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[SEAOC] "Which Direction for Building Codes?" by Charles O. Greenlaw, S.E.[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
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- Subject: [SEAOC] "Which Direction for Building Codes?" by Charles O. Greenlaw, S.E.
- From: fmcclure(--nospam--at)ccnet.com
- Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 16:11:19 -0700 (PDT)
The following message is taken, in part, from the April 1995 issue of "In This Corner", a monthly feature in the Structural Association of Central California's newsletter written by Charles O. Greenlaw, S. E., 4208 B Street, Sacramento, CA 95819. "The following article attempts to tie together several topics that have building codes, and their profound impacts on us, as the common thread. The opinions expressed are intended to be provocative and informative. They are not the official position of the Structural Engineers Association of California. "As an opener, I reprint a paragraph that appeared among some Seismology committee documents about twelve years ago, its author unknown but much appreciated: "The Code Problem 'The problem of code proliferation in an attempt to make codes into handbooks to replace analysis by engineers, and to make the code reflect all of the research results, has been well recognized. Engineers are in general agreement that this proliferation should be controlled because more complex codes are not the answer to the need for effective, efficient design. Engineers should do more than agree on this. They should go to work to streamline the present codes and restrict the complexities of new codes. This means resisting the inclusion in codes of any complicated criteria which cannot be readily understood by the practicing design engineer, and any restraints on design not fully justified.' "In the last few years, the Structural Engineers Association of Central California's Code Committee has been following the above principles consistently and resolutely. Other committees there and elsewhere, particularly code committees in other Sections of SEAOC, appear to be strongly included in the other direction, toward code expansion and 'complexification'." "Now this year comes very powerful backing, indeed almost total vindication of the SEAOCC's vision for the building code. Just as the anonymous Seismology commentor said a dozen years ago, so does today's best-selling author on regulatory laws, Philip K. Howard in "The Death of Common Sense": 'Our regulatory system has become an instruction manual. Detailed rule after detailed rule addresses every eventuality, or at least every situation lawmakers and bureaucrats can think of.' He asks, 'Is it a coincidence that almost every encounter with government is an exercise in frustration?' "According to Howard, the dominant theme in formulation codes and regulations in recent years is 'almost a religious tenet' to make rules as precise, comprehensive, and finely detailed as possible. The goal is to cover every eventuality so that the outcomes will be both certain and uniform for all. The use of flexibility and judgment by either the complying person or the enforcer is to be avoided at all costs. The words of rules will tell us exactly what to do and not do, so that judgment will be precluded. The well-intended benefits of this approach are to prevent mistakes and errors, and to ensure fairness and non-discrimination, by means of covering everything in advance and by preventing use of discretion and possible abuse by officials.".......(And there is more.) Charles O. Greenlaw, S. E. I believe this article is to important I will send a copy of the entire article to persons in the United States who send me a self-addressed 32 cent stamped business envelope to Frank E. McClure, 54 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Orinda, CA 94563. There are and have been many dedicated members of the SEAOC and other organizations who have given freely of their quality time through the years for the development of the NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and the International Conference of Building Officials Uniform Building Code seismic provisions. Maybe it is time to step back and review what has been accomplished. Maybe we have gotten everything right but the answer. Frank McClure fmcclure(--nospam--at)ccnet.com File Green.txt ...
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