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Fwd: Re: building code minimums for wood frame

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General comments to the many opinions raised about the issue of "code
Although I'm not an attorney, I don't believe that a client can
successfully sue an engineer for designing above code minimums
particularly if the design engineer can prove that his design was
warranted by calculations, etc. For example, the code requirement for
live load deflection is L/360. Based on my experience, this criteria
will produce a "soft" floor in a residence with long (>18') spans. My
preference is to use L/400. I cannot even conceive a qualified expert
witness being able to successfully debate this issue.

My recommendation is that the design engineer, when exceeding these code
minimums, do so with rational thought and not be arbitrary. It's not
always true that, if 10 nails are enough, 20 are better.

While I agree that it should be up to the design engineer's best
judgement when exceeding the code minimums, I believe that, if there are
some areas of the code that are regularly inadequate, we should address
them and change the code. Unfortunately/fortunately our practice is as
much as a business as it is a science and we all must compete for work.
Much too often the reality is that an engineer or an engineering firm
will get that "over design" rap and will lose clients. Designing to code
minimums should have a defensible position and if there are problems
with particular sections of the code, they should be addressed.

I share the experience expressed in this thread about clients who want
the job done the cheapest (engr fee) are usually the ones who are the
slowest to pay ,demand the most service and then bad mouth the work to

One final thought. Dennis, are you STILL working on that patio cover?

Bill Allen

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Richard Lewis, P.E.
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The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
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