Monday, November 16, 2009

roof bracing

On Friday I went with a friend to his framing inspection for his house in Sun City Reflections (Okatie, South Carolina). This is what I wrote to my friend in an email afterwards:

Subject: gable end bracing
Date: 11/13/2009 11:39:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: Rkoenigsc
To: ********,

At the framing inspection of your house today I noticed that the gable end on the north side of your house is braced with several lines of 2 by 4 bracing. This is what I would expect, given the height of the gable end, which was reported by Pulte's man to be 14 ft.

The gable end on the opposite south side of the house has only a single line of 2 by 4 bracing. It is curious to me why the bracing on the south side of the house would be so much less than the bracing on the opposite north side of the house.

None of the other gable ends in the front or back (west and east) are braced. While the gable ends in the front and back (west and east) are not as high as the gable ends on the sides (north and south), I would expect there to be some bracing at these gable ends.

The state building code requires that your house be capable of resisting a 130 mph (hurricane) wind. On the north and south gable ends this equates to a wind force of several tons, which must be resisted by bracing.

If you google "roof bracing gable end" you'll find much information on bracing gable ends, including the attached 2-page FEMA publication.

I hope that this is helpful.


From my previous experience with roof trusses and bracing in houses on this side of US 278, I found that often what is built doesn’t match what is specified. In particular, in the roof truss connections, where two nails were specified as a substitute for a hurricane clip, in MANY cases there was only one nail or no nails or nails that missed their target completely or nails in split wood that were ineffective.

In the Phase 5 lagoons, what was built didn’t match what was on the construction plans.

The fact that what’s constructed doesn’t match what’s specified seems to be a common thread with Pulte here.

Pulte’s man told my friend and I that his house had passed framing inspection the day before (Thursday). Another common thread is that the government inspectors aren’t picking this stuff up. Sun City Reflections (across the street) is in a different local jurisdiction than the original Sun City (not Beaufort County).

I pointed out to Pulte’s man that the wind blows the same on both sides of the house, therefore, the bracing on the gable end of one side of the house should be the same as the gable bracing on the other end. He argued "The engineer says...". I told him that I am an engineer. Didn’t make any difference. He continued to argue.

The bottom line is that my friend, like many others here, has decided that he will have the bracing installed at his own expense. It’s simply not worth the grief to argue it further with Pulte or the local government.

It is a sad commentary on Pulte Homes and the local governments that homeowners here have to reach into their own pockets to bring their houses up to (building) code.

PS The link to the FEMA publication is

1 comment:

Yaj said...

I have found that many of my clients end up having to fix various problems left by the builder, at their own expense! This must be a common thread throughout the country. Not that it should be common, but that it seems to be.

How unfortunate. "The engineer says," is simply stupid. And unthinking. Did they ever explain the difference between the two ends?! One works the other doesn't? C'mon...!