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RE: Description of the Structural Analysis and Design used in

  this nice project and answers to Ohio Building department points.


Dear Building Officials, plan examiners and structural inspector:

This design package aims to introduce the structural analysis of the anticipated project of Compass Crossing Pilot Project located at 3740 S Angeline Street, Seattle, WA 98118, USA. The project consists of single-story studio and two-bedroom units.

Shipping\Cargo Containers:

Structural analysis was conducted very sophisticated finite element concepts using RISA 3D 15.0 software.

First, the Basic unite.

The main component of basic units consist of:

  • Top side rail;
  • Bottom side rail;
  • Top and bottom beams at front, at door, and rear, full sheeted, of the container;
  • Corner posts;
  • The corrugated steel decking panels, and reinforcement, if any, in the side walls, 14 gauge;
  • The corrugated steel decking panels and reinforcement, if any, in the front end;
  • The corrugated steel decking panels and
  • reinforcement ,in the rear end;
  • The corrugated steel decking panels in the roof of the container;
  • The steel joists and wood panels in the floor of the container


For complete list of each member sizes, please refer to “Resources for Cargo/Shipping Containers” file attached

The overall Computer model for each building:

From the above basic unit, the model for the entire building is assembled\created on RISA-3D according to the building geometry.

Then the following are modification were applied to the model:

  • Unites are connected with rigid links to represent the connections between the units.
  • Portions of the wall steel metal deck were removed from each unites corresponding to the opening shown on the Architectural drawings.
  • The following loads were added to the model according to the Building Code:
    • Dead load.
    • Live load.
    • Roof load.
    • Wind forces\loads in the both the major axis, perpendicular to each other.
    • Seismic forces\loads in the both the major axis, perpendicular to each other.
    • Earth pressure, if any.

Load combinations:

  • Load combination were formed according to the International Building Code, the lasts version used by the local Building Department.

Boundary conations and Supports:

 Boundary condition and\or supports were added to the computer model to represent the foundation used in the project.

 Computer analysis runs:

 The model was run to preform the analysis according to the loads and load combination above.

  • For this long\big computer model using Finite element Analysis, FEA, many many trails and adjustment runs of analysis were performed until the results were satisfactory.

 Component Design:

Steel components:

RISA 3-D has the build-in design model. All steel members were designed according to :

  • Steel construction Manual AISC, by the American Institute of Steel Construction;
  • Seismic Design Manual AISC by the American Institute of Steel Construction;

Foundation Design:

Foundation design were performed according to The Building Code Requirements for Structural concrete, ACI 318, latest edition used by the local Building Department.

Two powerful software were used in the foundation design:

  • RISA Foot, and;
  • RISA Foundation.

Computer Results:

  • Computer results were reviewed by our licensed engineer for accuracy and deflection compatibility.

Points resided by Ohio Building Departments;

 1-What is known about the materials and welds incorporated into shipping containers back before they were fabricated in the Orient?

  1. Is there a timeline of the variation of the thoroughness of record keeping?


Since Shipping\Cargo container are moved between different countries around the world, all steel types, fabrications, testing, and inspection is done according to ISO code. No single shipping container is allowed on the ships without a certificate of compliance with the above code.

Just think about it, if one container were defective or does’t comply with the ISO Code, what is going to happen to the rest of the stack on the ship.

While shipping container are usually fabricated from steel with yield strength of 60 KSI, we used 36 KSI steel in our design and check just to easy the minds of our building department in Ohio.

  1. Were there records of the type of steel used, along with verification that certified welders, when they were made in North America and Europe?


Shipping containers are fabricated in allover the world including Europe and other countries. All of them has to follow one code, ISO Code regardless they were fabricated. Please see more answers above.

  1. What is the present situation?
    1. Where are they all made?


All over the world according to the same very tough code that included physical tests. Please see the ISO code attached.

  1. Do the container fabrication plants get identified steel, and what I.D. system do they use?

No container is allowed on the ship without a certificate issued by a licensed professionals stating that :

  • The container is fabricated according to ISO Code.
  • Has been subjected to physical tests outlined in ISO Code. C
  • Inspected including weld, according to ISO Code.
  1. Are certified welders used?


We were involved in approving one of the factory and one of the inspection company for manufacturing of shipping container for a project here in the USA. We had to check the credential of:The factory.

  • The inspection company.
  • Only after we verified tier qualification and made sure that they are equivalent to the International Building Code, then we approved the both the factor and the inspection company.

Just as a side not, factories in China and other countries who deal with international trade, has to comply with the international , Europe and USA codes or they will be out of business, No ifs or  Buts.

  1. How many container manufacturers are seeking an objective ES report for their products?


  • Our shipping containers for our nice project have been analysis on our very powerful computer Software RISA-3D and;
  • Found to be very safe, even when we used 36 KSI steel.
  • Have been physically tested:
    • 1-Just after fabrication before they get on the ship.
    • During use on the ships, 9 stack heih, full of good, 50,000 lb.
  • ICC report is usually used for new product which has no proof of good performance.

Shipping containers on the other side have been used for many many yeas by our military and tons of project all over the world.

  1. Will the near future improve?
    1. Is there a market consensus that containers must have trackable records and identification?

I am sure there is. Each container has a tag on it to identify the manufacture and the certificate of compliance with ISO code.

But, I haven’t been able to put my hand on it yet.

  1. Will there be a push for compliance with IBC Sections 2203 and 2204 equal to the demand for using them?


I strongly believe that the above sections has been already satisfied by the followings:

1-The container has been already fabricated, tested, inspected and certified according the very tough code, ISO.

2-Has been tested at least twice:

  • Just after fabrication.
  • On the ship, 9 stack high and full of 50,000 lb.

3-We at PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. have analyzed our building, added a lot of reinforcement and now it is very safe.

4-All fabrication and new weld is inspection at Falcon Structures in Texas.

5-Also, please not that both the two company who:

  • Analyzed the building, Precession structural Engineering.
  • Modified and add tons of reinforcement to the container in Texas,

Are USA based and licensed in the USA had have been designing and fabricating shipping container buildings for over 20 years.

I don’t want to admit this, but we, at precision Structural Engineering, added a lot of new reinforcement to make the building very very safe.  And, Falcon Structures were wonderful partners in this project and never complained or fired us for adding all these huge amount of steel. I am not sure if they will hire us again, but, they were great team player, excellent professionals,  and wonderful partner that helped to make this project very safe.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email.

Have a great day.

Sincerely yours,

Bill, Nabil, Taha, Ph.D., P.E.

President/ PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. Inc.

Licensed in 47 states nationwide.  We have also completed projects

in 30 countries internationally and counting.

250 Main Street
Klamath Falls, Oregon 97601
Tel: 541-850-6300, Fax: 541-850-6322
e-mail:, Skype: nabil.taha55