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RE: WOOD AND HOUSES

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Mr. Allen,

Reading your reply reminded me of quote found in a textbook; Foundation
Design by D. P. Coduto.

"It would be well if engineering were less generally thought of ...as the
art of constructing.  
In a certain important sense it is the art of not constructing.....
of doing that well with one dollar which an bungler can do with two, after a
fashion."

Arthur M. Wellington (1887)

I do not know of this gentleman but, he seems to have possessed a degree of
wisdom that is fast becoming extinct.

Thanks,
Hal Riddle

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Bill Allen, S.E. [SMTP:bill(--nospam--at)allendesigns.com]
> Sent:	Monday, August 24, 1998 11:50 PM
> To:	seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject:	RE: WOOD AND HOUSES
> 
> Jose-
> I hope you are enjoying this conversation (essentially) with yourself. The
> answer is simple economics. Most of the countries that use brick, mortar
> and
> stone for construction materials are where, for the most part, have a
> labor
> force making about 8,000 pesos per year. The average construction worker
> in
> the U.S. makes that in a week.
> 
> If a wood structure is properly designed and maintained, it's life has
> been
> satisfactory (we don't need houses that stand for 2,000 years).
> 
> If you ignore economics, I don't see how you can do a very good job at
> engineering.
> 
> Regards,
> Bill Allen
> 
> P.S.- You should see what can be done with bamboo in Asia.
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jose Diez [mailto:josediezpe(--nospam--at)hotmail.com]
> Sent: Monday, August 24, 1998 8:08 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: Re: WOOD AND HOUSES
> 
> 
> 
> 
> >Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 13:15:16 +1200 (NZST)
> >From: Bruce Shephard <bruce.shephard(--nospam--at)opus.co.nz>
> >To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> >Subject: Re: WOOD AND HOUSES
> >Reply-To:seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> 
> The mechanical engineer likely refered to concrete masonry blocks
> instead of bricks.  Clay is a rare find in Florida (other than in the
> Panhandle).
> 
> As far as I know, ALL the Roman (and Moslem) inspired building codes,
> rule out the use of wood for permanent structures. For multiple reasons,
> beyond the scope of my contribution. Even in China they preper petrous
> materials over rice by-product materials.
> 
> Unfortunately, the use of masonry needs special treatment in eatthquake
> prone zones.  Steel can carefully replace masonry, but never wood iun
> Roman inspired Building Codes.
> 
> 
> Have you ever browsed a fire code in a Roman system country??? It is
> only a few pages long, compared to the multiple volumes of NFPA codes in
> the US.
> 
> Simple. In Roman codes, combustible materials are RARE.
> 
> Uplift is another word I rarely heard in my practice in Roman countries.
> If you have a roof slab 4" (100 mm) thick that is 48+ PSF. The net
> uplift under extreme winds for low rise buildings in the Caribbean area,
> is not much more than 48 PSF.
> 
> For a high-rise 32 stories for instance, it can reach 300 PSF!!!! But an
> 8" (200 mm)  slab provides a self weight of 96 PSF. The net uplift is
> around 200 PSF. You just supply steel to account for it.
> 
> One of my main reasons to move from Canada to the US, was that nearly
> every affordable building was built out of wood. Today I can afford to
> live in a concrete hi-rise structure.  I love noise,  carbon (ollin for
> those who understand spanish) and people.  I am really tired of living
> among cows, wood, and having to travel to downtown for work. Just
> because after 1965, the americans decided to abandon urban life!
> 
> I AM VERY URBAN! And proud of it. Have you ever wondered why the roman
> coliseum is still there? Or perhaps the house where Pilatus was born
> more than 2000 years ago is still there?? Many other important buildings
> have lasted2 milleniums or close to it, just because they were not built
> in wood. By the way, some ancient roof structures were made out of wood.
> How come most of these ancient roofs have little or no leaks??  Is the
> english-american system of bio-degradable materials any better than the
> Roman system??? NO!
> 
> Jose Diez P.E.  FL.
> 
> 
> 
> >I reply to the posting:
> >--------------------------------
> >> Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 18:41:22 -0700
> >> From: Juan Enrique Justo <jjusto(--nospam--at)copime.org.ar>
> >> Subject: WOOD AND HOUSES
> >> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> >
> >
> >> The several posts (and counter posts) I read about the use of wood
> in=
> >
> >> houses construction moved me to ask you what follows.
> >> Although I=92m mechanical engineer, I do love wood, and my hobby is
> >> woodworking.
> >
> >Wood is a beautiful material, especially for furniture and interior
> >finishes.  It is also a good construction material as slender
