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Re: IRC Braced Panels

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Ted Ryan wrote:

Again, missing the point.  Regardless of whether the IRC calc's out or not,
homes built in a manner consistent with the IRC generally perform well in
high seismic or wind events.  The IRC takes into account the redundancies
that we aren't able to in design.  The applicability of the IRC is fairly
restricted so that it isn't used in situations where an engineered design is
warranted.

Ted Ryan

Ted,
This is where we have a fundamental difference of opinion. You're comment that "homes built in a manner consistent with the IRC generally perform well in high seismic or wind events" is not accurate. They satisfy the life-safety concerns of the code, but they do not perform well. The majority of homes that contributed to the $30-billion in damages to single family homes during the Northridge Earthquake were designed and constructed prescriptively (as were most of the homes in the San Fernando Valley). I am not arguing life safety - I am against the code from the position of performance - they simply do not do well in high risk areas. If you want to live in a prescriptively built home, you are welcome to, but I feel that the method of design should be disclosed to the buyer with an explanation as to the documented differences in performance during a moderate earthquake such as Northridge.. When you push the IRC be careful you don't mislead the public by confusing life-safety and performance as they are two very separate issues and the homeowner is the one who is hit first in out-of-pocket deductibles. All of us are hit with the remainder when FEMA and other emergency management agencies come into play to provide low interest loans that the rest of the population must bear. It's not welfare, but our available assets could be better protected by improving the quality and performance of construction by restricting the IRC to low risk regions.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

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