SEAMASS News & Member Briefs

and Event Alerts 


 January/February 2016   

  • Presentation RECAP: The Chevron Effect in Bracing Structural Steel
  • Register Now for February 11:  Professional Liability Mock Trial
  • Member News:  Michael Guigli, PE joins C.A. Pretzer Associates, Inc.
  • Young Member Spotlight: Bassem Almuti, PE, CDT, LEED AP BD+C
  • BBRS Approves Final Draft of the 9th Edition MA State Building Code (780 CMR)
  • NEW:  Structural Toolbox - Tips & Tools for the Practical Structural Engineer
  • NCSEA Summit Presentation Abstracts Due February 22
  • Upcoming SEAMASS & Industry Events - Save these Dates & Register Now
Presentation RECAP:
The Chevron Effect in Bracing Structural Steel
On January 21, nearly 50 people participated in a half-day professional development seminar hosted by SEAMASS at the Kostas Research Institute. The topic was The Chevron Effect in bracing structural steel, presented by William A. Thornton, Ph.D., PE, Corporate Consultant and VP for Cives Engineering Corporation, and co-author of AISC Design Guide 29, Vertical Bracing Connections - Analysis and Design.

Dr. William A. Thornton, Ph.D, PE presented, "The Chevron Effect - Not an Isolated Problem"

Dr. Thornton's in-depth presentation, The Chevron Effect-Not an Isolated Problem examined how brace forces are distributed through a chevron connection, and explored the impact of the brace forces on the beam and the beam end connections. He illustrated several key examples, and shared his process of accounting for The Chevron Effect* during member size selection.

Participants earned 4.0 PDH credits, and received an electronic copy of Dr. Thornton's detailed slide presentation.

Two Event Sponsors also provided presentations:    Daniel G. Fisher Sr. , Managing Partner of Girder-Slab Technologies, LLC presented Slim Floor Construction Systems, and Ric Anderson, Engineer with Ecospan Composite Floor System, presented Building with a Composite Steel Floor System. 

SEAMASS once again thanks our Event Sponsors:
Click logos to view websites 



*The Chevron Effect: V- and inverted V-type braced frames are common brace configurations. Sometimes referred to as chevron systems, the configuration requires braces to frame to braced frame beams away from the beam-column joint. Typically, the effects of the brace forces on the beam, and the impact on the beam end connections are overlooked. Standard practice in connection design is to assume that the joint is isolated from the frame, and assume that the impact of the brace forces on the beam is isolated only over the connection region. If the algebraic sum of the vertical components of the braces forces is zero, this assumption is generally valid. However, connection designers rarely deal with a zero summation of vertical force components. When the summation of the vertical components of the brace forces is non-zero, the location of the work point along the length of the beam and the span of the beam can significantly impact how beam shear and moment is distributed along the span of the beam. This is referred to as The Chevron Effect.

February 11 (Thursday) | 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.: 
Professional Liability Mock Trial  | 4.0 PDHs
Registration Deadline: February 8

Don't miss this opportunity to come and witness a compelling "mock trial" that will realistically portray a hypothetical yet practical case! 

You'll experience the hypothetical case of an engineer who designs a repair to an older building damaged by drifting snow.  Since the damage was less than substantial structural damage, the code allows it to be rebuilt to its pre-damage condition. The engineer recommends to the owner that it would be better to design the repair for snow drift loads, as required for new buildings.  The owner does not want to pay for more than code minimum, so the engineer designs a repair that restores the pre-damage condition.  Later, a second failure occurs.  The engineer is sued for not meeting the standard of care.

Joseph J. Zona, PE 
Jay S. Gregory, Esq.
Michael Fillion, PE
David Grandpre_ PE
Presenters -
Representing the Mock-Trial Prosecution & Defense Attorneys:
Joseph J. Zona, PE | Senior Principal, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Inc. 
Jay S. Gregory, Esq. |  Partner, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP

Other Role-players - Representing each affected side in this case:
Michael Fillion, PE, SECB |  Fillion Group, Inc. 
David Grandpre, PE, SECB  |  CA Pretzer Associates, Inc. 
...and possibly others; further details are forthcoming

WHEN: Thursday, February 11, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Kostas Research Institute, Northeastern University, Burlington MA
PDHs:  4.0 SEAMASS-Certified PDHs 

REGISTER NOW: (Registration deadline: Monday, February 8)
(Investment includes Breakfast & Lunch)
SEAMASS Member News
Michael Guigli, PE Joins C.A. Pretzer Associates, Inc.

