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Fwd: Re: Min. Code Design

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The policy I adopted several years ago is to do what I think is right.  I
pay little attention to minimum standards indicated by the code.  Since they
don't figure anyway, I always calc things out and that is what goes on the
plans.  If the client doesn't like it, let them go somewhere else.  I'm just
doing my job and providing competent engineering judgement.

If you aren't accused of "overengineering", you are not doing your job.  The
contractors who make these statements know little to nothing about design or
codes.  They just know it's different than what someone else let them get
away with.  I tend to try and educate people.  Once they understand why and
how, they are usually less critical.  Those who are concerned in quality
appreciate it, those only interested in the bottom line usually understand
but still whine about it.  As long as there are bottom feeders out there,
there will always be someone else that will do it cheaper and to lesser
standards.  We need to stick together to raise the minimum standard of

The term "overengineering" is a contradiction.    Any neanderthal can stand
on a log between 2 rocks and say it works.  It takes an engineer to
determine the minimum size that will work.  Engineering means to economize,
so if you are "overengineering" you are being more economical?  Tell that to
the contractor and see if you confuse him.

At 01:26 PM 4/22/97 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 97-04-21 19:57:44 EDT, you write:
><< Subj:	Min. Code Design
> Date:	97-04-21 19:57:44 EDT
> From:	tomlong(--nospam--at) (Tom Long)
> Reply-to:	seaoc(--nospam--at)
> To:	seaoc(--nospam--at) (seaoc)
> Caught in between:
> There has been some discussion in our office about designing to the minimum
> standards that the 1994 UBC will allow. 
> I am wondering what other office policies have implemented for their design
> standards, any comments?   
>     I use the city of L.A. code/ guidelines for nearly all projects. I
>this in our contracts now as a condition of accepting a job. I have lost a
>small percentage ( <5% ? ) because of this. Since this was put together by a
>task force of government, seaosc, and industry members studying the failures
>of the Northridge earthquake, i question using less. This comes up
>for us since L.A. city , L.A. county , and Ventura County require these
>minimums but in some cities within the counties UBC minimums are allowed so
>you can have different minimum requirements across the street ( in Westlake
>village, even across the street within the same city because it has the
>county line thru it ) .
>     I do get comments about " overengineering " from the field the first
>time a contractor / developer builds to this level but then they get used to
>it and accept it. It would be alot easier to explain if everyone in seismic
>zone 4 were using the higher minimums. Same with structural observation.
>     Tom Harris, SE
>     Thousand Oaks, CA

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