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Two conditions in residential construction

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I have a few questions regarding some conditions that occasionally come up
in residential construction that we deal with, and I thought I'd solicit
some opinions on two of them that have come up recently.

1) A contactor building a single family home encountered "rock" when
excavating for a basement foundation, and where we had specified an
unreinforced 36"x36"x14" concrete footing, a footing with a 10" depth was
placed.  The wants to know if this is OK.  There is no soils report, as is
typical for this type of job, and neither he or I know what type of rock is
on site.  Many take the attitude that "Oh it's only a single family home,
it's fine", but what would you do?
	
	Would you say: Hire a geotech to ascertain the allowable soil value,
use this value to determine what minimum footing size is required and check
to see 	that the footing works for both bending and punching shear?

	Or: Remove the existing footing and excavate to the required depth
and replace the footing?

2) A contractor has elected to not provide the required shear wall sheathing
on some interior unit separation walls of a multi-family dwelling, and has
instead installed diagonal straps on the walls.  No special nailing or
attachment at the ends of the straps has been done nor was specified by the
"other" engineer they hired to provide them with an alternate detail.  It is
my feeling that diagonal straps on wood frame shear walls are not a
practical solution since even though you can specify a strap that works for
the tension load you generally can not provide the attachment required at
the end of the strap unless you provide a large solid sawn post (not
typically available in this area) or a Parallam post and or solid blocking
appropriately fastened into the corners of the shear panel.

Am I being too conservative the issues here?
Does any one else do diagonal strapping on wood shear walls and if so, how?
Any and all opinions are gratefully appreciated!

Albert J. Meyer, Jr., P.E.
Martin-Espenlaub Engineering
(215) 665-8570 Tel
(215) 561-5064 Fax
ameyer(--nospam--at)martinaia.com


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