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Re: SStud: Need opinions about residential construction and steel stud shearw...

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I agree that there is not enough design references on residential metal stud
framing. Or maybe I'm not researching hard enough.

I designed tract houses more than a year ago for 3-one story and 2-one story
plans where the developer wanted to use metal studs like the houses in the
adjacent property which was under construction. Being my first metal stud job,
I did a lot of research, talked to some engineers I know who designed houses
with metal studs, I got the AISI residential metal stud handbook and met with
the engineer at Western Metal a couple of times and got more references on
design and detailing of residential metal studs based on their experience as
fabricator and supplier of metal studs. They also had in-house engineering at
that time. I used the stick method which, although not the most economical
system, was the commonly used method because design and details were similar
to wood stud construction with modifications for connections, and wood framers
can easily be trained to  work with metal studs if the system is similar. I
just did the best I can following the basic structural engineering knowledge
and judgement I have without the experience in metal studs. I was hoping that
during construction, I can get feedback from the contractors at the same time
continuing my research in case I learn something new or better that I may have
to modify my framing and connection details. Unfortunately, the bid using
metal stud came really close to the cost using wood studs so the developer
decided to shift to wood studs and I had to redo all the plans. 

I continued gathering references on residential metal studs just in case the
next job comes along. I bid on some and talked to some homeowners about
potential jobs but nothing happened. I think prices of wood framing got down
from when they skyrocketed causing the sudden interest on metal studs. I'm
still waiting and hoping. 

I believe that there are only a few engineers here in California doing a lot
of residential metal stud jobs. I wish they would share their knowledge and
practical experiences to other engineers interested in entering this
specialized field. A design manual with guidelines and sample calculations,
sample plans and details for a variety of house plans would  be nice. Or maybe
a Seminar for engineers who want to know everything there is to learn about
residential metal studs. Maybe, if there are a lot of engineers knowledgeable
in this field, there will be more and better designed houses built with metal
studs. Hopefully, the building departments, the code writers, framers,
developers and all others involved will also get more information and training
so the whole residential metal stud industry can move forward and be a viable
alternative to wood studs.

Just recently, I bought a book titled Residential Steel Framing Handbook by
Robert Scharff which is pretty good but I'm still looking for one written by a
practicing structural engineer with local design and construction experience.
I also got The Prescriptive Method for Residential Cold-Formed Steel Framing
handbook  with a separate Commentary handbook by the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development.

If anybody else have some other good references please let me know or you can
e-mail me directly.

Ernie Natividad