SIGN DESIGNS

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please read below before using plans purchased from Engineering Express.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION:
The documents you receive contain a physical or digitally certified engineer seal. They are intended to be used to assist in obtaining a building permit and construct the component conveyed in the plan. In all cases, additional documentation is required to serve as approval of use of the purchased document for the intended location. The design professional providing that approval then becomes the responsible party for their use. This additional documentation is provided by others and not part of the purchase of master plans or technical evaluation reports (TER’s) from us. At no time is construction to be performed without the review and approval by another party of the documents purchased regarding the applicability, limitations of use, and proper selection of plan detail options for the intended installation. In all cases, completed work shall be inspected and approved by others before approval for use including but not limited to the municipality having jurisdiction, architect and/or engineer of record, and permitting contractor which is not our responsibility or part of this purchase. The documents you purchase from us unless otherwise stated are for sole approval of a pre-engineered, non-site-specific building component subject to the stated limitations of use only and are NOT intended to serve as approval for construction of any design or installation.


USING CERTIFIED MASTER PLANS & TER's
The Master Plans & Technical Evaluation Reports (TER) we provide are structural performance evaluations of the subject building component and do not contain a site-specific address. The certification of those documents approves the limitations of use as stated, NOT that the building component can be used at a specific location. That is the responsibility of others as described herein. The user of the original, certified documents shall carefully review each detail for applicability to their site-specific condition and gain approval of use for their application by others. This firm remains available for questions via email, online chat, or phone for questions or clarifications of the information within the purchased document and as contained herein which may result in additional engineering consultation fees. Site-specific review and approval and customized & site-specific design plan services are also available which can be performed by this office or another licensed professional.


USING CERTIFIED DESIGN CALCULATOR REPORTS WITH ADDRESSES
Printouts from online calculators may come with a site-specific address. It is understood and agreed that the address, as well as all inputted information, is provided by the purchaser at the time of purchase. By agreeing to purchase the document, you understand and affirm that we have not been contracted to a site-specific study, field investigation, or review design plans by others to provide the result you purchased. The site-specific address you provide serves to bind the document to your permit as is required by code and does not constitute that a site-specific or field review has been performed by this firm to authorize their use. The documents also contain information explaining this, as well as the fact that the certified results are to be reviewed by a design professional along with other required construction documents to obtain a permit for construction and use. The information provided in the purchased document shall at all times be reviewed and approved by others for applicability and accuracy of the intended use prior to permitting and construction. This office is solely providing a result based on the information you provide to us, that you have affirmed to us is accurate at the time of purchase, and that you have had an opportunity to consult with us prior to use if at all in doubt or have any questions about the use of the document we provided. 

 

ABOUT DIGITALLY SIGNED DOCUMENTS
Digitally signed documents typically contain a disclaimer box limiting the use of the document to a specific contractor with a geographic zip code limitation and approved date range to apply for an electronic permit. Digitally signed documents also contain encryption to verify the authenticity of the document which shall be verified by electronic means by others before use. Digitally signed documents must remain digital and become invalid for use once printed. Scanned copies of printed digitally sealed plans are no longer considered digital and are invalid for use. The zip code provided in the disclaimer is provided solely to limit repeated use of the document and is not intended to serve as approval that the purchased document is valid for use within that zip code or any site-specific address contained within. Signed documents may also contain a building floor elevation to which the use is limited to which is requested and provided solely to limit misuse of the signed document. Certification at a specific address and building floor is the responsibility of others as described herein. The date limitation is intended to limit the amount of time the permittee has to submit the document with the electronic application for permit. The document is valid for use within the limitations and building codes provided on the purchased document. Learn More about digitally signed documents.


ABOUT PHYSICAL PRINTED 'HARDCOPIES'
Documents that are physically printed (also known as hard copies) are signed and sealed with an embossed or ‘wet’ ink seal by the certifying design professional. For these documents to be valid for use, the ORIGINAL document must be presented to the approving municipality. Photocopies of printed documents are not considered signed and sealed and are not valid for use.  This firm is not responsible for the use of any photocopied document of our signed and sealed work. Additionally, markings or alterations to original signed and sealed documents invalidate our certification and require additional review prior to use. Each signed and sealed document contains information on how to obtain an originally sealed version. Learn More about physically signed documents.

