Every piece of hold-down hardware, whether it’s a simple 1/2-inch J-bolt or a custom metal clip, will be marked on the foundation plan and in the structural details. When reviewing a set of plans, I use a colored marker to highlight every hold-down and shear panel anchor bolt. As I mark each one, I keep a running count of each type and familiarize myself with their locations. Hold-downs are typically called for in pairs, located, for instance, at each end of a shear wall or on both sides of a window or door where the shear wall is interrupted by the opening (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Hold-down installation begins with a careful review of the plans. An overlooked hold-down bolt or embedded strap can turn into a costly retrofit once the slab is poured. The author uses colored highlighters to locate every piece of hardware specified by the engineer. With experience, it’s pretty easy to find (and even memorize) the...

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