Holdown Anchorage Solutions

A common question we get from specifiers is “What anchor do I use with each holdown?” Prior to the adoption of ACI 318 Appendix D, this was somewhat simple to do. We had a very small table near the holdown section of our catalog that listed which SSTB anchor worked with each holdown.

The good old days! (Don’t use this today.)
The good old days! (Don’t use this today.)

During the good old days, anchor bolts had one capacity and concrete wasn’t cracked. ACI 318 Appendix D gives us reduced capacities in many situations, different design loads for seismic or wind and reductions for cracked concrete. These changes have combined to make anchor bolt design more challenging than it was under the 1997 Uniform Building Code.

This blog has had several posts related to holdowns. So, What’s Behind a Structural Connector’s Allowable Load? (Holdown Edition) explained how holdowns are tested and load rated in accordance with ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria. Damon Ho did a post, Use of Holdowns During Shearwall Assembly, which discussed the performance differences of shearwalls with and without holdowns, and Shane Vilasineekul did a Wood Shearwall Design Example. So I won’t get in to how to pick a holdown.

Once you have determined your uplift requirements and selected a post size and holdown, it is necessary to provide an anchor to the foundation. To help Designers select an anchor that works for a given holdown, we have created different tables that provide anchorage solutions for Simpson Strong-Tie holdowns.

SSTB Anchor Bolt
SSTB Anchor Bolt
SB Anchor Bolt
SB Anchor Bolt

There is one Engineering letter that addresses slab-on-grade foundations and another version that covers stemwall foundations. The tables are separated by wood species (DF/SP and SPF/HF) to give the most economical anchor design for each post material. The preferred anchor solutions are SSTB or SB anchors, as these proprietary anchor bolts are tested and will require the least amount of concrete. When SSTB or SB anchors do not have adequate capacity, we have tabulated solutions for the PAB anchors, which are pre-assembled anchors that are calculated in accordance with ACI 318 Appendix D.

Slab On Grade Anchorage Solutions
Slab On Grade Anchorage Solutions
Stemwall Anchorage Solutions
Stemwall Anchorage Solutions

The solutions in the letters are designed to match the capacity of the holdowns, which allows the contractor to select an anchor bolt if the engineer doesn’t specify one. They are primarily used by engineers who don’t want to design an anchor or select one from our catalog tables. We received some feedback from customers who were frustrated that some of our heavier holdowns required such a large footing for the PAB anchors, whereas a slightly smaller holdown worked with an SB or SSTB anchor in a standard 12″ footing with a 1½” pop out.

6-in Popout FEA Model
6-in Popout FEA Model
6-in Popout Physical Testing
6-in Popout Physical Testing

To achieve smaller footings using our SB1x30 anchor bolts, we reviewed our original testing and created finite element (FEA) models to determine what modifications to the slab-on-grade foundation details would meet our target loads. Of course, we ran physical tests to confirm the FEA models. With a 6″ pop out, we were able to achieve design loads for HD12, HDU14 and HHDQ14.

HD12, HDU14 & HHDQ14 Solutions
HD12, HDU14 and HHDQ14 Solutions

The revised footing solutions for the heavier holdowns require less excavation and less concrete than the previous Appendix D calculated solutions, reducing costs on the installation.

What has been your experience with holdown anchorage? Tell us in the comments below.

Paul McEntee

Author: Paul McEntee

A couple of years back we hosted a “Take your daughter or son to work day,” which was a great opportunity for our children to find out what their parents did. We had different activities for the kids to learn about careers and the importance of education in opening up career opportunities. People often ask me what I do for Simpson Strong-Tie and I sometimes laugh about how my son Ryan responded to a questionnaire he filled out that day:

Q.   What is your mom/dad's job?
A.   Goes and gets coffee and sits at his desk

Q.   What does your mom/dad actually do at work?
A.   Walks in the test lab and checks things

When I am not checking things in the lab or sitting at my desk drinking coffee, I manage Engineering Research and Development for Simpson Strong-Tie, focusing on new product development for connectors and lateral systems.

I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and I am a licensed Civil and Structural Engineer in California. Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, I worked for 10 years as a consulting structural engineer designing commercial, industrial, multi-family, mixed-use and retail projects. I was fortunate in those years to work at a great engineering firm that did a lot of everything. This allowed me to gain experience designing with wood, structural steel, concrete, concrete block and cold-formed steel as well as working on many seismic retrofits of historic unreinforced masonry buildings.