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foundation cripple wall

foundation cripple wall

(OP)
I was called out to a house that was built in 1992 to address some floor issues. In the crawl space the masonry fnd. wall is 2'-0" high. Above that is a 2'-0" high stud wall that goes up to the first floor joists. The stud wall is out of plane approximately 3/16". You can see how the sill plate has rotated so that it doesn't even touch the masonry wall anymore on the inside face. As an engineer I can see how this is a hinge point and I would never design something like this, but in talking to Contracters in the area, they say this is an accepted practice that they have been doing for years and that building inspectors don't have a problem with it. I have to write a letter saying whether it was built to code or not. Does anyone know if the code (any code) says anything about a condition like this? I am in Charlotte, NC.

RE: foundation cripple wall

I am not aware of any additional requirements other than the usual anchorage.  However, I can say that experience has shown the cripple wall to be very vulnerable in seismic areas and I would also guess areas where differential settlement is an issue too.  

The walls are too short and lack the necessary connection details to transfer load above and below the cripple wall.  As such it acts like a rigid link connecting upper wall (stiff housing) to the concrete foundation (also stiff).  This leaves the short wall as the weak link ready to rotate due to settlement, expansion/contraction, or lateral forces/movement.

Regards,
Qshake

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