Monthly Archives: April 2014

A good day!

April 29, 2014

Today was a totally awesome and productive day.  I am exhausted but very happy, not to mention extremely relieved.  I want to thank Nathan from Tacoma and Brian from Stantec for totally turning this project around and saving my bacon!

I want to also thank those that contacted me privately and publicly today with notes of support and encouragement. It really helps and provides the fuel behind my efforts!

I ended the day with both the AutoCAD and Home Designer Pro models updated with all the required changes and revised Architectural drawings issued.  Tomorrow I hope to get all of the Structural drawing updates done and off to the engineer by 1:00 PM.  Everything will then sit with Tacoma for a bit while they go through and check that I am compliant with Part C of the Guide and provide final markups.

This has gone as I hoped was possible after I was told by the District that Part C should not require a lot of changes to a Part 9 model.  But going through this, I can see that for many designs, this would be a very large change.

I was lucky – not good.

Because I had so low of a glazing ratio on all but the South elevation, my braced panel ratio per band on my original plans was generally much higher than needed.  This allowed a lot of flexibility in how I met the new Part C requirements.

If this was a typical under performing dwelling with large windows everywhere and many Part 9 allowed 30″ intermediate panels and 24″ corner panels, I would have been in a world of hurt and would have been doing major redesign.  I am very grateful this was not the case.

Onwards and upwards!

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Turning into a good week!

April 29, 2014

I wanted to give you all the good news as soon as I got it.

I have just heard from Nathan at Tacoma and he has confirmed that only the Lateral Design needs to be fully compliant with Part C of the CWC Guide.  The rest of the items are gravity loads that can be designed to Part 4 of the Code or Part B of the guide.

As these gravity load components have already generally been designed to Part 4, most of the legwork is now complete.  By tomorrow I will send them my updated drawings that will be in compliance with Part C of the guide.  We will then just need to work on a really clear and concise set of drawings to represent the Lateral Load design.

The best news is that we will be able to finish this work by mid May and stay on track with the newly revised schedule.  Finally a light at the end of the tunnel that does not appear to be an oncoming train.  It looks like I will get through this redesign with a minimal added cost.

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Website Design – Honeycomb Creative Solutions

April 29, 2014

I have had several people provide favourable comment on the design of this website.  I want to again thank Honeycomb Creative Solutions for their excellent design work on this project.

What you all cannot see is how well polished the behind the scenes interface is that is allowing me to publish my content to this site.  Every last character is editable by me in clear, easy to navigate pages that are intuitive to use.  And if I am ever stuck, they have written a detailed ‘help screen’ that covers the vast majority of tasks I will ever need to accomplish.

Well done guys (and gals)!

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Structural Design Restart

April 29, 2014

The last week has ended on what I hope will be a sustainable up-note on the restart of my design.

I went through my model and adjusted all braced wall panels to be the new minimum lengths dictated by Part C of the Canadian Wood Council Engineering Guide to Wood Frame Construction. This resulted in about a half dozen adjustments to the locations of window and door openings.  In most cases it will make very little difference to the aesthetics of the design, but did result in a redesign of where our master bedroom furniture will go and the views we will have.

Fortunately, my original design generally had a lot more braced wall panels than was required by the Part 9 prescriptive requirements.  So in a lot of cases, where I had min panel lengths below what the Guide’s Part C required, I was just able to remove these narrow panels from the braced wall band count.  This is allowed as long as the first panel starts within 2.4m from the band edge and no panel is spaced more than 6.4m from the next band.

I also found that because the Guide measures the band lengths from the centre line (Part 9 measure from where the centre line intersects with the outside edge of a perpendicular band), you end up needing a smaller overall length of braced wall panels within the band (Guide uses same general percentages of 40% first floor and 25% second floor).  You can further adjust this by making a perpendicular band thickness wider than what you need (as long as you stay within the 1.2m max).  This further reduces the length of the original band and the total panel length needed in that band.  This was a helpful workaround that I utilized in a few locations where I would have otherwise been a few inches short for my totals.

