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Design Life of Homes??

nerudite

Cyburbian
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6,536
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30
I'm in the process of buying a house that was built in 1960. The appraiser that went in there made an estimate that the house would be structurally sound based on present conditions until 2040. The inspector I hired to review the integrity of the house has placed it at "above average" and concurred that it will be sound for a long time. But of course, there are things we need to do within the next four years or so: new room, regrade the land to have stormwater drain away from the foundation walls, etc. I have no qualms about buying this older home, because I understand that maintenance will be an issue in any home. So I'm not quite buying this whole "design life of 20 or 25 years" crud.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,461
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29
Interesing statistics, donk. Higher than I expected. I wonder if the percentage is as high in large urban areas, or if many of these ownership units are apartments/condos. I suppose the internet could answer that too, if I was not so lazy. :)
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
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4,159
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27
Allright, for the record I'm done asking questions around work about the "life expectancy" of homes. I just got laughed out of my bosses office when I asked him.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,461
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29
Could the laughter be because, being an EVUUUUUL developer, he knows you guys are producing balsa wood shacks out in sprawlville.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
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35
BKM said:
Could the laughter be because, being an EVUUUUUL developer, he knows you guys are producing balsa wood shacks out in sprawlville.

Or it could be because the whole design life thing for homes is kaka.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
giff57 said:
Or it could be because the whole design life thing for homes is kaka.

again - every building has a design life. I think a lot of you are taking this as a personal attack on recent large investments you might have undertaken. No one is trying to lance your castle.

The fact is that houses have a design life. period. you don't have to believe it but that'll be your loss. Maybe the design life of the house you are living in isn't 25 years - maybe it's 50 - maybe it's 100. Either way, DESIGN LIFE DOESN"T MEAN YOUR HOUSE WILL FALL DOWN ON A GIVEN DATE. It means that the expectation of the designer is that it will either be radically altered or remodeled (see Levittown for a case study) - if they aren't smashed first by some natural disaster or a bulldozer in the name of urban renewal, highway expansion, or simply - redevelopment.

sorry - i thought most people would catch this but i'll post it again. The International Organization for Standardisation is respected around the world and its certification is something most international companies need to do business. I don't think they would get involved in trying to standardize something that is -as you put it - "kaka"

http://www.vtt.fi:84/rte/wmt/coste1...nar1_paper4.pdf

"In 1993 the standarisation work in the field when ISO/TC59/SC14/WG9, Design Life of Buildings, was launched at a meeting in Atlanta. There was a significant European initiative to establishing the standardisation group. The EUREKA umbrella project Eurocare has its strategic goal to
INCREASE THE SERVICE LIFE OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND TO DECREASE YEARLY LIFE CYCLE COSTS FOR ITS CONSERVATION, RESTORATION, AND MAINTENANCE."
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
BKM said:
jresta: I meant in your signature line (the revolution quote).

Was this just of your own curiosity or did it have something to do with this debate?
So- the quote is from a letter written by veterans of the Spanish Civil War opining why they lost to Franco.
Was there more to your question? (not a stab, i just haven't mastered these smiley faces yet - if there's more to your question fire away.)

You make some points, but I think you miss the lack of rootedness of Americans. I live half a continent away from where I grew up (Indiana), as do my brother and sister, so I have very little interest in a house that provides "heritage" value for children that I will personally never have. This lack of rootedness certainly creates social problems, but I have no particular love for my hometown and am happy to live in a "temporary" townhouse in California.
Do you really think that a significant majority of the population-especially the rootless, cosmopolitan middle class that buys much of the newer housing, will be any more rooted?

I understand that Americans are transient. I live relatively close to "home" now but i haven't always. Houses that last a long time don't have to be passed on to kids. They won't lose their market value just because they're old. As someone mentioned earlier - most of the expensive houses are the old ones (the short supply prob. inflating the price as much as the location is.)



As for your example of a $200,000 house that's cheap versus a $500,000 one that lasts. Many "middle class" people are already priced out of urban housing markets. How many families (or single folks) that can barely afford the $200,000 tract home can even afford the $500,000 home. Admittedly, if they sacrificed the second car and all that-but a $500,000 motgage is a pretty big nut for a middle class household. Sure, everyone prefers a solid wood or solid stone house (aside from the negative environmental impacts of clear cutting the timber to provide such housing), but in a country of 300 million plus people, it JUST AIN'T AFFORDABLE ANYMORE. If our population was stagnating or declining, that's one thing.

