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Re: Repair Standards before the next one...

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Its been a healthy discussion on this issue of the need for repair standards
Rick, Bob, Brian, Tim, Dennis and Tom. Thanks!

As with most policy considerations, we can rarely expect unanimous support for
any one alternative. 

On the one hand, California has a strong local/weak state system of building
codes and enforcement and there is a large constituency that would like to
protect the rights of local governments to determine their own regulations.
Bob Bossi spoke on their behalf well. Those local governments that are willing
to take the time to tweak the code should probably be allowed to within limits
provided that special interests don't unduly compromise safety. 

On the other hand, there are considerable numbers of design professionals and
building officials that demand code uniformity. Its just plain easier to apply
and enforce even if its crude and unfair to some.

All 700 plus local, state and special agencies are exposed to a significant
FEMA policy change unless they take an action soon. FEMA will not reimburse
for many repairs unless local, state, and special agencies adopt a repair code
prior to disasters. Perhaps there is a way to help all these agencies protect
their interests by considering a single action at the state level that effects
them all, and by still allowing local or special agency amendments at the
discretion of City Councils, Boards of Directors/Supervisors, etc. 

Aren't even interim codes (like the first Riley Act in 1933) better than no
code at all? Won't more widespread use of App. Ch. 34 accelerate its
improvement? In the past, only a relative handful of local governments take
the time and have the staff and technical appointees to consider major
amendments to building codes. San Francisco is one of them where Bob Bossi has
considerable experience. Most local governments don't even bother to take up
City Council time with these relatively arcane, difficult-to-understand

I understand that ATC 43 has been getting some criticism from the current
SEAOC Seismology Committee. Has anyone been following this line of arguments?

To sum it up, I visualize four choices so far: 

1) Take an action soon at the state level that effects all occupancies with
some wiggle room for the Bossi clans, and prevent the future loss of FEMA
disaster assistance. Then plan on updating App. Ch. 34 at some later date once
consensus is achieved about better repair triggers. 

2) Delay an action at the state level until such time that App. Ch. 34 can be
amended to please the likes of Kehoe, et al. This could take a while
considering the full agenda of the ICC and SEAOC in the next cycle. Perhaps
this could include some politically correct committee as proposed by Greenlaw.
But this could expose us to a disaster or two in the interim where FEMA can
play grinch. With Clinton in office, this may not be such a great risk since
Presidents need California to win and they can't resist giving out money after
disasters; or

3) Do nothing at the state level and encourage each local govt, state and
special agency board/council to consider adopting their own repair code. This
is much like option 4 since most local governments could care less about this
subject until after it happens to them, and there are far too many of them to
approach in any systematic manner; or

4) Do nothing, which sounds like no one except the unknowing might desire. 

Can you visualize any other options? 
Is there a way to meet the needs of most everyone? Hope to hear from you

Fred Turner
Staff Structural Engineer
Ca. Seismic Safety Commission
1900 K St. #100 Sacramento, CA 95814
916-327-1606 916-322-9476 Fax