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Re: Tall stud wall framing / IRC rant

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But do you realistically expect to "idiot-proof" everything?  What about a
little personal responsibility?  Sounds like to me the foreman either did
not bother to read the entire table or chose to ignore the parts that s/he
did not like (like that never happens).

And how specifically do you get "very close inspection" from his post?
Does reading the all the information in the table (i.e. including the
footnotes) count as "very close inspection" in your mind.  In my mind, it
counts as doing the minimum that one should be doing.

I would argue that these types of things are what happens when you try to
"dumb" things down.  When you try to simplfy complex things, you will
either have all kinds of limitations that people must be careful of (which
is definitely what happens with prescriptive design) or you make the
design OVERLY conservative allowing the elimination of some of the

I will offer up a similar siutation.  I was once involved with an review
of a masonry wall that collapsed during construction.
The wall had been designed using the empirical design of the MSJC.  It was
done by a licensed professional.  Now, it appeared that there were several
problems...1) the wall was not design properly and 2) was not temporarily
brace properly.  In this case the design is the relavent issue to this
discussion as the empiricial chapter seemed to imply that wall design was
permitted...until one read a little further and hit the limitations of
empirical chapter.  The design violated at least two of the limitations
(if I recall correctly, it was height to wall thickness ratio and
requirements of grouting solid cores at locations where wall thicknesses
changed).  Point is that the licensed professional did not read the ENTIRE
chapter, but only the stuff that LOOKED relavent.

So, it is misleading if the person using the information choses not to
read all the information...for what ever reason?  Were the footnotes
readable (i.e. was the font so small that it was virtually impossible to
read...must like the "reading the fineprint" "jokes") otherwords, are
you saying that there was some attempt by the IRC folks, whether
intentional or not, to "hide" the limitations?  Or was just really a
matter of someone not taking the time or effort to read it all?

A lot of stuff is "misleading" if you only look at/read a little bit of


Adrian, MI

On Sat, 27 Aug 2005 Rhkratzse(--nospam--at) wrote:

