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Residential references (shameless plug!)

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Residential design can be complicated -- GOOD residential design, that
is.  Fortunately ALL states are allowed to design using the
International Residential Code, as California will be formally adopting
it very soon (though currently it can be used as an "alternative means"
in the 1997 UBC).  Many of the folks who currently build homes bring
their own ideas of how things need to be connected and these "details"
go a long way back -- by taking advantage of conventional means as
described in the Code, and engineering/detailing those elements or
systems that do NOT meet conventional portions, we can help the builders
put the product together correctly by allowing them to use A LOT of
their own pre-conceived details (prescriptive methods haven't changed a
whole lot over many years) and by carefully showing them where things
MUST be different.  They are challenging, but they can really train you
to stretch your engineering muscle.

I am preparing a comprehensive set of notes for a 2-day presentation on
this very subject that I will be delivering for ASCE, which will include
a discussion on how to make these things work from a business standpoint
as well.
Here's a link to the seminar:

As far as practical advice you can use right now, there are three
references you will use:  (1) The IRC ... I believe NC has adopted it,
(2) "Design of Wood Structures" by Donald Breyer et al ... It's into the
fifth edition now, pretty much the Bible for wood-design and (3)
"Residential Structural Design Guide - 2000 Edition" by the NAHB
Research Center ... You can download this one for free off the internet,
but I don't have the link handy.  Many of the notes that I have for my
course include a vast summary of testing and observed behavior of
residences over the years that justifies the use of a mixed system
(engineered and conventional elements) so the designer can make an
informed decision on what they are comfortable with.

Anyway, sorry for the shameless plug, but I thought you might find the
information helpful.

Dave K. Adams, S.E.
Lane Engineers, Inc.
979 N. Blackstone Street
Tulare, CA 93274
PH:  (559) 688-5263
FAX: (559) 688-8893
E-mail:  davea(--nospam--at)

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Wilson [mailto:wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)] 
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2005 7:33 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Residential references WAS Re: Valley Rafters


If a lateral design is required, the APA has a wealth
of good information, some of it very recent.  I
understand that some of their newer bracing methods
are being written into the 2006 codes.  I'm not too
well versed on that as lateral design is very uncommon
here in northeast PA.  Vertical loads are all about
developing the load paths and sizing beams
accordingly.  Hips and valleys and intersecting roof
lines are the big trick, especially when working with architects who
tend to ignore basic engineering principals.

A great non-engineering resource is "Residential
Structure & Framing" from the editors of Journal of
Light Construction.  Its written more for builders,
but is very informative and explains residential
structures very well.

The Wood Frame Construction Manual has many design
tables and guides for prescriptive and engineered
design.  The other two resources I work with are the
NDS and Breyer's Design of Wood Structures.

And then there's always SEAINT if you can filter
through the political discussions...

Good luck with the residential design, and stay away
from signing entire house plans if at all possible.

Jim Wilson, PE
Stroudsburg, PA

--- "Randall Moore, PE, SE" <ranmoo(--nospam--at)> wrote:

> In that I have a strong interest in moving towards
> more residential design / analysis (from a
> background exclusively heavy industrial) and from
> reviewing this thread, there seems to be a myriad of
> ways to look at residential component design.
> Can you recommend resources (TEXT BOOKS, design
> guides, software, etc.) that can be used to design
> the components of a residential structure.
> Waiting for "Ophelia" in Southeastern NC!!!
> Randall Moore PE, SE
> Wilmington NC

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