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Fwd: Re: building code minimums for wood frame

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HARRISENGR(--nospam--at) wrote:
> but the  housing tract developer would sue him if he designed in anything
> that cost more than building code absolute minimum. He said it is really up
> to the developer.
>      Any thoughts on this subject ? Has anyone heard of an engineer being
> sued for designing above code minimums ?

I think that the engineer should explain to the tract developer that his
is absolutely senseless as, I think, most design engineers would agree.
Asking not
to "overdesign" is however a reasonable think to ask for, so maybe he could
rephrase it.

I personally think of Code Minimums & Maximums as legal thresholds below and
wich an engineer might go to jail, and not as standards of good practice.   

When I was employed in a design firm, I used to always get into arguments
with my boss
(who had more than 20 years of design experience) because he almost always
exceeded the 
Code minimum requirements. He would say that experience justifies his values,
and I
would reply that the Code was followed by millions of engineers throughout
the world 
so there was no way that its minimum values were not conservative and amply
So when I started my own work, I experimented with those Code minimums for,
example, shrinkage & temperature steel for walls and slabs (of course I
didn't mess
with columns and stirrups since we're in a seismic zone.) So I designed a
wall with minimum horizontal steel (actually slightly above Code minimum) and
allowable spacing (actually slightly below max.) So the result was one
vertical crack at midspan which showed as soon as the forms were striped, and
a few
months later, when the winter and cold came in, vertical cracks at about 3m
started appearing. Of course, I already forgot the $200 dollars I saved in
reinforcement but I think these cracks will bug me forever.

Try for example to specify the maximum allowable vertical steel reinforcement
columns and the contractor will probably send you a hit man :)

I could give many examples like that, but I guess the moral of the story is
code minimums & max should be viewed with some skepticism and design
experience along
with local rules of good practice should always be taken into account.

Mony Serhal

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Richard Lewis, P.E.
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