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Re: engineers and single family houses

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Dennis S. Wish PE wrote:
><.. snip ...>

> I agree that most homes will not collapse in a high wind (or earthquake) but
> the issue has more to do with cost to repair damage.

Bear in mind that all of the construction codes are "Life Safety" codes, not
financial stability codes.  The purpose of the codes, and the purpose of your
being licensed by the state, is to protect the public safety.  Seismic disasters
occur without warning, while hurricanes can usually be predicted with enough
advance warning to permit evacuation.

Here in Florida a few local jurisdictions require an engineer's or architect's
seal on the larger houses (often over 4,000 SF), but the vast majority of homes
need no engineering so long as the plan reviewer finds that the design conforms
to the prescriptive requirements of the code.  I know of many homes in south
Florida that cost over $1 million that were designed by the contractor or a
drafter working out of his garage.

When Andrew struck we thought the insurance companies would join in our fight to
upgrade the construction standards but instead they just up and left - claiming
they'd go broke if they wrote any more policies in the state.  Some of them are
just now returning to Florida.

When the citizanry realize how much it costs them to NOT engineer and construct
homes properly maybe the quality of construction will increase but that won't
happen until the fiduciaries for the insurance companies figure out what bad
construction costs and the insurance companies are willing to give a deduction
in premium price on 'engineered' homes.  [[  I'm not holding my breath :)  ]]

Lew Midlam, P.E.