Steel Designers Manual Sixth Edition by Buick Davison and Graham W. Owens
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Steel Designers Manual Sixth Edition by Buick Davison and Graham W. Owens


At the instigation of the Iron and Steel Federation, the late Bernard Godfrey began work in 1952 on the first edition of the Steel Designers’ Manual. As principal author he worked on the manuscript almost continuously for a period of two years.

On many Friday evenings he would meet with his co-authors, Charles Gray, Lewis Kent and W.E. Mitchell to review progress and resolve outstanding technical problems. A remarkable book emerged. Within approximately 900 pages.

It was possible for the steel designer to find everything necessary to carry out the detailed design of most conventional steelwork. Although not intended as an analytical treatise, the book contained the best summary of methods of analysis then available.

The standard solutions, influence lines and formulae for frames could be used by the ingenious designer to disentangle the analysis of the most complex structure. Information on element design was intermingled with guidance on the design of both overall structures and connections.

It was a book to dip into rather than read from cover to cover. However well one thought one knew its contents, it was amazing how often a further reading would give some useful insight into current problems.

Readers forgave its idiosyncrasies, especially in the order of presentation. How could anyone justify slipping a detailed treatment of angle struts between a very general discussion of space frames and an overall presentation on engineering workshop design?

The book was very popular. It ran to four editions with numerous reprints in both hard and soft covers. Special versions were also produced for overseas markets. Each edition was updated by the introduction of new material from a variety of sources.

However, the book gradually lost the coherence of its original authorship and it became clear in the 1980s that a more radical revision was required. After 36 very successful years it was decided to rewrite and re-order the book, while retaining its special character.

This decision coincided with the formation of the Steel Construction Institute and it was given the task of coordinating this activity. A complete restructuring of the book was undertaken for the fifth edition, with more material on overall design and a new section on construction.

The analytical material was condensed because it is now widely available elsewhere, but all the design data were retained in order to maintain the practical usefulness of the book as a day-to-day design manual.

Allowable stress design concepts were replaced by limit state design encompassing BS 5950 for buildings and BS 5400 for bridges. Design examples are to the more appropriate of these two codes for each particular application.

The fifth edition was published in 1992 and proved to be a very worthy successor to its antecedents. It also ran to several printings in both hard and soft covers; an international edition was also printed and proved to be very popular in overseas markets.

This sixth edition maintains the broad structure introduced in 1992, reflecting its target readership of designers of structural steelwork of all kinds.

• Design synthesis 

• Steel technology 

• Design theory 

• Element design 

• Connection design 

• Other elements 

• Construction.

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