Building Stronger Stick-Frame Roofs: Code Requirements and Connection Solutions

While stick-frame roofs are sometimes preferred to premanufactured roof trusses in some areas of the country because they can accommodate larger attics, higher ceilings, and complex roof shapes,  the code requirements for these roofs are often more complex. That’s largely because, unlike truss-framed roofs, the code needs to provide a complete prescriptive method of building the roof, including the multitude of connections that must be made in the field. And, to complicate matters further, the code requirements for stick-frame roofing have been rewritten in each of the last two code cycles. I’d like to give you a high-level overview of some of those changes. In a previous SE Blog post, we discussed the design concepts of stick-framed roofs, and summarized a few of the solutions offered by the Simpson Strong-Tie® connector system for stick-frame roofing. The main concept in that post was the necessity of a continuous tie across the bottom of the rafter system to prevent the heels of the rafters from spreading under load and pushing out on the tops of the walls.

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Risk-Taking Innovation Leads to New FRP Strengthening Application

At Simpson Strong-Tie, we’re always seeking out new opportunities for innovation while helping customers find solutions to new challenges. In fact, “relentless customer focus” and “risk-taking innovation” are two of our nine company values. These two values recently came into play with a challenge to test our Composite Strengthening Systems™ FRP products in a new application on a 17-foot-tall concrete column.

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The Importance of a Continuous Load Path — Lessons Learned from Recent High-Wind Events

Hurricane season is in full swing, and we’ve had a record number of named storms to date. With each one, Mother Nature has taken the opportunity to remind us of her awesome power and teach us how we can improve our built environment in preparation for the next. One of the lessons we’re regularly reminded of is the importance of a successfully implemented continuous load path and its role in keeping a structure intact.

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Damage Assessment and What It Teaches Us About How to Build Stronger

Over the past few years that I’ve worked as an engineer for Simpson Strong-Tie in Texas, work-related events have brought me to a few great beach destinations: Clearwater and Destin, Florida, to name a few. But tightly packed schedules always left me feeling like I didn’t get to enjoy the fullness of the locations I visited. So I made a short-term goal to fulfill a bucket-list item: Enjoy a beach vacation.

Not long after setting that goal, I actually had an opportunity to visit the Bahamas. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for the beach vacation I imagined, but rather to survey the catastrophic destruction wrought by Hurricane Dorian. With the one-year anniversary of that hurricane on September 1 and hurricane season already hitting us hard with Hurricane Laura, I thought it would be good to revisit my observations from that trip.

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How Should I Determine a Tension Test Load? Guidelines on Proof Loading Adhesive Anchors

Have you ever been involved on a project where a post-installed anchor failed when loaded? What was the circumstance? Was the anchor installed with incorrect torque or was the hole improperly cleaned, resulting in lower capacities than published? Unfortunately, in the world of concrete anchors, installations are sometimes incorrect as a result of not following instructions. Alternatively, perhaps you’re working on a project where special inspection wasn’t performed as required by the building code. What should be done in these cases?

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Questions Answered: Deck Guard Post Connections Webinar

In this post, we follow up on our May webinar, Safer, Stronger Decks: Guard Post Connections, by answering some of the interesting questions raised by attendees. 

During the webinar we discussed the minimum code requirements for railing posts and their connections, and the code-compliant connection methods: holdowns, deck tension ties, Strong-Drive® structural wood screws, and through-bolts. In case you couldn’t join our discussion, you can watch the on-demand webinar and earn PDH and CEU credits here. 

As with our previous webinars, we ended with a Q&A session for the attendees. Our R&D engineers Scott Fischer and Rachel Holland answered as many questions as they could in the time allowed. Now were back to recap some of the commonly asked questions and their answers.  Continue Reading

Pandemics, Earthquakes and Windstorms: Some Thoughts on the Probability of a Compound Disaster

With the growing danger of natural disasters, the race is on to expand access to programs that safeguard lives from the human-made danger of poorly built housing. With the common mission of building safer, stronger structures, Build Change and Simpson Strong-Tie have partnered for the Simpson Strong-Tie® Fellowship for Engineering Excellence program. This year’s fellow is Build Change Engineering & Design Services Director Tim Hart, SE. As with our previous fellows, Hart is documenting his journey with the program on the Simpson Strong-Tie Structural Engineering blog.

One of my colleagues asked me an interesting question recently: “What if there was an earthquake in the middle of this pandemic?” His question regarded how buildings would be inspected and tagged after an earthquake, since that would require inspectors to go inside buildings to look for damage. I responded to him in that context, saying that inspectors will likely already have personal protective equipment (PPE) and will already be trained to act safely and responsibly. However, his question led me to think about the larger implications of his question, beyond just the logistics of post-earthquake building inspections.

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Webinar Alert: Choosing the Right Connections for Wind-Resistant Design

According to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.”

When the latest Wood Construction Connectors catalog (C-C-2019) was published, my colleague, Paul McEntee, PE authored an excellent blog post to announce some big changes within the catalog. He shared that Simpson Strong-Tie® was the first in the industry with updated connector allowable load tables to meet the new ASTM test standards required by the 2015 and 2018 International Building Code® (IBC®). It was one of those rare times where being first didn’t exactly feel like winning.

Let me explain …

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Introducing the Code-Listed Strong-Wall® Site-Built Portal Frame System for Prescriptive Design

Many of you reading this may already be familiar with our Strong-Wall site-built portal frame system, or PFS for short. Simpson Strong-Tie launched the PFS last spring to provide designers, builders and contractors in prescriptive markets with a simple and cost-effective solution to meet code-prescribed wall bracing requirements for narrow wall widths.

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Outdoor Accents: Timeless Design Meets Tested Strength

Like everyone else in the world, I’ve been spending more time at home these past few months. More than I ever have before. During this time, I’ve found myself thinking about all the home improvement projects that would make our outdoor space more enjoyable. It’s something that in the extreme busyness of our “normal” life, I didn’t have a lot of time for. But being home 24/7 with two energetic and loud little boys has meant a lot of outside time. As a California native, I am grateful to be able to enjoy beautiful outdoor weather most of the year. I love being outside with my family, hanging out in the backyard, escaping all the tempting electronic devices that are constantly pulling us in. And now,  more than ever, while sheltering –in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m so thankful for a backyard that we can enjoy. So, topping my backyard home improvement project list: adding a shade structure, like a pergola or pavilion.

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