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Conventional construction

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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 responses are many,
but you can check it out yourself.

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 interested 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.  At the minimum, I
am sure that they would contact the architects' regulatory board.  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