Articles

Seismic Loading on a Retaining Wall

At JCSE, we continue to receive questions whether the 2007 California Building Code (CBC) requires seismic loads induced by retained soils be accounted for in the design and construction of retaining walls. The short answer is yes. There is little evidence that indicated retaining walls had failed due to seismically induced loads. Thus, the CBC…

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Structural vs. Professional Engineers

All licensed Structural Engineers (S.E.s) are also licensed Professional Engineers (P.E.s). All Professional Engineers, however, are not licensed Structural Engineers. In fact, only a small fraction of Professional Engineers go on to pass the State requirements that allow Professional Engineers to be licensed Structural Engineers. A practicing engineer is initially required to pass an examination…

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Seismic Evaluation of Existing Buildings

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has developed a national standard entitled the Seismic Evaluation of Existing Buildings (ASCE 31-03). The value this standard provides is that a building need not be evaluated by the more stringent current building standards but rather for structural deficiencies that through the course of time have proven to…

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Checking for Termite Infestation / Dry Rot Damage

Dry rot and pest damage can have a substantial adverse effect on a wood-framed structure’s response to earthquakes. Damage to structural elements may not always be as readily apparent as in the photo above from one of our litigation support cases. In some cases, fungus or termite infestation will be found only inside the wood…

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Tilt-Up Building Retrofits

Background Older tilt-up concrete wall buildings have been categorized, based on past earthquakes, as being potentially hazardous and prone to significant damage, including possible collapse, in a moderate to major earthquake. It is highly recommended, and depending on the jurisdiction, mandatory, for such buildings designed in accordance to building codes in effect prior to 1976…

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Eccentric vs. Concentric Continuous Footings

There are two types of continuous footings that can be used to support exterior walls in residential construction. The eccentric continuous footing,   and the concentric continuous footing.   However, after conducting many post-earthquake damage assessments, we believe the eccentric continuous footing is susceptible to cracking in the slab. When the walls rack in an…

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Raised Floor Foundations

Residential raised floor foundations represent a hazard during an earthquake provided they are not adequately bolted and braced. The homeowner can determine if these conditions are present by: Identifying the Sill Plate – With the use of a flashlight, the homeowner is to look at the top of the concrete footing. There will be a…

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