A Carpenter’s Journal

November 21, 2009

High Wind Seminar

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Fran Maloney @ 5:10 pm

About 50 contractors and carpenters attended the High Wind Seminar given by Goodrich Lumber in Kingston last night.There was a representative there from Simpson Strong Tie, as there has been in all the seminars I’ve attended on this subject.I can’t help but notice that all the new rules are written by structural engineers and that the end result is that builders are forced more often than not under this new code to hire a structural engineer.  These measures seem to be extreme; the most damage in a hurricane around here would be from trees falling onto houses not houses blowing away.  When I first started framing in the 70s, I was told not to put the sill bolts on because it would make it difficult if you had to lift or level the house later on.  “The house is not going to jump up in the air”, the boss told me.  None of the houses we built back then has jumped up in the air, not yet.   Now, with the new code, if you held the house upside down and shook it, it would not come off the foundation.  The new code adds 20% to the cost of new residential construction at a time when construction is already depressed and many builders are struggling to find work.  The cost of housing in Massachusetts was already a serious problem for the economy here.  I have no problem improving the quality of housing there is always room for improvement in any field but to add so much structural integrity as they now require to construction methods that have stood the test of time is bordering on the absurd.   I am surprised more people have not complained to the State Legislature.  There are  a lot of groans heard as the new requirements are laid out, but not much more in the way of protest.

I give the seminar high marks, the issues discussed were especially relevant to builders trying to deal with the new code.  Some of the others I have attended were geared more to engineers and code officials.   It was free and it was at a convenient time 4:30 to 8:00 pm on a work night.  An especially relevant topic discussed was on the different types of galvanized steel and on the new ACQ pressure treated lumber, which reacts galvanically with zinc causing many fasteners to fail.  Simpson is now urging the use of stainless steel fasteners in ACQ treated lumber if you are building near a body of water.  There was an example of a contractor wh0 built a deck on Moosehead lake in Maine who was sued when the joist hangers began to rust out after only 6 months.  Kevin Madeiros talking about the nailing schedule for construction in the 110 mile an hour zone, pointed out that the schedules are for common hand nails.  For example if the code calls for so many 16d nails in something this means hand nails not gun nails which are of a thinner gauge,  and actual 16s not 12s which most builders use for framing.  The schedule needs to be adjusted to insure the same amount of steel is added.  Many of us pointed out that the amount of nails being loaded into wood in themselves could cause a structural failure.  Nails add strength to a joint provided that there is no splitting or pulverizing of the wood.  No consideration is given to this.  I have always been aware that after a certain point the joint is not becoming any stronger by adding nails.  I am sure the engineers who test these things know better, but then again, I am not so sure.   Kevin also walked us through the Massachusetts High Wind Zone compliance check list, which is a requirement as an addenda to most permit applications now in this area.

Powered by WordPress