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Re: Disaster dilemma

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I understand that the task of safety assessment will be overwhelming if limited
only to *qualified* structural engineers. However, based on my experiences
including the observations I made post-Northridge and evaluating the skills of
the architectual clients I personally know, the only task I would be
comfortable in assigning is giving these architects a batch of red placards and
instructing them on how to post them. I would'nt give them yellow or green
placards at all. I would
feel more comfortable if I knew that they had taken some sort of instruction
prior to the event.

Bill Allen

Richard_Ranous/OES(--nospam--at) wrote:

> Some of you may be confusing the concept of safety assessment and damage
> assessment.  When we are talking about safety assessment we are talking
> about evaluating a building for continued occupancy.  This evaluation has
> nothing to do with causes of damage or how to repair that damage.  After
> the Loma Prieta earthquake I was involved in long discussions with AIA and
> other non-engineering groups who desired to offer their services for safety
> assessment.  It has been my experience that these non-engineering groups
> have done an excellent job in providing safety assessment services when
> needed.
> For the Northridge earthquake response the City of Los Angeles was very
> complimentary to all groups who participated in the response.  In a period
> of two weeks after the earthquake in excess of 68,000 buildings were
> inspected by engineers, architects, and building inspectors for continued
> occupancy.  During that time an incredibly small percentage of buildings
> had placards changed from green to red.  There were some which changed from
> yellow to red or yellow to green and a few that changed from red to yellow.
> All in all very few placards changed.
> To say that only SEs should be performing safety assessments is very short
> sighted.  We have yet to experience a major earthquake.  If we were to
> limit safety evaluations to SEs only, there is no way we could perform
> these valuable assessments in a timely fashion.  I think it is time to
> place the architects vs. engineers argument behind us (at least in relation
> to safety assessment) and move on with improving the program and the
> service it provides to local government and the general public.