I also had to utilize the alternative procedure for Narrow Braced Wall Panels (Table C2 of the Guide – fig 1 below) for 5 locations where I could not fit in the min sized regular 47.25″ panel required by Part C.  This allows for a shorter panel lengths (34.25″ for a wall up to 3.1m tall) but then requires a higher percentage of the band to contain panels (66% for a second floor with a standard height exit door vs the 25% that would be required if all panels were the min 47.25″ length).  Fortunately, I was able to meet these increased panel densities on these particular walls.

I now have to update all drawings to reflect the new window and door locations and draw a much more intensive set of drawings showing the details of the braced wall bands and panels.  Tacoma (my structural engineer out of Ontario) is determining to which standard they will finish the rest of the structural design to (Part 4 of the Code or Part B/C of the Guide) and I hope to hear back from them on this by tomorrow.

I also heard back this morning from a past employee of Tacoma that now works for Stantec at their Victoria office.  He has agreed to perform all required site structural inspections as a sub contractor to Tacoma.  This was excellent news and as he previously worked with Tacoma, will be able to seamlessly fit into the mix.

My next step is to get confirmation from Tacoma that the ICF and Floor Truss design is still valid under the new rules and then order those materials so they can arrive from back east in time for construction.

As always – thanks for stopping by!  We have reached over 9000 visits to the blog, you all continue to amaze me at your interest in this project.

CWCTableC2 001

Fig 1: Table C2 extracted from the Canadian Wood Council Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction 2009

 

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State of Redesign

April 22, 2014

Not a lot has happened over the last week as I needed to do some bookkeeping and tax return preparation. With most of that behind me this morning I have now turned my attention to the redesign of the structure to meet the requirements of Part C of the CWC’s Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction.

My biggest fear was that I would loose my only window on the first floor at the front of the house. Fortunately, this will not be the case, but what I will have to do however is move many of the windows so that they are no longer centred from a ‘view’ point of view (usually the centre of the internal space) to allow averaging of panel lengths. I had made use of several 24″ panels on the end of walls and 30″ panels between door and window clusters. Now, I need 48″ min length panels in all locations unless I want to use the alternative procedure identified in Part C. This allows for a min 34.25″ panel for a 9ft ceiling, BUT then requires a larger percentage of the band to be a braced wall panel compared to the original standard. So where I only need 40% of the band to be lateral load supportive for the first floor, if I elect this optional narrower panel I then need 66% of the band to be solid.

Another change between this Guide and the BC Building Code Part 9, is that the guide measures the panel lengths to the centre lines of the perpendicular panels where part 9 measures to the outside edges. Fortunately, the panels are still measured to the outside edge, so this actually relaxes the requirements a bit over Part 9.

The most annoying part of this new design requirement is that even the guide admits that there is nothing wrong with Part 9 and that the prescriptive requirements of the Guide and Part 4 designs are typically over-engineered.

“Using this approach [
engineering calculations], many wood frame buildings based only on the Part 9 prescriptive requirements would appear to be inadequate for resisting lateral loads; however, performance history indicates that this is not the case. The performance history of small wood frame structures cannot be explained completely by Part 4 structural calculations using simple 2-dimensional load path assumptions. Traditional wood-frame construction is difficult to model mathematically due to the many load paths in the indeterminate structural system and the contributions of “non-structural” elements. Various aspects of building performance have been investigated experimentally during the past fifty years (for example Dorey and Schriever 1957, Boughton and Reardon, 1982, Boughton, 1988, Ceccotti, 1990, Fischer et al. 2001, Paevere, 2002, UWO 2002, Doudak, 2005). Most of these studies have focused on one-and two-story structures on rigid foundations. These reports gave more insight into the mechanisms of structural deformation including the importance of load sharing among the structural and “non-structural” elements within the structure:
1. Interior finishes and many types of exterior cladding contribute to the lateral resistance of the structure. Both the ultimate load capacity and the lateral stiffness are improved by the addition of architectural components.
2. Non-Ioadbearing partitions stiffen and strengthen the structure so that the building acts as a rigid box rather than a series of diaphragms and shearwalls.
3. Other non-structural elements such as stairs, closets and cabinetry also contribute to the lateral resistance of the building.
4. The performance of wood light frame systems is enhanced by the load sharing and composite actions. The overturning resistance of a wall is enhanced through “corner effects” that engage adjacent walls. Roof and floor diaphragms, if adequately connected, will transfer lateral wind and earthquake loads to all supporting walls, including walls parallel and perpendicular to the direction of loading that normally may not be considered in design.

