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Methods of Specifying

Strong Frame Moment Frame

Methods of Specifying

There are a variety of ways a Strong Frame moment frame can be specified:

Method 1: Use Our Moment Frame Selector Software to Select a Frame.

The Strong Frame moment frame selector software is a free software package that can be downloaded at strongtie.com/strongframe and used to select a moment frame meeting the designer’s specific design and project requirements. The tool allows for entering and adjusting the various inputs based on a project’s design needs. Design beam and column using selected Simpson Strong-Tie standard elements. See Dedicated Soft-Story Retrofit page for more information. Currently, the Strong Frame selector software can provide solutions for 1-story x 1-bay special moment frames. For multi-story and multi-bay frames, see Method 2.

The Strong Frame moment frame selector software The Strong Frame Moment Frame Selector Software

Method 2: Contact Simpson Strong-Tie.

Along with giving you enhanced design possibilities, Simpson Strong-Tie saves Designers time by providing design services for built-to-order multi-story and multi-bay frames. Designers receive a complete package from Simpson Strong-Tie that includes drawings and calculations that are submittal-ready. Simpson Strong-Tie even provides post-submission support with the plan check process.


Designer completes the Special Moment Frame Loading Worksheet form or submits from the Strong Frame selector software.


Designer submits the loading worksheet or Strong Frame Selector input file to Simpson Strong-Tie at strongframe@strongtie.com.


Simpson Strong-Tie confirms receipt of the worksheet within 24 hours. Using state-of-the-art software, we create a design based on our patented Yield-Link® structural fuse technology to meet all your design requirements — usually within 48 hours.


Designer receives a submittal-ready design package and drawings in electronic format from Simpson Strong-Tie.


Simpson Strong-Tie assists the Designer with any post-submittal Strong Frame questions.


Simpson Strong-Tie provides no-equal jobsite field support.

The Strong Frame moment frame selector software
The Strong Frame moment frame selector software

Method 3: Calculate the Design Yourself.

The design requirements for calculating the beam-to-column moment connection can be found in ICC-ES ESR-2802 or in AISC 358-16, Chapter 12. Connection design tools are also avaiable on strongtie.com.

Yield-Link Moment Connection Design Plugin

To streamline the structural analysis and connection design using the Simpson Strong-Tie steel moment frame Yield-Link moment connection, we created plugins for ETABS/SAP2000 and Revit and the Design Guide to assist the designers. They are available on our website at strongtie.com/yieldlink.

Design Information Required

When providing the loading sheets or the input form within the Strong Frame moment frame selector software, the user needs to provide the necessary lateral load and gravity load as well as the frame height and width.

The following are helpful guidelines when providing design criteria:

  1. Input loads are all nominal loads (no load factors applied, such as DL, LL, E, and ASD input for Wind). Simpson Strong-Tie then goes through the ASD or LRFD combination and combine the loads for frame and anchorage design.
  2. Redundancy Factor (ρ) — When inputting ASD Seismic Lateral Load, set ρ equal to 1.0. If ρ = 1.3 for your structure, then select/mark ρ = 1.3 in the form and Excel file input. The reason for the separate input is so ρ = 1.0 can be used for drift check as permitted in ASCE 7.
  3. Beam depth includes beam top and bottom nailers as well as 2x field-installed top plate and bottom plate at the upper frame level (see Figure 1). For multi-story frames, mid-level beam depths include the preinstalled beam top and bottom nailers and bottom field-installed 2x plate, but no 2x field-installed top plate (see item 4 below).
  4. Floor depth at floor for multi-story frames — If the structure has a floor system bearing on top of the beam top nailer, indicate the floor system depth on the worksheets. If no floor system is present, then just indicate the sheathing thickness on top of the 4x nailer.
  5. Omega (Ωο) load on beam — If there is a shearwall post or another beam that is resting on top of the SMF beam, indicate on the form or loading sheet (see Figure 3)
Figure 1 — Beam Depth at Roof Level
Figure 1 — Beam Depth at Roof Level
Figure 2 — Beam Depth at Floor Level
Figure 2 — Beam Depth at Floor Level
Figure 3 — Point Loads on Top of Beam
Figure 3 — Point Loads on Top of Beam

Whichever method you use for specifying a Strong Frame moment frame, it is important to provide a complete model number and/or frame elevation drawing in the design construction documents. Model numbers are typically listed for one-story, two-story or two-bay frames. For other configurations, an elevation drawing will be necessary. It is also important to provide a model for the anchorage required at each individual column base. Anchorage models are not tied to a frame model and shall be specified by the designer. Strong Frame moment frame selector software or Simpson Strong-Tie design services will help provide an anchorage solution based on the frame base reactions, supplied foundation design criteria and ACI 318 anchorage calculations.

Design Services Anchorage

Specification Options

A typical Strong Frame moment frame is delivered to the jobsite with main structural components installed (welded plates and shear tabs, Yield-Link® fuse-to-beam connections), wood nailers preinstalled, holes predrilled for utilities, grey paint and identification/instruction sticker labels. Beams and columns are bundled together and can be easily field bolted and set on the installed moment frame anchorage kits. However, certain instances occur where the typical components need to be adjusted to meet specific jobsite or design requirements. For a frame installed in a CFS or structural steel building, wood nailers may not be necessary and can be omitted. Where a ledger of infill is required in the web of the beam or column, additional predrilled web holes can be specified based on the designer’s specification. Or where the columns may be left visible in the structure, the nailers, primer, holes and stickers may need to be omitted so that the finishes can be applied at the site. Hot-dip galvanization may also be available where the steel might be exposed to weather. See Strong Frame Dimension Verification Process for additional options and considerations.