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Re: engineers and single family houses

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If this effort (engineered construction for conventional framing) would be
to the insurance industry, why aren't they (the insurers) rushing out to pay
our fees
to design the structure properly?

If there is actually a benefit here, the insurance company would recognize
it and either:

a. Mandate it through legislation (they have a great lobby).
b. Hire us to design the structures "properly".

I suspect the reason this is not happening is because of our reputation of
The concept of "if two is good, four is better" doesn't really sell well to
this market. If we
really want to talk about "minimums", that's one thing but we have a
reputation for going
"over and beyond".

On topics like this, I keep thinking about Lew Midlam's lament: "Where are
the bodies?"

Bill Allen
-----Original Message-----
From: Lew Midlam <Lew.Midlam(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Tuesday, October 14, 1997 6:35 AM
Subject: Re: engineers and single family houses

>Dennis S. Wish PE wrote:
>> <... snip ...>
>> Finally, we may be legally bound to protect life safety, but I
>> believe we are ethically bound to mitigating damage and
>> protecting the nest egg of the public.
>I agree, but who's to pay for the extra cost of design and construction to
>mitigate this potential damage?  Joe Blow home owner wants a design that
>meets the 'minimum' code requirements because he thinks that's the
>cost.  If your contract is to provide a design that meets minimum code
>requirements, are you ethically bound to violate that contract and call,
>example, for 3/4" plywood shearwall when 1/2" will suffice?  If Joe Blow
>'minimum' then he should get 'minimum'.  As consulting engineers our job is
>'consult', to advise, to educate our clients and to let them decide what is
>for them.  We shouldn't be making that decision for them.
>I believe change will only come when the insurance companies reduce
premiums for
>'engineered' construction.  I see no other way to get Joe Public to insist
>'engineering' than to put money in *his* pocket.  Attempts by the design
>professional community and the code authors fail without a strong financial
>Lew Midlam, P.E.