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RE: Is a garage partially open, open or closed?

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See my comments posted earlier. I disagree and feel that the decision should be left to the local city and not with the engineer’s judgment. A building department is essentially free of any potential liability for their interpretation of the code (there was a book about the building officials responsibility in the early 80’s that still applies today). If you need the name of the book, let me know and I will dig it out from the engineer who wrote me about it.

On the other hand, if the engineer decides with the owner and then damage occurs, the owner claims ignorance and his reliance on the engineer in responsible charge. With one expert witness willing to disagree with the engineer of records’ decision a law suit is initiated (pending who is paying the legal fees).

I think when there is a question in the code as to how it should be interpreted, then it should be the responsibility of the building official (and his profession advisors). If he wants to deviate from what the general professional community may publish as a professional standard of practice, he can choose to do so as long as he takes the minimum interpretation of the code (right or wrong).

Only the Engineer in responsible charge or a licensed architect can be held potentially liable and sued seeking out of court settlement or litigation to test the law.

Maybe the answer is to invest in the testing of the worst conditions to post the best performance of the structure based on the choice.




From: William.Sherman(--nospam--at) [mailto:William.Sherman(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2008 6:27 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Is a garage partially open, open or closed?


Since it is not code mandated, the city should not decide.  Ideally, the engineer of record would discuss this with the Owner, but the engineer may simply set their own criteria in absence of direction from the Owner.


Bill Sherman





From: Jnapd(--nospam--at) [mailto:Jnapd(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 9:53 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Is a garage partially open, open or closed?

In a message dated 2/17/2008 11:26:40 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, William.Sherman(--nospam--at) writes:

recently asked a similar question on the listserver regarding industrial buildings that have several large overhead doors along one wall.  It does not appear that the codes clearly address the issue of open vs closed overhead doors/ garage doors. 


It appears that this is left to the engineer's judgment and/or the project criteria.  The written design criteria for some projects define a primary wind speed for consideration as an "enclosed structure" and a reduced wind speed for consideration as a "partially enclosed structure" (e.g., 90 mph for enclosed and 60 mph for partially enclosed).  This assumes that the door can be open for some wind pressures but is likely to be closed during extreme wind events.


Bill Sherman




Who decides on these wind speeds...the owner, the city,  the designer ??


Joe Venuti
Johnson & Nielsen Associates
Palm Springs, CA

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