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Re: CalTrans Screw Up/ e

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Dennis Wish and Tom Harris make valid arguments for providing something 
greater than the minimum specified by the UBC.

In response to Dennis Wish's question about what can be done to avoid 
"liability" for exceeding the building code minimums, I would suggest to 
avoid using the word, "conform."  My agreements state that I will "comply" 
with the adopted UBC and good engineering judgement.  Since the UBC only 
states *minimum* requirements, you *comply* with the UBC as long as you don't 
go below the UBC requirements.

For about 30 years, now, the local (Tucson/Pima County, Arizona) amendments 
to the UBC have added a paragraph to the first chapter that emphasizes that 
the code provides minimum requirements only, and that something greater than 
the minimum may be required for a safe structure.

I cringe when I hear someone use the word, "liable," such as in the phrase, 
"I am concerned about my *liability* if I do/don't do ...  ."  Only a court 
can determine if a person is *liable* for their actions, unless the person 
**assumes** the liability.  I think that if we, as engineers were more 
concerned about our *responsibilities* (as many of those on this list service 
tend to be) then there should be little concern about our *liabilities*.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona