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  1. #1
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    Default Back to the collar tie issue...

    First, let me preface this: I do know the difference between a rafter tie and a collar tie.

    In the 2006 IRC the words "collar ties" are finally used in 802.3.1. However, here in Austin we are still using IRC 2000 with a few modifications and the words "collar ties" are not in this section.

    I inspected a one year old house that had collar ties installed at the largest ridge area. At a smaller gable at the front of the house, there were no collar ties installed. On 99% of the 1 year old house I inspect, all gable like ridges with opposing rafters have collar ties installed.

    I listed it as a repair issue in this waranty inspection report and the builder has told my client that he is not going to add the collar ties.

    Now of course my client wants me to back up the issue.

    My first reaction is to say that even though I cannot list a specific code from the 2000 IRC, it is a standard (and a good) practice to install collar ties at these areas.

    I guess my question is this. Is there any way to read 802.3.1 in the IRC 2000 (or another section) that requires collar ties or should I just stick with my current industry standard explanation and note that in the 2006 IRC they are required?

    Although this inspection is not regulated by the Texas Real Estate Commission, I still report to their SOP and it also states to list as a repair the "... the lack of or inappropriate installation of components such as purlins, struts, collar ties or rafter ties, where necessary;..."

    Thanks,

    Eric

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    My opinion is: if the rafters are properly attached to the ceiling joists (which serve as rafter ties), collar ties are not needed in most locations. If I was in a hurricane or earthquake area, I would install them anyway.

    Most installers put collar ties so high and close to the ridge that they serve no real function.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Eric,
    You have to have more information than you have given to determine if your argument is defensible. As the house is already complete, gathering that information may be most difficult. Go back and read your 2006 again before the next job. You can't just take part of the code and make it fit. In the case of stating that something needs collar ties, you'll have to identify the slope, the rafter wood type and grade, identify how it is nailed to the top plate, whether or not the rafter are parallel to or in line with the joists, whether purlins are present, where the purlins suppoert the rafters.

    Then you have to compare what you know to the tables. Then you can say that they are or are not needed.

    You may be able to save face with your Client (forgive me if I am presuming anything here) by saying something along the lines of "I have misspoken. The AHJ has approved the rough framing and the final framing. I should have said, for additional protection against windlift and separation, you may benefit from installing collar ties in the upper one third of the rafter pairs."

    This kind of thing happens to all of us. No big deal. It happened to me just two weeks ago concerning poorly designed and unsafe deck and dock construction that the builder wouldn't correct because there was no code to cover it.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Eric
    I don't know where you practice, but if you inspect in a windy area collar-ties are very important.
    Hope this helps;

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Oops, see attached diagram.......................,

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Collier View Post
    My opinion is: if the rafters are properly attached to the ceiling joists (which serve as rafter ties), collar ties are not needed in most locations.
    In my opinion, they are needed whenever conventional framing is used, versus engineered trusses.

    Most installers put collar ties so high and close to the ridge that they serve no real function.
    That is where they should be, the higher the better.

    Their intent is to keep the ridge together, installed right up under the ridge will keep everything together better than installing them down lower.

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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Walker View Post
    You may be able to save face with your Client (forgive me if I am presuming anything here) by saying something along the lines of "I have misspoken. The AHJ has approved the rough framing and the final framing. I should have said, for additional protection against windlift and separation, you may benefit from installing collar ties in the upper one third of the rafter pairs."
    You are saying that AHJ never miss things and/or make bad calls or use poor judgment?

    I would stick to my guns and say that good building and engineering practice dictates the use of collar ties, as evidenced by their inclusion in the newer building code, such as (blah, blah, blah). Some builders and AHJ are slow to catch on to improvements in building codes, this is readily evident by the fact that Texas still uses the 2000 International Codes while the International Codes have gone through the 2003 changes, the 2006 changes, and are undergoing changes for 2009 - yet here we are, Texans, stuck with a code which now is nearly a decade old in the making.

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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    I stick to my original position, Eric. The issue is not if AHJ's or anybody else is always right. The issue, as I understand it, is that you have to be able to say something meaningful to your Client.

    I assume, and all others should have, that you are an intelligent adult and would use your own words to convey your message.

    The facts are that no matter how stupid and backward we are here in Texas, the AHJ makes the final call. Your odds of getting the builder or that AHJ Inspector to admit that having collar ties are the better building practice are pretty slim. Agreed? Is your objective to be the "right" guy or the "Smartest" guy? Or is it to get your Client to install the collar ties? Your response to the Client depends on the answer to those questions.

    If it is the latter, then the answer could be as simple as, "It is unfortunate that the builder doesn't realize that code is not something to strive for. It is the lowest performance possible without failure. The cost of 2x4's is minimal and I hope that you will install them."

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    You reported the missing collar ties per the SOP. You are done. Let them fight about it and they can always get a structural engineer for the final word.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Eric Stated:
    "First, let me preface this: I do know the difference between a rafter tie and a collar tie. "
    ______________________________________

    Eric, the difference is that a 'Collar Tie' is installed at the TOP 1/3 of the rafter span between the floor joists and ridge, while the 'Rafter Ties' are installed on the bottom 1/3 between the ridge and ceiling/ floor josts.


    RR

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    Cool Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Jerry P:” yet here we are, Texans, stuck with a code which now is nearly a decade old in the making”
    Texas is still ahead of California whose building code is a decade old because it’s based on the 1997 Uniform Building Code.
    BUT, we are adopting the 2006 IBC come January 1, 2008, but not the 2006 IRC. Go figure?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    All,

    Thank you for your replies, they are all insightful in one way or another.

    I am sticking by my guns, so to speak.

    As mentioned before, I see collar ties installed at 99% of the opposing rafters at the ridge whether the joists are parallel and acting as rafter ties or not. This very builder installed them (as collar ties, not rafter ties) at the main ridge. It has , in my experience, become industry standard and, as of the 2006 IRC, required, even if my jurisdiction has not accepted it. My SOP spells it out (somewhat) as a repair. Not to mention that it is a better quality method and we do occaisionally have windstorms here that will tear off a roof, and this has happened recently.

    This has not been an issue of who is right or wrong for me but an issue of providing my client with a reasonable explanation for why I called this issue out as a repair item and perhaps providing him with information that he could provide to the builder as to why I believe it to be a repair issue.


    I have explained to my client that although the builder may not have to install the ties per local code, they are recommended by me and that if the client sells the house and it is inspected by another home inspecor for the buyer, the other inspector may list the issue as a repair item.

    Robert, regarding your question, when I can see that ceiling joists are not hung with proper hardware I do call them out, and always call out the issue on pre drywall inspections where everything is visible.

    All we can do is call what we see.

    Thanks again,

    Eric


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Robert,

    Yep, that'll do it!

    Each builder or builder rep is different but I am constantly amazed at how many superintendents that have never worked on a construction crew. And some of the guys with tons of experience will fight with you about anything, even if they are wrong and you can prove it.

    A lot of these guys can get flustered if you bring up the code or current building standards. I really do not care to hear "It was passed by the city inspector..." one more time out of one of these guys, I really don't!

    Eric


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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    I really do not care to hear "It was passed by the city inspector..." one more time out of one of these guys, I really don't!
    But really ... it was passed by the city inspector ...

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Why do you need a hanger for a board that is sitting on top of a wall? A tie maybe but a hanger?


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Not all joists sit on top of a wall.

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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Here is an example of when the IRC calls for hangers at ceiling joists:

    From 802.9, IRC 2003

    "Approved hangers shall be used for the header joist to trimmer joist connections when the header joist span exceeds 6 feet (1829 mm). Tail joists over 12 feet (3658 mm) long shall be supported at the header by framing anchors or on ledger strips not less than 2 inches by 2 inches(51 mm by 51 mm)."

    Here is another one in the case where the 2nd story floor is also the 1st story ceiling I think you could call them floor or ceiling joists:

    502.6 Bearing.
    The ends of each joist, beam or girder shall have not less than 1.5 inches (38 mm) of bearing on wood or metal and not less than 3 inches (76 mm) on masonry or concrete except where supported on a 1-inch-by-4-inch (25.4 mm by 102 mm) ribbon strip and nailed to the adjacent stud or by the use of approved joist hangers.

    Eric


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Eric....

    I am not sure how your post refers to ceiling joist hangers. Please help me understand your quotes.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    James,

    I will expand on the code Eric provided.

    From the IRC. (bold is mine)

    - R502.6 Bearing. The ends of each joist, beam or girder shall have not less than 1.5 inches (38 mm) of bearing on wood or metal and not less than 3 inches (76 mm) on masonry or concrete except where supported on a 1-inch-by-4-inch (25.4 mm by 102 mm) ribbon strip and nailed to the adjacent stud or by the use of approved joist hangers.
    - - R502.6.1 Floor systems. Joists framing from opposite sides over a bearing support shall lap a minimum of 3 inches (76 mm) and shall be nailed together with a minimum three 10d face nails. A wood or metal splice with strength equal to or greater than that provided by the nailed lap is permitted.
    - - R502.6.2 Joist framing. Joists framing into the side of a wood girder shall be supported by approved framing anchors or on ledger strips not less than nominal 2 inches by 2 inches (51 mm by 51 mm).

    It addresses "joist" and hangers, albeit not as the only solution, except that for some options given, joist hangers may be the only solution.


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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Thanks Jerry....you helped confirm my misunderstanding...


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by RobertSmith View Post
    Thanks Jerry,

    What about hangers for rafters?
    Robert,

    Here's some approved for FL.

    BTW where are you? Location may help in replies. Really, we're not after you! YET

    RR Ridge Rafter Connector

    State of Florida Code Report: FL474

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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Robert,

    What rafter connection scenario are you refering to. Like Barry says, it depends on what part of the country you are in.

    In Central TX where I am, no hangers are required at the rafter to ridge board connection in a typical configuration, as long as there is a ridge board. If the rafters meet together at the ridge with no ridge board a gusset plate would be required to tie the rafters together at the ridge.

    Eric


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Eric,

    What was the final outcome of your original scenario?

    Did you ever contact the AHJ to find out why they didn't call what you saw? I know you don't care what they do, but it may help you word it better in the future so that you don't have to waste time on needless controversy.

    Robert,
    Can you take a picture of the next instance you see that you consider "right?" Or maybe you could take a picture of the next time you see them missing? Anything would help.

    Also, where you think they are missing, is the roof always greater than 3:12 pitch? Just curious.

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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Just checked out 802.9 and found that it is about framing openings and not about ceiling construction. There is no mention in Chapter 8 about hangers for ceiling joist construction. Some stuff about ties though...

    Still not sure why a ceiling system would be constructed to be hung when it could sit on a wall. If you have a ceiling you have a wall some where near by you would think.

    Has anybody ever seen a ceiling without a wall holding it up?


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    Still not sure why a ceiling system would be constructed to be hung when it could sit on a wall. If you have a ceiling you have a wall some where near by you would think.

    Has anybody ever seen a ceiling without a wall holding it up?
    Many times.

    Clear span trusses. Girder trusses which bear on a column and other trusses bear on it. Non-bearing walls throughout the interior.

    From 1,000 sf boxes to 25,000 monsters.

    The ceilings are supported from either the trusses, or, many times, from framing hanging from the trusses. The walls are 'just there' to separate the areas, not needed for structural purposes.

    99.5% of home construction in South Florida is that way.

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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    James,

    If you look at the photo I posted above you will see ceiling joists without a wall holding it up. They (the "ceiling joists") are attached to a beam with "joist hangers" I don't know how much clearer it can be. Actually I will post it again.

    James wrote;

    "There is no mention in Chapter 8 about hangers for ceiling joist construction. Some stuff about ties though..."

    Not accurate.
    I will post it again, from chapter 8.
    From IRC (bold is mine):

    802.9 Framing of openings.
    Openings in roof and ceiling framing shall be framed with header and trimmer joists. When the header joist span does not exceed 4 feet (1219 mm), the header joist may be a single member the same size as the ceiling joist or rafter. Single trimmer joists may be used to carry a single header joist that is located within 3 feet (914 mm) of the trimmer joist bearing. When the header joist span exceeds 4 feet (1219 mm), the trimmer joists and the header joist shall be doubled and of sufficient cross section to support the ceiling joists or rafter framing into the header. Approved hangers shall be used for the header joist to trimmer joist connections when the header joist span exceeds 6 feet (1829 mm). Tail joists over 12 feet (3658 mm) long shall be supported at the header by framing anchors or on ledger strips not less than 2 inches by 2 inches(51 mm by 51 mm).

    Yes this section concerns openings like you say but at ceilings. This chapter is about ceiling and roof connections. Headers and trimmers at ceiling openings are joists and if the opening is large enough, they require hangers.


    Eric

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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Shuman View Post
    I will post it again, from chapter 8.
    From IRC (bold is mine):

    802.9 Framing of openings.
    Openings in roof and ceiling framing ...
    Eric,

    James is correct, this is for "openings", which is why I opted for your other reference in my other reply.

    Not only is this section for "Framing of openings", it is also addressing "Openings in roof and ceiling framing" in that part, to set it off from 'openings in wall framing', regardless, it is *still* regarding "Framing of openings."

    Says so right after 802.9.

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Thanks for hanging in there with me. I see in your pic the ceiling joist on the left are hung from a main support beam. The size indcates thaey are short spans. I still don't see the reference in the code section you quoted but I do see your point. Thanks!


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Jerry I don't grasp your point, a trimmer joist or header joist is still a joist (even if it is framing out an opening in a ceiling) is it not? And I thought this discussion was about ceiling joists, not walls.

    The way I read this chapter (8) in IRC (and set me straight if I am off on some unrelated tangent ) is that it concerns ceiling and roof construction.
    That being a given, the section 802.9 is concerning openings in ceilings and roofs and states as much immediately. My understanding is that this section is very specific to roofs and ceilings and not "Framing of Openings" in general or as related to any other section of the code such as wall openings.

    If the headers and trimmer joists referred to in this section are not a type of ceiling joists, what are they.


    Thanks,

    Eric

    Last edited by Eric Shuman; 05-28-2007 at 06:25 PM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    Jerry.....

    I guess my question is what do the trusses rest on at the ends? Do they sit on walls or post.........or are they hung from the proverbial skyhook?


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Back to the collar tie issue...

    I bought the house my parents bought new in 1974. I'm guessing no real inspection was ever done. The roof was making all kinds of noise, crack, pop, creak, etc. The noise was keeping me up at night on windy nights. I went into the attic, to find minimal collar ties. The collars that are there are twisted, dry, and the nails are coming out. Above the master bedroom there were no ties. I went to home depot and installed 13 eight foot ties.
    No more noise, I cannot believe the difference. Long Island NY just had a storm with 70+ MPH winds. No noise.


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