Steel  structures engineering is a complex activity reach of sectorial applications, in civil and industrial fields.  Practically any civil or industrial construction somehow involves the structural aspect, in general, and steel structures, in particular. In Italy the use of steel structures for residential buildings, and often for the industrial building too, is not so common as iti is in the United States and in Japan, but it is anyhow growing up. On the contrary very common is the use of steel structures for the constructions located in plant facilities: crosswalks, pipe-racks, supporting structures or lattice works, etc.

With the New Technical Norms for Construction (NTC 2008) the use of the limit state semiprobabilistic method of check became mandatory in Italy; with the exception of constructions of Type 1 and 2, Use Classe I and II, located in seismic zone 4 for which it is still allowed the allowable stress check method, making reference to the D.M. LL.PP. 14.02.92, for steel and concrete structures.

The Eurocodes ( are a set of ten European standards, EN 1990 – EN 1999, having the aim to provide, in general, a common approach to civil and residential design, in addition to the construction products. They represent the recommended means of giving presumption of conformity with the essential requirements of the Construction Products Directive for construction works and products that have the CE marking affixed. The Eurocodes adopt the limit state semiprobabilistic check method.

With Decree 31 July 2012, the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation, approved the National Appendices providing the technical parameters for the Eurocodes implementation (OJ No 73 of 27-3-2013 – Ordinary Supplement No. 21).

The construction standard adopted overseas (and not only) published by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) in the last issue of June 2010 of the “Specification for Structural Steel Buildings” (ANSI/AISC 360 10) adopts the principle of the Limit States, allowing that the proof of the structural integrity can be based on the nominal strength or the design strength (LRFD, Load and Resistance Factor Design) or on the allowable strength (ASD, Allowable Strength Design). A different method of load combination and required strength calculation corresponds to each approach. The two methods have equal importance and rank. This Specification does not provide anyhow how combining the loads and makes reference to the applicable construction or building codes (see section B2 page 254). In the absence of a specific (local, regional or national) regulation, the load factors and the load combination are obtained by the standard ASCE/SEI 7-2010.

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