Why Reinforcing Open Web Steel Joists Can Be Difficult

Why Reinforcing Open Web Steel Joists Can Be Difficult

September 6, 2021

Open web steel joists have been the preferred framing system for large buildings for over a century. The design—composed of steel top and bottom chords with angular webs in between—provided superior structural support as buildings grew larger and larger.

These web trusses are designed and installed to last for decades without fail. However, there may be a day when the joists in your building need to be replaced. This is no simple undertaking! Keep reading to learn about a few of the difficulties your chosen engineering team will face.

Scale of project

The first reason reinforcing joists is difficult is because these are large-scale projects. Open web steel joists are typically used for massive buildings, which means reinforcing them is no easy task. Large crews of experienced pros and heavy-duty machinery are required to thoroughly reinforce the joists.

Plus, a crew can’t just climb up to the roof and start work right away—there’s a ton of planning and math that goes into each project. Depending on the work required, you could be looking at a multi-month timeframe before the job is complete.


Web trusses are responsible for supporting massive structures. As you can imagine, with more weight comes a more challenging project. Engineers and project managers go to great lengths to calculate the weight of the project and bring in the proper materials and tools to reinforce the joists.

Failing to accurately calculate the weight can lead to injuries during the reinforcement project, or even a structural collapse down the road. To avoid injuries, it’s essential that you choose a reputable engineering company when you need to reinforce your open web joists.


Needless to say, joists aren’t on the ground—they’re sky-high at the top of tall buildings. Additionally, scaling trusses to reach the areas that need reinforcement is no walk in the park. You’ll need to hire a reputable firm to reinforce your joists.

Companies with years of experience know all the proper techniques to access the joists and have all the right equipment to tackle the job.


Another issue with reinforcing open web steel joists is that there’s no one method to tackle the project. The task can be completed by adding new joists and beams, reinforcing the existing joints or by distributing loads to adjacent members.

The method used depends on a few different factors, including the budget and the project manager’s preference. As long as you work with a reputable engineer, you can rest easy knowing they’ll choose the best method.

Our team has you covered

Whether you need to reinforce the open web joists on your barn or a large commercial building, hire High Plains Engineering, LLC to tackle the project. We’ve been performing large-scale engineering services since 2006, so you can trust that there’s nothing we can’t handle.

Contact our team today to learn what we can do for you or to get a quote for our services. We guarantee you won’t find higher-quality or more fairly priced service anywhere else.

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