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RE: wood framing - commercial structures

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"We typically have central load bearing corridors that support the roof and the floors.  It is often difficult to get 2x4s to work in the corridor without going with double 2x4s at 16" on center."

I have done a number of tall wood frame buildings, too, and have had the same experience.  Double 2x4 at 12" or 16" on center are not uncommon.  You can also look at introducing 3x4s to get a little extra capacity.  I doubt that would work for the exterior with wind loads, but the architects usually want 2x6 on the outside for insulations thickness anyway.  Pushing for 2x6 at the interior for the first few levels and 2x4 for the upper levels doesn't work too well because the unit and corridor dimensions will get messed up (to use a technical term) by 4" total (2" difference on each side of the corridor).  4" can be a big deal when exiting layouts and unit layouts are concerned.  Using double 2x4 at 16" on center looks heavy the first time you do it, but it may just be the price to pay for going high with wood.  In the Seattle area, anyway, it happens all the time.  

Paul Crocker, PE, SE


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