come in contact with each other during loading even if they are not connected with a bolt? Shoshanna Johnson, University of Alaska Anchorage

A. Connection requirements under Section 9.4 are checked with the bridge in its as-built condition after termination of timed construction and before the bridge is moved from the construction site or load tested. As such, members coming in contact with each other due to deflection under lateral or vertical load are not subject to these requirements. [9.1, 9.4, 11.5.2]


Q9.15. If a welded bolt breaks during timed construction, may a builder replace the bolt during timed construction with a loose bolt? Nicholas Belmonte, University of Buffalo

A. Replacing a broken welded bolt with a loose bolt would not be allowed if it requires an alteration to the bridge (e.g.. drilling a hole) during timed construction as bridges are not to be modified after the die is rolled to select the load location for the competition. If a hole is preexisting and allows a loose bolt and nut to complete a connection that satisfies the requirements of Section 9.4, then the replacement of the broken welded bolt with a loose bolt would not be considered a modification to the bridge. A loose bolt that breaks during timed construction may be replaced with another loose bolt. [7.2, 9.4, 11.1]

10. Construction Regulations

Q10.1. May a tool support a constructed portion of the bridge provided the tool does not touch the ground? Sébastien Lépine-Lacroix, Université de Sherbrooke

A. Yes, but the constructed portion shall be in contact with a footing at all times. [Glossary, 10.3.7, 10.3.10, 10.3.12, 10.4.2]


Q10.2. May a tool be attached to an article of clothing or a pouch? Sébastien Lépine-Lacroix, Université de Sherbrooke

A. By definition, a pouch is considered an article of clothing. A tool may be attached to an article of clothing, but construction cannot start if a tool is held by or attached to a builder or to a builder's clothing. A penalty will be applied if the tool is not returned to the ground in the appropriate staging area at the end of timed construction. There also will be a penalty if the tool touches the ground outside the staging area, even when attached to the clothing of a builder.  [Glossary, 10.1.4, 10.4.2, 10.6.1, 10.9.2]


Q10.3. May builders be in any location within the staging yard and in any position (sitting, kneeling, standing, etc.) at the start of timed construction? Sébastien Lépine-Lacroix, Université de Sherbrooke

A. Yes. There is no restriction on the location or position of builders within the staging yard at the start of timed construction provided they are not touching members, tools, nuts, or bolts.  [10.6.1]


Q10.4. Does a tool assembled after the start of timed construction need to weigh less than or equal to twenty pounds? Zack Coleman, Lafayette College

A. No, there is no weight restriction on a tool that is assembled after the start of timed construction. However, the requirements of Section 10.2.4 must be satisfied prior to the start of timed construction, and 10.9.2 must be satisfied at the end of timed construction. An unassembled part of a tool prior to timed construction refers to a tool that will be combined with another tool after the start of timed construction.  [Glossary, 10.2.4, 10.2.9]


Q10.5. May a tool be used to transport a single member outside of the staging yard? Moshe Carron, University of Illinois at Chicago

A. Yes, if it is done safely as determined by the judges. [10.1.4, 10.2.4, 10.3.1, 10.3.7, 10.3.14]


Q10.6. May a tool have foldable, collapsible or hinged components and if these components are detachable is the tool still considered a single tool? Moshe Carron, University of Illinois at Chicago

A. Yes, tools are not required to be rigid. The tool is considered a single tool if its components are attached to it prior to the start of timed construction, regardless of whether they are detachable, and must meet the requirements of Section 10.2.4. [Glossary, 10.2.4, 10.9.2]


Q10.7. May a tool touch the ground within a footing? Moshe Carron, University of Illinois at Chicago

A. No, Section 10.4.2 states that a tool cannot touch the river, ground outside the staging yard or floor outside the site boundary. Aside from builders, only a member or constructed portion of the bridge may touch the ground within a footing. [10.4.2]


Q10.8. Must a tool fit within a right rectangular prism with dimensions of 3’-6” x 6” x 4” only before and after timed construction as stated in Sections 10.2.4 and 10.9.2? Ryan Harrington, California Polytechnic State University

A. Yes, there are no dimensional restraints on tools during timed construction. [10.2.4, 10.9.2]


Q10.9. May a constructed portion of the bridge support, either partially or fully, another constructed portion of the bridge? Nathan and Emerson, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

A.  Yes. Prior to contact between constructed portions of the bridge, each constructed portion must be in contact with a footer. Once one constructed portion of the bridge is in contact with another constructed portion of the bridge, they are considered a single constructed portion, regardless of whether there is a connection. [Glossary, 10.1.6, 10.3.10, 10.3.12]