You are taking this way too literally. The numbers were purely hypothetical. I think you also missed the part about how mortgages are structured. We all know that mass homeownership was only made possible through some creative work between the federal government and the banks.
What's to say - again purely hypothetical - that bankers and the wonks at the FHA couldn't come up with something equally as creative - that is to say if a mass market for houses using more durable materials and better construction techniques woulnd't level out the price to a large degree. Speaking of which - what about all the houses and offices in California that are designed to hold up after earthquakes - how significantly does that raise the cost as compared to say - similar areas on Long Island?


And, I am curious as to the percentages of homeownership in urban areas in Europe. (Also-is British tract housing that superior? It all looks pretty grim to me, even if it isn't balloon frame construction).

Housing in Western Europe is not inexpensive and not suprisingly - to me anyway - the US winds up at the bottom of the list in terms of housing tenure with 66% of units owner occupied (according to the 2000 census). A lot of stuff in Britain is ugly but from what i saw of new construction in Northern Ireland (being built by English firms) those houses will weather their existence far better than the houses i grew up around on the Jersey Shore.
 
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jresta

Cyburbian
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1,474
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23
(sorry - i was just trying to add this on to my previous post)

p.s. - these houses were around Port Stewart - 3 floor rowhouses made of cinderblock with steel joists and poured concrete floors - slate roofs . . . or as my dad says "built like a brick shit house" They were selling for £300k. The locals found them expensive but they said - not something that some pensioner who owned a house in the london area coulnd't afford. They checked out about even with the cost of similar new (balloon frame)construction in NJ within two - three blocks of the beach.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
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35
jresta said:
sorry - i thought most people would catch this but i'll post it again. The International Organization for Standardisation is respected around the world and its certification is something most international companies need to do business. I don't think they would get involved in trying to standardize something that is -as you put it - "kaka"

http://www.vtt.fi:84/rte/wmt/coste1...nar1_paper4.pdf


I caught it the first time. In reading the conclusion it was clear what the motives for standardization were. It said something to the effect of "customers" and "introducing research into the market". Sounded to me like ISO needs more "customers".
 

jresta

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23
giff57 said:
I caught it the first time. In reading the conclusion it was clear what the motives for standardization were. It said something to the effect of "customers" and "introducing research into the market". Sounded to me like ISO needs more "customers".

Yeah, surprise, that's what ISO does -

how does that support your claim that "design life" is "kaka"?
 

carlomarx

Cyburbian
Messages
85
Points
4
I always thought it was spelled "caca".

Reading this with much interest. You guys have some ka-ray-zee ideas about home building. :)

and some scathing comments regarding each other. :(

Some of us home builders take pride in providing the best home possible to good people who want to realize the American Dream. It's cheesy, I know, but there is a lot to be said for cheese.

We use a lot of the "chipboard" (how derisive!) lumber. It makes use of scrap and waste that would otherwise be thrown away or burned.
* And!! our sister company, a truss plant, uses this "engineered lumber" for anything larger than a 2 x 6, which has to come from old growth stands.
* Plus, the engineered lumber is stronger, straighter, and truer (it's a word in constructionese) than dimensional lumber, which means less refused sticks, less waste -- and all around better process of building.

Anyone who would question the integrity of "chipboard" should put in some ...uh... hammer-time.

Houses being built today are leaps and bounds above those of the past. Ask a structural engineer.

As for design life, I can't speak for large-scale tract builders (I eschew those swarthy characters, along with whaling crews and mimes), but I design my houses to last longer than the client's children.

Blah, blah, I'm so great. I just want to throw my avatar in the ring.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
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4,159
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27
carlomarx said:


As for design life, I can't speak for large-scale tract builders (I eschew those swarthy characters, along with whaling crews and mimes), but I design my houses to last longer than the client's children.


Ah hah!! So if building an age-restricted community for residents of 55+ their children would be in their 30's with an average American life span of 67 years you admit that you build homes only to last 30 years!! ;)

OK its Friday, I'm outta here, heading downa shore. See you cats on Monday.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,069
Points
34
carlomarx said:
Blah, blah, I'm so great. I just want to throw my avatar in the ring.

