How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (2023)

They look like geometric patterns, a patchwork quilt design or even the connecting-dot children’s game of yesteryear, but bracing plans or layouts are no child’s game. They are serious stuff. Bracing plans are a segment of larger structural plans created to determine where to place the components of a bracing system to withstand wind loads and seismic pressure. Making sure that these plans are calculated and prepared with precision is vital to the structural fitness of a building. Qualified, experienced and accurate partners are needed to provide architectural design drafting, with high quality and more detailed architectural CAD services, to ensure that bracing plans are beyond reproach.

How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (1)

Although building stability can be provided either entirely or partially by reinforced concrete cores, bracing elements, or members, can help with this. Bracing elements bolster the strength of a building against winds, seismic activity, such as earthquakes and tremors, and the load of the building’s components.

Steel-braced frames ensure the stability of the building when the steel bracing is bolted, and steel-braced cores can be economical when construction is on a tight deadline.
In addition, steel-braced cores can be installed along with the remainder of the steelwork.

Grid lines are drawn, or bracing plans generated, across the length and width of buildings to position bracing elements. To facilitate a robust seismic performance, certain precautions in developing bracing plans must be considered:

· They must run in two orthogonal directions. Typically, they match the wall layout. In timber-framed buildings, they must be parallel to the external walls.

· The lines must be spaced evenly, when possible.

(Video) What is Bracing & Why Bracing is Used? How Bracing carry Load?

· Lateral loads can be transferred between bracing lines in timber-framed floor and ceiling construction with standard or typical detailing.

· Bracing lines should accommodate bracing elements anywhere on the lines.

Braced frames, a structural system in buildings subject to lateral loads, generally consist of structural steel, which works well for the requirements of tension and compression on these frames. The primary function of bracing is to provide stability and resist lateral loads, either from diagonal steel members or from a concrete ‘core’. For bracing frames, beams and columns are designed only to support vertical load, since the bracing system should carry all lateral loads. Sometimes, the placement of bracing frames or elements may clash with the façade and the location of doors and windows. Those structures that display post-modernistic styles sometimes feature bracing elements as part of their internal or external design.

There are two bracing systems that resist horizontal forces acting against the structure of the building: vertical and horizontal bracing. To transfer horizontal forces safely to ground levels, bracing provides load paths between column lines, in vertical planes. Buildings with bracing frames need to have vertical bracing in three planes to deal with directions in plan and to resist torsion around a vertical axis. Now, to transfer horizontal forces to vertical planes of bracing, bracing is required in horizontal planes on each floor as load paths. In some cases, the floor itself can provide the resistance required. Also, roofs may need bracing.

It is important that vertical bracing resists the forces of wind loads. To do so, bracing members should ideally be sloped at approximately 45°, which effectively braces the systems against member, vertical and lateral forces, and the connections between bracing and beam/column junctions should ideally be compact. If the bracing is too narrow and the inclination of bracing members are too steep, the sway sensitivity of the building will increase. Bracing systems that are wide will result in greater building stability.

When it comes to horizontal bracing systems, two types are used in multi-storey braced frames. They are:

· Diaphragms

· Discrete triangulated bracing

Usually made of plywood or oriented strand board in timber construction, metal deck or composite metal deck in steel construction or a concrete slab in concrete construction, a diaphragm acts to distribute horizontal forces in a bracing frame. It is required to connect two levels. Typically, the floor may be a sufficient diaphragm, without using a bracing system. If forces acting on a diaphragm are transferred to columns directly (a slab on columns), it is crucial that the capacity of the columns to hold the slab load must be precisely calculated.

(Video) Building Design & Analysis: Load Paths for Lateral Loads and Bracing Design

The transfer of wind loads to the bracing system from the walls and roof are dependent on ceiling and floor diaphragms, specifically the depth of the diaphragms. A deep diaphragm transfers wind loads more effectively than narrow or long diaphragms.

Bracing on the roof level is known as wind girders, and they may be needed to carry horizontal forces on top of columns in the absence of diaphragms.

Primary to its efficiency, a diaphragm must be continuous over an area. When the ceiling of one room is higher than the rest of the building’s ceiling, modifications must be calculated due to the loss of continuity. Even steps on a floor can break this continuity. Other features that break continuity include bends in ceilings, ridges, hips, valleys and coved ceilings.

