Engineers at Construction Science and Engineering have published and presented studies on a wide variety of construction topics and issues. Below is a sample of some of those studies.
Brick Veneer
FRP Strengthening and Repair of Unreinforced Brick Masonry Walls
Many existing unreinforced masonry (URM) structures around the world are vulnerable to failure due to out-of-plane and in-plane loading from extreme wind or earthquakes. Due to several failures of masonry structures during earthquake events (e.g. Newcastle, Australia in 1989 and Kocaeli, Turkey in 1999) the development of new techniques for strengthening or repairing masonry structures is in high demand.
Problems with Code-Compliant Brick Veneer in Residential Construction
Brick construction has been around for a very long time. Bricks of various forms have been used in construction for thousands of years. Early brick construction consisted of solid, load-bearing walls.
Unreinforced Masonry Walls Strengthened with Orthogonal Near-Surface Mounted CFRP Subjected To Out-Of-Plane Loading (Journal Article)
Unreinforced masonry (URM) structures comprise a considerable proportion of the building stock worldwide. However, these structures generally do not behave well under extreme wind or earthquake loading. As part of on-going research, methods of repairing or strengthening URM walls subject to outof-plane loading using fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) are being investigated. For several reasons, one method showing particular promise is the use of near-surface mounted (NSM) Carbon FRP strips.
Unreinforced Masonry Walls Strengthened with Orthogonal Near-Surface Mounted CFRP Subjected To Out-Of-Plane Loading (Thesis Document)
Unreinforced masonry (URM) structures comprise a considerable proportion of the building stock worldwide. Many existing unreinforced masonry (URM) structures around the world are vulnerable to failure due to out-of-plane and in-plane loading from extreme wind or earthquakes. Due to several failures of masonry structures during earthquake events (e.g. Newcastle, Australia in 1989 and Kocaeli, Turkey in 1999) the development of new techniques for strengthening or repairing masonry structures is in high demand. URM structures are often in need of repair due to degradation from environmental factors, or increased live loading.
EIFS
EIFS-Practical Solutions for Addressing Damages to Existing Buildings
The Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) was originally developed in West Germany in the 1960's. The original market for EIFS was introduced in the U.S. in the 1970's. U.S. manufacturers adapted EIFS for use on new construction, including wood framed structures.
It's Not EIFS It's the Details
The controversy over Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is nothing new. Over the past several years, the construction industry (as well as attorneys, homeowners, architects, engineers and anyone else who has been paying attention) has recognized the importance of waterproofing details.
Roof
Caribbean Roofing 101
I was recently given the opportunity to design a new roof for a resort property in Grand Cayman, British West Indies. My Experience was pleasant, and the client is happy with the finished roof.
Low-Slop Roof and Deck Design Considerations
This article identifies design and construction practices that limit or prevent free drainage. Potential solutions are presented to mitigate ponding that contributes to serviceability issues and structural framing damage. The goal is to raise awareness in the construction industry of typical practices that may cause harm to structural members and the building envelope.
Sealing Metal Roof Side Lap Seams
Metal roofs continue to gain popularity in both residential and commercial applications. Metal roofs can provide yeam of performance with minimal maintenance required. However, as with all roof assemblies, the overall performance is dimtly related to the attention to details during installation
Selecting The Right Finish For Metal Roofing
With so many finish options available for metal roof panels, choosing the right one can be difficult. This article is intended to guide the reader through the selection process by providing basic information on the most popular finishes.
Spontaneous Combustion of Roofer's Mops
Conventional build-up roof (BUR) assemblies have lost market share in recent decades to other roofing options. While BUR can provide years of dependable service at a competitive price, concerns of the use of hot asphalt have been expressed by building owners
Wind Failures
Can your roof withstand a wind of 110 miles per hour? How do you know? Most building owners do not know the wind speed that their roof assembly can withstand without failure. Building codes set forth minimum construction standards which include a design wind speed. Roofing manufacturers make claims regarding their products' ability to resist specific wind speeds.
Wood
Comparison of Strength Properties and Failure Characteristics Between Fire-Retardant Treated and Untreated Roof Framing Lumber After Long-Term Exposure: A South Carolina Study
The degradation of strength properties related to the presence of fire retardant treatment (FRT) in wood has been previously documented. The degradation process is directly associated with environmental conditions
Designing for Damp Conditions
ANSI/TPI 1-2014 requires building designers to identify in construction documents any conditions that are expected to result in high wood moisture content, sustained high temperatures or environments that have the potential to cause truss plate corrosion. Each condition requires a reduction in lumber or connector plate design values. In addition, the environment may require a chemical treatment of the lumber or corrosion protection plates. Truss technicians who recognize the situations that create these conditions can implement appropriate design practices to mitigate potential serviceability issues and to ensure the trusses are designed to perform as intended by the building designer.
Mid-Rise Wood-Frame Construction: A Good Idea, or Are We Asking for Trouble?
Recent changes in the building code helped fuel the current surge in mid-rise wood frame construction projects. Over the past several years, there has been an increasing number of water intrusion claims in relatively new mid-rise wood frame buildings. While the code requires the building envelope to provide protection from the weather, it does not provide the details necessary for designers and/or contractors to meet this requirement. Typical construction details, that have had limited success on 1 to 3 story wood frame buildings, are even more problematic on taller buildings. Specifically, vertical and lateral movements, caused by frame compression, shrinkage, external loads and material incompatibility, can compromise the function of flashing and waterproofing details. Differential movements between the wood framing and exterior cladding components can cause physical damages to building envelope components that increases the extent of water intrusion. Once the water reaches the wood framing components, significant damages such as rot, corrosion and mold can result. Additionally, once compromised, the effectiveness of products used to meet fire resistance requirements is unknown. If our design and construction of the building envelope does not incorporate “best practices”, mid-rise wood frame buildings may become the “black eye” of the construction industry.
