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Re: Housing Performance Objectives

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In a message dated 97-12-08 15:31:30 EST, Bruce Resnick write:

> Perhaps we could codify structures into A, B, and C levels.  

In a message dated 97-12-08 16:02:59 EST, Lew Midlam write:

> I doubt that you'll ever convince the code writers to incorporate anything
> the code that is more than 'minimal requirements'.  Anything above and
>beyond the minimum is something that is (and in my opinion should be)
>between the designer and the owner.

Mr. Midlam accurately stated the mindset of most building offcials.  Plan
checkers and Inspectors cannot perform 'clerk of the works'  functions for
owners, which would be the situation if they had to enforce contractual
agreements and specifications executed between owners and contractors that
have no relationship with, or are above, the minimum life safety provisions in
the codes.  The building official has a ministerial duty to issue a
certificate of occupancy when those minimums have been met.  Would he/she hold
up the final because the building, approved as an 'A', was more of a 'B' or
'C' in its as-built state due to field changes or workmanship? 

In our increasingly litigious society, building officials cannot risk (and
most likely would be over-ruled by their city attorneys if they were foolish
enough to propose it) being in the business of issuing 'good housekeeping'
seals that 'guarantee' a level of seismic performance above the minimum.  When
the inevitable suits are filed after the earthquake by owners who paid more
for their 'earthquake-proof' houses that now have cosmetic cracks, the
temptation to drag in the government will be overwhelming since it has the
deepest pocket of all.

Frank Lew, SE
Orinda, CA