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RE: lateral loads

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Bill- I always tell architects and other people that my job doesn't get tricky until I consider wind. Any engineer can design for gravity but we don't get challenged until we throw wind at it.
Now, of course that is embellishment and there are plenty of exceptions, but it also depends a lot on the materials, building height and dimensions, and openings. A one story masonry box with few openings I can design the walls by inspection and experience. Conversely, I have had two story CMU school buildings with lots of windows and little CMU piers, and the gravity eccentric moment loads were killers. On some of our multi-story jobs with tilt panels shear walls are an afterthought, but direct lateral and gravity control. I have had single story tilt jobs where I don't even look at shear, there is no need. I have found gravity loads to be a pain in hotels, condos, and office buildings with big lobby features where you have transfer beams with upper floor columns bearing on them. Club houses can be a huge headache on the gravity load side.
If you are doing wood design, you can drive yourself mad doing wind load calcs, chasing down loads, and designing connections. Give me CMU any day over wood in FL, especially multi-story. And after this summer we have lots of believers in FL and after today in the Gulf Coast I would expect the same. Hurricanes aren't even the scariest party, it is the tornados they spin off. And don't let people say there isn't anything you can do in a tornado, because outside of a direct hit you have horrible wind loads too that may be under your code wind speeds.
To convince the others, even in Texas, tell them to hit the NOAA website and ask them if they ever heard of Galveston...
Keep fighting the good fight and know you sleep well at night!
Andrew Kester, PE
Longwood, FL