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Re: Florida Coast custom home

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Having grown up in Sarasota and practiced/licensed in FLA, it sounds like
this lady got a better quality job than usual.  Check out the results in
Homestead after Hurricane Andrew.  All those carefully Dade-County-inspected
1-story CMU homes which fell apart.  Problems in FLA a similar to
residential construction everywhere, and mainly center around homes built
without engineering (or competent design by an architect), without
inspection/observation by same, or both.  Building inspection by the
jurisdictions in FLA, with some exceptions of course, is a revenue and
employment building operation for the local governments.  Note the "...takes
no liability..." clauses prominently printed on the building permits.

The building inspector should have advised her mother to retain an engineer
and testing lab to inspect the work if she was serious about success...this
after selecting a contractor with bonifides from local professionals.  And
by the way, where was this building inspector / daughter during
construction?  Caveat emptor.

Oh well.  Preaching to the congregation, forgive me.

Laurence B. Oeth PE

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Hiner <shiner(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2001 12:58 PM
Subject: Florida Coast custom home

> The mother of one of our city building inpsectors recently had a custom
> built in Palm Coast (Flagler County), Florida.
> The house is three stories: 1st story is a Garage with masonry walls, 2nd
> 3rd stories are wood framed with plywood shear walls.  The roof is stick
> framed, 3rd floor is framed with metal plate connected wood trusses at 16"
> o.c., and the 2nd floor (over the Garage) is framed with metal plate
> connected wood trusses at 24" o.c.  It's my understanding that the house
> supposedly engineered to resist 110 mph wind loads (per the plans).  I
> seen part of the approved plans, but no calculations have been made
> available to date.
> It appears that the contractor pretty much built it as he saw fit, often
> matching the approved plans (which appear to be somewhat vague on the
> structural side).  What started out as a problem with excessive floor
> deflection of the 2nd floor trusses has resulted in some serious concerns
> with the lateral strength of this home.  One example: "GO-BOLT" system
> (SBCCI ESI Report No. 9508) was used to tie the wood framed walls to the
> masonry, but the spacing appears to be random at best and there are no
> washers and nuts at the sill plate on top of the masonry wall.  I'm not
> familiar with the "GO-BOLT" system, but it appears to use regularly spaced
> threaded rods intended to resist both combined tension (uplift) and shear
> the sill plate.  Rain water apparently is leaking to the inside of the
> Garage through gaps between the sill plate and top of masonry wall (at 2nd
> floor) ... where there appears to be no shear transfer (i.e. no plate
> washers and nuts).
> The contractor has been very unresponsive and has the attitude that it's
> his problem.  The registered engineer on the project was initially
> unresponsive as well but finally came out to the site and admits that the
> contractor "missed some things."  This engineer is finalizing a report.  A
> preliminary copy of the report makes no mention of the lack of shear
> transfer between the wood framed shear walls and the masonry.  There is a
> concern that this report might be weighted more towards saving the
> contractor additional work and expense, but we hope not.
> Our building inspector has flown out there and seen the as-built
> She is very concerned about the welfare of her mother if this house ever
> sees anything close to 110 mph winds.
> I would appreciate hearing from any local (Florida) engineers with
> experience in this type of residential construction.  Not being familiar
> with the SBC, I have a number of other questions that I don't want to
> clutter the SEAINT list server with.  Please feel free to email me
> I know the building inspector (and her mother) would be very grateful for
> any help in this matter.  Thanks.
> Sincerely,
> Steven T. Hiner, SE
> City of Folsom, CA
> shiner(--nospam--at)