In circumstances where the floor cannot be used as a diaphragm, discrete triangulated bracing is employed. In its basic form, this consists of using triangulated steel bracing in a horizontal system, acting along each orthogonal direction. These systems span the vertical bracing.

For both vertical and horizontal bracing, there are different types of bracing that can be used. Horizontal elements of bracing must not be bent. This may occur when braces reach their resistance capacity, which is why the correct type of bracing is used. They can be broadly categorised as follows:

· Single diagonals

How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (2)

When diagonal structural elements are inserted into rectangular areas of a structural frame, this is called trussing, or triangulation. This helps stabilise the frame. A single brace needs to be resistant to tension and compression.

· Cross-bracing (or X-bracing)

(Video) How Plan Bracing Works !

How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (3)

When two diagonal members cross each other, this is known as cross-bracing, or X-bracing. Such braces need to be tension-resistant, where each brace resists sideways forces. Steel cables can be used for this kind of bracing. Care must be taken so that external cross-bracing does not clash with the placement and purpose of windows. Cross-tracing also has the potential to bend floor beams in some cases.

· K-bracing

How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (4)

Typically, K-bracing connects to columns at mid-height and is thus more flexible to working around windows and generally results in reduced bending in floor beams. However, K-bracing may potentially cause column failure in case the compression brace buckles and thus may not be encouraged in earthquake-prone regions.

· V-bracing

How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (5)

In the V-bracing style, two diagonal elements are framed in a V-shape stretching down from the top two corners of a horizontal element and join at the centre of a lower horizontal element. When the V is inverted, also known as chevron bracing, the two elements in the V meet at the centre of an upper horizontal element.

· Centric bracing

(Video) Top 5 Ways Engineers “Earthquake Proof” Buildings - Explained by a Structural Engineer

How Bracing Plans Ensure the Structural Fitness of a Building (6)

Used in seismic regions, centric bracing is similar to V-bracing, with the difference that bracing elements do not join at a centre point. Instead, there is a gap between them at the lateral connection. The gap, or ‘link’, between the bracing elements absorbs energy from seismic activity. Single diagonals may also be used in this kind of bracing and are called ‘eccentric’ single diagonals.

While developing bracing plans, or bracing layouts, these bracings are shown in 2D along the building’s elevation to help decide how best to reduce drift. The X-bracing is preferred to reduce drift, and the V-bracing reduces drift while being less heavy and with reduced joints. The inverted V-bracing is the most cost-effective type for this function. Another consideration for load applied is the geographical region, the tributary width of the braced sections and the tributary height of the floors.

No system is perfect. Considerations must be made for imperfections. In structural design, these come in the form of geometric imperfections, such as a lack of verticality, straightness, flatness, fit and joint irregularities. Also, imperfections, such as global faults in frames and bracing systems and local imperfections of individual bracing frame members, must be taken into account. These should be applied for each building storey and each frame and function combination, including vertical and horizontal loads.

With so many considerations, the process to design bracing systems may seem complex, but they need not be so if certain fundamentals are kept in mind for a medium-size building with bracing frames.

Bracing System Design in a Nutshell

  1. Select the right beam section sizes
  2. Select the right column section sizes
  3. Calculate equivalent horizontal forces (EHF) for each floor
  4. Calculate equivalent horizontal forces (EHF) of wind loads
  5. Determine the total shear of the bracing base (adding the total wind load to the total EHF)
  6. Share shear appropriately between the bracing systems
  7. Size bracing members
  8. Determine frame stability (combination of EHF and wind loads in conjunction with vertical loads)
  9. Ensure effectiveness of floor diaphragms in distributing forces to bracing system
  10. Determine total force the bracing should resist locally
  11. Ensure that each floor’s bracing can handle the forces on the individual floor and forces of external loads

While designing bracing systems, building height can influence the building’s stability. Buildings of eight stories or less can be considered stable with well-designed steel structures. Taller buildings require concrete or braced steel cores for stability.

