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Fwd: Re: Min. Code Design

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Per Tom Long:  
>There has been some discussion in our office about designing to the minimum 
standards that the 1994 UBC will allow.  On one side we are doing the owner 
a service at a economic point of view to design to the minimum.  And on 
another side there is some opinion that to design with a 20 percent (+ - ) 
safety factor would be prudent due to construction problems, architects 
revisions after the structure is under construction, and any other 
circumstances that possibility could and will occur. < 
I would not arbitrarily add 20 percent across the board to my designs.  Nor 
would I automatically use the code minimums.  I generally try to be on the 
conservative side in estimating loads and in determining worst case load 
conditions.  I then design to be within code allowables.  If I feel special 
conditions warrant design beyond code minimums, I will do so "by engineering 
judgement".  If I feel loading information is only preliminary and may 
increase, I may add a contingency to the preliminary loads to minimize 
redesign (i.e., for design economy).  Engineers should design with both 
economy and safety in mind.  Always adding 20 percent is uneconomical and too

arbitrary.  Safety factors in codes are supposed to account for some 
inaccuracies in the field or in load assumptions (i.e. phi factors and load 
factors).  Code minimums are just that - minimums.  Thus each case must be 
evaluated by engineering judgement. 

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Subject: Re: Min. Code Design
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Richard Lewis, P.E.
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