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RE: engineers and single family houses

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In Kansas and Missouri single family homes are rarely, rarely, hardly
ever, almost never designed by a PE.  You will occasionally see some
homes designed by architects, but even those are the exception.  Some
towns in Missouri have yellow page adds for home design by draftsmen.
The vast majority of homes are built from purchased plans with little or
no structural detailing.

The vast majority of homes are stick built from dimensional lumber.  The
use of prefabricated roof trusses and manufactured wood products is
rare.  Even more exasperating is the fact that the codes are up to the
local municipality.  It is often very difficult to figure out.  Overland
Park, located in Johnson County, Kansas is BOCA.  Leewood, located in
Johnson County, Kansas is UBC.  Unincorporated areas of Johnson County
are UBC.  Some areas use CABO.  Kansas City, Missouri is UBC, but allows
CABO for residential construction.  Missouri has no default state code.
Some municipalities refer to the National Code which was merged into
BOCA years ago.

That is why when a micro burst or small tornado hits a residential area,
the houses come apart.  Keep in mind that F1 and most F2 tornadoes will
have wind velocities less than the prescribed building code.

Although my current company does not engage in residential or light
commercial, my prior employer of 10 years ago did offer services for
residential and light commercial.  Occasionally I do offer consulting
for friends, family, and close acquaintances just to keep aware of the
practice and to play "find the load path".  I have angered many guys who
swing hammers for a living.  Building officials are very little help.
They are just happy if the drain lines slope down, and the lights come
on when you flip a switch.

When my own home was being constructed, I asked the carpenter foreman if
he saw any problems with the details like the hurricane anchors.  He had
done some commercial work but said that most of his crew would have to
be spoon fed.  One of the crew said, "What's a hurricane anchor?"  The
foreman shook his head turned to me and said, "See what I mean?"

Harold Sprague
Black & Veatch
Please clarify.  Are you saying that the majority of single family
in Texas is not engineered by a licensed PE?  Are Architects doing the
engineering or does the reduced seismic requirements relegate single
design to just conforming to the conventional construction provisions of
the Code?

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
other states please respond! :)

Kevin McCune