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- To: ROH(--nospam--at)eqe.com, seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org
- Subject: Firm Sued Over Fractures in Steel Frames in Quake
- From: FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)aol.com
- Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 06:21:45 -0500 (EST)
- Cc: FredT5(--nospam--at)aol.com
Ron Hamburger, Thank you for your January 30, 1997 reply to my subject email message first posted on January 29, 1997. In your January 30, 1997 reply you wrote: "Reports from this research have been consistently and objectively reported by SAC and included in our various guideline and advisory documents." At the end of a SAC Seminar on Interim Guidelines for the Evaluation, Repair and Design of Steel Moment Frame Structures held at the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California on October 12, 1995, where you and others made some excellent presentations accompanied by excellent notes, I asked the Panel the following question: Why did not the FEMA 267, August 1995, "Interim Guidelines: Evaluation, Repair, Modification and Design of Welded Steel Moment Frame Structures", Chapter 12 , References (which covered five pages) include the important reference to "Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings", American Institute of Steel Constructions, June 15, 1992? As I recall there was a long silence and you replied that the above AISC Sucommittee report was referenced in the 1994 NEHRP Provisions. I believe I responded to the effect that the above AISC Subommittee report would be helpful to engineers who were being sued and their attorneys because it would help establish what could be considered to be the "Standard of Practice" AT THE TIME the engineers designed their welded steel frame buildings. Particular attention is drawn to the figures that are presented in the AISC Subcommittee report some of which appear to be very similar to the "Northridge welded steel connections." I understand that the AISC will probably not consider the above AISC Subcommittee Report in the same light as the AISC "Code of Standard Practice for Steel Buildings and Bridges", June 1992 and previous editions, as a "Standard of Practice." I also realize the above AISC Subcommitteee Report has many disclaimers in the "Preface" one of which states: "Anyone making use of this information assumes all liability arising from such use." However, considering the professional status and outstanding reputations of the members of this AISC Subcommittee that prepared the above AISC Report, other structural engineers, particularly engineers in small structural firms, would not have the financial resources to carry out the independent research necessary to make their own determinations concerning the recommendations in the above AISC Report and therefore, it would be reasonable for these engineers to rely on the recommendations in this Report. The daunting question remains, why did the AISC publish the AISC Subcommittee Report if it did not expect structural engineers to use and follow the recommendations in this Report? I do not have a copy, but I believe that the recommendations in the AISC Subcomittee Report were incorporated, in part, in the AISC, Load and Resistance Factor Design Specifications for Structural Steel Buildings, December 1, 1993. I realize that the AISC has distanced itself from the above AISC Subcommittee Report in their "AISC Northridge Technical Bulletin No. 2, October 1994, page 4, "Recommendation: Suspended the use of details similar to those prescribed in Section 8.2c of AISC Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings consistend with recent actions taken by the ICBO in the deletion of this prescriptive detail from the 1994 UBC." I have no problem with the AISC's Recommendation to suspend the use of details similar to those prescribed in the above AISC Subcommittee Report. My concern is why such an important reference - the AISC "Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings", June 15, 1992 -, which could be very helpful to engineers to answer plaintiff attorney's questions was omitted from such an important FEMA 267 Report. I raise this issue again to the SAC Management, for whom I have the highest personal and professional regard, to encourage them that all reports (warts and all) be referenced in the future SAC publications to serve as a "history" and important background information for those engineers and attorneys who are attempting to understand what was the "Standard of Practice" that might have lead up to the problems related to the Northridge welded steel frame buildings. It would seem reasonable to expect that in FEMA 267. Chapter 12, References and in future SAC/FEMA documents that there would be room for the important AISC Subcommittee Report, "Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel Buildings", June 15, 1992. Frank E. McClure FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)aol.com January 31, 1997.
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