In my job I get to travel a fair amount. Between trade shows, sales meetings and field research I think I’ve been to most parts of the country in the last few years. One of the things I hear a lot, particularly in areas governed by wind design, is that the last few revisions of the International Residential Code® (IRC®) impose stricter building requirements. As the product manager for our Strong-Wall® shearwalls, I listen with an ear for braced-wall requirements in these areas. There are quite a few different methods of construction called out in Chapter Six of the IRC, and I think I’ve seen them all used in both single-family and multi-family housing, sometimes with multiple types in one structure!
When there’s enough wall space to meet the Code-required widths, it’s usually pretty straightforward. But when there isn’t enough wall space, things get interesting. Sometimes folks will resort to prefabricated shearwalls, like our Strong-Wall products, to maximize the contributing wall length when there isn’t enough wall length to meet the code minimums. The Strong-Wall products are great solutions, but sometimes they can be more than what is required from a performance standpoint, and there can be a cost associated with performance beyond what is needed. This is what led us to pursue developing the Strong-Wall site-built portal frame system (or PFS, for short).
The PFS provides designers, builders and contractors in prescriptive markets with a simple, quick-to-install, cost-effective and narrow alternative to the IRC braced-wall solutions. To learn more about the details of the PFS, please join us for a webinar on April 17. In the webinar, we’ll discuss the alternative methods of construction in the IRC, the details of the PFS, the testing and development that went into creating it, and some of the resources we’ve created to facilitate its specification and use.