Glad to have you join in, not just because you reinforce every argument I have made.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
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1,474
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23
way to moderate the forum there Jordan - props on splitting it up - although if it keeps going it might need to split again.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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45
jresta said:
way to moderate the forum there Jordan - props on splitting it up - although if it keeps going it might need to split again.


jresta, thank you for the biggest laugh of my day! :)

jordanb is not a moderator, and can't split threads. I split the thread since it had diverted so much from the original topic.
 

jresta

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NHPlanner said:
jresta, thank you for the biggest laugh of my day! :)

jordanb is not a moderator, and can't split threads. I split the thread since it had diverted so much from the original topic.

ohh, sorry. It had him as the thread starter - i thought that meant he split it.

props to you then NHplanner.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
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1,474
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23
carlomarx said:
As for design life, I can't speak for large-scale tract builders (I eschew those swarthy characters, along with whaling crews and mimes), but I design my houses to last longer than the client's children.

so how much do your houses sell for as compared to "the swarthy characters" building in your area?

a cost percentage +/- of comparable homes would be more than fine.
 

carlomarx

Cyburbian
Messages
85
Points
4
We're comparable. Maybe we don't take as much profit as the others... no, that's not right. We make our money. But we are very careful about which new technologies we incorporate. You know, things that are new and improved get less expensive as time goes by. Maybe we're more expensive than others in this area by just a little, but we're busy, which means that our quality must be valuable enough to make up for the expense.

I think the difference between us and the others who aren't using newer materials and methods is that we are willing to adapt. In construction, often it seems that once a tradesman learns his trade, he feels he doesn't have to change it ever. Not so with us. As a builder, we have the flexibility to hire subs who use better and more conscientious methods.
 

Jeff

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4,159
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27
carlomarx said:
BTW, www.trusjoist.com is the engineered lumber we use. It's got all the information you need to become a believer in engineered lumber.

I'm a firm believer in that they are the most dangerous things homes can be built of. Remove 1 gusset plate (such as in a fire) and see how fast that house comes tumbling down.
 

BKM

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6,461
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29
Was this just of your own curiosity or did it have something to do with this debate?

Just an off-topic digression (curious). I'll use "O/T" in the future. :)
 

ilikefish0

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204
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9
Mike D. said:
I'm a firm believer in that they are the most dangerous things homes can be built of. Remove 1 gusset plate (such as in a fire) and see how fast that house comes tumbling down.

These things are just as safe as standard wood joists, and they are indispensable for longer spans. Any fire that would burn through the web would eventually burn through a piece of solid wood.

Also, at least in the south, i don't think most homes are built with balloon framing. I believe most houses, including ones i've worked on are built with platform framing. In platform, a story' worth of walls are built and plated, and the next floor's joists are plaed on top of that. I am not familiar with balloon framing, but i seem to remember that this method suspends joists from studs that run the full height of the building. Anyone want to correct or clarify? In platform homes, the floor andplates serve as a vertical firebreak.
 

donk

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from ilikefish0's description I think i am confused . I took what fish described as platform framing to be what we consider to be stick built and what appears to also be ballon framed.

Any good architectural drawings on line of a balloon frame?
 

Cardinal

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34
ilikefish0 said:
Also, at least in the south, i don't think most homes are built with balloon framing. I believe most houses, including ones i've worked on are built with platform framing. In platform, a story' worth of walls are built and plated, and the next floor's joists are plaed on top of that. I am not familiar with balloon framing, but i seem to remember that this method suspends joists from studs that run the full height of the building. Anyone want to correct or clarify? In platform homes, the floor andplates serve as a vertical firebreak.

Originally posted by donk
from ilikefish0's description I think i am confused . I took what fish described as platform framing to be what we consider to be stick built and what appears to also be ballon framed.

Any good architectural drawings on line of a balloon frame?

I had thought of mentioning the difference between a balloon and the much more common platform frame, but the distinction is somewhat esoteric. Platform framing is much more common for many reasons, most notably because they are easier to build and because of the typical lengths of framing studs. ilikefish0 describes the two pretty well.

Platform: joists, floor, walls, joists floor walls, rafters roof; it is layered.

Balloon: joists, floor walls, rafters, roof, suspend the second floor from the walls.
 

biscuit

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3,899
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25
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who's confused here. I've been around construction sites most my life and have never heard of ballon framing. Is is similar to "kit" houses? Could someone please explain what it is vs. traditional constuction.
 

Cardinal

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biscuit said:
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who's confused here. I've been around construction sites most my life and have never heard of ballon framing. Is is similar to "kit" houses? Could someone please explain what it is vs. traditional constuction.

