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Re: engineers and single family houses

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I guess with all the down side to the competition, etc. issues in CA, there
appears to be more opportunity for "one man shops" who hate to work for
other people and, for that matter, even go into an office every day.

God has his ways of evening things out :o).

Bill Allen
-----Original Message-----
From: Sprague, Harold O. <SpragueHO(--nospam--at)>
To: 'seaoc ' <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Saturday, October 11, 1997 2:23 PM
Subject: RE: engineers and single family houses

>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