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Re: Common versus box nails

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Dear Charles,

It was never my intent to jeopardize another engineer's license. I can see 
that my wording was a bit strong and that I started this search for other 
opinions on the wrong foot.   

I am an expert witness for the defense (the framer) in a law suit involving 
structural defects in a large housing tract. The plaintiff's structural 
listed as one of the defects, the nailing of plywood shear walls with box 
nails. I pulled nails out of  several walls in several units and they were 
all box nails.

The plans as previously stated made no mention of common nails in the shear 
wall schedule or in the general notes on the structural detail sheets. The 
structural calcs were done using full values for common nails in the 1985 and 
1988 U.B.C plywood shear wall tables. 

I too do not like the word blame, so let us assume that this was an honest 
mistake by one or both parties to some extent. Was it common knowledge for 
framing contractors to use common nails for plywood shear wall nailing during 
that construction period (1989-1990)? I gather from your response that you 
felt that they should have known or that were knowledgeable of the building 
code's requirement for them.

My experience has been that if you did not specify common nails you would get 
box nails. I know some engineers that would design using box nails with 
reduced values for plywood shear walls. In that circumstance the contractor 
would have no idea that there was a problem using them on some other job 
unless  common nails  were specified.

My original query based on this information was meant to be whether or not it 
is fair for the framer to accept full responsibility for this problem.   As 
this is a touchy subject and the end result may be costly repairs, I wanted 
other opinions as to how this matter should be evaluated.   I respect your 
opinion and thank you for your comments regarding the legal issues.  I will 
tread lightly with regards to those issues.  

Best regards,
Ray Shreenan