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Relative Stiffness of Wood Shearwalls

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I was under the impression that varying widths and heights of wood shearwalls in one line of shear could not or should not be designed by use of relative stiffness methods. I can not locate the code section in the 97 UBC and wish to pose this questions to others.

I’ve always believed that it is best to calculate a uniform drift if you design plywood shearwalls according to stiffness rather than simply to take the diaphragm shear and divide it uniformly into the total length of wall on hand.


Obviously, relative stiffness is not an issue (but a necessity) in rigid diaphragm analysis. However, I’ve created my own rules that include the use of proprietary shearwalls or to insure that I can design all plywood walls where each wall is of the same relative width and height (including lowering the line of drag to force this condition).




Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant



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