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RE: Conventional Wood Framing

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I guess I should have been clearer.


I was looking for a prescriptive approach rather than any engineering guidance.


If it’s a prescriptive method (i.e. “conventional framing provisions”), is it necessary to “resolve all the forces” to satisfy the intent of the building code?


I’ve got a project with a new client and I don’t want to sound or look stupid (any more than I am anyway).


I don’t have a problem with ridge boards instead of ridge beams due to the inherent truss action of the ceiling joists / rafter ties and roof rafters even if they are inadequately nailed based on an engineering analysis.


Where I do have a concern is regarding hips to a small degree and valleys to a larger degree. If a roof is symmetrical and has a hip on each end, then I can see how the loads cancel out (but the top plate becomes a tension “ring”). Valleys are another animal. That’s why I wanted to ask the question.


T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509

-----Original Message-----
From: Jordan Truesdell, PE [mailto:seaint1(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 8:36 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Conventional Wood Framing


No, they are supported by magic.  Okay, not really magic, but a careful random combination of gwb ceiling tension, unanticipated load paths through non-loadbearing walls, and hoop stresses in the roof diaphragm.  The IBC, if I remember, is no more helpful than what you've probably found in the UBC.

If you do a diligent trace of the loads, you'll find that certain, simple geometries will work without support, but that most modern plan-book and architect-designed roofs do not work by normal mechanics. Sometimes you can get a hip end to work by making a multi-ply king post truss at the end.  Many valleys and hips use the same principal as ridgeboards, but few non-engineers make sure that all the forces resolve somewhere definable.

I believe the building codes are written to carefully avoid talking about such things, in hopes that nobody will notice (isolated/spread footings are given similar treatment in the prescriptive design code).


Bill Allen wrote:

In conventional wood framing, are vertical members required to support hips, valleys and ridges?


Are there any better references which are more definitive than the single paragraph I’ve found in the UBC?




T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E.


Consulting Structural Engineers
V (949) 248-8588 F(949) 209-2509

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