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- To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org
- Subject: What a disaster!
- From: Richard_Ranous/OES(--nospam--at)oes.ca.gov
- Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 11:52:13 -0800
I orginally posed a very possible scenario to something that WILL happen in California. I got some very good suggestions on an approach to solving the problem and will be pursuing those suggestions. Suddenly, the discussions have moved to the value of architects and some of you have taken quite a firm stand. I guess you have given me the opportunity to get on my soap box and relay the problems I have had with structural engineers (and I have been one for a good number of years). I came to OES after 16 years of structural engineering with various consultants including two offices of my own. My major responsiblility was and is to organize the "design community" to be able to assist local government when disaster strikes and they need safety evaluations of buildings. Ever since Loma Prieta I have been conducting after action meetings with the responding personnel to hear from them what worked and what did not. Without exception the responding structural engineers have complained that they were used improperly by the requesting cities. Their complaints were centered on evaluating the safety of houses, mobile homes, and minor structurces. This was a waste of their expertiese. There request was that OES had to do something to make sure that they were used "properly." In 1991 we opened discuscions with AIA about joining our safety assessment program. As a part of those discussions we looked at areas where they could most effectively be used. The architects were happy to do evaluations of houses and apartments. They were willing to do whatever was asked of them. They simply wanted to be involved and help. As a State representative I have no control over how individuals are assigned to perform evaluations. Until you have been in a building officials shoes in organizing and performing a safety assessment response you can not talk about how right or wrong their actions where. Now, some of you are telling us that architects have no business being involved in safety evaluations at all. Okay, answer this question for me: If SEs don't want to do homes, mobile homes, and small structures; and they do not want architects to be involved in safety evaluations how do I get the resources necessary to get people back into their homes and businesses in a timely fashion? Let's look at Northridge: 113000 structures were evaluated! 86% of those structures were residential? Under this discussion who should have evaluated them?
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