Cost-based design of residential steel roof systems: a case study

Subramaniam Rajan, Barzin Mobasher, S. Y. Chen, C. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The cost effectiveness of using steel roof systems for residential buildings is becoming increasingly apparent with the decrease in manufacturing cost of steel components, reliability and efficiency in construction practices, and the economic and environmental concerns. While steel has been one of the primary materials for structural systems, it is only recently that its use for residential buildings is being explored. A comprehensive system for the design of residential steel roof truss systems is presented. In the first stage of the research the design curves obtained from the AISI-LRFD code for the manufactured cross-sections were verified experimentally. Components of the truss systems were tested in order to determine their member properties when subjected to axial force and bending moments. In addition, the experiments were simulated using finite element analysis to provide an additional source of verification. The second stage of the research involved the development of an integrated design approach that would automatically design a lowest cost roof truss given minimal input. A modified genetic algorithm was used to handle sizing, shape and topology variables in the design problem. The developed methodology was implemented in a software system for the purpose of designing the lowest cost truss that would meet the AISI code provisions and construction requirements given the input parameters. The third stage of the research involved full-scale testing of a typical residential steel roof designed using the developed software system. The full scale testing established the factor of safety while validating the analysis and design procedures. Evaluation of the test results indicates that designs using the present approach provide a structure with enough reserve strength to perform as predicted and are very economical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalStructural Engineering and Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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