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Tom, this is the same dicotomy that most of us, outside the Los Angeles
City borders, come across daily. Developers and Builders are not really
interested in the safety of the finished product. Let me preface by
narrowing this to tract and starter home builders as well as
multi-residential structures. In regard to single family residences, many
of the builders of starter homes have a limited budget and a difference in
a couple of thousand dollars in hardware will equate to a lost sale or may
(I have seen a couple of these) throw the buyer out of the market as a
"qualifier".
These clients search for the lowest engineering price, but even more
important, the most creative and ecconomical design. The judge this on
their history of building by either "conventional construction standards"
that don't require an engineer's stamp, or by older code requirements.
Therefore, when an engineer who gets the work, adds a couple of HDA's vs
PAHD's or conventional anchor bolts rather than MAS anchors - it usually is
his last job with that client.
Mind you that this is not a criticism of Simpson Products, but the I infer
the problems with installation of this hardware rather than the capacity of
the hardware as related to the manufacturers catalog.
The code allows shear values for Gypsum and Stucco but few engineers are
comfortable designing with these elements unless the capacity has been
greatly reduced. A knowing contractor does not care about the engineers
professional opinion as long as ICBO or the governing code allows the
values to be used.
I, for one, have a dislike for installation of 3/8" plywood as a shear
element due to the crushing of ply's upon installation. After all, the
installer is there to bang a hammer and has never opened a code.
To be fair, I believe that many of L.A. City requirements for lightweight
wood framing is over-kill, yet I have no control over this in L.A. Yet
other area's of the changes made by L.A. are very reasonable.
In conclusion, if every engineer refused to do work based upon lowest cost
construction, we would be able to educate the construction industry. But as
long as there are those out there that will accept this work inadequate
designs will exist.
My position is to "try" and educate the client and show them what they have
at stake as well as I. I have refused work for an unyielding client, but
need to work and feed my family. There are area's that I won't comprimise,
however, I end up spending more time than most detailing my work and trying
to make sure that if I have to comprimise on the connector, I detail it
well enough to diminish the problems that the framer encounters attaching
it.
I will also make spot visits - where possible - to check his work. Granted,
this costs profit, but I have been known to give away details to clients in
order to produce a better product. What I mean is - a client will present
me with a set of working drawings including structural details that he has
accumulated. I will, in some cases, omit his page and add my details while
not charging him for this when he has hired me for analysis only. This is
the only way I can be sure the product is good. 
If anyone else would care to comment I would love to hear how you deal with
this type of client. I must tell you that advise such as "don't accept the
work" is not the answer I'm looking for if I want to continue working in
this field.
Sincerely
Dennis Wish PE
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<html><head></head><BODY bgcolor=3D"#FFFFFF"><p><font size=3D2 =
color=3D"#000000" face=3D"Lucida Casual">Tom, this is the same dicotomy =
that most of us, outside the Los Angeles City borders, come across =
daily. Developers and Builders are not really interested in the safety =
of the finished product. Let me preface by narrowing this to tract and =
starter home builders as well as multi-residential structures. In regard =
to single family residences, many of the builders of starter homes have =
a limited budget and a difference in a couple of thousand dollars in =
hardware will equate to a lost sale or may (I have seen a couple of =
these) throw the buyer out of the market as a =
&quot;qualifier&quot;.<br>These clients search for the lowest =
engineering price, but even more important, the most creative and =
ecconomical design. The judge this on their history of building by =
either &quot;conventional construction standards&quot; that don't =
require an engineer's stamp, or by older code requirements. Therefore, =
when an engineer who gets the work, adds a couple of HDA's vs PAHD's or =
conventional anchor bolts rather than MAS anchors - it usually is his =
last job with that client.<br>Mind you that this is not a criticism of =
Simpson Products, but the I infer the problems with installation of this =
hardware rather than the capacity of the hardware as related to the =
manufacturers catalog.<br>The code allows shear values for Gypsum and =
Stucco but few engineers are comfortable designing with these elements =
unless the capacity has been greatly reduced. A knowing contractor does =
not care about the engineers professional opinion as long as ICBO or the =
governing code allows the values to be used.<br>I, for one, have a =
dislike for installation of 3/8&quot; plywood as a shear element due to =
the crushing of ply's upon installation. After all, the installer is =
there to bang a hammer and has never opened a code.<br>To be fair, I =
believe that many of L.A. City requirements for lightweight wood framing =
is over-kill, yet I have no control over this in L.A. Yet other area's =
of the changes made by L.A. are very reasonable.<br>In conclusion, if =
every engineer refused to do work based upon lowest cost construction, =
we would be able to educate the construction industry. But as long as =
there are those out there that will accept this work inadequate designs =
will exist.<br>My position is to &quot;try&quot; and educate the client =
and show them what they have at stake as well as I. I have refused work =
for an unyielding client, but need to work and feed my family. There are =
area's that I won't comprimise, however, I end up spending more time =
than most detailing my work and trying to make sure that if I have to =
comprimise on the connector, I detail it well enough to diminish the =
problems that the framer encounters attaching it.<br>I will also make =
spot visits - where possible - to check his work. Granted, this costs =
profit, but I have been known to give away details to clients in order =
to produce a better product. What I mean is - a client will present me =
with a set of working drawings including structural details that he has =
accumulated. I will, in some cases, omit his page and add my details =
while not charging him for this when he has hired me for analysis only. =
This is the only way I can be sure the product is good. <br>If anyone =
else would care to comment I would love to hear how you deal with this =
type of client. I must tell you that advise such as &quot;don't accept =
the work&quot; is not the answer I'm looking for if I want to continue =
working in this field.<br>Sincerely<br>Dennis Wish PE</p>
</font></body></html>
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From: "Dennis S. Wish PE" <wish(--nospam--at)cyberg8t.com>
To: <seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org>
Subject: Re: building code minimums for wood frame
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 22:47:22 -0800
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