> MISLEADING.   I believe he was complaining because the table was
> MISLEADING--it *appeared* to be saying one thing, but on VERY CLOSE inspection it was
> *not* saying that, except in very limited situations.   IMHO it would have been
> much better for the body of the table to address the majority of the situations,
> with footnotes addressing the minority of unusual situations.
> Ralph Hueston Kratz, S.E.
> Richmond CA USA
> In a message dated 8/27/05 9:33:12 AM, smaxwell(--nospam--at) writes:
> > Jordan,
> >
> > I am confused.
> >
> > Why exactly are you ranting at the IRC/IRC folks?
> >
> > Is there anything technically wrong with what is in the table (when
> > accounting for the limitations/footnotes) when compared with an
> > "engineered design"?  In other words, if you calc stuff out for
> > situation that meets the limitations that you listed (i.e. snow load of
> > 25 psf or less, trib width of less than 6 ft, Fb less than 1310 psi [is
> > that supposed to be Fb, Fb' or Fb*?], etc), would 2x6s work for a 18
> > foot tall wall?
> >
> > Is the table unclear?  And by this I mean that if someone reads ALL the
> > information in the table it reasonable to understand that they might come
> > to a different conclusion than someone else.  I don't consider something
> > unclear just because the limitations are not listed in big (24 point),
> > bold letter but rather in footnotes that might be small.
> >
> > I guess that if I am understanding correctly, you issue is not that the
> > information in the table is wrong (at least that is not what you seem to
> > say), but rather than because is has such a limited practical use, it
> > should not be in the code cause in this situation it made your life
> > difficult because someone did not read all of it.  So because of that, you
> > want it gone from the code.
> >
> > Let's look at if from the other side.  Let's say we get ride of it from
> > the code.  Now, say there is a project somewhere that is being designed
> > per the IRC (i.e. prescriptively) that DOES fit that criteria.  In this
> > situation, 2x6s would now NOT be permitted (this all assumes that the
> > information is technically accurate).  So, on this project the client
> > would have to pay for 2x8s when technically 2x6s would work.  Now, we have
> > just reinforced that good old mantra that contractors love to change:
> > "Boy, is this way over engineered" (whether true or not).
> >
> > I guess in the end I am wondering if you want the IRC (and other model
> > codes) to put a big note in the front of the code in big, bold letters
> > that reads: "Idiots, this includes people who are otherwise smart that
> > just don't read all the requirements, shall not use this documents".  To
> > be frank, this would also put a lot of engineers out of business as there
> > are lot of people, engineers included, who don't always read all the
> > "instructions".
> >
> > So, I think you should be ranting at the foreman and designer.  After all,
> > the foreman appear to have been WRONG.  The IRC apparently does _NOT_
> > permit the use of 2x6s in your particular case (you mentioned 30 psf snow
> > load as well as trib width of 17 feet, I believe)...altough s/he is
> > correct that there are situations (albit very limited) when the IRC does
> > permit it.
> >
> > Now, if I am wrong in that you believe the information in the table (even
> > when factoring in the limitations) is inaccurate when compared with
> > a comparable engineered design, then maybe the code needs to be changed.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Scott
> > Adrian, MI
> >
> >
> > On Sat, 27 Aug 2005, Jordan Truesdell, PE wrote:
> >
> > > I had a meeting today in which  a residential foreman  argued that an
> > > 18' tall stud wall needed only be 2x6 studs on 16" centers according to
> > > the table in the IRC. Well, I'd had this discussion with the designer a
> > > week previous, where I showed him the output of an analysis that
> > > indicated a 2x8 was necessary for this framing. The designer also
> > > thought that 2x6 was okay, but didn't reference the IRC.
> > >
> > > I looked it up tonight, just to see if the IRC was sharpening their
> > > pencils a little much again, and found that the table, R602.3.1 to be
> > > exact, does indeed show 2x6s for an 18' stud wall.  Curious, I read the
> > > notes at the bottom and found the caveats listed to be almost
> > > ridiculously restrictive, such that the designs are practically unusable
> > > in a good bit of the country. Snow load must be less than 25psf - I
> > > assume this is ground snow load, since there is no formula in the IRC to
> > > convert to a roof snow load (locally we're 30).  Fb must be > 1310psi.
> > > Well, even with a repetitive and size factor added, No.1 SPF - the most
> > > common stud material around me (and on the east cost, I suspect) comes
> > > out to 1308psi. Add in an E of 1.6x10^6, and the list of lumber species
> > > and grades gets mighty short - #2 S. Pine and Doug.Fir are the only
> > > framing species that fit the criteria.  Here in the east there are no DF
> > > studs, and S.Pine smaller than 2x8 is found only in treated lumber and
> > > trusses without a special order.  Tributary width for vertical loads
> > > must be less than 6'.  Unless you've got lots of interior bearing, or
> > > are only checking gable end walls, that makes for pretty small rooms and
> > > no trussed roofs. And if it weren't obvious from the material
> > > properties, Stud grade studs are not permitted (nor are utility,
> > > construction, or No 3).
> > >
> > > It just makes me shake my head.  Even if this particular job didn't have
> > > a 17' horizontal span without a sole-to-top plate stud, and if they
> > > hadn't framed a two story wall by stacking two 9' tall walls, and if
> > > they hadn't used 2x4s, and even if it wasn't backing up brick veneer,
> > > there are still 5 different criteria that disallow the use of this
> > > chart.  And yet, the chart says 2x6 on 16" centers works, so they figure
> > > it's correct, and I'm full of *expletive* for telling them they should
> > > have used at least 2x8s. Worst, with their openings they'll need 3/4T of
> > > steel to fix the problem without packing the wall to thicker than
> > > 3.5".   It think the #2 S. Pine and Doug.Fir needs to be in the title,
> > > and they may as well just say "non-bearing-walls only", with a little
> > > note at the bottom for an exception for walls with tributary widths less
> > > than 6' and snow loads of 25psf or less.
> > >
> > > I know that moaning and complaining here won't get the code changed (and
> > > I'm honestly not sure whose ear to chew on to try and get it changed),
> > > but are the rest of you doing small jobs like this running into similar
> > > problems? If so, how do we fix the code language so that mistakes are
> > > less likely?  Even the best inspectors can't remember all the notes and
> > > subnotes across all of the disciplines in a couple thousand pages of code.
> > >
> > > Jordan

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