As civil and structural engineers, we know all too well that what is on the plans doesn’t always translate exactly as intended in the field. Part of what keeps our jobs interesting is having to solve problems that arise with “as built” conditions that are not always easy to change. It can feel like a complex puzzle trying to figure out what is possible when considering all aspects, including demand loads, load transfer, construction sequence, and also cost.
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.
Brick or masonry veneer has traditionally posed a problem to homeowners and contractors seeking to attach a deck to a home without removing large portions of the veneer or siding. No longer is that the case, thanks to the innovative BVLZ brick veneer ledger connector from Simpson Strong-Tie. In this post, Rachel Holland, P.E., an R&D structural engineer at Simpson Strong-Tie, explains the research and insights that went into testing and developing this revolutionary connector.
We recently hosted an interactive webinar in which our new high-performance coiled strap’s product manager, Thom Murphy, and I discussed how an innovative embossment is a game changer for coiled strap, making it easier and faster to install with a standard framing nailer. During the one-hour webinar, we reviewed the benefits of a continuous load path as well as key uses for coiled straps. We also related what was involved in the design and testing of the embossment. If you missed the conversation, you can still watch the on-demand webinar and earn PDH and CEU credits here.
CS16 coiled straps. I can’t tell you how many thousands (maybe more) I specified during my time as a consulting engineer. Straps are used everywhere. They were then, and are now, a go-to solution for drag and uplift loads. I didn’t have to look them up in the catalog — I knew the allowable loads by heart.
Then one day at a jobsite, I saw a contractor installing them and thought, “Wow, that is labor intensive. His arm must be so tired!” Suddenly, I felt a little guilty for all of the straps I had personally specified on my projects. I thought there must be a better way. Fast-forward 10 years, and today I’m an R&D engineer for Simpson Strong-Tie, an industry leader that prides itself on offering products that improve construction, keep costs down and allow for a safer built environment. As fate would have it, straps fall into my area of responsibility. Now, thinking about what could be done to improve a flat, steel strap is part of my job. Specifiers use straps load rated based on a National Design Specification® (NDS®) nail calculation and an American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) steel calculation. How could Simpson Strong-Tie make that better?