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[SEAOC] Re: [SEAOC] Simpson MAS Anchors

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I live in the Palm Springs area and have used these for lightweight steel
stud framing. I'm not crazy about mechanical connectors such as these
although Simpson has all of their ICBO reports in order. The problem is
more political than practical. In our area there are very few engineers and
a large lobby of developers who influence the building official by way of
the local city council. 
Using conventional anchor bolts means that the builder needs to use a
"good" framer and concrete sub in order to properly place the anchors. MAS
and PAHD anchors allow the framer some room for error - and are almost
always installed incorrectly. This type of construction is not required to
have structural observation and in most cases of spec homes, may not even
require the services of an engineer or architect.
The choice to use conventional anchor bolts verses MAS or other mechanical
connectors is not left to the engineer but is dictated by the contractor.
If the engineer demands conventional anchor bolt use - it will probably be
the last job he will do for that client. This is unfortunate and is
mirrored with other prefered installations that are not generally a
favorite of the engineer - such as the use of 3/8" plywood which tends to
get over-nailed.
There are a lot of problems in conventional construction that are simply
ignored by ICBO since they have historically considered single family
construction just outside of the scope of structural engineering (which is
evident in their current conventional framing standards) due to the low
risk aspect.
Until the code making committees can help develop better standards we are
at the mercy of what products are accepted on the market by the building
official based solely on the issuance of an ICBO report.
At least the building officials in Los Angeles have more clout to supersede
the code. In a small town the building official is carried out of town on a
rail if he does not have enough justification to restrict the use of these
products.
Sincerely
Dennis S. Wish PE

PS: Please note that I am not against Simpson, Harlan, Silver or any
manufacture if their products are used as tested and installed in
accordance with their recommendations. My experience is that they are not
and there is not sufficient inspection to uncover the deficiencies.

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