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Re: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough

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Body count??

I did look at a house after the Landers/Big Bear EQ that was 1 mile from
the epicenter.  It was built less than a year before the quake by a
contractor/developer who had an Architect draw the plans that conformed
to conventional framing provisions.  It was a two story box... but one
end was a garage door with 30" panels on each side. (this was the only
area that didn't really conform with general construction provisions)

The magnitude was in the low 6s I believe, and the open end of the
building failed.  It racked to a point that the walls perpendicular to
the garage door were out of plumb 4.5 inches. The roof trusses shifted
as there was no shear transfer from the diaphragm to the walls. First
floor wall panels with plywood sheathing lifted from the sill as there
were no hold downs. Beams supporting second floor joists pulled from
their supports as there was not mechanical connection... Only toe nails
at the beam to post connections.  No straps around the opening in the
stair well. No it didn't collapse, but there is no way I could call a
wall out of plumb that far, or a beam that is only has 1/2" bearing, 
structurally sound.  ICBO's "Abatement of Dangerous and Hazardous
Buildings" classifies this as unsafe and hazardous. The contractor
wanted to save engineering fees and less than $2000 of hardware costs. 
These people had just purchased their retirement/vacation home and now
had a HUGE repair bill.  The contractor declared BK and they had no
recourse.  The building department had signed off as it complied with
the general construction provisions with the one exception.  

Here the general construction provisions didn't do anyone any good...
everyone loss... And while there was no body count here.... If it had
been just a bit larger, there could have been. 

Steve Privett CE