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(__) Dennis S. Wish PE
Good question. First, I don't assume the competency of any contractor that
might build from my plans. I assume that my plans are no different from any
instructions of assembly and the more information that is on the plan, the
better chance the finished design will be the way I percieved it when
creating the design.
I have one contractor who I happen to be friends with outside of work. His
framer is one of the best in the trade, but my friend (who is the general)
lacks the knowledge of foundations and framing. This is a dicotomy since he
is responsible for the work that his framer does and should be more rather
than less competitent. Therefore, I know that I am going to spend more time
on this job during construction than I would on another in order to guide the
general and to educate him as to what his framer's responsiblity is.
Currently, I have two projects where the licensed GC is less knowedgable than
his hired subs. In most cases, if I feel comfortable with the subs I place
more responsibility in them and ask that they be my contact so my
instructions are given first hand.
Rather than take the time in this post, please refer to my next email with
the Subject - Pathways. I think that Don and others will be interested in
this pre-construction planning to improve construction problems.
I personally don't believe in penalizing the homeowner or building owner by
trying to compensate for what may or may not happen in the field. The only
thing that I do when seismic governs is to use a more conservative Rw for
plywood based shearwall systems (Rw - 6 rather than 8).
I believe the code provisions in the '97 UBC is overly conservative resulting
from the pressure by the Insurance industry after 20 Billion in damages from
I think the question needs to be asked - "Would we have had the extent of
damage to residential construction from the Northridge earthquake if all
plans were engineered or engineered prescriptive measures (the Conventional
framing presciptive measures are not equal to minimum engineered solutions),
would the extent of damage been comparable? In other words, was the current
I read a report that Don Carr helped author on the damage caused by Hurricane
Andrew. The conclusion of the article was that the code provided an adequate
level of performance. I apologize if I get this wrong, but one of the reports
I read claimed that the code was inadequate in the installation of the roof
diaphragm with 6d nails. It suggested changing this requirment. (I'm not sure
if this was the same article that Don was listed as authoring).
If codes are adequate, then why should we overdesign to compensate for
I know that I am one of the most vocal advocates against overdesigned codes
used to compensate for construction defects. I apologize for constantly
hammering on this topic, however, I would really like to hear other comments
and suggestions that can be constructive to help resolve the problems.
Dennis S. Wish PE
Structural Engineering Consultant