General guidelines for the design and construction of shelf angles supporting masonry veneers in high-rise buildings can be found in several published documents. Examples of shelf angles in service have been found, however, where failures did not occur even though many of these guidelines were not followed. In one such case, no significant yielding or excessive deflection was observed even though the stresses in the steel predicted by traditional analysis greatly exceeded yield stresses and the computed deflection of the angle exceeded the expansion joint width.
This paper reviews the performance of shelf angles taking into account several boundary conditions and factors that are commonly overlooked in design but that have substantial effect on the actual performance. A procedure is outlined for the economical and rational design of shelf angles. Included are procedures for the sizing of shelf angles, for determining the spacing of connections, and for designing and detailing connections to the building structure. Examples are given to show how the procedure would be used in the design process.