Woodworks invited me to do a presentation on Testing and Evaluation of Products for Wood-framed Construction, and I found you can’t really talk about testing without talking about the test standards and criteria used in product evaluations. Usually the goal in testing to these standards is to show compliance with the intent of the building code and have the product listed in a code report.
Why not just follow the code?
Innovative architectural and structural building products not addressed by the building code are in every building. Revisions to the building code are considered on a three-year cycle and some standards are on a five-year cycle. Sometimes it may take several cycles to address a new building product.
This is Part 1 of a four-part series I’ll be doing on how connectors, fasteners, anchors and cold-formed steel systems are load rated.
Today I did my presentation for the WoodWorks webinar on Testing and Product Evaluation of Products for Wood-framed Construction. We covered a lot of material regarding code requirements for using alternate materials or construction methods, how testing and evaluation criteria are developed, and some specifics on several Acceptance Criteria (AC’s) that are commonly used for connector evaluations. We also discussed some specific testing requirements, so I thought it would be timely to discuss some of those issues in this week’s blog post.
So, how are structural connectors for light frame wood construction load rated? What’s behind the allowable loads information published in Simpson Strong-Tie literature or wood connector evaluation reports? These are things that you might find yourself wondering while driving to the office or jobsite, or on a Sunday afternoon while enjoying your favorite iced tea or barley-based beverage.
The short answer is: testing, calculations, and of course, sound engineering judgment.
Products that are not covered by the code are used in many if not all buildings. While the code permits a single engineer to review and submit to a building official and a single building official to review and approve a product not covered by the code, many feel a more robust process is needed to ensure that these products meet the code intent. Also, many code or evaluation reports are used not just for one project, but for multitudes of projects in numerous locations. Test setups can affect the performance and load rating of products.
Several private entities have been created over the years to assist the industry by developing public and transparent processes to develop test requirements, load rating requirements, design and detailing requirements, and ongoing quality compliance as well as product evaluation methodologies. This webinar will discuss various acceptance criteria and testing methods used for products used in wood construction, such as ASTM D7147 and ICC-ES AC155 to further advance the knowledge of these test methods and processes for those in the wood construction industry.
This will be a great opportunity for those of us who work in wood frame construction to discuss code and test requirements for connectors and other products for wood. I hope you’ll consider joining us! To register for the webinar, click here.