Michael Guigli, PE
has joined the consulting engineering firm C.A. Pretzer Associates, Inc.,  following an eight-year career as Technical Director at the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety (DPS). 

Michael Guigli, PE
While at the DPS, Mr. Guigli fielded questions from code officials, technical professionals, and the general public, providing guidance on design and construction-related topics for both new and existing buildings. 

He worked closely with five Technical Advisory Committees, providing the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) with recommendations on drafting and interpreting and applying the building code. 

Mike also provided training to more than 4,000 building officials, builders, and technical professionals and worked with DPS colleagues and the BBRS in the drafting and promulgation of three editions of the code.  He has presented at several SEAMASS-sponsored events and has regularly collaborated with SEAMASS and BASE on code-related issues.

Mike explains, " I really enjoyed my time at the DPS and am now excited about the next chapter of my career.  The building code is a complicated document, and I often hear from those who use it that just when they seem to understand the provisions of the code, a new version comes along, and they have to start all over.  Many find the International Existing Building Code a particularly challenging document to work with.  I am looking forward to working again in the private sector assisting building owners, contractors, architects, and engineers with navigating through it; hopefully with the rewarding outcome of creating safe, economical, and code-compliant projects."   Mike may be reached at

SEAMASS member David Grandpr√©, PE of C.A. Pretzer Associates is excited to work with Mr. Guigli. "Our firm specializes in design of new and existing structures, as well as investigating damage to existing buildings.  Mike will supplement the design services we provide and will find his own niche working with other professional design firms who are in need of the skills of an experienced building code consultant."

Young Member Spotlight:
Bassem Almuti, PE, CDT, LEED AP BD+C

Bassem Almuti, PE, CDT, LEED AP BD+C is a licensed Structural Engineer with more  than seven years of experience in structural steel and concrete building design. He currently works for Cannon Design in downtown Boston. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Clarkson University and Master of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo, both in Civil Engineering with a Structural Engineering concentration.

Bassem has answered the questions below, so we may get to know him better. Thank you, Bassem, for your contributions to SEAMASS and the Structural Engineering profession!

Q:  Why did you join SEAMASS?
A:  I joined SEAMASS because I believed that there was a need for young engineers to become better connected with the structural engineering community. At the time that I joined, the Young Members group in Massachusetts had just been established and was generating programs that pertained to networking, professional development, and community outreach.

Q:  What are your goals as an engineer?
A:  My goals are to become an engineer that my teammates can count on for design and coordination related issues. That means increasing my knowledge in both technical and non-technical subjects. I've also been trying to find methodologies to help improve production and coordination relative to design projects.

Q:  What's on the horizon for the YMG for 2016?
A:  We're working really hard on establishing and supporting the student chapters in the area. At the moment, we've worked with student chapters at Northeastern University, Worcester Polytechnical Institute, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Tufts University. We've also been working with other member organization YMGs for event ideas and coordination. Stay tuned for upcoming events this winter and spring.

Q:  Please describe a project that you're involved with.
A:  One project of interest that I'm currently working on is for Lasell College in Auburndale, MA. The project involves a renovation to an existing building on campus and constructing a horizontal addition. The renovation portion of the project will consist of upgrading the classroom and science lab spaces within the building while also addressing code, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing issues. The existing building, constructed circa 1962, is a three-story concrete waffle slab structure with unreinforced masonry shear walls acting as the lateral force resisting system.

The proposed addition to the building will provide the college with a phased approach to improving the quality of the academic spaces including teaching labs, classrooms, study spaces, and faculty offices. The proposed addition will be a three-story steel-framed structure, with the lowest level matching that of the existing building. The proposed addition will also be seismically isolated from the main existing structure.

Bassem's project drawing and illustration of the proposed addition to Lasell College  

The software that we're primarily using for the project is Revit for building information modeling and RAM Structural System for the design of the structural framing.

Q:  How do you spend your free time?
A:  In my free time, I enjoy watching and playing sports. You name it, I've probably tried it. I also enjoy traveling, cooking, and spending time outdoors.
BBRS Approves Final Draft of 9th Edition MA State Building Code (780 CMR) - All code users are encouraged to familiarize themselves during the transition period, and submit comments

As of January 12, 2016, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards ("BBRS") completed an effort, which has lasted over two (2) years, by approving a final draft of the 9th Edition of the MA State Building Code ("780 CMR"). 

The proposed new code is based upon the 2015 I-Codes, as published by the International Code Council ("ICC"). 

