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I have a general question for framers that have been at it for 10+ years or so. Is it just me or is there quadruple the amount of hardware in homes these days? i.e. hold-downs, floor to floor straps, A35, foundation straps etc. I started framing in 1999 and we didn't even have a TECO gun, it was me. Now days a TECO gun or two is a necessity. Has anyone else noticed the abundant addition of hardware? Some, only some of it makes sense but the rest of it seems a little over-engineered. Thoughts?!
 

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The last building I framed was a school in 07. Starting my career framing in 95. We were putting in a lot of hardware by the late 90's back them. I am in a earthquake zone so the houses have been engineered for them. I remember when a box of coil strap would last a few houses. Now it they don't even last the first floor.
 

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At some point in time I recall Washington state went from a seismic zone 3 to a seismic zone 4 and we had to start using anchor bolts spaced closer and additional strapping. When you started framing all I remember is we were using the MST floor to floor straps then later everyone switched to coil strapping which is smaller but we had to use more of it. If you wanted to look at a timeline, I believe the concrete embedded straps came around in the mid 80s. In the mid 90s came floor to floor strapping, hold downs, and inspectors said no more horizontal sheathing, no more staples, nailing around every seam.

Its hard to pinpoint the requirements in relation to time and changing building code because a lot of it is simply the preference of the engineer. Some engineers I don't understand, when you go up a level they'll start adding in more strapping. Some engineers don't like OSB. Some of it is simply a mistake, I had plans where every house called for a strap on the balloon wall in the middle of a continuous stud. Not surprising though since all the engineers are using software and the computers take over their intelligence. Someone miss clicks the mouse and you see stuff on the plans that really shouldn't be there. I hear that excuse a lot now a days, not just with architectural design but with everything, "Well the computer told me to do it", is pretty common. Maybe I'm just getting old but I think this generation is suffering with all the technology. But to answer your question, yes things have changed and every building is different.
 

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For the past five years or so, we've been building condo developments for a builder who is a franchisee of Epcon communities. When we started, there were foundation straps and hurricane clips and thats it. Same four buildings and five years later, we are now using normal anchor straps every 3', 2'embeded straps at almost all the corners, hd5a, hdu2, and some other bigger hold down i cant remember now, and thats the foundation. In the trusses, we now have to use straping, 2' long hurricanes( cant remember the number), and timberlok screws in some of the girders. The latest thing they added is larger versions of a35 that get 3" sds screwed to girders and top plates. It's out of hand!

There is one municipality around here who's inspector is notorious for going above and beyond. I swear he's getting something under the table from simpson
 

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OK,
So how do we price for all this stuff.

I used to list it as misc hardware with a price.

Now the cost of hardware is as much, or more, than fastener budget,
so I now list it line by line.

How can a house built 200 years ago out of 2x4's and cut nails
still be standing ?
 

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Mid 80's teco's and joist hangers was about it.
Late 80's got the first taste of "engineered" fastening. 250lbs of straps and hangers just for a ridge bearing open cathedral under - 60' long triple 32" microlam-TGI rafters.

LOL Now 250lbs for a regular house seems normal.
 

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jaydee said:
How can a house built 200 years ago out of 2x4's and cut nails
still be standing ?
I recall an engineer on here saying statistically if one out of five thousand structures fail with a set design then it's considered safe. You're looking at one out of one, you just need to look at five thousand more.
 

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I've been framing about five years now in SW WA, and we easily do 3 times as much hardware now as when I started. We used to do only H2.5 on trusses and straps set in the foundation on the front of the house and garage wall. Now we have to fasten the posts to the concrete pads, every beam to the top plates, 2 huge simpson straps on girders.... and the list goes on and on.
 

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Also one can blame the building codes that are ever more stringent and go way overboard on requirements with the rationalization of 'if it saves one house' while not considering that it also contributing to making 10 more houses too expensive to build.

Our group went to a seminar at the Simpson factory up in Brea, by LA, a few years back before the great recession and if I remember correctly that as we were going on a tour of the buildings, all packed full with big machines stamping out framing components, the tour director said Simpson had become the 3rd largest user of steel in the U.S.!
 

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I think the general use of engineered lumber has increased the amount of hardware. As stated, you get an engineer involved and they double or triple the requirements to cover their butts. When I started they had gluelam beams which we seldom saw except in commercial applications. Now we have engineered floors, walls and roofs. In fact most all aspects of the houses I build are engineered because of the sizes. Quite a bit of the structure is made of structural steel. The house we are currently building is 15000 ft sq and has about 50 steel beams in it, including all the main beams and ridge beams.
 
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