> sections,=
> > glu-
> >laminated sections, and in veneer sheet forms.  It is also the basis
> of=
> >
> >various fibreboards.  It requires special design considerations as
> expe=
> >cted
> >for a material comprising natural fibres formed as a moist composite.
> =
> >
> >Engineering skills are required either directly or in formulating non-
> >specific design criteria.
> >
> >> But I am not convinced -so far- about the benefits of house
> construct=
> >ion
> >> from wood which seems to be the rule in USA. Here in south america
> we=
> >
> >> still prefer bricks.
> >
> >Are wood (or timber as we refer to the material in New Zealand),
> suppli=
> >es
> >readily available and economic for house construction in South America
> =
> >
> >though?
> >
> >> I was in Houston for 18 month, and I had the chance to see the
> progre=
> >ssive
> >> construction of a condo nearby my place. I saw those tiny (o let=92s
> =
> >say
> >> slender) timber pieces to be put together to form the structure of
> wa=
> >lls,
> >> frames, beams, etc.
> >
> >The slender timber pieces are joined by nails and fixings, taken
> togeth=
> >er
> >with sheet lining and cladding, that make up structural elements that
> i=
> >n
> >turn make up a house that is weather tight, load carrying and able to
> r=
> >esist
> >earthquake and wind forces.  The structural performance essence is in
> t=
> >he
> >energy absorbtion and ductile characteristics of the fixing systems
> tha=
> >t are
> >designed to deform before the wood elements become over stressed.
> >
> >> I also was told (pls tell me if this is true) that
> >> these slim timbers came from very fast growing trees, specially
> devel=
> >oped
> >> for construction.
> >
> >Yes,  in New Zealand, the land of fertile soils, sunshine and rain,
> thi=
> >s is
> >very true.
> >
> >> I also was told that unless termites choose the same
> >> home as you do, this full wood houses can last up to 30 years.
> >
> >NZ is fortunate not to have termites.  Wood is treated to resist other
> =
> >
> >insect infestations, and chemically treated for wet and soil contact
> >conditions.
> >
> >> All this introduction is just to ask to you fellows (ladys included)
> =
> >why
> >> this wood based system was chosen. Are there some kind of historical
> =
> >
> >> reasons?, or may be old traditions? A friend that lives in Tampa Fl,
> =
> >made
> >> his house to be built up in our traditional way (bricks and more
> bric=
> >ks)
> >> and he had to pay 30% more that a fully wood house. So, Is it
> because=
> > of
> >> money?
> >
> >Partly historical tradition and partly money or economics in NZ.
> Europ=
> >ean
> >settlers arriving in the early 19th century and developing farmlands
> fo=
> >und
> >vast native forests and so built in wood.  When gold was discovered
> man=
> >y
> >towns and cities were constructed in masonry brick.  There are good
> cla=
> >y
> >deposits for brick making.  Strong earthquakes in the late 1800's and
> e=
> >arly
> >1900's clearly showed that wood buildings performed better than the
> bri=
> >ck
> >ones,  so -----
> >
> >Currently most single family houses are constructed in wood.  They are
> =
> >
> >painted (for durability) in many colours and this sets the NZ urban
> cit=
> >y
> >scape apart from many overseas,   even more colourful than the west
> coa=
> >st
> >US.  We have both light weight (steel/iron) roofs (again in many
> colour=
> >s)and
> >heavy weight roofs (clay or concrete tiles).  We also use a masonry
> ven=
> >eer
> >to wood framed, with interior linings, houses so that they look like
> >masonry.
> >
> >Many 2, 3 and 4 storey commercial buildings are constructed in wood,
> >particularly those more than 60 years old in smaller towns.  NZ also
> ha=
> >s
> >good natural materials available for reinforced concrete construction
> a=
> >nd
> >this is the common form for larger buildings.  Light steel sections
> are=
> > used
> >for industrial buildings.  Larger steel sections have to be imported,
> s=
> >o
> >only the highest commercial buildings feature steel frames.
> >
> >Our houses and buildings designed to current standards are expected to
> =
> >have
> >good earthquake and wind resistant performance.  Earthquake as good as
> =
> >for
> >California.  Wind to hurricane levels!
> >
> >> By the way, how about New Zealand? What do you use there?
> >
> >As above.
> >
> >>
> >> Finally, I would like to tell you that this query is just for the
> sak=
> >e of
> >> knowledge.
> >>
> >> thanks
> >>
> >
> >There's a short history of wood construction in New Zealand.  I hope
> th=
> >at it
> >is of general interest.
> >
> >Cheers,  Bruce S
> >
> >--------------------------------------------------
> >Bruce Shephard, Principal Consultant Seismic Risk
> >Opus International Consultants, New Zealand
> >DD Telephone +64 4 4717597,  Fax +64 4 4711397
> >Email bruce.shephard(--nospam--at)opus.co.nz
> >--------------------------------------------------
> >
> >
> >
> 
> 
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