Increasingly, architectural issues and visual impact have to be addressed, and leading architects are involved with the design of aesthetically appealing bracing systems. Building designers have a great responsibility to effectively design bracing, and contractors must then ensure the correct installation of the bracing system. If the bracing plan is not accurate, it may lead to the absence of adequate bracing members, thereby putting the building at considerable risk. For example, even a truss with a long span can be potentially risky, as the size and weight of the truss can lead to instability, buckling and collapse of the truss, if it is not braced properly.

Structural engineers and architects ensure effective bracing is in place for a building.

(Video) Structural Bracing Problem

Software, such as GIB EzyBrace and Bracing software, with ArchiCAD, is used to determine how many bracing panels are required and where they should be placed, by calculating the drift associated with the wind velocity and the corresponding bracing layout, with the ultimate goal of developing a system that provides minimal lateral drift in an efficient manner. A frame stability tool is currently available to assist with the calculation of EHF. For cost-effective, accurate and timely delivery of bracing plans, many Western firms use the architectural CAD outsourcing services of a dedicated offshore CAD team, ultimately ensuring the structural fitness of the building.


How does bracing work in a structure? ›

A bracing system is a secondary but essential part of a bridge structure. A bracing system serves to stabilize the main girders during construction, to contribute to the distribution of load effects and to provide restraint to compression flanges or chords where they would otherwise be free to buckle laterally.

Why is bracing important for the building? ›

During construction, buildings are subject to lateral loads, and bracing helps resist those forces until the permanent lateral load-resisting system is fully constructed and engaged.

How does cross bracing help us with structures? ›

Cross bracing is used to keep buildings stable when the wind blows and during seismic events, such as an earthquake. It also limits the building's lateral movement, reducing the likelihood of damage to the structure's components and cladding.

What is the purpose of bracing a frame? ›

A braced frame is a structural system designed to resist wind and earthquake forces. Members in a braced frame are not allowed to sway laterally (which can be done using shear wall or a diagonal steel sections, similar to a truss).

What is bracing in fitness? ›

In bracing, we tighten all the muscles surrounding the abdomen. As we contract the abdominal muscles, the erector spinae muscles immediately go into joint action and support the back from the rear. In other words, we create a natural belt or girdle that stabilizes and protects the spine with muscle co-contraction.

What is the importance of applying bracing for columns? ›

Bracing in vertical planes (between lines of columns) provides load paths to transfer horizontal forces to ground level and provide lateral stability.

What is bracing in safety? ›

Also known as a column box tie. Brace : A rigid connection of scaffold tubing that holds one scaffold member in a fixed position with respect to another member to give the scaffold rigidity. Page 2.

What is the purpose of blocking and bracing? ›

Blocking means preventing the load from moving laterally (side-to-side, front-and-back) and bracing means preventing the load from moving vertically (up-and-down). Without proper bracing, a load can jump over its blocks. And without proper blocking, the braces will not hold.

How do you show bracing on a plan? ›

Brace Symbols
  1. Parallel Line. Symbolic representation of braces in a plan view are displayed with a line parallel to and offset from the brace at the value specified in the Structural Settings dialog. ...
  2. Line with Angle. Symbolic representation of braces in a plan view are displayed with an angled line.
20 Jul 2022

What are the different types of bracing used in a braced building? ›

Fig-1-Examples of bracing schemes for concentrically braced frames: (a) X- braced; (b) diagonally braced; (c) alternative diagonally braced; (d) V- braced; (e) inverted V-braced; and (f ) K-braced Figure 5.2 distinguishes between various types of braced frame, the seismic resistance of which can be markedly different.

Why is it important to brace trusses during installation? ›

Properly installed temporary bracing dramatically increases the stability of the erected trusses and provides workers with a stiff platform to work from. Right from the first truss, each and every subsequent truss must also be safely secured before continuing.

How does bracing prevent injury? ›

Braces help support the joint and promote proper function and movement, preventing further damage to the site. Sprains, muscle strain, joint dislocation, tendon tears, or nerve damage can be aided with the help of braces.

What does it mean to brace for impact? ›

To assume a brace position or crash position is an instruction that can be given to prepare for a crash, such as on an aircraft; the instruction to "Brace for impact!" or "Brace! Brace!" is often given if the aircraft must make an emergency landing on land or water.

