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RE: H3LP REQUESTED: Paper on "Structural Design for Residential: A Comparative Study"

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I always thought the "Third Coast" was the Great Lakes...

 

 

 

David L. Fisher SE PE

Fisher + partners

372 West Ontario

Chicago 60610

 

312.573.1701

312.573.1726 fax

 

312.622.0409 mobile

 

www.fpse.com

  _____  

From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc] 
Sent: Monday, July 26, 2004 9:33 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: H3LP REQUESTED: Paper on "Structural Design for Residential: A
Comparative Study"

 

...or words to that effect. I just came up with the working title two
seconds ago.

 

I've been thinking about this for some time. Perhaps the most valuable
lessons I've gleaned from participation here on SEAINT is the insights into
how residential structures are designed more "seriously" on the West Coast
compared to here on the "Third Coast." It's intriguing to an even larger
extent because I understand that for residential structures, and probably
"light commercial" low-rise construction as well, wind tends to govern the
lateral design.

 

Wind is something we have a heckuva lot of here on the Texas Gulf coast.
Compare, if you will, the design wind speed for Southern California with
that of those states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. I'm sure you see what
I've getting at.

 

Yet we do not require structural design for residential construction here in
Texas, owing mainly to the fact that we have no code enforcement except in
municipalities, and counties are specifically prohibited from adopting
building codes and enacting code enforcement requirements. This is a
political situation entirely: The homebuilding industry here has convinced
the legislature that to allow wholesale building code enforcement would make
homes unaffordable to a large number of people.

 

I could present the political arguments pro and con, ad infinitum, but
that's not my object. My object, rather, is to compare the practices of
structural design in, say, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and
Arizona, say, with those of Texas, and ultimately, to show a glaring
disparity.

 

Further studies could be made (perhaps "Part 2", etc.) of comparative
property damage costs that can be inferred to stem from this difference in
approach. I have no axe to grind; I'm simply interested to know why we do
(or don't do) what we do (or don't do) when it comes to structural design
for residential construction.

 

What I'd like is some input from anyone who does structural design for
residential, wherever you might be (I specifically mention the West coast
but I wouldn't confine my discussion to there). I'd appreciate this very
much.

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