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Re: Lateral decision

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JRTCE wrote:

> I am currently writing a proposal for engineering work on a two story,
> early 1900's church. The owners would like to remove and relocate some
> first story walls. No work is proposed for the top story.  Both upper and
> lower stories have significant seismic deficiencies from their original
> design but have performed well so far. My proposal is for a seismic
> retrofit of the first floor.  I am wondering if I should make it a
> requirement of mine that retrofitting must be done on both the top and
> bottom floors or I dont take the job.
> On one hand, no work is being done up top and I am making the lower floor
> far stronger than it ever was so limiting my scope of work to the bottom
> floor is acceptable. On the other hand, If there ever was a problem with
> the upper floor the owner could say I was negligent in not making them
> correct the upper floor problems. An attorney might also claim that I
> changed the characteristics of the building and that led to an upper floor
> failure.  I might also add that to retrofit the lower floor is relatively
> easy but to retrofit the upper floor would be very difficult due to 20'
> ceilings, alters, etc. and probably outside of the owners means. I would be
> interested in your comments.
> Sincerely: Jerry R. Taylor

If you strengthen the lower floor walls making them "far stronger" than they
were before, doesn't that change the overall response in the building of the
ground-generated earthquake forces? Can you recommend to the owners that the
entire lateral system be addressed, pointing out the potential increase in
damage to the upper floors and advise them of their risk should they not do the

Barry H. Welliver
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