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OC Dinner Meeting - March, 1998[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
- To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org
- Subject: OC Dinner Meeting - March, 1998
- From: "Bill Allen, S.E." <ballense(--nospam--at)pacbell.net>
- Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 10:56:52 -0800
Last night, I attended the Orange County SEAOSC dinner meeting, a biennial experience for me. While I do not consider having dinner with a hundred structural engineers a social event, it gives me the opportunity to have dinner with a colleague and a dear friend of mine whom I don't see often enough.
The main presentation was titled "Tilt-Up Building Design" and was presented by Mr. Francis Lo of KLT Consulting Structural Engineers. The presentation was very enjoyable and informative in that Mr. Lo, who obviously has extensive experience in the design of tilt-up buildings, shared some of his insight into "design traps" and significant detailing considerations that may/do not appear in traditional text books and building codes. Throughout Mr. Lo's presentation, he often shared opinions about the construction cost impact of various design solutions including the impact of new code provisions.
Near the end of Mr. Lo's presentation, he attempted to compare the impact of the 1997 UBC on the design of tilt-up buildings. While Mr. Lo had previously stated that he had not totally digested the complete inference of the code, he made a gallant attempt to display the differences between the 1994 UBC (w/1996 amendments) and the 1997 code.
During Mr. Lo's description of the changes in the wall tie provisions, he was interrupted by Bob Bachman of Flour Daniel who was sitting at the head table. Mr. Bachman boisterously stated that Mr. Lo was incorrect in the implication that there was significant changes in the wall tie force between the 1997 UBC and the 1994 UBC (w/1996 amendments). I thought this interruption was very distracting and rude to the presenter. After the dialog, it appeared that Mr. Lo (as well as myself) had a difficult time getting back to the subject.
Now, for my opinions...
- This timing for this debate was very poor. I thought it was very distracting, offensive and took away from an otherwise excellent presentation. In my opinion, Mr. Bachman owes Mr. Lo an apology.
- The episode makes a very clear point about the quality of written documents. No matter how well a document may be written (in the opinion of the author), its true test comes on how well it is perceived by the reader(s). Believe me, I know this first hand :o). Hypothetically, if a building code provision is written "well", then the intent of the provision will be correctly interpreted by the average person applying this code provision in their design. I am not going to debate the exact code provision for I have not spent nearly as much time studying the 1997 UBC as Mr. Lo (who admits he is not thoroughly comfortable with it yet) nor am I going to debate on who was right from a technical aspect. My point is that Mr. Bachman has missed the message in that the code provision is not well written if someone who has been designing tilt-up walls for 20 years has a difficult time interpreting it. What about the rest of us?
- The episode has also highlighted a disparity between those design professionals who design for a living and have to be accountable for construction costs as well as engineering budgets on a daily basis and those who write code provisions and work for large engineering companies with little accountability for construction costs and engineering budgets. Before the good folks at Flour Daniel "flame" me, when was the last time you had to answer a phone call from a client or contractor and have to explain why the building is now $20.50/SF instead of $20.00/SF or wrestle with a fee proposal which includes addressing code provisions that increase your engineering budget 20%? I'm certain Mr. Lo has to deal with both these issues on a weekly basis. IMHO, so should those who write code provisions.
- The more I see and hear about the 1997 UBC, the more I am convinced we have taken a step backwards in the development of design guidelines.
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