Ballon framing has been around since the middle 1800's, but really caught on after the Chicago Fire. It was a quick and inexpensive way to build. For the reasons I mentioned as well as the fire concerns expressed by others, platform framing has been the norm for the past half-century or more. It is not "kit" construction. This link provides a pretty good explanation of the platform frame: http://www.hometips.com/hyhw/structure/108frame.html

Here's a diagram of a balloon frame, although the text does not match: http://www.hometips.com/hyhw/structure/109frame.html
 

Jeff

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ilikefish0 said:
These things are just as safe as standard wood joists, and they are indispensable for longer spans. Any fire that would burn through the web would eventually burn through a piece of solid wood.


The key word being ... eventually ...

Where a "standard" heavy timber wooden joist takes well over an hour to burn through, a pre-fab wooden truss with 1/4 gang nails or gusset paltes takes about 3 minutes of fire exposure to char enough wood to drop the gusset place, therby resulting in complete failure of the truss, thereby increasing the loads on the surrounding trusses, thereby causeing them to fail.
 

biscuit

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I'm very familiar with platform construction (it being the norm) but have never heard of or seen a house built with the ballon method. Perhaps Fish is right about it not being used much in the south. Thanks for the explination and diagram.
 

donk

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Thanks for the links, I am only familar with Platform Framing. I don't think balloon framing is very common in our area. That is a long stick of wood to have to be straight.
 

carlomarx

Cyburbian
Messages
85
Points
4
Engineered Lumber

Pimp Dizzawg,

What are the most dangerous things to build with? Wood trusses? I-Joists?

Engineered Lumber (what I was talking about) is 2-by material that is not made from a single tree, but from processed wood. It's bound together with some kind of resin and (I think) shocked with electricity. This includes Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) and Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL). These products are what is commonly referred to as "Engineered Lumber".

There is also another product called an I-Joist (aka "TJI", "LPI") which is a 2x3 at the top and bottom, joined by a sheet of OSB, for an overall height of (usually) 11-7/8. This is not commonly called Engineered Lumber". It is however a product that has been engineered-- it has ratings for the load and span and all that..

Mike-- I really want to know which product you consider so dangerous. You mentioned plates being removed (?!?!), so I think maybe you're talking about wood roof trusses, but if that's what you're talking about we're going to have to have a long talk.

Peace


CM
 

Jeff

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4,159
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27
Truss construction in general, no matter what kind of lumber = vary dangerous.

When you said engineered lumber, I though you were talking about trusses (which you probably were, just made of different materials).
 

jresta

Cyburbian
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1,474
Points
23
BKM said:
Just an off-topic digression (curious). I'll use "O/T" in the future. :)

I tried to PM this to you but it didn't work - - -

I was just wondering if you brought it up because someone else mentioned it and maybe i had missed it.

I don't know if you are familiar with the war but i find it intriguing - more from a planning perspective than from a political perspective.

Check out George Orwell's - "Homage to Catalonia" It goes without saying that he's a great writer but even putting that aside it's the best first-person account of a war that i've ever read. and reading his account of getting shot in the neck makes it well worth it.
 

carlomarx

Cyburbian
Messages
85
Points
4
Mike D.-

I was talking about the lumber, which is used in making trusses. But now that you've picked on structural components (roof and floor trusses), I've got to hit you with facts. I work for a structural components manufacturer/home builder, so I know from whence I speak.

I imagine from your objections that you've read Dunn and Branigan's book Building Construction for the Fire Service , and that this is informing your opinion on wood trusses.

In the June/July issue of Structural Building Components the publisher, Kirk Grundahl, responded to the claims made by this book in a five-page defense citing ASTM E119 tests showing that under identical fire conditions, 2x10 joists failed in the range of 6min30sec to 13min34sec. a 12" truss (metal plate-connected) failed at an average of 10min12sec.

You describe gusset plates dropping out of the truss to cause failure. There have been other claims that the plates conduct heat into the wood joint. Plates may pull out of the wood, but only after several other things:
1) Initially, the metal reflects heat, protecting the joint.
2) When the ambient heat reaches 452F, the wood begins to char.
3) In heating up, the wood (12% moisture) releases its internal moisture, which migrates to the surface of the wood.
4) The metal plate, in contact with the moisture, is buffered from the heat by the evaporation of the water from inside the wood. Charring on either side of the metal plate occurs faster than under the plate
5) Eventually the wood under the metal plate does heat up enough and the plate turns black from carbon. The plate finally conducts heat and the wood beneath the plate begins to burn.
6) Now that the wood under the plate is charred, the plate may pull out.

Trusses are engineered to be structurally redundant. Loss of one web does not imply truss collapse, and loss of one truss does not cause failure of the entire floor or roof system.

I know firefighters are told to never trust a truss, but there is a wealth of information refuting your position, MD.


