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Spec'ing PEMBs [was Lateral Deflection of Masonry Wall Building]

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> From: "John C. Jones" <john(--nospam--at)>

> I had a design build job where I spec'd that criteria.  The GC had =
> already priced it for about h/240.  The extra stiffness caught him by =
> surprise.  When I explained why I did it that way he totally understood. =
>  He was able to bump it to h/360 but that was it.  The price difference =
> between h/100 and h/500 was $0.25/sf.  It surprised me that the number =
> was that low.  I have little sympathy for the PEMB guys now that I have =
> seen that low of a number.

Low is relative. As I recall, the manufacturer's average margins on a
PEMB are in the range of $0.50/sf. 

The GC jumped the gun. Let him swallow $0.25/sf. I wonder if he would

If I asked you to swallow $0.25/sf (or even just 50% of your margin)
because it suited my scope, would you complain? You bet they're going to

This is not an Us versus Them arrangement. Give the manufacturer the
REAL spec at quote time or everybody prepare to take a piece of pain. If
the manufacturer can't meet the spec, drop them.

PEMBs, as a general class, are not a difficult product. The problems
arise in the way that they are applied. Sometimes the engineer must step
outside the box to design the surrounding issues to work with the PEMB
to provide the most economical project. Sometimes the PEMB is just the
wrong choice.

Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
<mailto:ad026(--nospam--at)> <>

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