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Re: Lateral Load--Is it THE Design?

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I think wind and seismic failures are the bulk of what gets widely reported, but in terms of failures I see day in and day out, the more frequent ones are:

1. Rotted wood, primarily dry rot as opposed to insect damage. Often caused by improper drainage, waterproofing failures, lack of ventilation, etc.
2. Improper remodeling by a homeowner who used his untrained "eye" to determine how big a beam (sometimes not even providing one) he needed to replace the wall he removed. Several times the building has racked significantly due to removal of a line of lateral resistance.
3. Tilting of retaining and/or basement walls due to expancive materials.
4. Settlement or heaving of a foundation on expansive soils.

None of these generally are usually very spectacular but they can significantly decrease value of the property and are often a real nuisance and expensive to fix.  Since they are not spectacular, they often don't get reported.

Bill Cain, S.E.
Berkeley CA

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