There are probably three major or general rules to follow:
1.) Visualization. Visulize the load path and visulize the detail. You must understand where the load is going and how you plan to resist it. Also your details must be construct-able. Visulize how the building will be built as you are performing your design.
1.) Be consistent. Try to have a consistent design. Be consistent in your in notes, in your nomenclature and details, and even in your calcs. Make a decision and follow through. Don’t use one method one time and for the same situation use another. Keep it as consistent as possible.
3.) CYA – I hate this part, really do, but you must Cover Your Ass! Engineers are forced to be part lawyer. It sucks but it’s the reality of it. Follow company protocol and learn how to handle different situations. If you work at a small firm there is a good chance you will get direct calls from the contractor even when they are not supposed to talk to you.
The following are other hints and tips:
1.) Is there torsion on the that beam? Many times lintels will be supporting brick which is offset from the center-line of the beam. This torsion must be accounted for. For steel beams see AISC Design Guide 9.
2.) What is the unbraced length of that beam? For all beams write down the unbraced length down so that you do not over look beam stability.
…more to come soon.
An interesting read: