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RE: Are wood shearwalls going out of fashion, or what ?

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Kevin -
I have been there many times so I can sympathize with you.  Unfortunately I believe it will require a diasaterous occurence where lives are lost in one of these residential structures before it is recognized that this is what is required for a proper design.  Unfortunately there will always be engineers who will underbid you and whitewash the lateral design requirements because it's "only a residential structure".

Albert J. Meyer, Jr., P.E.
Senior Project Engineer
Cagley, Harman & Associates
Structural Engineers / Parking Consultants
1015 West Ninth Avenue
King of Prussia PA 19406-1222
(610) 337-3360
(610) 337-3359 Fax

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin Below [mailto:kevinbelow(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 9:53 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Are wood shearwalls going out of fashion, or what ?

It looks I will be replaced as engineer on a series of condo buildings in the province of Quebec, because my design incorporates anchorages, holddowns, and - heaven forbid - OSB panels on several interior partitions, as well as the perimeter walls.  I even specified nail spacings and other untofore-seen inanities.
The sub-contractor for the walls and (Hambro) joists had never seen that sort of thing before.  So he offered the services of his usual engineer, who told my client that these unnecessary items would cost about $100,000.  The client says he's confused, and he'll have to go with the engineer who saves him the most money.
So, I guess it pays to be ignorant.  That engineer, I deduce, has probably not changed his methods from the days (about 15 years ago), when bracing for wood-frame buildings here was automatically simply a plywood panel at each end of each main exterior wall (a total of 8 panels per storey).  But this building is 4 stories, and has lots of wide openings in the end walls (sliding doors and windows on about 70 %).  It is hopelessly inadequate without interior partitions as shear walls, in both directions.
Oh well, I'll get over it.  I may have to call the Ordre des Ingénieurs, because the public safety is involved.
Losing those contracts will give me more time to seek out clients with a little more scruple.

Kevin Below, ing., Ph.D.



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