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RE: History of conventional wood framing- update

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Lynn wrote:

I know this is an unpopular point of view, and I have wanted to post
something about this for a long time.  These structures do not do very badly
at limiting damage either, although I do acknowledge that most of
these building required a lot or repair.  However, very few actually needed
to be torn down and replaced."

I think this is where the difference of opinions occur. One side believes
that the codes should only establish life safety minimum standards. The
other side believes that the code should establish minimum performance based
My difference of opinion with Lynn on this matter is one of financial loss -
not life safety. Rarely is a home constructed specifically for one family.
The case is more likely that a buyer is considering a home in a tract
development or a home constructed by a small developer who has already
invested in the property, construction and is presently marketing the home
as a beautiful home COMPARABLE IN QUALITY to an engineered home. I have my
doubts - taken from inspecting and reviewing many homes like this that make
up the majority of construction in new suburban areas or in more rural
regions such as mine.

My slant on the issues is that there is no control over those who wish to
follow prescriptive measures. The amount of damage reported from Northridge
was not life safety issues, but I strongly believe that the problems were
caused by less than engineered prescriptive measures AND poor construction
quality issues that are unresolved to this day. The engineering community's
solution to these problems is to make the code more restrictive and
complicated, thereby forcing the intervention of an engineer or architect.
Understandably, the lobby for builders and developers is much stronger and
harder to sway than creating more restrictive codes.
Now we ask if the public really needs to know about engineering issues? I
believe they should know. The reason is that they are paying for this
unbalance and need not pay the extra cost if the alternative is to place
more responsibility on the builder/framer by ensuring education and
certification. At this time, the licensing requirement for General
Contractor DOES NOT require specific knowledge of Conventional Framing
sections of the Code. This appears to be a major discontinuity in the
building process.
How can anyone build to a prescriptive standard when the builder has never
read the standard or has any specific understanding of it?

The public will continue to pay the price for in inability of the building
profession to come together and resolve these historic conflicts. I thought
the Insurance industry would have had more of an impact upon the building
industry other than to lobby for stricter and more conservative minimum code

Dennis Wish PE