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Re: Housing Performance Objectives

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Responding/rebutting numerous points made in postings on this thread would
make for too much reading and use up too much bandwidth.  This will be my
final posting on this thread.

Recall the posting by Dennis Wish that started the thread asked if engineers,
out of principle or disgust, should abandon the design of houses to
ill-washed architects and non-engineers who may just use 2326 (especially for
lateral resistance).  Since Dennis had previously expressed an opinion that
engineers should design *all* structures, I interpreted the question as a
call for the deletion of 2326.  My opinion was that attempts to delete it
would be inappropriate, and futile.  In subsequent postings by others, there
have been no arguments against my position.  Even the most vociferous
respondent, Tim McCormick, conceded that 2326 has its place.  Rather, the
arguments have been over its adequacy and the need to 'reconcile' the
provisions with results from rational analysis.  As I said in another
posting, I don't assert that 2326 in the '94 or '97 codes are without flaws.
 How much to ratchet upward for the sake of consistency should take into
consideration factors such as the extent of damage observed in
near-2326-compliant houses (both absolute numbers and as percentages of the
near-compliant housing inventory), and public policies on resource allocation
and acceptable risks.

On a more polemical level, Rick Drake has it right when he wrote, "If you
disagree with what is in the code, work with your fellow members within the
system to attempt to change it.  If you can build a case that the majority
will agree to, your ideas can become code."  Rick's advice highlights a
problem the engineering community has: the "Let George do it" syndrome.  Too
many of us are reluctant to get involved unless it can be done conveniently
and with no sacrifice.  We accord low priority to such obligations, or none
at all.  We'll wait until the committee meetings and activities are held near
our office because we can't spare the travel time;  or we'll wait until we
can kibbitz interactively at our keyboards over the Net; or ...or ...  During
my years on the SEAONC board, I can't recall once receiving unsolicited input
from the membership.  Heck, even when we asked in the monthly newsletter for
input on issues, the responses usually were minimal or non-existent.   The
"George" attitude/assumption is also seen on occasions in postings on this
listserv - how many times have we seen phrases along the lines of, "they
(i.e. SEAOC or the SEAOC board) should be doing .. (this or that)."  They is
us, folks.

Reihhold Niebuhr (I got the author right this time) wrote a prayer that many
of us have heard at least once.  It appeals to God for "the grace to accept
with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things
which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the
other".  For engineers, the first category includes architects doing
structural design, the existence of bottom-feeding contractors and owners,
and the existence of conventional framing provisions.  It's a waste of time
to whine about how these things 'should'  be changed.  Accept them with
grace.  The second category includes being agents of change in the code
development process when we feel a provision is wrong, inadequate or missing.

Frank Lew, SE
Orinda, CA
f(--nospam--at)lew.net