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RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

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Bill, you have come into the BORPELS issue from the Conventional Framing
side of the argument. The description you gave is the guidelines established
under Conventional Framing section of the code. What it appears is that the
Architect simply provided compliance with the Conventional framing section
of the code (something your designer could have done without his
professional intervention) and applied his stamp for the architectural
features and as assurance of compliance with conventional framing standards.
The question is whether or not the homes fall under the provisions of
"Conventional Framing" with truss or joist spans less than 34 or 40 feet
(depending upon which code you follow) and no irregularities in the shear
distribution as defined by code.
There is nothing in this section of the code that prevents Conventional
framing from being used in "Tract" developments although it was not intended
to be used in this manner.
The final decision is up to the Building Official who is probably pressured
by the City Council who has pressure placed upon them by the developer of
the Tract.

This is not really an issue as to has the right to perform structural
engineering when an architect is simply providing conformance to a section
of the code that explicitly allows it's use without a professional seal.
I think you need to start attacking Conventional Framing rather than BORPELS
on this one example unless you can prove that the homes will not comply to
the definition of Conventional Framing - at which point I could almost
guarantee that the lack of holddowns will become a weak link with the
numbers are run in compliance with chapter 16 of the code.

Finally, here is a perfect example of how a developer can maximize his
profits at the expense of the home owner who unknowingly is buying into a
timebomb of hidden repair costs.

Dennis Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 1998 2:00 PM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

I just got off the telephone with a friend of mine who does architectural
design. Her client, the developer specified the person to do the structural
engineering. Apparently, this person is an architect, but has done
structural engineering for years. This particular project is a 17 house
mini-tract. My friend has gotten the engineering and is pretty shocked by
what she has seen. Mind you, she doesn't know anything about engineering
(nor claims to). All she can do is to compare what she sees and compares it
to the work provided by her "regular" engineer. We discussed the work
briefly and she noticed that there are no hold downs on the entire job (a
few LCBs here and there) as well as 2'-6" shear piers on either side of the
garage openings (with no hold downs). She told me that the developers and
contractors in her area like to use this person because construction costs
are much lower. No doubt. BTW, the project is located in LA County. I
can't/won't get into specifics due to the potential legal issues, but this
is totally absurd. What will it take to get BORPELS to tighten the
regulations on who can do structural engineering (especially in seismic zone

Bill Allen