This effort is a testament to the hard work performed by a large group of volunteers, sister agencies, and professional organizations who assisted the BBRS through participation in Technical Advisory Committees and presentations for the BBRS at public meetings.

The draft regulations are currently under review by the Executive Office of Administration and Finance for compliance with Governor Baker's Executive Order 562 ("EO562").  Following the completion of this review, a public hearing will be scheduled to afford interested parties an opportunity to provide comment(s) on the draft code.  Depending on the nature of the written comments received, and/or oral testimony at the public hearing, BBRS members may choose to make adjustments to the draft code language.

When the public hearing process (and related reviews) is completed, BBRS members will then approve the final content of the 9th Edition and file it with the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth for publication in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. The publication date of the 9th Edition is unknown at this time, as it depends on successful completion of the EO562 and public hearing processes.  Regardless of the eventual publication date, however, the 9th Edition is expected to authorize a concurrency period of up to six months in which the user may file permits in compliance with either the 8th or the 9th Edition of the code.      

BBRS members encourage code users and enforcers to start becoming familiar with provisions of the applicable 2015 I-Codes and associated Massachusetts amendments over the next several months in preparation for the transition. Building owners, designers and contractors should consider changes in the 9th edition that may affect projects scheduled for permit applications that will be filed after a concurrency period and thus required to comply with the 9th Edition.  However, please remember that there may be changes made due to the comments received at, or before, public hearing.

In an effort to provide the most comprehensive code possible, and minimize the number of amendments after promulgation, the BBRS is accepting written comments before, during, and for a period of time following the public hearing.  Any person can submit their comments to the BBRS by emailing Felix Zemel at

The 9th edition code (780 CMR) consists of two volumes:

The Base Volume consists of the 2015 versions of the International Building Code (IBC), Existing Building Code (IEBC), Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and by reference, the International Fire Code (IFC) and Mechanical Code (IMC) along with Massachusetts amendments thereto; and the Residential Volume consists of the 2015 version of the International Residential Code (IRC) and Massachusetts amendments thereto.

The FULL STORY is available HERE on the MA Dept of Public Safety website, including access LINKS to the files that comprise the draft 9th Edition of 780 CMR.


NEW Feature:  SEAMASS Structural Toolbox
Tips & tools to support the Practical Structural Engineer

Introducing Structural Toolbox, a new regular segment of SEAMASS News, featuring tips and tools to support practicing structural engineers.  All members are invited and encouraged to contribute brief tips and topics for this section, including:

-) Info or links to new or updated professional tools of interest to structural engineers
-) Engineering resources or techniques you've personally used and recommend to others

All tips are provided for member-to-member sharing of informational and professional development purposes only; SEAMASS is not responsible for their content or use, and does not imply any ownership, since copyright belongs to the owners of any links presented.
 2015 International Building Code Illustrated Handbook 1st Edition
Tip contributed by Michael Fillion, PE, SECB, Principal, Fillion Group, Inc.        
Thoroughly revised to reflect the International Code Council's 2015 International Building Code, the 2015 International Building Code Illustrated Handbook is a full-color guide that makes it easy to understand and apply complex IBC provisions and achieve compliance. Covering structural and fire- and life-safety requirements, this practical resource has been designed to save time and money.  


-) Updated to reflect the 2015 IBC 
-) Covers both fire- and life-safety and structural provisions 
-) Includes more than 500 full-4 color illustrations 
-) New 7.5" by 9.5" easy to use text book size

STRUCTURAL TOOLBOX RESOURCE:   Engineering Tips Forums  
Tip contributed by Michael Fillion, PE, SECB, Principal, Fillion Group, Inc.  

The Engineering Tips Forums ( enable engineering professionals to join for free (see all details on the website) and contribute to or access information on topics of interest in a number of engineering disciplines, including Structural Engineering.  NOTE: These forms are copyrighted and maintained by, and users must register at the website and comply with the sites rules and protocol.
NCSEA 2016 Summit Presentation Abstracts Due FEB 22

NCSEA has issued a call for abstracts for presentation at the 2016 NCSEA Structural Summit from September 14-17. The submission due date is February 22, 2016.   Desirable presentation abstracts are those that provide the most value to the practicing engineer, such as best-design practices, project management, new codes and standards, office management, recent projects, advanced analysis techniques and similar topics of interest to practicing engineers.