Although to a large extent the structural stability of Part 9 buildings relies on these non-structural elements, to date, this action has not been quantified in a systematic manner suitable for use in structural design. The numerous wood frame buildings throughout Canada and elsewhere represent countless “prototypes” subject to field-testing over many decades.

The damage from the 1989 earthquake in the San Francisco area was studied
by Canadian researchers (Rainer, Jablonski, Law and Allen, 1990), leading to the following observations concerning the performance of wood frame construction:

1. Foundation walls weak in racking resistance-such as cripple-stud walls-led to failure of buildings.
2. Openings for doors in the ground floor of multiple storey buildings created “weak storeys” which led to damage of the buildings.
3. Most of the serious structural failures that occurred to residential construction were due to deficiencies prohibited by California building codes and reflected in the 1985 Uniform Building Code (UBC).”

It really sucks having to go through these steps when it is clear they are not really needed!

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Street Cam

April 17, 2014

Sorry for the poor picture folks.  Looks like the waterproof camera may not be that waterproof and needs to dry out.  I will try to get it down today and fixed up.

Edit: Actually turned out to be a network cable splicer. All should now be fixed.

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Canadian Wood Council’s ENGINEERING GUIDE FOR WOOD FRAME CONSTRUCTION 2009

April 15, 2014

Received my ordered copy of this guide today.  I took a cursory look this evening and not liking what I see.  The critical difference between it and the guidelines in 9.23.13 in the building code is the minimum size of braced wall panels.

9.23.13 has a min requirement of 30″ braced wall panels (sheathed panels the full height of the wall) unless you are at the end of a band in which case you are allowed a 24″ panel if it connects in with a perpendicular panel 24″ or larger.

Part C of the Guide has a min panel length of 48″ and does not differentiate if at the end of a band and supported by a perpendicular panel.  However, it then has a ‘Alternative Procedure for Narrow Braced Wall Panels – Table C2″ that allows you to reduce the min panel length to the height of the wall/3.5.  So a 9ft wall falls under the 3.1m table column requiring a min 34″ panel length (still much larger than the corner panels and a bit bigger than the intermediate panels required by 9.23.13).  But in order to get these narrower panels, you need to increase the total percentage of your braced wall band that must contain full height panels.

As I designed around 9.23.13, and was very close on some bands, the Municipal policies forcing me to instead design under the Canadian Wood Council Guide is going to force a redesign of my door and window placement on some walls.  I just hope the design can accommodate these changes without significant rework.

The other option is a structure designed 100% to Part 4.  This is what I was dreading and will avoid at all costs.  Part 4 designed structures result in added build complexity and significant added cost to cover all the additional hardware required.

I have to say, I am extremely annoyed that the Municipality did not provide a heads-up much earlier in the process. The changes to Part 9 including the new 9.23.13 have been known by the Municipalities for well over a year, there is no reason the Municipality new resulting policies should not have been part of the permit package I received in March of 2013.  I understand mistakes happen, and I hope they are now very vocal with any builders approaching them now and have this policy plastered all over the front desk,  but this over-site sure has wasted a lot of my time and money.

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Onward and upwards

April 14, 2014

It is time to get off the pot and get’er done!  It was a productive weekend on several fronts.

My wife used the move as an opportunity to significantly purge her wardrobe which basically entailed her taking what she wanted to the basement suite and leaving the rest behind for me to figure out 🙁

So after posting on Freecycle.org, I got in touch with an individual who is helping a burn victim relocate to safer housing.  Susan and her support worker came by Saturday and I believe had a wonderful time going through all the clothes and shoes I had put aside.  They were there for 2 hours and took away a full car of stuff.  The rest of the clothes and shoes will go to one of the North Vancouver charities working with women needing a new start.  I also have some higher end business wear that I will take to a consignment store unless I can find a charity that provides tax receipts for donated items.

