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I'm trying to figure out what kind of notches (if any) are allowed in steel studs used for non-load bearing walls (for a finished room in a basement). IRC 2009 section 603 indicates that no notches are allowed in the flange or lips:

R603.3.4 Cutting and notching. Flanges and lips of cold-formed steel studs and headers shall not be cut or notched.

However, that entire section appears to only address load bearing walls:

R603.1.1 Applicability limits. The provisions of this section shall control the construction of exterior cold-formed steel wall framing and interior load-bearing cold-formed steel wall framing

Thus, I can't seem to find any rules or guidelines for non load-bearing walls (unless I am misinterpreting it). Does any such rule or guideline exist?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

International Residential Code 2009

Chapter 6 Wall Construction

Section R603 Steel Wall Framing

R603.1 General. Elements shall be straight and free of any defects that would significantly affect structural performance. Cold-formed steel wall framing members shall comply with the requirements of this section.

R603.3.4 Cutting and notching. Flanges and lips of cold-formed steel studs and headers shall not be cut or notched.

603.3.4 is a requirement of section 603, and so all cold-formed steel wall framing members must comply with it. Meaning that whether the wall is load-bearing or not, the framing members cannot be notched.

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I'm struggling to understand how 603.1 and 603.1.1 correspond. 603.1 says "Cold-formed steel wall framing members shall comply", but then 603.1.1 indicates applicability is limited to "exterior cold-formed steel wall framing and interior load-bearing cold-formed steel wall framing" (with limitations on dimensions). –  Luke Murphey Jan 8 at 7:36
    
I think 603.1.1 only applies to 603.1.2, since most of the other sections specifically mention load-bearing in the verbiage. It's a bit tough to follow, but that's what I think. –  Tester101 Jan 8 at 10:08
    
I'm marking this as the best answer since it makes more sense than anything else I can come up with. The code does specifically call out "load-bearing" elsewhere which I suspect was intended to clarify when it was not intended to apply to non-load-bearing walls. –  Luke Murphey Jan 11 at 9:04
    
I actually intended to get my inspectors opinion on this. I didn't bother after he told me that I shouldn't insulate my basement exterior walls (even though 1102.2.6 specifically requires it). Thus, I don't trust his opinion on interpreting code. He even told me that he didn't bother with insulating his own basement exterior walls. Now I have to convince him that my plan to use 2" XPS insulation is ok. Fun times. –  Luke Murphey Jan 11 at 9:10
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