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Re: Question for East Coast Engineers

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After reading this trail about lateral loads on the East Coast, I have to
put my two cents in.  I am currently living and working in Boise, Idaho.
Seismic zone 2B and 70 mph wind speeds.

Mr.. Mike Zaitz brings up an interesting topic: "To my knowledge on a
typical house the framer gets
>to frame it how he or she wants and then the building inspector either
>signs off on it or requires an engineer to look at a particular problem."

This comment is pretty much true here in Boise.  I must say this is very
frustrating for a lot of the local engineers.  The builders are able to draw
permits to build houses that do not meet code per structural issues.  The
comment they get is to provide engineering for:  the walls at the garage
doors, bay windows, etc..  Basically, anywhere there is not enough shear
wall, provide engineering.

Sounds O.K., right.  Wrong.  The builders still get the permit and build the
house without engineering.  Here's the catch:  The building inspector
reminds them that they need engineering and will not sign off on the project
until they get the engineering done.  Our problem is that the house is built
and the builders want us to come up with the miracle solution to solve their
problem, besides "they've built this same house many times before and never
had a problem."

The point is this:  The building officials should require engineering for
the houses that do not meet current conventional construction before issuing
a permit.  With the new code, how am I going to justify the use of a 2 foot
shear wall with a 9 foot plate height (code requires a 2 to 1 aspect ratio)?

Sorry for rambling on.  I believe that many of the engineers understand
lateral load paths, but the real battle is with the builders and general
public.  In a relatively low seismic zone and wind speeds, the builders and
general public assumes we are over designing since there has not been any
local collapses of structures.  In turn, this means a lot of structures may
get built without an engineer's input and therefore no lateral support.