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Re: engineers and single family houses

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In a message dated 97-10-10 Kevin McCune writes:

<< You are right in stating that a large number of CE's and SE's in Calif 
 specialize in residential light frame construction.  I am curious what 
 percentage of engineers do this type of work outside of CA.  Engineers from 
 other states please respond! :) >>

Here in Virginia most residential light frame construction is "designed" by
builders.  A plan and wall section usually means a permit.  The building
officials do look for long spans, pile foundations or just plain wacky
proposals and at their discretion, will require the builder to get an
engineer involved.  A much smaller percentage of residential construction is
designed by architects.  Sometimes the architects will ask an engineer to
help, usually if there is some complicated framing is involved.   In general,
the building officials and architects are quite comfortable approving or
designing using the prescriptive requirements of CABO, their own experience
and rules of thumb, despite the fact that our local area will eventually be
hit by a hurricane.  Hurricane ties are "de rigueur" at the roof level but
fastening the second floor to the first with anything other than a sole plate
is considered "special".

To answer your question, not many structural engineers in VA specialize in
light frame residential work.  I'd estimate that about 50% do some
residential work.   The other half  just refer the work to those of us that
are willing to do it.  In my practice it's probably 10% or less of my volume,
but I don't turn anything away.

Jan Harris, PE
Liberty Engineering, PC
Virginia Beach, VA