Upcoming Events

FEBRUARY 11, 2016 (Thursday)  |  8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Professional Liability - Mock Trial  |  4.0 PDHs
(See overview and registration links above; Register by February 8) 

FEBRUARY 25, 2016 (Thursday) 
Engineers Week Distinguished Seminar: The Precarious State of the World's Water (and Some Corrective Strategies) 
TIME: Reception:  4:30 - 5:30 p.m. |  Seminar:  5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 
COST:  FREE and open to the public
PARKING:  Renaissance Parking Garage, 835 Columbus Avenue 
In his presentation, The Precarious State of the World's Water (and Some Corrective Strategies), William S. Howard, PE, BCEE, FASCE, Executive Vice President of CDM Smith will highlight the "2015 FIDIC State of the World Report on Water Challenges," which Mr. Howard recently authored for FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers.  FIDIC represents the business interests of global consulting engineering companies. The report was completed in September 2015 and distributed at FIDIC's annual conference in Dubai last fall. The report summarizes the major global water challenges, outlines several possible strategies to address them, and makes note of some actual projects connected to these strategies. The presentation will include an overview of water; discussion of a one water concept, water as a resource and the need for increased infrastructure investment; and the role of government, engineers and others in addressing water global water challenges.
This event is hosted by Northeastern University's Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering. 
MARCH 15, 2016 (Tuesday)  | 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
The Analyis of Irregular Shaped Structures - Diaphragms & Shear Walls
Presenter: R. Terry Malone, PE, SE Senior Technical Director, Architectural & Engineering, WoodWorks and co-author of Kostas Research Institute, Northeastern University, Burlington MA
Where: Kostas Research Institute at Northeastern University 
Investment: (Includes breakfast & lunch) 
$ 25 Student admission   
$125 Seminar plus SEAMASS-Certified PDHs (TBA)
Lateral force resisting systems in today's structures are much more complex than they were several decades ago, incorporating multiple horizontal and vertical offsets in the diaphragms, multiple irregularities, and fewer lateral resisting elements. This presentation will provide a brief review of a method of analysis that can be used to address the irregularities that commonly occur in today's structures. Topics will include:
o    Diaphragms and shear walls with horizontal offsets 
o    Diaphragms with openings  
o    Shear Walls and their code requirements 
o    FTAO shear walls-current and new methods of analysis 
o    Mid-rise diaphragms and shear walls

APRIL 2-4, 2016 (Sat-Mon)
Architectural Iron & Steel in the 21st Century: 
Design & Preservation of Contemporary & Historic Architecture 
MIT Campus - Cambridge, Massachusetts

This international conference - organized by Technology & Conservation, MIT Dept. of Architecture's Building Technology Program, and the Boston Society of Architects' Historic Resources Committee -  is the latest in a series of biennial conferences on architectural materials. It will be held on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Saturday, April 2 and Sunday, April 3, 2016, with an optional tour program offered on Monday, April 4. Over 35 noted architects, engineers, and researchers will offer presentations.

Topics include: Basic properties of cast iron, wrought iron, and steels and their effect on performance and durability; Advances in structural steels, weathering steels, stainless steels, and other steels; Developments in construction techniques for use in restoration/preservation projects and in new designs; Procedures for evaluating steel's condition; Steps to prevent and/or minimize degradation, as well as several case histories focusing on both historic cast iron and wrought iron structures and steel buildings and on modern ones that represent a variety of building types (including education, religious, cultural institutions; military and government structures; residential and commercial buildings). Continuing education credits will be offered. After Jan. 25, the registration fee is $565 U.S./person. (Registration fee includes the conference program, two luncheons, and a reception.)
CLICK HERE for the registration form, plus full conference details, including schedule (topics and speakers), hotel info, and call for posters.

APRIL 14, 2016 (Thursday)  | 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Masonry Construction
Presenter:  David Biggs, PE, SE  | Biggs Consulting Engineering, PLLC
WHERE: Kostas Research Institute, Northeastern University, Burlington MA 
Investment: (includes breakfast & lunch)  
$ 25 Student admission 
$125 Seminar plus SEAMASS-Certified PDHs (TBA)
Please Save the Date for this program - Details are forthcoming

Submit Your Ideas for Program Topics
SEAMASS strives to offer programs on topics that benefit the everyday practicing structural engineer. YOUR input is important and valued. The SEAMASS Board of Directors welcomes all members to contribute suggestions regarding topics they're interested in learning more about, and/or to participate in coordinating a program.  Please contact David Morand, PE, SECB, SEAMASS Secretary, with your program recommendations.
Thank you SEAMASS Corporate Sponsors
Thank you to these SEAMASS Members who have contributed their  
Corporate Sponsorship in support of this member-driven organization: 
Click logos to view websites