Product Advisory: OSB Performance in the Bahamas

Originally published by the following source: SBC MagazineSeptember 17, 2019
by SBCA Staff with contributions from SBCA Professional Engineers


APA-The Engineered Wood Association, often in the past, has used dramatic and traumatic photos to imply, without any direct evidence, that competing products are substandard in some manner. Please review the following slide show, and if inclined, please feedback any impressions that come to mind.

Source: News-Press

As has been written in all past articles dealing with tornado photos published by APA, these photos do not show an OSB performance problem at all. What they show is an occurrence that could happen to any building at any time when high wind or high seismic loads are applied. Use of photos as shown to make a case against any product type with respect to poor building performance is misleading.

Photos without an appropriate onsite damage assessment is a limiting method for determining the cause of a partial or total collapse. In most cases, engineers can point to one of several common weak links as the cause of structural failure. Structural failure following any type of high wind or seismic events is often due to a lack of adequate connections. A continuous load path and accurate connections, from the roofs to walls and floors to walls and then to the foundation, must be provided for reliable building performance.

The most commonly observed reasons for failure include:

  1. Inadequate roof-to-wall connections
  2. Improper anchor bolt connections attaching walls to the foundation
  3. Poor sheathing fastening including not meeting the code required 3/8” nail edge distance.
  4. Use of the wrong nail type
  5. Breaches due to failure of windows, garage doors, or cladding/wall systems that result in wind pressure induced failure

These observations make it obvious that proper construction implementation is key to satisfactory building material performance. Paying close attention to all connection systems that make up the load path is essential.

It’s critical to come together as an industry with the goal of fostering innovation, using accepted engineering practice, creating installation best practices, working closely with professional framers and assisting building departments to focus inspections on key load path elements. Education is the key and working together can significantly improve the built environment.   

For additional information on the performance of wood structural panels, please visit the following webpage on OSB as a Raw Material and the following articles on performance of building materials in high winds and as tested.