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California Apartments Showcase Value Engineering

Although demand for housing in the area was rising rapidly, development of this new apartment complex in Rialto, California, had stalled. Estimates for the complex’s framing costs were coming in on the high side, and the project just wasn’t penciling out. So the developer had the complex re-engineered, and a switch to glulam and wood-framed shear walls got the project back in the black.

The 120-unit, seven-building Santa Barbara Apartment complex “is literally on top of a southern California fault line, so the seismic loads are significant,” said Amir Deihimi, PE, of Core Structure, Inc. “But there are more affordable engineering solutions, and they had not been fully explored.”

A switch to I-joist compatible glulam beams and cost-effective double-sided wood structural panel portal frames using force transfer around openings (FTAO), a method of shear wall analysis popular in California, helped the project pencil out. “The end result is still a quality project, but the owner saves money, which allows them to invest in aesthetic features that make the project more attractive to their end user,” said George Mears of Precision Framing Systems, Inc., framers for the complex.

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