Where do you put bracing on a building? ›

Bracing between column lines (in vertical planes) provides load paths for the transference of horizontal forces to ground level. Framed buildings require at least three planes of vertical bracing to brace both directions in plan and to resist torsion about a vertical axis.

What is bracing line in construction? ›

Braced Wall Line (R602. 10.1) – Walls that are braced to resist racking are known as braced wall lines. Essentially all exterior walls are considered to be braced wall lines and are Page 7 Copyright 2007 • Version 1.0 6 required to be properly braced with braced wall panels.

What is an advantage of blocking? ›

Blocking is used to remove the effects of a few of the most important nuisance variables. Randomization is then used to reduce the contaminating effects of the remaining nuisance variables. For important nuisance variables, blocking will yield higher significance in the variables of interest than randomizing.

Why is bracing and blocking used in stud wall construction? ›

Blocking is lumber installed within framing meant to be a nailer for something else later in the build. Permanent Bracing is lumber installed within framing specifically to stabilize or strengthen that framing. Install Ladder Blocking everywhere an interior wall intersects an exterior wall.

When should you brace and block a load? ›

Blocking and bracing are necessary steps to take to prevent damage to a load during shipping. Blocking refers to packing in such a way to prevent a load from moving side to side or forward and backward within a container or trailer. Bracing is done to prevent a load from moving up and down.

What are examples of bracing? ›

Bracing Sentence Examples

He backed up slightly, bracing for her reaction. She squeezed her eyes closed, bracing herself. Bracing herself, she stepped into the hallway. She changed into her own clothes and gathered the most important of her belongings before bracing herself to leave the room.

Which types of bracing are commonly used in tall buildings? ›

There are two major bracing systems: Vertical bracing system. Horizontal bracing system.

What are bracing elements? ›

In the simplest terms, a bracing element is the portion of a building structure that provides stability for the framing. In other words, bracing elements help stop movement. To paint a visual picture for you, we'll use the example of the standard base connection in Robertson's metal structures–the “Pinned Base”.

What angle is best for bracing? ›

Bracing is most efficient when placed at angles between 30° and 60°. With steeper bevels, the end connections can be cumbersome.

Why are trusses important to building structures? ›

A truss gives a stable form capable of supporting considerable external load over a large span with the component parts stressed primarily in axial tension or compression. The individual pieces intersect at truss joints, or panel points.

How does seismic bracing work? ›

All seismic braces firmly attach equipment to structural members of a building so that they move with the structure during an earthquake.

Is bracing in tension or compression? ›

Fundamentally, a bracing system uses compression and tension to stop the building falling over when sideways loads, such as winds, are applied.

What kind of support does bracing provide? ›

What kind of support does bracing provide? The correct answer is B - Lateral support for the wall framing.

What is the best bracing for earthquake? ›

Concentrically braced frame (CBF) is an effective and prevalent seismic force resisting system which is commonly used in low-rise buildings. This type of structural system utilizes steel braces to provide the stiffness and strength needed to dissipate earthquake energy.

How does wall bracing work? ›

Wall bracing provides racking resistance against horizontal (lateral) racking loads from wind and earthquakes and prevents the wall studs from distorting in the plane of the wall (racking) in “domino fashion” and, thus, prevents building collapse.

What is the purpose of blocking and bracing equipment? ›

Blocking and bracing are necessary steps to take to prevent damage to a load during shipping. Blocking refers to packing in such a way to prevent a load from moving side to side or forward and backward within a container or trailer. Bracing is done to prevent a load from moving up and down.

What is proper bracing? ›

Bracing is not just about flexing your abs. Bracing your core requires you to engage your entire trunk – abdominals, pelvic floor, diaphragm, and spinal erectors – to create the stability required to lift safely. It also ensures an effective force transfer through your body to move the weight.

What are the types of bracing? ›

There are 5 main types of braces available today:
  • Metal braces.
  • Ceramic braces.
  • Self-ligating braces.
  • Lingual braces.
  • Clear aligners like Invisalign.

What are structural supports in a building? ›

What is structural support? Structural support refers to the part of a structural member that provides the strength and necessary stiffness needed to resist applied forces and safely transfer them to the ground. The external loads applied on the supports lead to the build-up of internal resisting forces.


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