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RE: Question for East Coast Engineers

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You have hit the proverbial nail . . . it all comes back to the building
officials and their "enforcement" of the code.  My supposition is, most
of them probably don't understand most of that that they are supposed to

Numerous voilations could be found in any "house framer engineered"
structure.  Engineering of these structures is unheard of in our area
too.  I have about decided that the brick veneer is what holds up most
of the houses around here in west texas(seismic 0, 90mph wind per ASCE
7-93).  Funny thing is . . . there are rarely any problems from our
60mph spring winds when the dust blows!

Other problem is, even if we were to structurally engineer "houses", or
any light framing structure, at least for me, to acheive a level of
comfort in the detailing that I am satisfied with, there is no way to
make any money.  I guess that its my concern for control of the
detailing that is the main cause of that, but isn't that where i should
be concerned?

And aren't lateral loads at least 50% of the puzzle in any structure?

robert rollo, PE
(806) 747-0161vox
(806) 747-7146 fax

>-----Original Message-----
>From:	Mike Brown [SMTP:mike.brown(--nospam--at)]
>Sent:	Wednesday, May 06, 1998 4:39 PM
>To:	seaoc(--nospam--at)
>Subject:	Re: Question for East Coast Engineers
>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.