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RE: Building Alteration Question

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Greg wrote:
The panels are connected to one another 3 times along the height, so my question is, what constitutes an element according to the IBC provision; is the whole wall (all 8 panels together) an element or are the individual panels elements?  Since a tilt-up system is somewhat discontinuous (depending on the rigidity of the connections), I am inclined to define the individual panels as the elements, but at the same time, I don’t want to be too conservative.  Any thoughts? 
 
In response:
When you start talking about elements, you have to look at the big picture.  Are the panels acting together to resist lateral forces or are they working independently?  Also, along the walls, what is taking up that lateral shear in the wall?  You mentioned a roof diaphragm, but are the walls also diaphragms?  For the sake of this, let's say there is.  If the diaphragms overlap the panel frames, then I wouldn't have a problem when calling these walls a continuous shear wall.  If they are not, well, then I would have to take a look at it to see what I thought.  Not seeing it, I would tend to go with each wall acting independently.
 
Dave Maynard, PE
Gillette, Wyoming