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RE: Two conditions in residential construction

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Thank you to all who responded, it has helped to reinforce my original
feelings on these two conditions.  Both projects are located in an area
which, if referencing 1997 UBC tables would have a 75 MPH basic wind speed
and would be in seismic zone 1 bordering on zone 2A.  I have never liked nor
specified light gage metal diagonal straps for wood shear walls and have
only used straps with gusset plates on metal stud framed shear panels.  The
footing is for a pipe column which supports a load of about 15K.

Unfortunately in my area, there are many builders and even engineers who
brush off lateral design requirements, and don't even consider them in the
overall design.  Many single family homes are designed by either architects
or builders with no consultation from a structural engineer or geotechnical
engineer.  We have even had builders make the statement to us "you can show
what you want on the drawings, I haven't put any of this hardware in on
other similar projects, and I'm not going to put them in here."!!!  We've
even heard an indirect statement from a building department regarding one of
our designs to the effect that "you don't need all these holddowns, no one
else is building comparable buildings this way".  At times it annoys and
scares me to think that people with this mindset are in the positions they
are.  Anyway, I don't mean to ramble on, but I need to be comfortable with
my designs, and if it causes me to lose jobs in the future because of it, so
be it.  Unfortunately, I'm sure it's easier to convince people of what is
structurally required in buildings constructed in high risk areas.  It's
difficult to convince a builder who has built structures "this" way for "a
hundred years" and nothing bad has happened yet.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis Wish [mailto:dennis.wish(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2001 9:10 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Two conditions in residential construction

I wanted to read a few responses before I sent mine. I agree with the
majority, but want to make a few points very clear. Let me start with
the Let-in strapping first and work backwards.

You did not indicate what seismic zone (or wind zone) you are in. Let-in
bracing is still allowed in all but seismic zone 4 as a braced wall
panel material. However, you designed this project and it was not
permitted as a prescriptive design in compliance with the 2000 IRC or
the 97 UBC Section 2320. The builder has no right to change the details
you designed for lateral bracing and you have the right to stop the job
and make him replace the work he did.

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