We also left all of the house wares in the house that we did not want to take to the suite with us and I have been working with Craigslist – For Sale by Owner – Free Stuff and Freecycle.org to pass on much of this.   I will take the balance to a local thrift store by the end of the week.

I used the time Susan was over and a couple more hours Saturday afternoon to go through the last of my stuff in the office closet and also the linen closet.  Pretty much everything in the house is now sorted except for my ‘junk’, as my wife calls, it in the garage, utility room, attic,  and shed.  This is mainly construction supplies, hardware, and tools.  The plan is that all of the tools and items not related to construction will go into the shed out back (Cootery) and all of the construction supplies will go into the shipping container I bought last year.  We also have about 240 cubic ft of densely packed boxes to go to a storage locker until the house is far enough along to allow moving back to the basement.

Sunday afternoon was spent in the ‘Cootery’ (shed out back who’s original planned usage was to build a plane with my neighbour called the Coot – http://www.coot-builders.com).  Lately it has been acting as my unused exercise studio.  After drawing up the space in AutoCAD and all the stuff I want to get into the space, I took my drawing and worked all afternoon starting to organize and clean out the space.  This will allow for the transfer of all the salvaged cabinets from the shipping container, allowing the container to be my main storage of construction supplies.

But the biggest progress was our decision to continue with the build ‘no matter what!’  My wife and I discussed the options.  Based on the money we have invested and what we would get for the current house, we could probably survive for 30+ years if we relocated and rented a place say in Tofino and accepted we would not be right on the beach.  But if we go ahead and build, hang on to the house for 10-15 years, we could then probably afford to buy a place right on the beach in Tofino.  I have also put too much time into this process to give up now.  I would estimate I have over 1500 hours since last summer and probably another 3000+ previous to last summer. I also do not want to disappoint my sponsors and scientific community who are looking forward to the building lab that will be included in the dwelling.  And of course I have two excellent neighbours and do not want to subject them to the ‘monster’ home that would be built on the site if we sold (their words).

So it looks like I am going to get up, dust myself off and get on with it.  A couple of you asked about how I can keep doing this.  Let me say unequivocally, if you are gong to build your own house (and have never done so before), you are going to need the following character traits, as you are going to have serious setbacks throughout the process:

  • Patience (accept that things will not go as planned, but have faith they will work out)
  • Perseverance (ability to stick with the task no matter how exhausted you are)
  • A generally positive/upbeat attitude (allows you to bounce back from defeats so that you can still win the war)
  • Stubbornness (most important trait that allows you to push through to a solution even when none seem available)

As always, thanks for visiting.

S.

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Engineered Structure – Update

April 11, 2014

I met with the District of North Vancouver again this morning for some further clarification and to again plead my case.  I met with my Plans Checker, the Section Manager – Permits & Licences, and the Building Inspector who will be assigned to my project if I choose to proceed.

It was a productive conversation even though I was not happy with the outcome. I was handed a copy of the DNV Policy regarding lateral loading design which is essentially the same as the Burnaby policy.  So, I should be happy right?  This is what I wanted.

Well – yes and no.  The policy was explained and will only allow ONE approach to structural design per dwelling and apparently all of the Lower Mainland Municipalities have similar policies.  These Municipalities have decided they do not feel that they can allow a generally Part 9 built structure to be mixed with ANY engineered components now that 9.23.13 Bracing to Resist Lateral Loads Due to Wind and Earthquake has been added to the code.  I personally cannot understand this concern that has led to the departure from what Victoria actually intended when they wrote the code, but was now at least relieved to know this was not a crack down on me specifically or owner builders in general – These new policies will apply to ALL builders of single family homes in Southern BC.

