Build Change: Easier, Never Simple

When I think about my time working with Build Change so far, the phrase that comes to mind is “Easier, never simple.”

When I started my fellowship, several limitations for seismically retrofitting homes in Colombia quickly became apparent. These included delays in approvals by the local municipality, as well as an innovative Evaluation and Retrofit Manual that was not always well understood by local officials. Staff who conducted field surveys had a long list of items to verify, many of which were not easy to identify, resulting in reduced efficiency. It was common for staff to go back and re-survey in order to complete a full analysis.
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Meeting Braced-Wall Requirements: A New Portal Frame Solution

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!

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Questions Answered: CSHP High-Performance Coiled Strap

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.
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Code Report: Understanding Allowable Load Changes

The Simpson Strong-Tie® 2019–2020 Wood Construction Connectors catalog is 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 is designed to assist engineers, architects, Designers and contractors in selecting the right products for improved performance, efficiency and productivity. This blog post provides in-depth background about how we re-evaluated our connectors to meet the new standards.
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Upgrade Your Coiled Strap: How an Innovative Embossment Takes Utility Straps to the Next Level

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?

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Introducing Excellence in Engineering Fellow: Juan Carlos Restrepo

We’re excited to introduce the recipient of the 2018–2019 Excellence in Engineering Fellowship: Juan Carlos Restrepo.

This is the second year of the fellowship, a successful partnership between Build Change, a Denver-based international nonprofit social enterprise, and Simpson Strong-Tie, a global leader in innovative structural solutions.
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Questions Answered: Making the Right Anchor Choice

In this post, we follow up on our August 28 webinar, Making the Right Anchor Choice: Best Practices in Anchor Design, by answering some of the interesting questions raised by attendees.

During the webinar where we discussed the critical performance factors and code requirements you need to consider when designing with or installing adhesive or mechanical anchors. In case you weren’t able to join our discussion, you can watch the on-demand webinar and earn PDH and CEU credits here.
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Keeping Up with Continuing Education (for Free!): Three New Online Courses to Check Out

In this post, Brittney Price, manager of content development for Product & Customer Training, discusses the training offered by Simpson Strong-Tie for customers’ professional development and continuing education credits. The training is offered in online courses and recorded webinars as well as live workshops around the country. The most recent offerings cover the topics of delegated design; code requirements for conventionally framed roofs; and deck inspections.
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Strong Partners SoCal Seismic Symposium with Dr. Lucy Jones and Karen Colonias

Have you ever stopped to think about how much time you spend in a building? You probably spend your day inside your home, school, or office and then stop by the coffee shop, grocery store, or mall. There is a statistic from the Environmental Protection Agency that estimates most people spend close to 90% of their lives inside a building. With all that time inside of a structure, how often do you stop and think about how safe that building is, especially if you live in an earthquake region? And what about the whole community of buildings, and how we would be able to continue living our lives if a big earthquake hit and we were able to survive . . . but had no buildings left that were safe to live or work in? This raises the question of how resilient we would be after an earthquake, how quickly we would be able to recover and resume normal lives after a catastrophic earthquake. For many cities around the world who have suffered through large earthquakes and hurricanes, the answer has been not very quickly at all, with some affected cities estimated as taking as long as 50–100 years truly to recover. We know a big earthquake is coming to Southern California, so what can we do? At Simpson Strong-Tie, we are helping lead the research and innovation to make sure buildings and communities can stay safe in the next earthquake.
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