Faculty of EngineeringThe University of Western Ontario

The Three Little Pigs Research Project at
The Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes


Steel Reaction Frame

A steel space frame, constructed of modular components, envelops the specimen to facilitate the application of load to the roof, end walls and side walls and transfer these loads to the strong floor.  The frame must be readily reconfigured to suit the geometries of different test specimens using a mobile crane and crew of ironworkers.  Loads applied to the roof and side walls of the specimen will be transferred by the loading frame to the concrete strong floor by bays at 2.4m spacing, with parallel steel beams spanning between the bays to support the pressure box loading system and equilibrate the forces it creates.  A the ends of the specimen, 10m high triangular frames at 2.4m centres will transfer loads applied upon the end walls to the strong floor.  The steel reaction frame will be designed to accommodate a specimen up to 15 by 12 metres in plan by 12 metres high.  Preliminary design indicates that approximately 75 tonnes of fabricated structural steel will be required.

This reaction frame was generously donated to the project by the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction Ontario Region.

Concrete Strong Floor

A specially constructed reinforced concrete strong floor, that will accommodate the plan dimensions of various full-scale specimens.  The design concept is a voided slab, approximately 26 by 22 metres in plan, fitted with an array of mechanical inserts to anchor the steel reaction frame in its various configurations.  The slab geometry must also accommodate recording the reactions at the base of the specimens during load testing.  One area of the strong floor will accommodate testing components with plan dimensions up to 4m by 4m, perhaps involving a 2m high strong wall.

Concrete for the strong floor was generously donated by St. Mary's Cement and reinforcing steel was generously donated by Gerdau Ameristeel Shop; and drawings for the reinforcement were generously donated by Dietrich Steel.

Cover Building

An all-enclosing light-weight cover building to provide weather protection, mounted on rails so it can be moved to expose the specimen to the natural environment.  The building will not be heated or air-conditioned, but will include ventilation to keep the inside temperature from becoming excessive in the summertime.  The rails will be founded on two 2m wide concrete runways that will extend 24m from one end of the concrete strong floor.  This structure is likely to be a pre-engineered building.

Control Building

A separate one-storey control/storage building, roughly 6 by 12 metres in plan, that will house the control/data acquisition hardware and a lunch table/work area, and will provide storage space for delicate equipment.

Detailed Drawings

Test house surrounded by the reaction frame, showing some pressure loading boxes in orange.


Detail of the reaction frame and pressure box arrangement.

Elevation of end wall of Test House and reaction frame.


Elevation of side wall of Test House and reaction frame.