Facade Attachments

Although the curtain wall and façade detailing is often left until the end of the design process, it may be important to think through how these elements will be detailed at the SidePlate® connections. At perimeter moment frame columns, the top of the horizontal shear plates may not be at the top of steel and should be coordinated with the façade manufacturer. On SidePlate PLUS, Special and Intermediate Moment Frame (SMF and IMF) projects, protected zones are required on the side plate and the beam where welded attachments are not permitted. Areas on the side plates or beams outside of the protected zones may be used for the attachment of these systems. If the loading of the curtain wall or façade is heavy (greater than 25 psf) and the attachments occur at the SidePlate connections, the reaction should be provided to be included in the SidePlate connection designs. 

Slab Depression at Moment Frames

SidePlate or SidePlate PLUS connection may extend vertically above the top of steel which may need coordination at slab depressions. See the illustrations in Figure M2 below. For larger slab depressions, consider using a Stepped Moment Frame.

SidePlate Standard Connection


 SidePlate Narrow Connection


 Figure M2 - SidePlate connections at concrete over metal deck

Cap Plates

Cap plate detailing will require coordination with the SidePlate connection detailing only if the cap plate is located at the top of the side plate and takes the place of the horizontal shear plate {D}. It is preferable to extend the column above the side plate and add a cap. For a Standard connection, if a cap plate is placed at the top of the side plate, the cap plate will need to be 1" thick to match the top of steel. For the narrow connection, the top of side plate is typically 4" above the top of steel. See Figure M3 below.


Figure M3 - SidePlate Standard and Narrow connections with cap plates

In some cases, such as at cantilevered columns with high moments, stiffeners below the cap plate will provide the most efficient design and performance. Note that the minimum thickness of any column cap plate acting as the SidePlate horizontal shear plate {D}will be 3/8”. Also note that for the SidePlate PLUS connection, welding the cap plate “all around” will not be permitted. Please coordinate the attachment of posts, davits, and column lifting lugs to the cap plate with SidePlate Systems.

Curved or Skewed Moment Frames

The SidePlate connection adds torsional capacity to the frame beam and therefore curved moment frames may be used without compromising performance. To achieve a skewed moment frame the column can be rotated or the beam can be kinked, as shown in Figure M4 below.

Link Beam Skew Detail

 Figure M4 - Plan View of Skewed SidePlate PLUS Standard connections

Sloping Beams

Sloping beams can easily be incorporated into the design of the SidePlate connection. An example of a sloped condition is shown in Figure M5 below. Any combination of slopes can be accommodated (i.e. both sides sloped, one side sloped, etc.). For beam slopes greater than 1” per foot, contact your SidePlate Engineer for more details.


Figure M5 - SidePlate Standard connections with slopes

Steps At Moment Frames

Steps and differing beam depths of a two-sided SidePlate connection can easily be accommodated. See Figure M6 below for guidelines. Larger steps than those shown below can also be accommodated.

Step at Top


Step at Bottom


 Figure M6 SidePlate Standard connection with steps  

Openings in Moment Frame Beams

Openings in moment frame beams are not generally recommended. As with typical gravity framing, any openings in steel moment frame beams should be carefully coordinated and designed by the engineer. For situations where openings occur in non-seismic moment frame beams, we recommend that the opening occur within an area made up of the intersection of the middle third of the beam depth and length. The opening should also not be wider than the depth of the beam. All beam openings should be reinforced for shear, bending, and serviceability requirements as needed. See Figure M7 below.

For Special Moment Frame (SMF) projects, we do not recommend openings in moment frame beams. Special Moment Frames rely on the ability of the beam to form a hinge at a specific and predictable location under seismic load. Adding openings to an SMF beam may lead to unexpected hinging at or near the opening location. If there is no other alternative and an opening must occur, please contact your SidePlate Engineer.

Figure M7 - Beam Penetrations for Low Seismic

Open Web Steel Joists

Open web steel joists are fairly common at roof conditions in steel buildings and are often spaced closely enough that one or more may require the support of a SidePlate connection. The type of SidePlate connection will once again affect how the joist is supported. For the SidePlate or SidePlate PLUS Narrow connection, the side plate is taller than the top of steel by 4". In this configuration, provide a joist seat off of the face of the side plate which avoids any bolts. For the SidePlate SidePlate PLUS Standard connection, the joist seat may either rest on the top cover plate and avoid the horizontal rows of bolts or use an extended seat off of the face of the side plate. Joist bracing may be connected to the SidePlate connection outside of the protected zones.

Biaxial Columns

SidePlate and SidePlate PLUS connections may be used in biaxial configurations with either built-up column sections (cruciform or boxed) or HSS columns. Biaxial configurations with WF columns require an extension of 6-8” above the roof. For biaxial connections, please contact your SidePlate Engineer for further coordination.

Interaction with Braced Frames

If braced frames are being used at the top of the building or run perpendicular to a moment frame column, the SidePlate connection may be adjusted to work with the gusset plate and beam framing. Typically the roof configuration includes a cap plate on top of the side plate, and it will vary depending on the intended working point of the braced frame and the type of SidePlate connection (whether field welded or bolted). Note that there is a physical gap between the beam and column (typically between 1-1/2" to 5”) which the gusset plate would need to span over. Gusset plates perpendicular to SidePlate connections may need to be cut around the horizontal shear plate, per Figure M8. Please contact your SidePlate Engineer to coordinate details incorporating braced frames.

Figure M8 - Perpendicular Braced Frame Elevation Detail