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A week of waiting and a Braced Wall Band Blunder

It has been an emotional roller coaster yet again this week as I wait for confirmation from the engineer that my structure complies with the ENGINEERING GUIDE FOR WOOD FRAME CONSTRUCTION 2009.

There were significant concerns earlier in the week until the engineer was able to review the code in detail including appendix and saw the design was in compliance.  The benefit I have is that I have taken at least 4 seminars on this topic and know the individual who was teaching the courses very well and have been able to correspond with him over the last year and a half on this subject.  As a result, I know the language and intent quite well.

Then on Tuesday there was a concern that stuck.  One of my braced wall bands through the interior of the structure did not have a panel starting within 2.4 meters from the end of the Band. As you can see in Fig. 1 below, The band encompassing Braced Wall Panel FBWP9 did not have any panel within the first 2.4m of the bottom end.  This was a requirement of Part 9, and I am not sure how I missed it.

Figure 1: Braced Wall Band missing Panel within first 2.4m

This was not straightforward fix and represented a significant blunder on my part.  It took half a day to figure out a fix that worked.  I had to make the door into the bathroom smaller (I will probably have to give up being SAFERhomes Certified as a result unless I can eek out another 4″ of width while framing the door opening) and slide it tight against the bottom wall.  This increased the size of the panel between the door and the stairwell.

However this was still not large enough for a standard panel, so I had to switch to the alternative method in Part C of the Guide to calculate a Narrow Braced Wall Panel. But my highest opening was 9ft or 100%.  This would have required a total panel percentage within the band of 88% which was more than I would have.

This required some creative thinking within the confines of the code.  I remembered from one of the seminars that a Band is allowed to be ANY width up to and including 1.2m as long as it encapsulates the walls providing the Panels.  There is times where you want the Band to be as narrow as possible, but this was a time that you wanted to maximize your Band width up to the limits provided.  By making the Bands perpendicular to each end of this wall their full allowed width you are able to shorten the length of the encapsulated Band of interest.  This of course then also decreases the total length of Panel required.

But this was still not enough.  I had decreased the length of my Band from 331 – 1/8″ down to 299″, but this still meant I needed 263-1/8″ of Braced Wall Panels and I was only able to eek out 221.5″.  I needed a way to further reduce the required total Panel length. I needed to reduce the highest opening height.

I had planned on a 8ft ceiling at one point in the hallway, but ended up deciding I did not want to bother having the extra framing. But I was not adverse to a lower ceiling in this area.  So what I came up with as a fix is to include a ‘bulkhead’ across the foot of the stairs and across the hallway in line with the Braced Wall Band. In order to comply with the prescriptive path in Table C2 of the Guide, I needed to bring my total percentage required down to 74% or below (in contrast, if all my Panels were standard size, I would only need 40%). In order to meet this table setting, I needed an ‘opening” height of 2.4m or less translating to 7.87Ft.  So I will need to frame in a bulkhead that reduces the opening height in this area to no higher than 7.87’.

I will see what it looks like during construction, but what I may up doing is framing the ceiling of the family entrance to the right of this bulkhead to 8ft and then the bulkhead would less pronounced. Fig. 2 below shows the work-through of this issue.

Figure 2: Braced Wall Band now includes Panel within first 2.4m and complies with the required Panel percentage prescribed by Table C2 of the Engineering Guide to Wood Frame Construction

The rest of the week was spent waiting for people to show up to pick up stuff I was giving away on FreeCycle and Craigslist.  I have been very disappointed with this process with probably 2 out of 3 people not coming when they say they will come with some not coming at all.  You would think that someone getting something useful for free would be a bit more respective of others time. But I have been able to divert a LOT from the land fill which of course is the goal.  I am a week behind the NEW schedule, but it is my goal to have the house empty by the end of the weekend and then start disassembling next week.

As always, thanks for visiting.

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