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The Prescriptive Methods of the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC) set minimum standards for materials and methods of construction, which are intentially conservative and over designed. It is a sort of one size fits all, which can be applied almost anywhere in any kind of climate or building conditions. The IRC and the IBC, recognizing this, provide allowances for options to be approved by local building departments, according to good engineering practice. Shear corners for post and pier foundation framing in Hawaii are good examples. The attached details were taken from a project in Hawaii, where the Prescriptive Methods required outside shear corners, constructed of continuous grade beams, embedded 12″ into the ground and plywood diaphragms. Such detailing does not recognize long established and proven local building practices, such as surface mounted post and pier construction. ARCHLINE.COM provided structural calculations to the County of Hawaii Building Department, demonstrating that traditional surface mounted post and pier construction would meet the jurisdictional requirements to withstand local wind and seismic forces. The Building Department reviewed the calculations and details and approved the building permit application. This design made it possible to construct the project without any cast in place concrete, clearing the way for construction to proceed all the way to completion of rough framing, rough electrical and rough plumbing without first having to secure a building permit or a foundation inspection.

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