 

ABOUT DOCUMENTS PURCHASED FOR BUILDING COMPONENTS ATTACHED TO STRUCTURES
Documents purchased for host-attached building components (such as overhangs, wall-mounted signs, and rooftop mechanical equipment) DO NOT certify the building component for use on any specific project. Each of these performance evaluations requires another design professional to review and approve the document for the intended site-specific application including the integrity of the host structure to withstand the additional forces placed by the building component at the time of the worst-case design condition (such as during a hurricane, snowstorm, earthquake, maximum occupancy load, etc). The documents purchased online do not do this. Additional steps must be taken prior to permitting and construction. The purchased documents solely state the performance limitation of the building component to the loads and design wind/snow/seismic/forces listed within the evaluation. The actual code-minimum design forces for your site-specific project may be HIGHER than the limitations of the purchased document which shall be determined, reviewed, and approved by others and not part of our certification or your purchase. The determination of the applicability of the use of the purchased documents is the sole responsibility of others and not purchased or included in the document you obtain from us. Engineering Express can provide a quotation for these additional site-specific services. Apply for free to ExpressPass for access to our quoting system and to submit a site-specific design request.


ABOUT DOCUMENTS PURCHASED FOR FREESTANDING BUILDING COMPONENTS
Documents purchased for freestanding building components (such as fences, freestanding pergolas, A/C and generator pads, and ground-mounted signs) contain limitations of their use and may contain equivalent design information (such as wind, snow, geotechnical, and seismic equivalent values). These documents DO NOT approve the use of the building component for YOUR APPLICATION. The documents we provide state that IF your application meets the listed limitations of use, the building component can withstand the imposed code-minimum design forces and limitations as stated on the respective plan. The determination of the applicability of the use of the purchased documents is the sole responsibility of others and not purchased or included in the document you obtain from us. Engineering Express can provide a quotation for these additional site-specific services. Click Here to apply for access to our quoting system to submit a site-specific design request.


Other:
While any licensed professional can provide the site-specific information required for use with the purchased documents as described herein, this office welcomes the opportunity to quote these additional services for other businesses. Apply for free to ExpressPass to access our quoting system for a site-specific design request. Certified documents are only valid for the state, building code, and limitations of use listed in the original, certified document. For use in states and building codes other than listed, contact the office for further evaluation which may require alterations to the performance limitations or review and certification by a licensed professional in the state requested. Please note that while homeowners may purchase documents from our plan store, we do not perform any consultation services directly with homeowners. If you are a homeowner and purchased certified documents from our plan store, please have your contractor contact us, or work with a local licensed professional to complete your application for permit which shall include their approval for use of your purchased documents for your specific project. We are not responsible for any installation deficiencies that occur from the misuse of any certified document purchased from us. Any deviations from the specifications in our plans, alterations, or markings to our certified documents or use without consulting a design professional is strictly prohibited and INVALIDATE OUR CERTIFICATION. Use of the purchased documents indemnifies & saves harmless the engineer & firm for all cost & damages including legal & appellate fees resulting from deviations of the certified plan as well as material fabrication, system erection, & construction practices beyond which is called for by local, state, & federal codes and standards of care. The determination of the applicability of the use of the purchased documents is the sole responsibility of others and is not included in the document you obtain from us. Engineering Express can provide a quotation for these additional site-specific services. Click Here to apply for access to our quoting system to submit a site-specific design request.


Contact us with any questions or to request a design consultation which is required prior to permitting and construction to ensure proper use of these documents and a safe, code-compliant design.

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ASCE 7-16 is introduced into the 2018 International Building Code and 7th Edition Florida Building Code (2020) as the new referenced standard for wind design. This standard introduced an enhanced section for the conversion of wind velocities to roof wind pressures for roof components attached to buildings and freestanding structures such as sunrooms, overhead canopies, pergolas, walkway covers, etc.

 

HISTORY

It has long been the practice of engineers (including this firm) to take the ‘worst case’ scenario for a given wind velocity & ASCE Exposure Category and list a corresponding uplift and gravity wind pressure.  That rating typically came with a list of disclaimers that required the enclosure and host structure to be within a given height, on flat terrain, and certain size.  Many engineers adopted this standard which became the ‘standard of care’.  See below from ASCE 7-10 which was the information provided for engineers to design.  This was also similar in ASCE 7-05 and before which made this method an easy, popular choice among engineers and those using the tables.

