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RE: duplication of plans

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With respect to Frank Lew and to Bill Allen who know of my almost perverse desire to eliminate Conventional Framing conventions from the code - I'm about to defend it.
Codes don't cause damage to buildings - ignorance of the code is the culprit. I support the IBC version of Conventional Framing standards simply because it is much clearer in it's definition and does not leave as much as the '94 UBC (and earlier) to interpretation.
No code is entirely "loop-hole" free when it comes to building officials who are not engineers - as happens in rural area's such as mine. Often compliance to conventional framing is assumed by the local inspector to be part of the contractors traditional building style and specific conditions to the code - such as blocking requirements, may often be misinterpreted. In one example the inspector never questioned the existance of continuous blocking between the roof framing when it was placed outside of the plane of the wall.
Therefore the things that degrade construction quality when a professional is not involved includes personal assumptions that are incorrect but not clearly covered in the code.
The 2000 IBC section on Conventional Framing is a tremendous step in the right direction for taking the abiguity out of previous versions and providing better tools to the building official for stricter compliance to a prescriptive method.
Finally, to answer Bill Allen's comments about how many residences that were damaged in Northridge were built based upon Conventional Construction:
Personally, I would think that this would be difficult to assess. My experience in Los Angeles County region is that very few living structures are constructed without the assistance of a qualified engineer or architect. Also, except for tract developments, few homes are constructed with plated trusses where there may be a discontinuity between the roof and shear resisting elements.  This is my experience since most building departments in the area's surrounding Northridge generally hire qualified engineers for plan check.
However, out side this area, the employment of staff engineers becomes more uncommon. Between Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells and La Quinta, none provide full time staff engineers. At best Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage hire outside plan check consultants and expect them to spend some physical time each week behind the counter. The other cities send projects out for plan check - Conventional Framing is given the once over at the counter by non-professionals and if deemed to be in compliance they are stamped without review. Not a good thing as far as I am concerned.

Dennis S. Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Allen, S.E. [mailto:ballense(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, March 06, 1998 9:17 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: duplication of plans

Out of curiosity, how much of this $372,432,868 was due to damage of structures originally designed under the provisions of "Conventional Framing Provisions"? I know Frank Lew is out there some where thinking "where are the bodies" :o) ?

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

I second your concerns Dennis!  When SEAOC began working on the
conventional construction provisions, one of our biggest oponents was the
National Homebuilders Association.  Their standard comment was "we don't
see the level of damage that is being discussed."  Additionally, their
comments also included the unnecessary increase in cost reducing the
ability of people to afford housing.

This then adds to the concept that politically you can not require
strengthening or retrofit of single family residences.  The net result is
the Federal government paying $372,432,868 of taxpayer money to provide
temporary housing to 114,000 households after Northridge.

I wish I knew the right answer to address the problem once and for all.