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Re: Shear Wall Lengths

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UBC97 Section 2315.5.3  mentions "... wood structural panel sheets (in zone 3 & 4)  not less than 4' -0" x 8'-0", EXCEPT at boundaries & changes in framing where min. sheet dimension is 24"."  California Building Code (CBC98, 2315.3.3) went further and stated that the min. size for horizontal & vertical plywood diaphragms is 24" & 12", respectively.

I agree with your position to use 2'-0" & 2'-11" long panels at the changes in framing. IMHO, 11" long panel is as you said a bad idea.

John Nguyen

>>> "Bill Allen" <Bill(--nospam--at)> 01/14 1:32 PM >>>
I got a comment today that I've never heard of before.

I have a project under construction which includes plywood shear walls. The
inspector has directed the framer that the shear wall panels are to be 4'-0"
in length with the only exception being the last panel. In other words, if
the shear wall length is 24'-11" long, he is to use six 4'-0" panels and one
panel 11" long. Of course, I thought this would be something similar to
horizontal diaphragms where we like to see a minimum panel length of 2'-0",
so I instructed the framer to use five 4'-0" panels, one 2'-0" panel and one
2'-11" panel. The inspector said that I would have to write a letter saying
that it is O.K. to use a panel "in the field" less than 4'-0" in length.

Is there ANYTHING in the UBC that states shear wall panels must be 4'-0" in
length? I think a 11" long panel is a bad idea, although I have not been
able to find anything in the code that specifies the length of the panel
(even the 2'-0" requirement).


Bill Allen, S.E.
Laguna Niguel, CA