Problems With Fire-Retardant-Treated Wood
The degradation of wood strength related to the presence of fire retardant treatment (FRT) has been previously documented. The degradation process, referred to as "acid catalyzed dehydration," is directly associated with environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.
Technical Q & A - Lateral Load Capacity of Toe-Nailed Truss-to-Truss Girder Connections
Toe-nailing is often used to attach corner and end jack trusses to corner and hip girder trusses, respectively. The relatively short spans and light end reactions associated with most jack trusses make toe-nailing an efficient and effective attachment method. The International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), and ANSI/TPI 1-2002 require that truss-to-truss girder connection information be included on the truss design drawing. Because of this, it is not uncommon for building code officials and building designers to request "certification" of this connection. The challenge is to address these connections in a timely manner and to know what documentation is available or can be provided.
Technical Q & A - Wall Girders, Part 2
An engineer's perspective on a previously written column about second story wall girders.
Tending to Deflection - Improving the Performance & Serviceability of Trusses
A primary focus of truss design is ensuring each truss component has sufficient capacity or strength to safely support design loads. The serviceability issues rarely affect life-safety and are sometimes marginalized by strength design. However, the vast majority of truss complaints received by component manufacturers relate to serviceability performance. An awareness of the typical serviceability issues that can adversely affect truss performance is crucial. Many potential complaints and problems can be mitigated by an astute truss technician during the design phase.
The Difficulty of Differing Deflection - Improving the Performance & Serviceability of Trusses
It doesn't take long in this industry to discover that designing trusses to meet code-permitted deflection ratios does not guarantee satisfactory performance. This article addresses the movement of adjacent trusses in a floor or roof system, as measured against each other, also known as relative or differential deflection.
Truss Industry Standard of Care Issues - Part 2
The purpose of this article series is to identify truss-related structural issues sometimes missed due to the day-in and day-out demands of truss design/production and the fragmented building design review and approval process. This series will explore issues in the building market that are not normally focused upon, and provide recommended best-practice guidance. The objective is to raise awareness of these issues and, ultimately, improve overall quality of truss roof and floor system construction.
Truss Industry Standard of Care Issues - Part 3
The first two articles discussed deferred submittals and truss-to-truss connections. This article explores truss minimum required bearing width issues from the perspective of the design community. The purpose of this series is to identify truss-related structural issues sometimes missed due to the day-in and day-out demands of truss design/production and the fragmented building design review and approval process. This series explores issues in the building market that are not normally focused upon, and provide recommended best-practice guidance. As with the previous articles, the objective is to raise awareness of these issues and, ultimately, improve overall quality of truss roof and floor system construction.
Truss Industry Standard of Care Issues - Part 4
Truss industry standard of care items are contained throughout ANSI/TPI 1, The National Standard for Metal Plate Connected Wood Truss Construction. The focus of this article is ANSI/TPI 1 Chapter 2, Section 2.3.5.1 and companion Section 2.4.5.1, which require a truss designer to prepare truss design drawings (TDD) based on design criteria and requirements set forth in the construction documents. The purpose of this series is to identify truss-related structural issues sometimes missed due to the day-in and day-out demands of truss design/production and the fragmented building design review and approval process. This series explores issues in the building market that are not normally focused upon, and provide recommended best-practice guidance. As with the previous articles, the objective is to raise awareness of these issues and, ultimately, improve overall quality of truss roof and floor system construction.
Truss Industry Standard of Care Issues - Part 5
Production builders and developers began to encourage building material supply (BMS) companies to deliver a "dried-in" framing package in the late 1990s. This presented an opportunity for a BMS to sell manufactured and/or inventoried products and the labor to install them. Many BMSs began to offer "installed sales" as an avenue to capture large-volume customers and increase company revenue. Additionally, many BMSs have a truss and/or wall panel division or resell truss and wall components that become part of the installed-sale framing package. It is judicious for BMSs that coordinate building framing and install building components to be knowledgeable of applicable code sections, industry standards and manufacturer instructions. The purpose of this series is to identify truss-related structural issues sometimes missed due to the day-in and day-out demands of truss design/production and the fragmented building design review and approval process. This series explores issues in the building market that are not normally focused upon, and provide recommended best-practice guidance. As with the previous articles, the objective is to raise awareness of these issues and, ultimately, improve overall quality of truss roof and floor system construction.
Others
An Expert Guide to Identifying Construction Defects
As licensed design professionals, we have a legal duty to design and construct buildings to meet minimum building code requirements. This article, however, attempts to highlight positions taken in the context of litigation where minor technical deviations from the code (which have little to no consequences on the overall performance and/or safety of the building) are used to minimize or expand repair scopes in order to influence the "value" of the case.
Contractor's Instructions
Based on recent experience in construction litigation, it appears that much confusion exists regarding written instructions used by contractors during the course of a project.
What About the Trim?
Depending on installation details, exterior trim can be an critical element of the building envelope, particularly on single- and multi-family residential construction.

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