I believe the heart of the issue surrounds APEGBC’s assertion that the Part 9 lateral loading allowances are inadequate in their view.  Some more detailed Google searches this evening has shown this is actually a big hornets nest between APEGBC and the BC Code administrators going back a couple of years.  I will do some more research and put together a more in-depth review of the issue to post on my blog in the upcoming weeks.

But for me, it looks like I (and all builders right now) are being caught up in this standoff and the Municipalities are siding with APEGBC.

Some of you would say, “So – Build to 100% Part 9”. While this is possible, it is not easy.

The span tables in the code max out at 20ft spans for a 2×12 at 12″ centres.  The more common 16″ or 24″ centres max out at 19.3′ and 18.2′ respectively unless you have a concrete topping.  But then a concrete topping will bump you into ‘heavy construction’ in the new 9.23.13 in many parts of Southern BC, which again limits room sizes because under heavy construction you are limited by 9.23.13 to a room no wider than 25 ft (more specifically you need a braced wall band every 25 ft). Similar restrictions are present for the roof joists, and I would be maxed out at 18ft for a 24″ o.c. joist (do not forget this would be a diagonal length).

So while it is technically possible to build 100% to Part 9, no one does it any longer.  I do not believe I have seen natural lumber floor or roof joists ever in my inspection business in a home younger than 20 years.  Engineered roof truss and I-Joist floor packages have been the norm for a long time.  On my design I even went to the effort to track down a supplier of an open web floor truss that has industry leading spans of 22ft at 16″ o.c. for a 12″ deep truss.

End result – as my design does have a lot of open spaces and long spans, a 100% Part 9 design is out.  This leaves me with getting the structure designed to Part 4 (fully engineered – think long hand division, ouch) or utilizing the slightly more prescriptive approach of the Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction 2009 guide put out by the Canadian Wood Council.  I was today told by the District that I should look at Part C of this guide, as it is closest to the Part 9 system and should only require ‘minor modifications’ to my design.  I plan to spend the weekend learning about this Part C if I can track down the guide to borrow or buy.

SO hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel and it is not another oncoming train.

The other positive came from meeting the actual inspector who would be assigned to my project.  I was able to speak with him for several minutes after the meeting and believe we will have a good rapport with each other.  I assured him that I wanted to work closely with my inspector during the build and I believe he was pleased by that.  I could tell he was uncomfortable with many of the products I plan to use because he is not aware of them and is concerned about compatibility between materials.  But he seemed very willing to look at them and I committed to providing a break down of materials with supporting literature once my permit app was accepted.

So – for now I am optimistic about the process and continuing down this journey.  I will need to have my engineer go through the design using the new goal post of the CWC guide Part C and will also need to retain a local engineer to perform all site inspections to confirm what is built matches the design.

I am hoping to keep all of the added costs, including hardware, under $10K – Wish me luck!

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ENGINEERING GUIDE FOR WOOD FRAME CONSTRUCTION 2009

April 11, 2014

Looking to borrow a copy of the Canadian Wood Council’s ENGINEERING GUIDE FOR WOOD FRAME CONSTRUCTION 2009 from someone in the Lower Mainland Greater Vancouver Area.

Hopefully Saturday AM.  I have ordered a copy but it will be a week or so coming and I would like to get a handle on Part C over the weekend if possible.

If you have a copy I can borrow, please contact me at building@senwi.ca

Many Thanks

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At a crossroads

April 9, 2014

Yesterday, I received the baffling news from the District of North Vancouver building department that they were considering my dwelling ‘complex’ and as a result would require that I have the entire structure engineered. I wrote about the possible Death of Part 9 Construction on my blog.

This is upsetting on so many levels:

– How can a standard stick frame home with engineered floor and roof trusses be considered complex when almost every house built in the last decade has been built in the same manner (from a structural standpoint)?

– Why was I not informed of this ‘policy’ (currently appears to be unwritten) early in my design process during the numerous visits I made to the District hall?

– Why has the District outright banned Part 9 construction instead of adopting a more even handed policy similar to Burnaby’s Structural Design to resist Lateral Loads for Single and Two Family Dwellings policy that still allows a Part 9 Lateral Bracing design as long as an engineer revues the design and confirms it complies with 9.23.13?

