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Streamlining Structural Permitting

for Residential PV Installations
04/08/2013
Builds on East Bay Green Corridor's

Solar Permitting Initiative's

work:

Spearheaded by:

Carla Din

Director, East Bay Green Corridor

Structural Guidelines:

Giyan

Senaratne, SE

Emeryville Sr. Plans Reviewer & CEO, WC
3
Why streamline,
what’s the problem?

Code Officials

don’t know if the proposed PV
installation will be structurally sound.

Contractors & Home Owners

don’t want added
cost of unneeded structural engineering.

Solar Support Components Manufacturers

take responsibility for the array above the roof,
but leave it to others to determine if the roof
framing can support the array.
"These are electricians, putting PV panels
on roofs, being asked to figure out
structural support issues."
Ellie Leard, Building Inspector

City of Berkeley
Can we define a
PREQUALIFIED

system?
80/20 rule

What does it look like?
Pre-qualified System
1) Flush-Mounted
2) Wood-Framed Roof
3) Code Compliant Roof
4) Anchor Spacing
Downward Limits
Wind Uplift Limits
Archaic Modern (Post-1930)
Simple Worksheet Format
Over-the-Counter Approval
span tables
1. Flush-Mounted

(ICC Acceptance Criteria AC-428)
10” max

2” min
Flush-Mounted PV Examples
Wind Catchers don’t prequalify

(special uplift loads)
Especially with raised arrays,
Failures can occur…..
2. Wood-Framed Roof
S. K. Ghosh

Associates Inc.
Wood-Framed Construction = Resilient, Robust
3. Roof is “Code Compliant”

-

Reasonably sound, no evidence of decay

= visual inspection

-

Complies with 1927 or later UBC

= built after 1930, or

= if earlier, complies with “archaic
construction span table”

-

No second overlay reroofs

Innocent unless proven otherwise !
"Archaic" Construction
horizontal span
rough
sawn
2x4s at
32" o.c.
“Archaic” Construction

1. Pre-1930, or
2.

Any vintage rough sawn @ 32” o.c.
"Carpenter Trusses"
horizontal span
Context:

PV Modules ( 2.4 to 2.7 psf

)

+ support frame = 4 psf

max.

Wood-framed roofs: 10 psf

+/-

( 40%

increase in load ?? !! )
Why “Code Compliant” ?

Because code compliant roofs have

“RESERVE LOAD
CARRYING CAPACITY”

Modern Roof “Live Load” = 12 to 20 psf

Re-roof Overlays = 2 to 4 psf
Re-Roof Overlays Allowed:
Explicit in code from 1979 to now

(example: 1997, Appendix Chapter 15)
Roof Live Load = Construction Load
Roof Live Load has been in Code a long time..
Older Codes'
Roof Live Load:
Low Slopes:
30 psf
Steeper Slopes:
20 psf
Berkeley 1911
Berkeley 1922
Berkeley 1928
UBC 1927
With all that Reserve Capacity,

what’s the problem?

No problem, IF

you anchor to EVERY

rafter !
CONCENTRATED Loads:

(a few rafters do all the work!)
CONCENTRATED Loads:

(a few rafters do all the work!)
One Option:

Stagger the anchors !
The Other Option:

Do the math !

-

Roof live load decreases

at steeper

slopes

-

Load duration correction:

0.9/1.25

-

Slope correction factor:

cosine of slope
Rafter Load Sharing:
Load sharing is affected by roof sheathing thickness and
rafter size & spacing
Strength Increase:
Every 2
nd

rafter = 1.50

factor
Every 3
rd

rafter = 1.75

factor
(based on 2x6 at 24” o.c. with ½” plywood)
Analysis Considers Two Load Combos:

PV Dead Load alone

PV Dead Load + Wind Down
Demand/ Capacity Ratios
Roof SLOPE No. of RAFTER Spaces
X : 12 degrees 1 2 3
0: to 6:12 (0
o

to 26
o

) 0.63 0.71 0.80
7: to 9:12 (27
o

to 36
o

) 0.70 0.81 0.95
10: to 12:12 (37
o

to 45
o

) 0.74 0.86 1.01
13: to 17:12 (46
o

to 55
o

) 0.85 1.00 1.18
18: to 24:12 (56
o

to 63
o

) 0.89 1.06 1.27
Rules of Thumb for Downward

Loads:

Anchor every third

joist
(for 24”o.c. = 6 ft max)

