As a field representative for Simpson Strong-Tie, I’m often called to job sites to resolve issues with metal connectors, usually because a building inspector has flagged a mistake. Installation errors can affect the load capacity of connectors and — if not corrected — cause long-term problems. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the most common problems I encounter and what you can do to avoid them.

Typically a standard cut washer and hex nut are all that’s needed to attach mudsills to embedded anchor bolts. In seismic regions, though, code requires 3-inch-square bearing plates .229 inch thick. Installed in place of the washer, these plates are intended to keep sills from splitting during earthquakes. When anchor bolts are not carefully...

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