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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Business Owners Today: What Else Could Happen?

How can a “Back-to-Business” plan help communities and business owners recover after a damaging event? In this guest blog post, David Cocke, S.E., explores the history of “B2B” programs and how they help expedite the inspection process so owners can get back to normal faster.

Business leaders have a lot to think about nowadays. With the current pandemic crisis, we have to consider health (ourselves, our families and our staff), liabilities, cash flow, workload, client retention and the pipeline for future work. Knock on wood that we don’t have to deal with any kind of natural disaster on top of this current situation, but more on that topic later…
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Applying ACI 318-14 Development Length Provisions to Post-Installed Reinforcing Bars Secured to Concrete with Construction Adhesive

The evaluation report, ESR-4057, was recently updated to allow the design of SET-3G adhesive for post-installed reinforcing bars using the ACI 318 development length provision. This blog has been reposted replacing SET-XP with SET-3G using the original design examples. The SET-XP evaluation report, ESR-2508, currently limits f’c to 2,500 psi for seismic applications located in seismic design category C–F. SET-3G does not carry the same limitation allowing for a considerable reduction in development length at higher values of f’c. In general, a substantially lower installation cost can be expected using SET-3G for seismic applications. Additionally, SET-3G has slightly reduced edge and spacing requirements. Engineers can access a free online calculation tool to easily determine the rebar development or lap splice length for either adhesive product.

I first learned about the application of the ACI 318 development length provision to post-installed reinforcing bars back in 2003 when I read Post-Installed Adhesive-Bonded Splices in Bridge Decks, authored by Ronald A. Cook and Scott D. Beesheim. In their series of experiments, holes were drilled adjacent to cast-in-place bars using a carbide-tipped drill bit, and new bars were secured in these holes using an anchoring adhesive presumed to be of a type commonly used in concrete construction.
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New Materials Require New Hardware — Three Fasteners Engineered Specifically for Mass Timber Construction

Simpson Strong-Tie has always been a leader in designing innovative products for various construction markets. As an R&D engineer, I enjoy the opportunities for continuous exploring, experimenting and learning that come with my role. There’s never a dull moment working in research and development! At present, I’m thrilled to be part of a team that works on developing products for construction using cross-laminated-timber (CLT) and other forms of mass timber. So I have the honor of introducing three amazing fastener products that are load rated for use in CLT, wood, glulam and structural composite lumber (SCL) products (e.g., LVL, PSL, LSL).

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Build Change: Seismic Safety in the Age of COVID-19

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.

When I agreed to travel for Build Change to the Philippines and Indonesia in March, some of my friends and colleagues told me I was brave. Others told me I was crazy. One asked me whether I was afraid that I would not be able to get home. At the time, I felt it was safe to go since there were only a few cases reported in the Philippines, Indonesia and the United States. Even so, I waited until the last minute before I told my mother of the trip, knowing that she would be worried and would try to talk me out of going.  

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No Surprises: Rule Steel Speeds Detailing and Fabrication for Oregon Events Center with Yield-Link® Technology

Massive amounts of timber. Tons of structural steel. Envisioned as the centerpiece of a revitalized fairgrounds complex in Washington County, Oregon, the Wingspan Conference And Event Center due to open in summer 2020 includes a high-tech 39,000-square-foot expo hall with 30ʹ ceilings, a rooftop solar array, a 13,000-square-foot conference center to accommodate trade shows, corporate meetings, and seminars, and a materials list of building products to rival any commercial or civic construction project. 

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LotSpec — an Autodesk Add-In That Helps Builders Manage Plan Options More Easily and Effectively

Portfolio homebuilders know that managing combinations of plan options can be unwieldy and time-consuming. Every set of homebuyer options introduces another layer of complication to the design process — and if adequate systems aren’t in place, it can be easy to get lost in the mess.

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