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RE: RFI: Research Data on Lateral Design of Residential Structures

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You need to watch for the source of wind data. It takes a while to take anemometer readings and normalize the readings to "3 second gust". A lot of weather people will report readings, but they need to be verified for free field accuracy (3 M tower, no local effects) and they need to be normalized for the 3 second gust. You would be best served by the NWS or NOAA, and be specific about the wind velocity data you want. I would look to the airports for the instrument locations. An instrument stuck on the side of a building will give you false data for your purposes.

Harold Sprague

From: "Bill Polhemus" <bill(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: RFI: Research Data on Lateral Design of Residential Structures
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 16:36:54 -0500

I'm embarking on my quixotic quest to bring some sanity to the topic of
design of residential structures in my state. I don't know if I'll rise or
fall, but I ought to learn a bit on the way.

I know that, so many members of SEAINT being SEAONC and SEAOSC, your
concentration is on seismic design, but I also have been told many times
that even on the Left Coast wind tends to govern design of residential

As I've stated here before-and as the late events in Florida have clearly
emphasized-we have the potential for catastrophic wind events here on the
Gulf Coast that ought to make every engineer and architect aware of the
potential for property loss. But I continue to hear comments (particularly
from contractors) that the 110 mph (3-second gust) design wind speed
requirement is "too unrealistic."

This wouldn't be that much of an issue except that the home-building
industry in Texas has a LOT of clout, and some of these guys do NOT have the
best interests of the consumer at heart. Their attitudes reflect in the
continued staving-off of building code enforcement over the majority of
Texas (essentially anywhere outside of an incorporated city limit) by the
legislature, and generally in the fact that what building code requirements
there are-essentially the IRC-are prescriptive and can be conveniently
interpreted to the advantage of the homebuilder.

To aid me in my quest, I need information that many of you can provide or
point to. Specifically, I need information regarding the performance of
residential structures in high winds, especially emphasizing engineered vs.
non-engineered structures. I need wind-speed data (for example, I have
looked in vain for wind speed data along the track of Charley through
Florida-lots of "slammed into Punta Gorda with 145 mph winds" but not much
about what the wind vectors were like along its path as a function of
time-heck, even a "maximum 3-second gust" measurement all over the Florida
peninsula during the even would be awfully helpful).

I also need to know about any research that has been done into lateral load
performance of residential structures, whether seismic or wind.

Lastly, I need some suggestions as to what other ammunition I need to look

Any help and advice would be appreciated.


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