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Re: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

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There have been numerous responses to the initial question regarding a building supposedly of
"conventional construction", but which had no holdowns anywhere and which had shear panels at
each side of the garage opening that were only 2'-6" (also without holdowns).

I will not repeat all the previous stuff since the file is getting long, but you can check it out

Here are my thoughts:

1.    Based upon the description, and ASSUMING that this is Zone 4 and that the garage walls are
the only "braced wall panels" in this "braced wall line", then THIS DESIGN DOES NOT COMPLY with
conventional construction.  See 97 UBC 2326.11.3, 2326.11.4, and Table 23-I-W.  You will note
that the minimum length of a braced wall panel is 4'-0" UNLESS it is a plywood panel and holdowns
are provided.  Even in that case, 2'-8" is the minimum length.  If there is a second story,
plywood is required on both sides for walls less than 4'-0" long.

2.    It is HIGHLY unlikely that the remainder of the building complies with conventional
construction either.  What is required is a "braced wall panel" 4'-0" long at EACH END of each
"braced wall line" AND every 25' along the line.  This is for a one-story building!  I have never
seen a residence that complied with these provisions.  Invariably, the walls are shorter and/or
not in the corners.

3.    I agree that we should spend our efforts (regarding this example) ENFORCING EXISTING
REGULATIONS.  This approach is legally defensible and less time consuming.  The Conventional
Construction provisions fulfill a need very well, and yes, these provisions are complex BECAUSE
they are prescriptive.  regarding the issue of code changes, there are plenty of dedicated and
talented persons updating the code on an ongoing basis.  I recommend that each of us supports
their efforts (such as those in the SEAONC and SEAOC Code Committes) and works to understand the
intent and language of the code, and to share the knowledge (such as in this forum).  OK, I'll
get off my soapbox.

4.  Considering that the provisions have most likely not been met, then BORPELS should certainly
be contacted.  I am sure that BORPELS would certainly be insterested in going after this
architect if the code is not being followed.  Perhaps they have the authority to bar them from
providing structural design services as an architect.  I believe that architects are required to
practice only in their area of expertise (as are engineers), and therefore could also be
sanctioned by their own regulators.


Mark T. Swingle, SE