Higher education campuses across Utah are constantly expanding and changing with continuous growth. According to FEMA Office of Response and Recovery Mapping and Analysis Center, these campuses are situated in high and very high seismic zones identified through a program that encompasses sophisticated geospatial analytics.

When Salt Lake Community College announced their plans to renovate and expand the Jordan Campus Student Center, DuraFuse Frames recognized this project as an opportunity to offer instant added value through its unique, seismic protection system which was incredibly timely in light of the recent earthquake (M5.7 | March 18, 2020) which demonstrated, in real time, the true value and performance DuraFuse Frames systems bring.

The existing Student Center at the Salt Lake Community College Jordan Campus is now undergoing this renovation and expansion utilizing the DuraFuse Frames DF360 connection. Once complete, the facility will accommodate student engagement and support services in one location, thus providing a better overall experience through creating space to gather with a sense of place, belonging, and unity with large open-span construction and seismic framing enhanced with the DuraFuse Frames DF360 system.

The SLCC Jordan Campus Student Center is a 2-story, 50,000 square foot, higher education building with complicated geometries. Project launch began in 2019 with design, detailing, value engineering, and fabrication. DuraFuse Frames collaborated closely with the entire design and construction team throughout the process. Construction onsite commenced early in 2020 and continues on a smooth trajectory towards its scheduled finish line in 2021.

DuraFuse Frames was great to work with. They were able to adjust to the varying conditions in the building and provided unique details at their connections when needed. They were a true partner.

~Jerod Johnson, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. | Principal, Reaveley Engineers | Adjunct Professor, University of Utah

DuraFuse Frames brought tremendous value to this signature campus project by providing significant weight savings while accelerating fabrication and erection schedules during the value engineering process coupled with a competitive licensing fee and the following outlined benefits of incorporating this innovative product:

  • Decreased frame weight
  • Decreased fabricated frame cost
  • Faster construction, erection, and fabrication
  • Absence of field welding and absence of costly CJP shop welding
  • Elimination of seismic bracing required by ANSI/AISC 341 Sec. D1.2
  • Significant reduction in protected zone requirements per ANSI/AISC 341 Ch. D1.3 and I2.1
  • Ability to depart from high-ductility seismic compactness limits, thus further enhancing economy
  • Considerable decrease in owner inspection costs
  • Better performance through increased joint stiffness and frame optimization
  • Straightforward design and widely available materials and design/detailing tools
  • Outstanding fragility curves leading to unmatched resilience characteristics
  • Repairability

I think that the benefit of DuraFuse Frames is two-fold. First, their new connection provides engineers with another alternative, another option. Moment frames work in many situations and the value of another connection cannot be understated. Plus, DuraFuse connections allow for a wider range of acceptable sizes that allows for lighter weight structure. Second, DuraFuse provides a resilient connection that should be repairable after an event.

~Jerod Johnson, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. | Principal, Reaveley Engineers | Adjunct Professor, University of Utah

So, what exactly motivated the development and ingenuity of DuraFuse Frames?

Current seismic design practices reflect the approach of a “designated damage zone”. Effectively, in moment frames, certain regions of the beams, and occasionally the corresponding connecting elements, are designated sacrificial elements, and we expect them to be damaged by proportioning them to respond inelastically during an earthquake so as to dissipate seismic energy. These zones are typically referred to as “fuses” and are explicitly reflected in AISC 341. Following the devastation from the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, this design practice and philosophy was instantly challenged as this event illustrated the consequences of sacrificing structural elements. While few structures collapsed, many code-compliant buildings that survived the shaking were damaged beyond repair and ordered to be demolished. This is not an efficient or effective building practice in regions where seismic activity is known and anticipated.

DuraFuse Frames is a high-performing IMF/SMF system delivered with unparalleled frame optimization, design, and erector/fabricator services. This method is an all-shop-welded/field-bolted solution, offering significant simplicity, savings, constructability, and performance characteristics. The unique seismic resilience performance, quantified in SP3, is fueled by the proprietary replaceable fuse mechanism. This means the DuraFuse Frames system can be repaired simply through the replacement of the fuse plate at the bottom of the connection where it is easily accessed, thus allowing people and businesses to resume their lives faster and with substantial costs savings.

Exploring further the added value as it relates to the protected zone – which generally creates a sizeable area that other trades must identify, protect, and work around – DuraFuse Frames dramatically reduces seismic protection zones and high-ductility member bracing per AISC 341.

In the photo below, note the beam with the white sticker located immediately above the highlighted DuraFuse DF360 connection in yellow. Utilizing any other system, this project would have to be redesigned as no other product on the market would allow this beam to be located this close to the seismic protection zone.

As anyone with construction experience readily knows, redesign equates to higher costs through added design time, detailing processes, and schedule delays. Capitalizing on these benefits, DuraFuse Frames is also a suitable solution for moderate seismic and high-wind applications in a variety of building typologies. To find out how DuraFuse Frames can benefit your project and which DuraFuse Frames product is right for you, call us or apply our system directly in Bentley RAM or CSi ETABS.

Would you recommend DuraFuse Frames on future projects?

Definitely. They have become a tool in our tool chest.

~ Jerod Johnson, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. | Principal, Reaveley Engineers | Adjunct Professor, University of Utah

The Enterprise – Utah’s Business Journal | April 13, 2020

Patricia Johnson | Vice President, Marketing

Patricia holds a triple major Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Communications, Political Science, and English. Patricia is responsible for marketing, public relations, and community outreach.