 

This simplified version allowed charts to be created within master plan sheets and product evaluations using a format such as the below.  for 1 wind velocity there are 3 exposure categories and 3 possible pressures for each product. 3 products for a given wind speed would have 9 positive and 9 negative results:

 

Wind VelocityExposureRoof PressureProduct 1 SpanProduct 2 SpanProduct 3 Span
150mphB+-1psf+Aft -Aft+Bft -Bft+Cft -Cft
150mphC+-2psf+Dft -Dft+Eft -Eft+Fft -Fft
150mphD+-3psf+Gft -Gft+Hft -Hft+Ift -Ift
160mph…B…+-4psf…

 

EVOLUTION

ASCE 7-16 introduces new parameters to consider.  Most notably, ASCE 7-10 Figures 30.4-2A – 30.4-2C were replaced with ASCE 7-16 Figures 30.3-2 A through I for flat, gable and hip roofs of varying and different degrees (see chart below).  Roof over open structure considerations were expanded to consider the height of the building eave (he) compared to the height of the canopy (hc).  Different proportions change the resulting pressure on the canopy.  Add to this different considerations for flow through and obstructed forces, a new height above sea level reduction, and consider we already have wind velocity and exposure category and the permutations become an entire page just to lay out – and that’s only for wind velocity increments of 10mph and flat terrain.

 

For the wind charts, a baseline components and cladding tributary area of 100sqft was chosen to consider a minimal enclosure and establish a uniform baseline.  It was determined that using smaller component and cladding values would yield unrealistically high results and not permit enclosures to be built.  100sqft began to approach MWFRS which is how a connected roof would normally behave.  Since zone 2 could be 2a long and dominate a roof area, zone 2 was selected as the component and cladding design pressure.  Any roof overhang would yield more favorable results so that was ignored. values were all rounded up/down to the larger/smaller integer.

 

Based on these coarse selections, there are now (3) slope conditions for monoslope roofs, (4) different conditions for gable roofs, and (2) conditions (hc/he<0.9 and 0.9<hc/he<1.0) for canopy roofs, both for freestanding and host attached scenarios, another further clarification in the new standard.  Using the same format as above, that would now yield for each wind velocity and 3 exposures would now have 54 positive and 54 negative values, 6 times that of ASCE 7-10.  For only 6 divisions of wind, that would be 648 values to go through.  Then factoring in the new elevation above sea level reduction and larger divisions between wind velocities, there are tens of thousands of possible solutions.

 

Combining all of these results into all of the possible product configurations would not only result in page after page of charts, but it increases the margin of error and confusion factor of an installer trying to understand.  It’s simply no longer wise, cost effective, or feasible to continue to create wind speed charts for all roof and wall products.

 

INNOVATION

The solution was 2 part:

First it was obvious that the wind pressure results had to be split away from the products so every product for every manufacturer doesn’t endure every permutation of possibility listed above. Products in the sunroom industry need to be rated to a performance standard like so many other building component products do (such as windows, doors, roofing, etc.  saying this product configuration is rated to XXpsf).

 

Then it made sense to split apart enclosures and canopy roofs as well as wall pressures.  The ‘simplified’ result is a chart with the method evolved use the roof as a large component, considering component and cladding zones in relation to the enclosure.

 

EXAMPLES & FIGURES

SOLID – ASCE 7-16 Figures 30.3-2 A-I
MONOSLOPE< 3⁰
 3⁰ < θ ≤ 10⁰
 10⁰ < θ ≤ 30⁰
  
GABLEθ ≤ 7⁰
 7⁰ < θ ≤ 20⁰
 20⁰ < θ ≤ 27⁰
 27⁰ < θ ≤ 45⁰

 

Several online tools have been created to better explain and facilitate answers:

Visit our online calculator to interact with these formulas directly.

 

View and order a certified copy of the master wind velocity to pressure conversion chart for permitting your sunroom/canopy.

 

See also: What is a canopy awning & which wind forces should I use to design?

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