What this means for me?

As we have already had some significant added costs that were not anticipated relating to our effort to preserve 4 large cedars on the property in close proximity to the build envelope (we need air spading to excavate the roots next to the excavation so they can be pruned and then will also need to stabilize the walls of the excavation with anchors and shotcrete near the trees where the excavation wall will need to be vertical), our contingency on the project is all but used up and we have not started the build yet. I am trying to keep the build costs well below $400K but at this point we are projecting $450K (still well below the $800k – $900K estimated build costs presented by the bank and insurance estimates).

The other issue is one of cash flow.  We have been approved for a construction mortgage, but funds will not be advanced until the foundations are complete.  The costs to get to this stage of construction are now estimated at $125K including the added engineering costs to design the lateral bracing and I am only able to come up with $100K.  So unless I can get some more sponsorship or I am able to get the bank to provide an advance, we will be short.

So, we will have a decision to make.  Do we try to absorb these added costs and continue with the project, or do we give up on a lifetime dream and pack it in.  My concern is if the current situation with the District is replicated throughout the build process, how many other roadblocks are they going to present to my finishing this dwelling.  I heard an underlining tone in the comments made by the Manager, he was not a fan of owner builders.

Building a home by yourself is challenging enough, but if the Municipality is against you doing so, is it worth the struggle?

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Status – Lateral Bracing Design for Part 9.23.13

April 7, 2014

Several of you have asked where I am at. Well, I am in a holding pattern. The District has asked for up to two weeks to review the policy regarding Lateral Bracing, and to talk with other Municipalities. I have not been provided a written policy from DNV and could not find one on their site, however when the manager advised other Municipalities had similar policies, he specifically mentioned Burnaby. A search of the Burnaby site turned up the following policy.

Burnaby does allow Lateral Load designs for Single Family to comply with BCBC 2012 Part 9.23.13.  However, those taking this path must prepare much more detailed drawings for the lateral load design AND must have an engineer sign off stating “I, ____________, have reviewed and confirmed that the lateral resistance of this building for wind and earthquake is designed in accordance with BCBC 2012 9.23.13.” They do not actually have to design the system to Part 9, something APEGBC does not allow them to do, they only have to confirm the system designed by others (me) is in accordance with Part 9. They also have to provide the site inspections to ensure what is built, matches the design.

This seems to be a completely reasonable policy that passes the responsibility for compliance of the new Lateral Bracing rules from the Municipality (which at least at this point in time seem ill equipped to address) to a professional engineer.  Of course, I do not yet know of an engineer who can perform this task (waiting to hear from my Structural Engineer), and like many structural engineers who do not want to participate in an answer build design, there may be a limited number willing to provide this review.

I have asked DNV if they have enacted a similar policy and will allow a Part 9 design under these additional conditions.

In the meantime, my wife and I decided over the weekend we are not interested in moving back into the existing dwelling.  My wife really did not like it and I technically cannot move back in now anyway because I have lost the occupancy permit now that the services have been disconnected.  I suspect, I would have to bring a lot of systems up to current code before I could reconnect the services and once again occupy the dwelling.  For the reasons identified in my blog, I really do not feel it is prudent to put money and embodied energy into a dwelling that would still be a tear down.

So I will continue the process of taking down the existing structure over the next month and a bit.  Once at grade, we will then re-group to see where we are at in terms of building permit status.  If a reasonable compromise has not been achieved, we may just sell the property and regroup.  It seems crazy to think that way after all the effort to get to this point in time and we would have already spent $25K+ getting here, but we really cannot afford the significant added costs (Rough estimate at between $20K – $30K) of a fully engineered Lateral Bracing design.

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Cameras

April 7, 2014

Please bear with me while I figure out the best options for the site webcams. I am looking for a service that will reliably stream the camera video or snapshots. While I test systems, the camera feeds may not always be available.

Thanks for your understanding!

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The End?

April 3, 2014

Well today had the option of being a fantastic day or a totally crappy day.  It was the day I was to apply for my building permits and the process was either going to be successful or a dismal failure.

