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RE: engineers and single family houses

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>
>What I don't understand is that in most cases, lateral design 
>for residential building are governed by wind and not seismic 
>(unless it as a massive heavy tiled roof or is of brick design 
>like the mid-west). Texas as with most of the Midwest and 
>pan-handle states are subject to heavy wind loads which will do 
>equally as much damage as an earthquake.
>Being outside of seismic zone 4 should not eliminate the need 
>for engineering design or at least design based upon analysis by 
>a competent architect or engineer.
>I know that on the west coast "Conventional framing" tended to 
>govern over the years and engineered plans were the exception to 
>the rule. I would think that with east coast hurricanes and 
>Midwestern tornado's and the historic extent of damage that a 
>properly designed wood structure for residential use would be of 
>greater concern - if only for the increased rise of property 
>values since the early seventies. There is more financial risk 
>than ever before.
>This may not have been a valid justification for engineered 
>plans in the past, however, the insurance industry believes it 
>to be the emphasis for improved standards in the last few years.
>
>Dennis Wish PE

Dennis:

As stated in my previous post, single family residences in Texas are not
required by law to be engineered.  Excluding hurricanes and tornadoes,
very little damage is done to houses in Texas by the wind. Most Texas
houses are "stick-built" wood framing with brick veneer.  Two story
houses typically have some sort of shear walls.  Why would anyone be
interested in hiring a structural engineer to solve what is not
perceived to be a problem, and is not required by law?  Why would any
engineer be interested in doing this type of work, when there is ample
real work (more profit and less problems) available on other types of
buildings? 

Houses along the Gulf Coast are engineered for high winds, as required
by the Texas Board of Insurance.  I don't know of any house above grade,
anywhere in the world, that has ever been engineered for tornadoes.
This simply isn't feasible.  However, if you live with a mile of two
from a mobile home park, your home should not be at risk because it will
never be the preferred target {;^>!

Stan Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas