Gable End Wall Bracing Can Be Complicated

**"Summary **

Metal plate connected gable end frames are widely used above the end walls of a building to save the contractor the time and expense of having to field frame the end wall to match the roof slope. The gable end frame is an integral structural element of the gable end wall assembly and must be incorporated into the overall wall and building design in order to properly transfer loads to the foundation.
Most gable end frames are designed to have continuous support along their entire span and are referred to by the industry as a non-structural gable end frame. The non-structural gable end frames are designed to receive vertical loads (i.e., gravity and/or uplift) applied within the plane of the frame and to transfer these loads to the continuous bearing below. During normal non-wind loading, this is a reasonable presumption.

However, in service, gable end frames also experience lateral loads applied both parallel and perpendicular to their plane from wind and/or seismic events, as well as the possible accumulation of buckling forces of truss web members. Gable end frames are typically not designed to resist these loads. In order to support and transfer lateral loads to the permanent building stability bracing, properly designed and installed structural sheathing, lateral restraint, diagonal bracing, and related connections are required."

This topic is very conveniently overlooked in almost all wind mit training materials, yet we are expected to verify if gable end walls are braced I.A.W. 2001 FBC.

Also, I have never seen it discussed on this MB.

In reality, only the structural designer can take into account all of the variables and come up with the prescriptive design req’ts to meet 2001 FBC.

Is it possible for a gable end wall designed in 2000 to meet the bracing req’ts of the 2001 FBC? Yes.

Is it required? No.

Therefore, wind mit inspectors are pretty much forced into answering Q6, Gable End Bracing, as “B. Does not meet…” for all permit apps submitted B4 March 1, 2002.

Q6, when analyzed as above, does not even belong on the Form!

Its not on the new form, they have never given credits for it so marking “meets 2001 FBC” or marking “does not meet 2001 FBC” makes no difference. Thats why no one talks about it, because no one cares, not the insurance companies, homeowners or inspectors.

As the leading Inspectors in Florida, we all should care. I just told a client in Fort Pierce it would be very hard to get credits on a 1990 house with huge high gable ends but that doesn’t mean that implementing construction improvements is not worthwhile to strengthen the house.

Looking outside the box, it really is not just about the insurance. Rather, it is about what is the best advice we can give to our customers who make our phones ring and put food on our tables.

There is plenty of advice you can give on bracing gable ends. There is no reason why you should need to give specific advice pertaining to meeting the 2001 FBC. Just tell them to put some X bracing in, maybe T off the 2x4’s running up the gable wall. Throw some rat runs in and blocking in between the trusses. Do these things 3-4 bays back (6-8 feet) from the gable wall in all areas where the gable is greater than 2 feet high and you should be good to go.

You can always tell them to hire a licensed contractor who will do the job properly with permits and such :slight_smile:

Since there are hundreds of thousands of non-2001 FBC braced houses in FL, I wonder why the unemployed ‘contractors’ are not advertising that they can significantly strengthen those structures with simple carpentry work. Even their contractor associations don’t promote it.

Oh, wait a minute…They would rather do wind mitigation inspections for $50!

The real answer is that there is a ****load of ‘certified general contractors’ out there who could not build a dog house without the roof leaking. These guys did a lousy job of organizing a band of ‘subs’ who essentially built the houses any way they wanted without any supervision while the ‘cgc’ f’d off. They got away with such practices for several yrs while demand exceeded supply. Remember all those guys driving $50,000 pickups? Now they are starving and don’t even have the gas money to drive their trucks one-way to Texas where there is work.

I do not know about them but I would not like to spend that much time in an attic.

I cannot think of many things that would suck more, maybe adding nails to wraps would suck more.

The time I must spend in there due to the asinine picture requirements for wind mits is enough for me :slight_smile:


This is the perfect time of year to do the bracing. Even when it’s hot and terribly uncomfortable, it’s still work for money!

I NEVER see contractor pickups loaded with 2x4s parked outside houses in Vero Beach. Do you in Davie or FL?

Nope and screw the attics.

I would rather cut grass or wash cars :slight_smile:

The problems with getting work is all that matters to most is price. Quality and service really are not important to most especially the builders who used to build communities. The crap I see now in new construction would have never cut it in better days. Most of the builders I worked for really seemed to strive for perfection and the highest quality they could do. Now they just want to keep the business running :frowning: I worked solid for 20 plus years and was never no where near the lowest price but I did what I said when I said I would and did it the best I could. I accepted nothing less from my hundreds of past employees.

Advice is one thing to a friend. Un-engineered structural advice to a fee-paid client MIGHT get a tad sticky if/when there is a failure and lawyers get involved!

99% of the people I talk to could give two ****s about strengthening their structures. They just want to pay their insurance company less money. The advertising dollars would be wasted because most people don’t care or don’t want this done. Until a hurricane comes through and they have a first hand experience with gables being ripped out, most people around here will never consider this.

I agree 100% :smiley:

Most everyone is cheap and if it is not required they will not do it.

Their hopes are that a hurricane trashes the place they are upside down in and they make some money or get the best of some company. Sad but true.

You just brought up a subject that the Contractors in our group have all had to have training on for years. One of the requirements for a contractor’s license renewall is a CE class on wind mitigation “Techniques and Proceedures”. (I know I’ve had to take it 3 times already) It’s not on how to fill out the form it’s on how to install gable end bracing properly (including retro fitting) among other things. It gets very specific right down to nailing patterns.
Check with a builder in your area for where they get their classes or go to one of the on-line vendors if you’d like to learn it for your self

Mike as a contractor you should have known that!