Exceptions:

Up to

6:12 and 16” o.c.: every

fourth joist (5’-4”)

Steeper than 9:12: every second

joist

18:12

or steeper: every

joist

If anchors are staggered:

spacing may be twice

the
above limits, but 6'-0" max.
Maximum Anchor Spacing

(Perpendicular to Rafters)
Roof SLOPE Maximum Anchor Spacing
X : 12 degrees 16" o.c. 24" o.c. 32" o.c.
0: to 6:12 (0
o

to 26
o

) 5'-4" 6'-0" 5'-4"
7: to 9:12 (27
o

to 36
o

) 4'-0" 6'-0" 5'-4"
10: to 12:12 (37
o

to 45
o

) 4'-0" 4'-0" 5'-4"
13: to 17:12 (46
o

to 55
o

) 2'-8" 4'-0" 2'-8"
18: to 24:12 (56
o

to 63
o

) 1'-4" 2'-0" 2'-8"
Wind Exposure Category
B C D
Hillcrest Wind Speed-up Effects
Translate to Equivalent Exposure C or D
Maximum Anchor Spacing

(Number of Rafter Spaces)
Roof SLOPE Wind Exposure
X : 12 degrees B C D
0: to 6:12 (0
o

to 26
o

) 3* 3 3
7: to 9:12 (27
o

to 36
o

) 3 3 2
10: to 12:12 (37
o

to 45
o

) 2* 2 2
13: to 17:12 (46
o

to 55
o

) 2 1 1
18: to 24:12 (56
o

to 63
o

) 1 1 1
* For 16” spacing, one more rafter space is allowed.
Limits on Wind Uplift:
Industry Workhorse: 5/16" diam. lag screw
Solar Support Component Manufacturers' Guidelines
Wind Uplift Zones:

middle,

edge &

corner

(3 feet from edges)
Wind Uplift Anchor Tributary Areas:
Bottom Edge
Middle / Field
Side Edge
Corner
Wind Uplift Anchor Tributary Area Limits

Use

Manufacturers' Guidelines
or

Table Below:
Roof SLOPE Trib

Area, Sq. Ft.
X : 12 degrees Middle Edge
flat to 6:12 (0
o

to 26
o

) 36 18
7: to 9:12 (27
o

to 36
o

) 26 26
10: to 12:12 (37
o

to 45
o

) 22 22
Wind Uplift Anchor Tributary Area Limits:
Pre-qualified System
1) Flush-Mounted
2) Wood-Framed Roof
3) Code Compliant Roof
4) Anchor Spacing
Downward Limits
Wind Uplift Limits
Archaic Modern (Post-1930)
span tables
Next Step:

Make Simple Structural Worksheet
Special thanks for help & thoughtful comments !
Joe Cain & Amir

Massoumi, Solar City

Shon

Fleming, Sun Light & Power

Jeremy Rogelstad

& Chad Medcroft, Zep

Solar

Ron Jones & Stuart Wentworth,

Quick Mount PV

Ron LaPlante, Div. of State Arch. & Chair, SEAOC Solar Systems Comm.

Jason Ericksen, S.K. Ghosh

Assoc., Member, SEAOC Solar Systems Comm.

Giyan

Senaratne, Sr. Plans Review Consultant, Emeryville, & CEO, WC
3

Alex Roshal, Chief Building Official, Berkeley

Ellie Leard,

Building Inspector, Berkeley

David Lopez,

Sr. Bldg. Plans Examiner, Berkeley

Jeff Thomas,

Sr. Bldg. Plans Examiner, Berkeley

Val Dizitser,

Sr. Bldg. Plans Examiner, Berkeley

Sam Law,

Fire & Safety Plans Examiner, Berkeley

Neal DeSnoo, Sustainability Division Mgr., Berkeley

Billi

Romaine,

Sustainability Coordinator, Berkeley

Alex Wagner,

Structural Designer, Tipping Mar

Carla Din,

Director, East Bay Green Corridor
Goal: Happy

Installers, Homeowners & Code Officials
Solar Richm
ond
For questions or requests to copy,
please contact:
Carla Din,

Director
East Bay Green Corridor
1221 Oak St., Suite 555
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 272-3889
carla@eastbateda.org
www.ebgreencorridor.org
John Wolfe, SE

Associate

TIPPING MAR
1906 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley CA 94704

(510) 549-1906 ext 240
john.wolfe@tippingmar.com
www.tippingmar.com