Steel Building Systems

Steel Building Systems are defined in Part 4 of the National Building Code and CSA A660. There has been a trend toward increasing complexity in application of these Manufacturer Designed Structural products fuelled by the evolving ability of manufacturers to rapidly design and fabricate to custom specifications. The term Pre-engineered Metal Building (PEMB) is falling out of use.

We are knowledgeable in manufacturer’s products, production capabilities, assemblies, applicable standards (e.g. CSA S16, CSA S136, CSA A660, ASTM A603, etc.) and, more importantly, we have a large database of historical information and the contacts to obtain specific engineering data. This places us in the unique position of being able to effectively provide manufacturer independent services to:

  • Prepare Tender Specifications that are manufacturer generic and relevant to manufacturer capabilities;
  • Provide reliable guidance and design information for Architectural and Foundation applications during the project design period;
  • Assess Tender submissions and contract submissions for consistency and specification compliance;
  • Provide General Review of Construction and quality monitoring of the building system assembly;
  • Conduct assessments of existing buildings for renovation, remediation, repurpose or adding loads such as Solar PV systems;
  • Provide design review for building relocation.

It is important to understand that the manufacturer cannot act as a project consultant. As a result, many owners, project managers and consultants have encountered a disconnect between delivery expectations and what they have on-site. If your structure has any of these elements, we have the solutions: Cold formed steel secondary members and cladding; Welded 3-plate members including Tapered Class 4 sections;  bolted end-plate moment connections; Rigid Frames or no frames (frameless; diaphragm); long spans; heavy cranes; seismic concerns.

Green Buildings

Green certification tends to have a progressive focus – what is valued as innovative today will be common tomorrow. Progressive innovation is the key to achieving sustainability in today’s market. Paul Ransom Engineering regularly works with LEED Accredited Professionals in innovating for energy efficient and sustainable buildings.

Manufacturer R & D

For Manufacturer Designed Structural Products and Assemblies:

  • You have an idea for a new product but you want to take it through a rigorous design, test, document and trial implementation prior to releasing it in the market.
  • You have an existing product which has always performed well but the engineered capabilities are undocumented and incremental changes in use could create future liabilities.
  • Industry standards have been upgraded and you need to update your in-house technical references and external marketing information.
  • New regulations are proposed and you want to research the impact that it will have on your existing product offering and comment during Public Review cycles.
  • Material handling and lifting fixtures in your facility are undocumented, contrary to the labour regulations.

In all of these cases Paul Ransom Engineering can help you to develop and execute a plan to progress your product and reduce your liabilities.

Heavy Structures

We have experience with extraordinary structures including Cogeneration Plants, Mill Buildings, Bulk Storage, Large Spans (indoor soccer and hockey arenas), Crane Supporting structures (turbine maintenance cranes) and Industrial structures (pipe racks, vent stands, flare stacks). Each of these has unique aspects to consider in design and construction.

Wood Framed Structures

The Provincial Building Codes have been enhanced to include more sophisticated wood framed structures. This is partly due to the evolution and consistency of manufactured wood products. Paul Ransom Engineering has been working to enhance our capability with these new products and structural horizons.


Pre-stressed concrete, steel or wood poles can be used for many purposes including utilities, lighting and communication. Poles are unique items that are commonly designed by a manufacturer to material, process and performance characteristics defined by industry, client, and independent standards. Pole foundations are an important aspect of the pole design and should be defined and designed in coordination with the pole specification. We are familiar with the pole design categories and practices in support of manufacturers and end users.

Rooftop Solar PV Installations

This is an industry that popped up out of the dark! Solar Photo-Voltaic technology has been with us for a while but it has enjoyed tremendous regional support for small and mid-size installations where financial incentives are available. As a result there is a large demand to install Solar PV systems on existing roofs and to design buildings with the capability of supporting Solar PV systems.

Many installers propose manufacturer designed support systems without any real understanding of the structural implications to a building. The fine print in project documents and drawings leaves a gap in the responsibility for performance of the overall assembly. We can provide a structural assessment of a building and, working with the installer, develop a suitable support plan to fill that gap and provide the supporting submissions for Permit.

Sustainable technologies, such as Solar Photo-Voltaic, are common in new project development.

Cladding Systems

We frequently receive inquiries for services under two circumstances:

  • Cladding has been stripped from an existing building after a wind storm;
  • A manufacturer or installer has product on a truck and is required to submit engineer sealed drawings before it can be installed.

Both circumstances are costing somebody money and probably leading to a project delay.

Project specifications, such as found in CMS Masterformat Division 07, define wall or roof “Systems” utilizing commodity cladding profiles and requiring the supplier or manufacturer to ensure code and standards compliant installation. Commodity manufacturers sell components that can be used as a system but insist that it is the responsibility of the designer to determine suitability of the product for any application – including structural support, fastening and air/vapour/thermal barrier continuity. In the middle, the subcontract supplier may be a trade installer, unprepared to address the professional issues to bring the two sides together for a successful project.

Working with the designer’s specifications and the manufacturer’s suggested details, we can provide the engineered design and drawings for code/contract compliant submissions as well as cut-lists, trim details and fastener selections for ordering and installation.

Avoid naked buildings after a wind storm.

Modular and Skid Assemblies

You are an M&E subcontractor on a large project. Your contract requires you to supply a pre-fabricated module or skid mounted enclosure. It will travel by truck, rail, barge and helicopter before it is placed in position on the foundation. It’s an obligation but it interferes with what you do best.

We can work with you at several levels:

  • Skid/module design
  • Skid & enclosure design
  • Skid & enclosure design and supply materials
  • Skid & enclosure design, supply and assemble.

General Review

General Review is subdivided into two distinct phases:

  • Design: regulatory and service considerations are merged. Peer review is part of the General Review of Design;
  • Construction: site observations made by, or on behalf of, a professional who has committed to the responsibility that the project is constructed in general conformance with the Permit submissions.

Frequently, General Review services are provided in the same office as the original designer. In the case of construction review, this may be impractical due to geographic distances or appropriate experience.

On some projects, Steel Building Systems are provided but there is no project professional available to commit to the required General Review. We accept this role within the broader scope of our knowledge and experience with Steel Building Systems.

More generally, we have provided Peer review services for design and specifications as well as site review for local and remote sites.

Professional assessments and opinions are important in any form of dispute resolution or remediation development. With facts at hand, rather than speculation, successful conclusions are one step closer. Our principal areas of expertise are:

  • structural steel – especially Steel Building Systems
  • building envelope – especially cold formed structural cladding systems, insulation, barriers, etc.

Let us prepare an investigation proposal or report for your structural or building envelope concerns.

Erector Services

The construction period is the most dangerous period in the life cycle of a building. Large, heavy and marginally stable assemblies have to be handled and stay where they were intended. Everything must be managed in a safe manner compliant with site safety procedures and provincial labour regulations.

We have experience with:

  • lift rigging
  • crane operation planning
  • temporary and progressive bracing to ensure stable and wind resistant work
  • custom designed concrete forms and forms using commercial form units
  • work platforms
  • jacking procedures
  • on-site manufacturing and pre-assembly – if the project is this big, we want to work with the project consultants to design an efficient process into the building and project.

Shallow Foundations & Slabs on Grade

On  design/build or projects which use Steel Building Systems, this just makes sense to do at the same design desk.