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Re: CE/SE/residential construction/Texas PE laws/etc.

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-----Original Message-----
From: TVDEsq(--nospam--at) <TVDEsq(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Thursday, October 16, 1997 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: CE/SE/residential construction/Texas PE laws/etc.

>In a message dated 97-10-14 10:34:27 EDT, you write:
><< So it looks like
> most conventional homes in California are also exempt from PE design?  >>
>Plans  submitted to California city and county jurisdictions must show
>compliance with the '94 UBC, as adopted by the jurisdiction.  Therefore,
>residential construction can be required to meet ALL the requirements for
>conventional construction.....which is not always an easy thing to do.  For
>example, if the building is irregular, has glu-lam or steel beams, has a
>bearing ridge, or lacks regularly spaced interior walls (typical vaulted
>two-story tract home), etc. it likely would be required to have
>  Note that the building code allows the BO to determine if full or partial
>engineering is required, and  goes so far as to say that the BO may require
>unlicenced individuals to prove that state law allows them submit such

This, too, is a misconception since the adoption of the 94 UBC. Section
2326.2 (Design of Portions) states:
"When a building of otherwise conventional construction contains
nonconventional structural elements, those elements shall be designed in
accordance with Section 1603.3"
This section does not negate the structure from the rules of conventional
framing as it did in the previous code, but allows the building offical to
require only the portions of the structure that are non-compliant.
You are correct when you state that the BO has final authority. The problem
stems from the fact that the building official is often under pressure from
the city council to comply with loop-holes that exist in the code against
his better judgement. The city council undergoes pressure from developers
and builders who bring multiple homes and therefore multiple fee's from plan
check, permits, school fee's, infrastructure fee's ect.  To construct a home
in most areas requires the payment of fee's far in excess of simple plan
check and permits. In my area, for example, approximately 3% of the
extimated construction cost goes to pay school fees. Another percentage is
taken up front for steets and sewers.
Now consider a builder that is known for 50 homes per year in the city who
gets hassled by the building official to follow code. He threatens to pull
his work out of that city, claiming other cities are not so strict, and the
local councilperson that he compains to takes it to the council to try and
prevent the loss of income for schools, streets and sanitation. The next
visit comes from a representative of the city council who goes to the BO and
makes him aware in no uncertain terms that his contract with the city has
much to do with his attitude toward new construction.
What choice does the building offical have but to allow the letter of the
code be followed even if he feels that it is a bad code.
Sorry, but this is just the politics of doing business. The allowance of
Conventional framing section of the code provides the builder / developer to
deviate from an acceptable level of safety to one which the general
engineering community does not support.

Dennis Wish PE