Temporary vs. Permanent Bracing: What You Need To Know

Unfortunately, we have witnessed some collapsed buildings lately. As usual, the cause was improper bracing. Does the builder simply not understand that the bracing is keeping the building together while construction is going on? Protecting it against wind loads? Solidifying the structure to make engineered components work as a whole system? Is it hard to know where and how to brace a building? Is it not understood that trusses ONLY work as a system, not as individual entities?

Perhaps we should start by the definition:

brac·ing (brāsiNG): “(of a support) serving to brace a structure

So far pretty simple, right? There are 2 types of bracing, Permanent & Temporary, so why is this so confusing? Does not a Building Component Safety Information (BCSI) document from the Structural Building Components Association (SBCA) accompany each and every truss package? Why then are we omitting some bracing on new structures?

Let’s take a look and see the differences between the two bracing types:

  • Temporary Bracing: Bracing used to hold framework in a safe condition during construction until enough permanent construction has been put in place to provide complete stability.

temporary-truss-bracing

  • Permanent Bracing: Bracing must be provided to enable the roof, wall and floor framework to resist the horizontal forces. An appropriate connection is needed to transfer these forces through the framework and sub-floor structure to the building’s foundation. When required, bracing within the building is to be constructed into walls or sub-floor supports and distributed evenly throughout. This bracing is normally in vertical planes. Where buildings are more than one story in height, wall bracing has to be designed for each story.

permanent-truss-bracing

Consider this: If so much bracing is required for simply a roof, can you imagine when you add the walls and floor bracing too! To make sure your building is properly braced, you must:

  • Check local and national building codes where your structure is being erected
  • Review and understand component supplier’s bracing notes
  • Comply with the project engineer’s notes & recommendations
  • Use your own common sense and past experience

Failure to do so can have tremendous consequences that could resemble something like this:

proper-truss-bracing

Adequate bracing not only makes sure your building can resist the forces of:

  • Horizontal loads
  • Vertical loads
  • Seismic loads
  • Wind forces

Proper bracing also ensures that (just to name a few):

  • Your connections are square
  • Protects worker present on the job site
  • Will ensure a better end product

Bracing is NOT a suggestion, it’s the rule. It is truly disheartening to see how many folks out there truly understand the necessity of bracing and end up walking out to this on the jobsite:

improper-truss-bracing

Is bracing as simple as you thought? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Remember to “brace” yourself for what happens should you not fully adhere to this simple, yet widely misunderstood requirement!