1) Are more details on the METALOQ system publicly available?
a. There is a high resolution presentation on the site which can be downloaded https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ruA46PLqHoDYanVpC27HekMxQp1cbbFR/view
b. Over the next few months as we continue the design process we will add additional product details, load tables, application guides etc.
2) Do VECTORMINIMA or METALOQ build buildings or supply frame kits?
a. Our business model is to perform R&D, create IP, then license and assist builders who want to use the METALOQ system, and steel fabricators that want to make and sell the frame kits. So no, we do not build buildings or supply kits.
3) What do I get through a license agreement?
a. We are an R&D and IP engine. Our funding comes entirely from customers who want to avoid the costs of R&D but need the results. In exchange our licensees get exclusive rights to manufacture and / or deploy the METALOQ system in a defined territory and defined verticals. So far the Metro Atlanta area is taken.
4) What are the floor system options?
a. Any of the popular cementitious floor board will work and it is easy to screw board to the edges of the light steel framing floor joists. We like MgO board, it is lighter than cement board, doesn’t swell with water or crack in the cold and it has 10 x the pullout strength of fiber cement due to the layers of oriented glass fibres. Field experience is king so we are interested in opinions on the available brands; so far #MEGABOARD is a popular choice.
b. We can also “do” poured concrete floors. To check the performance we ran the SAP 2000 model to 8 floors with a slab on deck and it was fine without resorting to additional reinforcement.
5) What is the lateral system?
a. We have modeled both tension-compression bracing and tension-only bracing, in both cases internal to the partitions of the modules. Both modes work. There is a code issue here, some jurisdictions want compression, some are OK with tension only.
b. The floors and horizontal interconnections deliver diaphragm action and the rim beams of the modules are capable of transferring loads to a core, so we can isolate the lateral system to shear walls and brace cores as feasible and needed and as affected by the architectural issues.
c. The outer ends of the modules can be made with wide columns having one or more internal ribs, these confer significant moment action. The columns and beams can also be joined edge-to-edge, increasing the effective depth of both vertical and horizontal members and enhancing the moment capacity even more.
d. The cast concrete floors mentioned above further reduce the floor buckling, improving the diaphragm action and reducing the required frequency of braced bays.
6) What about seismic performance?
a. The flush module interconnection means that the top face of assembled layers of modules is flat. As a result, the upper and lower rim beams of stacked modules are in contact at all points around the modules, creating a load-bearing wall system. This means that shear loads along the plane of contact that occur when a building is subjected to horizontal acceleration can be transferred by edge bolting of the rim beams.
b. Our current plan is to include seismic behaviour and solutions in an upcoming tranche of IP. If a customer is interested in accelerating the process, we would be happy to talk.
7) The SAP2000 simulation results in a lot of blue, doesn’t that mean the METALOQ system is overbuilt?
a. The same version of the frame is used on all levels of the SAP2000 model shown on the website, so the answer is yes, for that configuration. The model was created to highlight the robustness of the METALOQ system and represents adequate performance in a worst-case scenario; slender with Florida wind values.
b. Based on our calculations, a 4-story building, or the top 4 floors of a 10-story building, can be built with 4” x 4” columns. The intermediate floors of a 10-story building require some 4” x 6” columns. The lowest floor requires 4” x 12” at corners with some 4” x 6” intermediates”. Similarly, the material of the rim joists has to be thickened, or the bracing enhanced in the lower floors of tall buildings.
c. It’s important to balance optimization with the number of SKU’s that must be produced, so while we can technically make a unique column and beam combination for every load case, it is impractical until production volumes reach the 1000+ per component range. In other words, the material savings have to be greater than the design and admin cost of a larger number of unique components and the fixtures to produce them.
8) How high can METALOQ go?
a. Due to the flush top face of METALOQ modules and the resulting full contact along the top and bottom edges of the walls, vertical loads can be transferred over the whole of the length of the wall. To achieve this in tall structures, modules must be designed with multiple vertical load paths and appropriate reinforcement of the rim beams (as shown in the presentation).
b. Load-bearing walls opens the possibility of taller stacking, with the horizontal loads transferred by the rim beams and floors in to a brace core, resulting in a proportional reduction in the tension and compression loads on the vertical structures. and on the outer load paths at the foundation level.
c. This is the approach taken by a number of the companies delivering buildings in the 30+ story range.