Q10.10. May temporary shoring that is in contact with the river or ground outside the staging yard be used to assist in the construction of the bridge? Dakota Chauncey, University of Colorado Denver

A. No. Temporary shoring is considered a tool and tools are not allowed to touch the river, the ground outside the staging yard or the floor outside the site boundary without penalty. Construction will be stopped if a tool is deliberately placed in contact with the river or ground outside the staging yard. [Glossary, 3, 10.4, 10.4.2]


Q10.11. May a constructed portion of the bridge be in contact with the ground provided that it is also in contact with the footing? Seth Caudle, University of Tennessee Chattanooga

A. No. A constructed portion of the bridge cannot touch the river, the ground outside the staging yard (except within the footing) or floor outside the site boundary without penalty. Construction will be stopped if a constructed portion of the bridge is deliberately placed in contact with the river, the ground outside of the staging yard or floor outside the site boundary. [10.4, 10.4.2]


Q10.12. What distance away from the construction site must non-builders and non-judges stand while viewing timed construction? Seth Caudle, University of Tennessee Chattanooga

A.  The designated boundary around the construction site and location for team members and associates of the team, coaches, faculty, advisers and spectators not building the bridge during timed construction is set by the host school based on the local conditions and will be clearly designated. This location will be an appropriate distance from the construction site to ensure the safety of spectators and to prevent interference with the competition. [10.1.2, 10.2.1, 10.3.14]


Q10.13. May a tool be supported by or attached to a constructed portion of the bridge or member? Ian Pierce, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A. Yes, but it must be removed before the end of timed construction. [Glossary, 10.2.3, 10.2.4, 10.9.1, 10.9.2]


Q10.14. May a tool be adhered to a builder, builder's clothing or builder's pouch? Ian Pierce, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A. Yes, but construction cannot start if a tool is held by or attached to a builder, builder's clothing or builder's pouch. At the end of timed construction, all tools must be in contact with the ground in the tool section of the staging yard or a penalty will be applied. See also Clarification 10.2. [Glossary, 10.2.3, 10.2.4, 10.6.1, 10.9.1, 10.9.2]


Q10.15. Is a pouch required to be made of flexible material and would a pouch not initially placed upon the builder at the start of timed construction be considered a tool? Ian Pierce, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A. There is no restriction on what material makes up a pouch. A pouch is defined as an optional article of clothing that is used to carry, nuts, bolts and tools and is worn by the builder before, during and at the end of timed construction. An object that serves the same function as a pouch, but is touching the ground in the tool section of the staging yard at the start of timed construction is considered a tool and is subject to all the requirements of a tool. [Glossary, 10.2.4, 10.3.3, 10.6.1, 10.9.1, 10.9.2]


Q10.16. Are there restrictions on sponsor logos on the building teams clothing or personal protective equipment? Shoshanna Johnson, University of Alaska Anchorage

A. No, provided that the logo is appropriate and respectful. [4.1,10.1.5]


Q10.17. Once a constructed portion of the bridge involving multiple members is created within a footing, can it be completely removed from that footing, transported within the construction zone, and then joined to another constructed portion?  Hamza Alshalabi, Florida International University

A. No. At no time may a builder or builders support the entire weight of a constructed portion. A constructed portion consisting of multiple members shall be in contact with a footing at all times. A single member may be removed from a footing or constructed portion by a builder or builders. [10.1.6, 10.3.7, 10.3.10, 10.3.12]


Q10.18. Must the battery of a drill driver or impact driver be removed from the rest of the driver before the beginning of timed construction, even though the entire assembly fits inside the box? Zack Coleman, Lafayette College

A. No. A tool may consist of an assembly of parts prior to timed construction provided that the assembly fits within the box and weighs no more than twenty pounds. [Glossary, 10.2.4. 10.6.1, 10.6.2, 10.9.2]

11. Load Test Instructions

Q11.1. Is the weight of the decking counted towards the total load applied to the bridge during the vertical load test? Shoshanna Johnson, University of Alaska Anchorage

A. The weight of the decking does not count towards the 2500 pounds of load that is placed on the bridge for the vertical load test. During the vertical load test, the bridge must hold the weight of the decking plus 2500 pounds. [11.5.1.1, 11.5.2, 11.5.3, 12.2, 12.4]

12. Equipment Provided by Host

There are no clarifications for Section 12 at this time.

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.

APPENDIX

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