Review of bolted inter-module connections in modular steel buildings

Andrew William Lacey, Wensu Chen, Hong Hao, Kaiming Bi

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


In current practice, the force-displacement and moment-rotation behaviours of inter-module connections for modular steel buildings are established by a combination of theoretical, experimental, and numerical analyses. The simplified connection behaviour is then incorporated into a numerical model of the overall structure for analysis and design. For engineering design analysis, it is desirable to estimate the inter-module connection stiffness by means of simplified calculations. Methods for estimation of the stiffness of traditional steel connections are available in the literature, however, their application to inter-module connections (also known as inter-connections) remains to be investigated. This paper summarises existing inter-connection details, including their purpose and associated design methods and models. The inter-connections selected from the literature provide details of the typical force-displacement and moment-rotation behaviours. For the selected inter-connections, the numerical and experimental results are compared with the calculated theoretical results predicted by existing theoretical models. The existing theoretical models are compared, and their limitations are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bolted connection
  • Inter-module connection
  • Modular steel building
  • Stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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