Lab Statistics – How Much Wood?

Wood for testing
Wood for testing

Like many people with desk jobs, I just have to get up and walk around every once in a while. Most of my walks are through our connector test lab at our home office in Pleasanton, California. The lab technicians install a lot of products for testing, so in addition to stretching my legs, I like to quiz them for ideas on things we can do to make installation faster and easier for our products.

Discarded wood from testing
Discarded wood from testing

During one of my walks this week, a lab technician was finishing up a rather extensive test setup that consumed a large quantity of lumber, screws, and truss plates. I asked him how it was going and he commented, “Testing isn’t exactly environmentally friendly, is it?”

Before I could even respond, he added, “I guess that’s just part of the price of building safer buildings.” I like the way he thinks.

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Tell Us Your Genuine Story for a Chance To Win!

2013 Connector Catalog cover
2013-2014 Wood Construction Connectors Catalog cover

You may have noticed that the cover of our new 2013-14 Wood Construction Connectors Catalog features the word GENUINE. What do we mean by Genuine Simpson Strong-Tie Connectors? It’s really based on our roots and our founder Barclay Simpson, who made his very first connector for a customer in 1956. Barc believed in doing whatever it took to help the customer succeed.Today, helping the customer remains our number one priority. Whether that’s being on a jobsite to help with a product installation, spending endless hours on R&D and product testing or making sure our products get to our customers on time. This is what we promise to do everyday, and we do it genuinely.

This week, I wanted to share my own GENUINE story. And it doesn’t involve product testing or R&D.

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Join Me for a WoodWorks Webinar on Acceptance Criteria and Testing Methods for Connectors

I have the privilege of presenting a free WoodWorks webinar, “Testing and Product Evaluation of Products for Wood-framed Construction” on Thursday, October 25 at 10 am PST. Here is the webinar description:

Products that are not covered by the code are used in many if not all buildings. While the code permits a single engineer to review and submit to a building official and a single building official to review and approve a product not covered by the code, many feel a more robust process is needed to ensure that these products meet the code intent. Also, many code or evaluation reports are used not just for one project, but for multitudes of projects in numerous locations. Test setups can affect the performance and load rating of products.

Several private entities have been created over the years to assist the industry by developing public and transparent processes to develop test requirements, load rating requirements, design and detailing requirements, and ongoing quality compliance as well as product evaluation methodologies. This webinar will discuss various acceptance criteria and testing methods used for products used in wood construction, such as ASTM D7147 and ICC-ES AC155 to further advance the knowledge of these test methods and processes for those in the wood construction industry.

This will be a great opportunity for those of us who work in wood frame construction to discuss code and test requirements for connectors and other products for wood. I hope you’ll consider joining us! To register for the webinar, click here.

– Paul

Building a Storm Shelter to ICC-500 Design Requirements

According to the National Weather Service, 2011 ranked right up there as one of the worst years on record for tornadoes, having set records for the earliest date of the first tornado, the most states reporting tornadoes, the greatest monthly total, the greatest daily total, and the highest estimated property and crop losses. (Take a look.)

You may wonder: What can I do to protect building occupants (perhaps even my family) in a tornado? It is possible to build your home to higher wind resistance than normally required so that it can resist weak to moderate tornadoes? See my previous blog post, “Designing Light-Frame Wood Structures for Resisting Tornadoes. It Can Be Done!” and also our tornado technical bulletin for more information. But to resist the strongest of tornadoes, the most economical solution is a storm shelter located nearby or in your home.   Continue Reading

Ignore Seismic Requirements When Wind Controls?

Prior to joining Simpson Strong-Tie, my career involved the design of projects in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. When designing the primary lateral force resisting system, I would have several pages of seismic base shear calculations and, oh yeah, a one- or two-line calculation of the wind forces – just to show that seismic governed. There was no need for complete wind analysis, since the seismic design and detailing requirements were more restrictive. Of course, building components such as parapets, cladding or roof screens needed a wind design. Unfortunately, when wind appears to control, meeting the seismic requirements is not so simple.

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Designing Light-Frame Wood Structures for Tornadoes. It Can Be Done!

Being from California, I had always bought into the common misperception that wood light-frame construction can’t be designed to resist tornadoes. While it is true that debris impact can’t be cost-effectively designed into residential structures, there is a lot that can be done to strengthen the structure and protect the occupants inside. Using the same technology common in hurricane-prone regions, these buildings can protect people for more than 95% of reported tornadoes.

The effect of tornadoes on wood light-frame structures has been extensively researched over the last few years, and researchers agree: A strong, continuous load path is essential to minimize destruction.

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