All the best,

CM
 

H

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2,846
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Most everything in South Florida is cinderblock construction. Termites can’t eat it, and the Hurricanes have a little more difficulty blowing it down, but it’s all “temporary” here. ;)
 

jordanb

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3,225
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25
Huston said:
Most everything in South Florida is cinderblock construction. Termites can’t eat it, and the Hurricanes have a little more difficulty blowing it down, but it’s all “temporary” here. ;)

I've noticed that a lot of the new masonry buildings use cinderblock + brick. Usually with cinderblock on the sides and back with a brick front, or cinderblock base with a brick facade, often with the facade extending all the way around the building. They look pretty damn sturdy. The only problem is that the cinderblock backs (on the buildings that don't extend the facade to the back) have an incredibly brutal look to them.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
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4,159
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27
carlomarx said:
Mike D.-

I was talking about the lumber, which is used in making trusses. But now that you've picked on structural components (roof and floor trusses), I've got to hit you with facts. I work for a structural components manufacturer/home builder, so I know from whence I speak.

I imagine from your objections that you've read Dunn and Branigan's book Building Construction for the Fire Service , and that this is informing your opinion on wood trusses.

Their books are where I've read about building construction and building collapse, and I guess where you can say I formed an opinion. I can't quote various studies that say trusses are bad and this is why I can only speak from experience. I live in Philadelphia (virtually no truss construction) and am a firefighter in the Philly suburbs (virtually all truss construction).

I can tell you thet it is very rare that a dwelling in Philly collapses as a result of fire. I can tell you that it is so common outside of Philly that alot of departments won't even send their guys into houses that are built of trusses. So if a kid playing with matches lights the matress on fire, you can kiss the whole house goodbye. There is a township in a suburban county here that has banned the use of trusses all together in construction

I'm sure the studies show that truss construction is the be all end all. What they don't show is how rapid fire spreads in the void spaces which result from trusses in roofs, between floors, etc.

I've seen trusses described as the "Best thing that has happened to homebuilders" and the "Worst thing that has happened to firemen" I guess they are both true, it just depends on which side of the fence you stand on. Unfortunately, I'm on top of the fence ;)

As Mr Brannigan would say "Know your enemy, and the building is your enemy." My life is on the line, I'm going to side with the guys who say they are dangerous, its safer that way!
 

carlomarx

Cyburbian
Messages
85
Points
4
O/T:
the Hurricanes have a little more difficulty blowing it

The Hurricanes always blow!

miami.jpg


Zing!



MD- I dig the need to be safe. If I were a firefighter, I'd want houses to be made of ... I don't know... ice. concrete.
Back when I was an EMT, I wanted everyone to tattoo their meds and conditions on thir foreheads. I think it's kind of the same thing.

I had never thought too much about fire in a component-built structure. Engineering for wind, snow, rain, earthquakes, yes, but not fire. Wood burns, I simplified. All this to say, I appreciate the line of questioning.

cheers,

CM
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,846
Points
24
carlomarx said:
O/T:

Zing!


carlomarx, your not zinging me, I'm ALL VOL ;)

Oh and Jordanb, I know what you mean by the sometimes rough look of cinderblock, but they can stucco (the real stuff, not the fake spray on) the cinderblock and get a real nice looking sturdy surface, for relatively cheap.
 

Cardinal

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34
Mike D. said:
I'm sure the studies show that truss construction is the be all end all. What they don't show is how rapid fire spreads in the void spaces which result from trusses in roofs, between floors, etc.

How are the spaces in buildings with roof trusses different from those with conventional framing? I would think that both have a great deal of open space. For example, this is a picture of my bedroom, where I removed the plaster ceiling to expose the joists, then used pine planking all the way up to the roof peak. The space where the ceiling fan is, was all open attic space. Trusses would provide the same open area, but might be easier to block off with sheathing.
 

Duke Of Dystopia

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Messages
2,699
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24
Truss construction, steel plate, fire hazard .....

This has been a very informative thread to read and watch.

I understand the "Design Life of Homes" to be the amount of time from construction to the point at which a home needs more constant maintainance. Put in another way, the home is designed to require little significant structural maintainance for the first 25 to 30 years. Is this essentially correct?

A "design life" of longer than that would drive costs up and is unecessary. It does not mean the house is going to crash to the ground, it says that roofs will need to be replaced, and other nifty suck up all your free time on the weekend kind of things. They wont fall down unless badly abused. Mature vegetation will grow and soften the ugliness of any home that is put up.

