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Re: Load Paths

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Bill Polhemus wrote:

Dennis S. Wish, PE wrote:

The answer is simply to compare prescriptive conventional framing to engineered design. The walls can be designed to 10-feet in conventional construction but may not calculate in full-compliance. So regardless of whether your stamp is on the project or not, there is a strong argument probably coming from NAHB-RC to support taller walls subject to out-of-plane forces.

This is part of my frustration right there. I realize we've discussed this before but prescriptive provisions outlining "conventional construction" really screw me up when trying to discuss things with builders.

I can handle the "well, the inspector lets us do that" argument, but NOT the "but the Code says it's okay" argument when the calculations don't work!


You don't hear me say this too often but Conventional Framing does protect human life. My complaints center on the economics of repairing racked walls and damage that results in homes constructed to this standard. I know it is frustrating, but we have to give a little and hope that NAHB and BIA are willing to give a little as well. They see us as the Anti-Christ and we believe we are acting in the heavenly way to protect the safety of those who occupy the homes we design. Still there is the human in the middle that has much greater faith in the almighty nail and mechanical connector than we do.

You're job is not to be frustrated by admitting that they might have a point, but to do what it takes to act responsibly. The code is only a minimum standard, you can't do less than is prescribed but you are free to use your judgment to do more as you feel necessary. Stay in control but don't argue yourself out of a position that you can't win. You won't convince the builder that there is a better solution and that cost differential is negligible to protect the performance of the building - just demand what your professional instinct tells you is the best solution to the problem.

Good luck - I do know what it is like to be torn apart by a contractor in front of the owner who does not speak engineering geek. He only knows the good-old-boy language. Hope the owner can find the builder when the job is finished and the wallboard cracks :)


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