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RE: Wood Framing - Upgrade or Not

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You're definitely in a tough situation.
I don't know if the following will work within the California legal
system, but it I think it should be verified through a lawyer:

I would write a letter to the owner explaining your concerns.  The owner
in return signs the letter acknowledging that they understand the risks
and are willing to take those risks.

I've been in similar situations here in Idaho.  The situation is
different in the sense that I only have to take responsibility for my
portion of the design and that portion of the design must not make the
existing structure worse (I always notify the client of potential
problems and the majority of the time, they are willing to
upgrade--except the residential clients).  If I understand correctly,
California has the deep pocket philosophy and therefore if something
happens and you had something to do with any portion of the project,
you're liable, no matter what.
Hopefully this helps.  Good luck!

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis S. Wish PE [mailto:wish(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 4:36 PM
To: SEA International List
Subject: Wood Framing - Upgrade or Not 

I am providing structural consulting to a designer who is adding two
small additions to an existing home constructed in the early fifties.
The home has very little lateral support - the roof is 2x T&G and the
exterior braced walls are secured with let-ins and stucco finish, no
plywood. The home is essentially a post and beam construction with
plenty of glass.
My dilemma is that I would like to simply replace the Let-in wall braced
panels with plywood. Running the numbers won't balance. I can't really
follow conventional framing standards since the panel heights are too
The owner does not want to redesign the exterior of the home and the
city is not requiring me to re-balance the lateral into the structure. I
don't feel that the home will perform well as is. I know that my
proposed plan will not bring it up to minimum compliance, but I am
confident that it will add some additional rigidity and some added
Considering that I am too involved to back out, can anyone offer some
advice as to what they have done in similar situations?