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RE: Is it a shearwall or not??? Need some help

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What about the ability of the floor and roof diaphragms to resist/transmit
the forces that should be applied to each wall.  A review of the floor and
roof systems may provide answers to what the original load path was and lead
to a determination of the adequacy (or lack thereof) of the walls.

Since you are reducing the shear capacity of the wall and therefore its
rigidity you should do a lateral distribution analysis to see what effect
this change in rigidity makes to the presumed load path (unless you have a
flexible diaphragm although I thought that the 97 UBC removed that
distinction).  I would be wary of drastically changing the shear load path
of a fifty year old building that has been modified (maybe) at unknown times
and with unknown care.

Good luck

Nick