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IBC2003 for single family

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We are taking the leap into IBC world up here in Washington, and I’m hashing through the lateral force provisions for design of an engineered single family home.  I’ve noticed a tasty exemption in IBC2003 section 1614.1, exemption 2…basically stating that single family light frame designs in seismic design category A, B or C are exempt from ALL of the earthquake design sections (i.e. just design for wind).  Is this wishful thinking, or am I missing something here? 


As a related question, has anyone delved into the IRC??  Does this code apply to engineered single family structures, or only to prescriptive design?  In other words, is the IRC only intended for architects and builders to use?  I have heard of a case where a structural engineer was sued because they used the prescriptive design procedures in their design of a wood framed house.  I guess the courts want to be sure us engineers actually use all those fancy buttons on our calculators.


Eli Grassley

PSM Engineers