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1997 UBC, NEHRP, Committee Chairs, etc.

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As some of you on this list serve may know, I confess, I am the BSSC Technical Subcommittee - 13 "Nonbuilding Structures" humble chairman, ...chairman, ...chairman (simulated echo intended to evoke fear and loathing).

I was asked to get involved several years ago after I had a chat with Bob Bachman about the problems with the UBC and power plants, tanks, towers, and other stuff that was not a building.  I (as Bob) was in the trenches trying to use a code that was ill suited, but mandated, for use in these odd ball structures.  The BSSC Board of Direction decreed that there shall be a TS-13.  (So it was written ... so it was done).  And because I had been a bit vocal about the problem, I was asked to create and chair this group.

I assembled a team of engineers well aquatinted with the problems of using a building code on nonbuilding structures.  They were great.  I look to what they did as volunteers with pride.  They had a formidable task and they did a great job.  

Eventually the creation in the BSSC 1997 NEHRP effort trickled down and over to the UBC, and will be in the IBC.  The work of the others involved in the process was amazing.  Frankly I don't know when the volunteers are able to get any billable work done.  I was fortunate with a very capable group of volunteers which included Bob Bachman.

Bob was chair of TS 8 during the last PUC cycle, and was on my committee as an ex-officio member.  There is a lot of coordination required between our 2 committees.  Bob was a tireless worker in his efforts on the BSSC.  Bob once told me that the reason he spends the hours that he does is that it is a "labor of love".  Bob is totally committed to the profession of structural engineering.

I was not at the meeting in Orange County, so I can't address what happened there.  But I sincerely doubt that Mr. Bachman intended to be disruptive.

The incremental code changes witnessed as the UBC has evolved are a taste of the major changes that are in the 1997 NEHRP (hopefully it will be available soon).  As I found out as I worked on the Provisions Update Committee, the changes are fundamental and necessary.  But at the same time, the new Provisions will require a serious effort to learn new stuff.  It is acknowledged that there is still work to be done, the new Provisions are not perfect.

I, like most engineers, prefer to keep it simple and spend time on the details.  I am not a Ph.D.  I am a former iron worker, got hurt, and worked, studied and scrapped to become a structural engineer.  To vote for some of the changes was painful, but I felt it was necessary.  

I would welcome any help with the next update cycle, and I am open to suggestions for responsiveness.  Keeping it simple is what I and my more esteemed colleagues on the BSSC prefer to do.

Harold Sprague
Krawinkler, Luth & Assoc.
4412 W. Eisenhower Blvd.
Loveland, CO 80537
Voice: 970 667-2426
Fax: 970 667-2493
Email: hsprague(--nospam--at)