Unfortunately, it has been a utter and complete failure and I am not sure what the next step will be.

It comes down to liability – the Municipalities of BC do not appear to be willing to take on the liability of the new Part 9 Lateral Bracing Requirements.   Even though Part 9.23.13 provide for a pretty comprehensive prescriptive approach to Seismic Design, it appears that many (most?) Municipalities are just going to make it too difficult to build the structure under Part 9, resulting in all builders instead going the Part 4 engineered approach at a much higher cost and complexity to the overall dwelling design.

SO where does this leave me, well that is to be seen. The DNV manager has offered to review the policy and asked that I leave it with them for a couple of weeks.  Unless I am able to successfully build this structure to Part 9, I am fairly certain that we will be unable to afford the additional build cost resulting from a fully engineered solution.

The main hurtle with an engineered solution is that APEG BC have advised their members that they are not to use the Part 9 prescriptive for the Lateral Bracing because in their view, it is inadequate.  Instead their members must use the guidelines set by the Canadian Wood Council.  APEG’s lack of support for Part 9 Lateral Bracing implies that dwellings are falling down in regions of high wind and earthquake activity.  Decades of experience with stick frame structures in these regions shows this not to be the case.  The CWC approach usually requires $10K+ of additional Simpson seismic hardware and then there is also significant added engineering cost.

SO it looks like I am stuck.  Looks like my dream of building a high performance home under Part 9 may be coming to an close and there is a good chance I will not be able to afford to build any other way.  My decision will need to hinge around whether I downgrade the design (which would entail giving up substantial sponsorship that made the building science lab possible), or just give up all together and sell the lot as is and move on (most likely leaving this region entirely and forever saying good by to a lifetime dream).

SO yes – A Totally Crappy Day unless I can find some flexibility within the DNV Building Department.

 

 

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Patience Required

April 2, 2014

Sorry, I have been so quite lately.  It has been a challenging week as I work through some major hurdles in my permit process.  I also was off line Mon/Tues while I attended a THERM course at UBC.

As part of the permit application process I need a Schedule B from each ‘professional’ involved with the project and then I need one individual to act as the Structural Engineer on Record (SER) and also sign a Schedule A.  These duties would include overseeing site inspections and checking the other involved professional’s calcs and shop drawings.  My structural engineer is the obvious choice to act as the SER as they have been responsible for 90%+ of the structural design that has fallen outside of Part 9.  Their concern was related to determining what structural design scope was applicable under the Schedule B.

A call into the District North Vancouver (DNV) by my engineer seemed to indicate that ALL of the structure would become the responsibility of the Structural Engineer should ANY structural component fall outside of Part 9.  As this was quite different than my interpretation of the code, I reached out to Murray Frank, a friend and instructor.  Murray is quite well versed on the BC Building Code and also has great contacts in high places.  He reached out to several high ranking code officials for an interpretation.  The initial response is looking hopeful and I am now waiting  to hear back from the DNV as to what my next step should be.  It has always been my intent to build as much of this dwelling under BCBC Part 9 as possible because quite frankly, I cannot afford to build any other way.  SO I am crossing my fingers that this will sort itself out by the end of the day and I can go ahead with my Building Permit application tomorrow.

On the progress side, I was able to complete the tree retention protection fencing on Saturday (in the rain and heavy mud).  The arborist report arrived today, and the DNV will inspect the fencing this afternoon.  The gas is scheduled to be disconnected sometime this week as well as the water/sani/storm connections (they were there today mapping the work out).  I have ordered my ICF and by tomorrow should have the Floor Joists ordered.  These are long lead times as they are coming by train from Eastern Canada.

This afternoon, I hope to start installing the temp electrical service so that I can call for inspection and schedule the Hydro swing over to the temporary service.

One final request.  I would really like to hear from the visitors as to the functionality of the video streams.  I suspect a lot of visitors are met with a blank screen and would like to get a handle on how bad the problem is.  So please drop me a quick line and give me an update.

Thanks for visiting.

 

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