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What is wind bracing?

Let’s first think of setting up dominos in a pattern. You get them all set up and then topple the first one over. Watch as one falls into the other and soon they have all fallen down. Now think of those dominos as your rigid frames, the exact same thing will happen. The bracing is to combine two frames together in a manner that they cannot fall into or away from each other and the rest of the frames are tied to them.
The type of bracing used generally depends on the use of the building itself.  There are several different methods of bracing a steel building with the cheapest and most effective being cross bracing. This method ties the top of one frame column to the base of the next frame column and the top of that column to the base of the previous column. This stops any movement toward or away from each other. This method also removes the use of that bay for framed openings.
The next most utilized method is a portal frame. This is an upside down “U” shaped frame that goes in between two frames and bolts to each. This type of bracing requires a greater wall height and extra width in that bay. The advantage is this will not affect your concrete requirements, much like cross bracing.
The worst bracing is a wind column, this involves a column bolted to the side of a rigid frame column and into the concrete foundation. This makes your concrete requirements much greater than need to be.
The very last bracing that we will not use and you should never accept is panel shear.
This started with pole barns where the wood wall studs are at 16 inch on center and one piece of sheeting over laps 3 studs. This does not work when you columns have 25 feet of space between them.
There are other options that can be used in special building designs.  Call to discuss your specific requirements 719-268-1325

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