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Residential Design of Light Framed Structures - Planned Discussion

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To all professionals interested in the design of light framed
multi-story buildings (preferably architecturally creative residential


In two weeks (approximately the first week in April), the
Structuralist.Net Residential Listservice will begin technical
discussions related to full-compliance of Residential Wood Design
Methods. The purpose is to pose questions related to creative
architectural design problems and to seek a solution that represents a
consensus among design professionals that may be used to establish a
standard of professional design. One goal is to establish a design
method which can be incorporated within software tools that set a
standard of practical application which the professional community may
use in similar challenges.  

The issues specifically address non-standard creative problems - such
as; distribution to structures with non-orthogonal shearwalls, the
practicality of an envelope solution to future remodel or modifications
when design calculations and drawings are no longer accessible. Another
issue is how to interpret the analysis for Rho (the redundancy and
reliability factor) when interior non-bearing partitions are abundant.
Another common problems occurs to solve the design and definition of
shear transfer in multi-story building where shearwalls do not stack or
where high load walls occur directly over girders or beams. While
architectural creativity is unique to residential design, the solutions
obtained from this type of discussion can be used in numerous similar
types of conditions.
Wherever possible, logical flow charts, representing decision paths,
will be created to allow individuals and programmers to translate the
logic into code for the creation of software tools (including

As much as many of us have a full understanding of the design provisions
of the 97 UBC full-compliance methods, there are still outstanding
issues that can not be applied easily to residential or low-rise wood
framing. Without an agreement for how professionals are to approach
these problems, we create potential liabilities by having to defend,
individually, our design against arguments by expert witnesses with
other opinions. Agreeing to a solution for non-conventional creative
problems helps to eliminate the potential liability by establishing a
minimum standard of practice within the professional community.
The discussion is contingent upon having enough subscribers to the
Residential Listservice willing to participate. It requires an
participation by those who have already addressed these issues and who
are willing to share their opinions with others. When a consensus can
not be reached, the alternatives will be posted with The
Structuralist.Net Professional Bulletin Board Discussion forum as a Poll
and the numbers tabulated to develop a consensus for design. The results
will be posted and will, I hope, be incorporated into popular design

I urge anyone - regardless of risk - to offer their participation in
this Listservice. The issues are universal as they relate to wind as
much as to seismic provisions. If you are interested in participating,
you may subscribe on the Structuralist Web page in the System Design
Methods Category / Residential Design and Construction (RDC) List
located at:
Or by circumventing the web page and going directly to the Residential
List Subscribers webpage at:
And following the instructions given on that page.

The threads resulting from the list discussions will stored on The
Structuralist.Net Residential List archives and a copy of each thread
(discussion) will be posted on The Structuralist.Net Professional Forum
(a bulletin board where threads are maintained for easy and accessible
design reference).

In closing, the industry is currently lacking appropriate software tools
and standards for the design of low-rise light-frame structures that
address all but the simple orthogonal examples provided in the ICBO
Seismic Design Manual Volume II. For nearly two years, there have been
many debates but little consensus among professionals that has
established a standard of design which software developers could depend
upon as a reliable and acceptable standard. We are attempting to finally
come to terms on these issues and your experience and knowledge in this
field is of immense value.

Please note that while the list is open to any discussion you may have
with regard to residential design, the intent of this specific thread(s)
is not to debate the acceptability of the existing code, but to develop
creative solutions to problems in compliance with the code provisions.
You may post your opinions on code acceptability, but only the threads
on creative solutions will be transferred to the
professional forum for reference.

If you have any questions or need specific help in subscribing to the
list, please feel free to contact me at list_admin(--nospam--at)

There is no cost to subscribe - ever! This is an e-mail based list that
distributes posts and replies from the subscriber's distribution list.
You may hide your e-mail address from other subscribers but please be
assured that your subscription and e-mail address will not be sold,
given or leased to anyone. Our lists are private and remain the property
of The Structuralist.Net.


Dennis S. Wish, PE
California Professional Engineer
The Structuralist.Net Information Infrastructure
Professional Listservices:

Professional Discussion Forum (Bulletin Board):

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