Can engineers trust design tables?

“Trust, but verify.”
Many new mass timber products from Europe are becoming available to the North American market. Designers must ensure that design values provided by distributors are properly calibrated to North American standards, as European design values are calibrated to different reference points, making their adoption for use in North America potentially dangerous.

In the “notes to the designer” section, design documents may include some provision along the lines of “values must be verified by a Professional Engineer,” just to avoid liability. If these values cannot be verified, there is no guarantee that sound technical understanding or testing went into deriving them in the first place.

Design tables and software packages make the early design stage easier, but design values must be verified at some point in the design process.

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