How do you put up a house of any size without floor/roof trusses?

How much more expensive is it to use steel beams?

Having worked in a roof truss factory, how else would you put the trusses together without the plates. I can't imagine nails or screws would be better. The plates were hydraulicly rammed into the wood over a larger area than nails or screws would attach. how could the plates be less effective? Back to the idea of steall beams?
 

Jeff

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Messages
4,159
Points
27
Cardinal said:
How are the spaces in buildings with roof trusses different from those with conventional framing? I would think that both have a great deal of open space.

The trusses usually span a much greater distance, and they also have cross beams, which add fuel to the fire, pun intended.

BTW, I forgot to mention that New Jersey finds truss construction so safe that they've mandated all buildings constructed with trusses to be placarded, so the FD can make the call if they want to go in or not.
 

carlomarx

Cyburbian
Messages
85
Points
4
I was just talking to the owner of the business about the steel beam and steel truss idea. Using steel studs or steel trusses doesn't add to the combustibility (?) of a house, but under fire conditions I sure as hell wouldn't go up on a roof I knew was built on a steel skeleton. They use thin galvanized steel, which I can just see getting hot and twisting, and there goes your structural stability.

I have no figures or anything to back that up... it's just a feeling. I'd like to see the comparisons in a fire situation... anyone?

How to put trusses together without plates... I don't know. We use plates, because it's the best way to do it. I've been out there, swinging a hammer, and tried to take apart a truss. Good freaking luck. The plates have little spikes, and you smack it on the joint so it stays together while this giant roller goes over the whole thing, smashing the plates into both sides of the lumber. The lateral strength and holding power is incredible.

truss_plate.gif


These go on either side of the joint.

I don't know about the cost of steel trusses.

Steel beams? Jeez, that'd be heavy.
 

Cardinal

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10,069
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34
Mike D. said:
The trusses usually span a much greater distance, and they also have cross beams, which add fuel to the fire, pun intended.

I think I'm getting a clearer picture. Maybe it isn't so much the trusses as it is the designs that using a truss will permit? Again, could this be overcome by sheathing every few trusses to create compartments in the attic? I suppose this might have other disadvantages, though.
 

carlomarx

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Often, when we're building trusses for our own houses, we build attic trusses. That way we can use what would have been wasted space. Plus, it's kind of charming. Attic trusses look like this:
room-in-attic.gif


Where the middle is living space.

This gets rid of the wasted space problem -- for residents and firefighters.
 

BKM

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jresta

Just casual curiosity. Thought it was an interesting quote, that's all.

I'll check the book out, if I can make time between the nerdy sci fi and mystery novels I spend too much time on.
 

Chet

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OK I've avoided this thread for long enough. I follow Mike D's logic, but I'm not speaking for him.

Very few modern FD's that I have familiarity with will even attempt to get onto a residential roof these days. Old logic was climb on, saw through, and hose the crap out of it. New logic is get folks out and fight from a safe distance. More over, save it from spreading to the neighbors and save this one's foundation. If the ladder reaches enough that you can saw while on the ladder, maybe try it. Otherwise, thats what insurance is for.

Personally, the homes I am attracted to are balloon construction (just by age). I would not buy a house built after 1935 if I have a reasonable alternative.
 

Chet

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By the way Donk - I see your gallery pic of your house depicts a large number of beers bottles.

[blur=2] I hope it didnt affect the end product.[/blur] :)
 

Cityscape Dreamer

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I have quietly watched this thread develop...btw, I also have a builder's license in Michigan, and second just about everything carlomarx has been saying.

"balloon framing" is the way they used to "stick build" homes up until the 1920's or so. One reason they are not built that way any more is that lumber pieces that long are harder and more expensive to come by. Another reason is the fire codes, you would be in violation of the building codes in Michigan if you tried to put up a true "ballloon frame" house without fire stops, or blocks of wood between the framing at each floor level.

"Platform framing" is the way they "stick build" homes now. The walls of each floor are framed before the next floor, and lumber doesn't have to be more than nine feet long. In previous centuries, outside studs could be as long as twenty feet. But back before electricity and semi truck delivery, their lumber was probably cut on site, or pretty close.

As for the design life of homes, when you say 20 or 30 years, I hope you don't mean that the walls are going to fall down at that time?! But most homeowners should know, that roofing shingles for instance, typically have a design life of 20 years (some only ten!) and it is part of regular maintenance to get your roof re-done at that time. Also things like vinyl or aluminum siding have design lifes as well.
 
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