The SidePlate Story
When Human Ingenuity Responded to Natural Disastery
In 1994, Southern California was devastated by the magnitude 6.7 Northridge earthquake. The warnings of many engineering experts finally came true: traditional prescriptive steel connection types that had been used for more than 25 years failed to perform adequately, creating significant loss and damage.
Cities, counties and jurisdictional agencies issued emergency moratoriums on new steel-frame designs, while the City of Los Angeles created its own task force of structural engineers to address the newly discovered connection vulnerabilities. One visionary member of this task force developed a simple solution to this very complex problem, and SidePlate was born.
SidePlate's patented technologies soon underwent extensive cyclic testing for earthquake applications using three full-scale prototypes and the first-ever dual strong-axes connection, which included rigorous, state-of-the-art analysis. The County of Los Angeles even formed a technical advisory panel (LACO-TAP) to ensure that SidePlate addressed and resolved every concern needed to secure reliable and predictable seismic performance. After 18 months, SidePlate earned LACO-TAP's unanimous approval for immediate use in the design and construction of essential county-owned facilities.
Since this time, SidePlate has been implemented in a wide range of construction projects, from “everyday” office buildings to high-profile hospitals. Our technologies and services consistently exceed the expectations of structural engineers, contractors and building owners for reliability, ease of fabrication and erection, and significant savings in time and money. Over our history, SidePlate connections have been prequalified by numerous agencies for use in high seismic and progressive collapse applications. We also have a chapter in AISC 358-10, Supplement No. 2 (Prequalified Connections for Special and Intermediate Steel Moment Frames for Seismic Applications). Further, SidePlate is the ONLY special moment frame (SMF) connection system to be successfully tested for both blast and progressive collapse prevention.