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- To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org
- Subject: braced wall code
- From: Mark and Jessica Pemberton <jmpember(--nospam--at)softcom.net>
- Date: Sat, 21 Feb 1998 15:14:21 -0800
What's the deal with the so-called braced wall code? I did a lateral design on a residential home with a cut-n-stacked roof and specified shear ply extension to the roof diaphragm at interior shear walls (required due to shear size of house). The designer then added a couple of walls here and there to just meet the requirements for standard construction (braced wall requirements). Thus, he ended up with interior "braced walls" with gyp board ending at the top plate above which in some areas there was over 15 feet of clear to the roof diaphragm. These walls seem highly ineffective for lateral resistance of the roof diaphragm. How is the developed shear load supposed to get to these walls? The plan now conforms to braced wall specifications and all the holdowns, footing requirements, and shear ply I originally specified have been removed (gyp panels were used). There are also now no collectors at diaphragm and/or chord discontinuities yet the UBC allows this by meeting the braced wall criteria. I spend more time trying to explain why the designs end up so different, but usually only confuse the client/designer further. The framers and contractors usually think we are the "bad" guys by adding all these "unneccessary details" and costs associated with them. They (the contractors usually) will often say things such as "we've built dozens of houses just like this one (in one case an identical house across the street from the current project) and never needed all these straps, hardware (hold-downs) and plywood extensions." I'm never really sure exactly how to respond. What's worse is some building departments are asking that we address only the areas that do not conform and turn a blind eye to the areas that do. This seems highly unproffessional when there are usually other areas of the design that concern me more than simply having a shear line that offsets more than the 4 feet allowed. I would appreciate any advice and/or comments regarding this situation.
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