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Re: Re: Disaster dilemma

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-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Lewis <rlewis(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, January 23, 1998 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Disaster dilemma

>It seems obvious to me that if it takes an engineer to design the lateral
>force resisting elements in a building then it should be an engineer who
>evaluates the safety of the system after the seismic event.  If someone
>not design it to begin with then how can they evaluate if it is still
It does not take an engineer to design the lateral forces in a building. An
architect has the legal right to do this as well.

>Let's reverse the situation.  Lets say an office building was having a
>terrible time with conflicting traffic at the buildings entrance due to a
>poor floor plan layout.  Would the owner call in the structural engineer or
>the mechanical engineer to solve the traffic problem?  If he did then he
>would probably get a separate entrance designed for every building function
>to solve the problem!  After all, that is the most logical solution.  An
>architect is trained to layout a functional plan to solve the problem.
>are not trained to solve mechanical or structural DESIGN problems.  (I know
>they do more than floor plans so please don't flame me, but they do not do
>the specific design of the other professions).
The lobby power of the AIA is far stronger than those of engineers (however,
it appears from recent decisions in Washington DC that we are gaining a
voice) and have tried to restrict the engineer from designing buildings -
however, as with engineering, this has not reached fruition. Engineers may,
at the chigrin of architects, legally design buidings and stamp
archtiectural drawings (however, I think they are crazy to overstep their
bounds). So the debate continues....

>If an architect wants to evaluate a structure after a seismic event then
>should be competent in the design of a lateral force system ahead of time.

In California, Architects are required to complete a Seismic portion to
their exam. I have tutored a few on this part of the exam. The problem is
that most don't remember or intend to use the knowledge that they learn. The
second problem is that those who use it think it is the end all of knowledge
needed to design laterally restrained structures.
>From that, what is the difference in Seismic or Wind. Why would other states
assume an architect to be any more capable to calculate and distribute (and
detail) appropriate wind loads????
>Just my $0.02 from a non-seismic (well at least EXTremely low) zone of
And mine too!
Dennis Wish PE