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Residential Flexible/Rigid Diaphragm Analysis

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I happen to speak with a few engineers on different committees for both SEAOSC
and SEAOC. There appears to be (and I agree) a growing disagreement with the
prospects of designing custom (or conventional) residential structures (single
family) using rigid diaphragm techniques.
There is also a growing concern or disagreement with penalizing the structure
when using embedded (Pendulum) steel columns for resisting lateral loads on a
small portion of the structure. The disagreement here is not that the loads to
the columns should not be amplified, but that the entire structure should not
be forced to comply to a much lower Rw when only a portion of the building is
strengthened using embedded columns.
Personally, I would rather wait the results of the Cal-Tech/CUREE study before
subjecting clients to higher design and construction costs which may be
indicative of construction quality rather than design deficiencies.
With July approaching quickly, I am concerned that local municipalities will
not be aware of the number of engineers who question this approach and would
hope that local building officials will take this into consideration.

It is further my understanding from discussing this with a knowledgeable
SEAOSC committee member than the wood committee questions the need for this
change, but has been overruled by the seismology committee. I am not sure
whether this was at SEAOSC level or at the final State level (SEAOC).

Perhaps some of you can shed some light on this topic and we can make at least
our opinions heard. 

Dennis S. Wish PE
Editor SEAINT Online