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Re: Condo Collapse

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The failure does look like it starts in the party wall between units. So I would suspect the shearwall(s) were not completed there. There are a whole lot of reasons to not use GWB for shearwalls--this is one of them, More likely, the shear ply was not yet installed because it's a PITA for plumbing, wiring, etc.--a good reason to avoid interior shearwalls when possible. Through-rod systems for this size of residential building aren't used around here. YMMV
Chuck Utzman,PE

On 1/14/2014 8:20 AM, Andrew Kester wrote:
The shear walls in the direction it failed in were perpendicular to the
garage door openings (not the typical soft-story shear wall failure), and
one would think at least the first story plywood and tie downs would have
been in place prior to proceeding to the second and third floors. Perhaps
they were using a continuous cable/rod tie-down system that had not been
installed yet? In hurricane country you would have a hard time convincing
me to use gypsum board for shear on anything, much less multi-story (if
that is the case here). Doesn't take a lot of moisture to cause gypsum
board to fall apart...

Someone's insurance company is getting a bad phone call!

Andrew Kester, PE

On Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 3:00 PM, nma <nma(--nospam--at)> wrote:

It was also appears to be an open structure at this point of

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