[Simpson Strong-Tie note: Sam Hensen is the Simpson Strong-Tie Engineering Manager for the Southeast U.S. and the latest blogger for the Structural Engineering Blog. For more on Sam, see his bio here.]
Just as bending and shear checks performed on gravity loaded beams do not ensure that the beam will comply with required deflection limitations, adherence to allowable shears and aspect ratio limits on shearwalls does not mean the structure will comply with required drift limitations. Shearwalls that are too flexible may prevent the structure from meeting drift limitations even if the shearwall design has adequate strength.
For seismic load applications, section 12.12.1 of ASCE7-10 states that the design story drift of the structure shall not exceed the allowable drift listed in table 12.12-1. For light-frame buildings, the maximum permitted drift is 2.5% of the story height. This limitation is put in place not merely for serviceability reasons, but is an inherent effect of current seismic design provisions that is required to be checked to ensure life safety.