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RE: Question for East Coast Engineers

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Dear Dennis,

I am amazed at what you have created with this thread.  Congratulations.

There are two sides to statistics that where you consider what are the odds
of being gunned down.  (low there are 250 million americans) as against the
odds of 1 person being gunned down.  Its not tragic except if you are the
one.  As majority rules obviously he/she doesn't count and no longer votes.

I think this is what Ms Streisand is getting at.  I think the first person
to bring it up stopped a women being stoned in the Middle East for adultry.
Of course the rulers at the time thought it perfectly reasonable punishment.
Funny that.

Of course one could argue that sesimic statistics are along similar lines. 

If we look not at the chance of an earthquake at Point A but all of the USA.
Then according to Gutenberg statitics one should get a 6.75 or greater event
once in 500 recorded events above 3.75 (Richters 1956 book).

The USGS has recorded 7 earthquakes in the USA since 18 March 1998.  (I'm
not going further back cause I did it for last year and these are about
right to illustrate a point.)

Hence there is one earthquake above 3.75 approxoametly once in 10 days. (2
were less than this value.)

Allowing for  a short database lets set the upper limit at 20 days.  This
means that a 6.75 event will occur in the US every 13 to 27 years.  (Seems
reasonable as a guide, there have been about 4 of these events in Australia
in last 40 years Australia overall about same as Eastern US.)

A 5.75 will occur every 1.7 to 3.4 years.   (Could be a bit low)

If we assume a one to one relationship between west coast earthquakes and
east coast, pick Cal border as split. 

If we assume as they did for the LAMB project that 12 to 16 states will be
affected by 6.75 event 

 If we assume the LAMB results you will be affected in your state by a 6.75
in some other state on average every 75 to 150 years.  But remember 12
states will be affected simulateously.(20 percent of the US.)

For 5.75 affecting only one state return period is 80 to 160 years.

Ah the consequences.  Assuming the US brick and construction on the east
coast is as poor or good or ranges as for Australia a 5.75 will probably
kill 20 people if hits a city of 0.5 Million. (Newcastle had 13 dead)  if we
look at 6.75 and use Spitak and assume same problem on the East Coast death
count could be (pick a number from a thousand to a million.)
Remember they all die at once.  Some slow deaths.  Lot of buried people.
Who digs them out.  I believe they call it triage and how many spare
hospital beds do you have and who pays.

Then again one can not worry about it, like your NY Governor doesn't, if you
are interested in commercial aspects.

There is an upside fees go up becasue of the lack of engineers.  Lots of law
suits.  plenty of work.

Of course bit hard to bury the kids if they unlucky enough to be standing
under an awning.  (Best friend pulled his 7 yr old out from under an awning
just before it hit ground.)  Then again the NY Gov not care cause they not

Ah and the best fun working in damage masonry.  Falling bricks are great
levelers of society, standing on top of old elevator shafts great fun.  

Simply food for thought.  Dennis,

PERSONAL OPINION FOR DENNIS :: Structural ENgineers do not get involved
enough in society and decision making and they rule for becoming a person
who can sign plans are to weak in most societies.


At 20:12 6/05/98 -0700, you wrote:
>I agree, I think we touched on a common thread. Here is the next question.
>It's a loaded one that I hope will bring the issue of Conventional Framing
>to a national awareness rather than one which, up until today, has been very
>much a California issue on my part.
>There are many who responded and who feel that there are definite problems
>related with allowing an Architect or Contractor to design by standards that
>are incomplete, non-existent (as the case of UBC headers) or have lead to
>potential construction related problems (other than the obvious total
>failure or loss of life). Why, as a community of professional engineers, do
>we allow the passage of codes that promote the use of something that we feel
>is inferior? Do most of us not want to design small residential (or even
>massive custom homes for that matter) or is the general consensus that there
>is no sufficient evidence of loss of life or structural failures as defined
>by the code?
>What will be the requirement once a national code (or in the case of the
>person from Guam who responded) or international code is adopted? Will every
>jurisdiction be required to comply in the same manner?
>Before I get flamed by those who know I have a personal crusade against the
>conventional framing section of the code, let me say one more thing. I have
>reviewed the '97 UBC and am appalled by the Conventional framing section of
>this code. It is, IMO, much less restrictive and therefore potentially
>hazardous than prior codes. On the other hand, I have reviewed the first
>draft of the IBC and found that it is superior to past codes inasmuch as it
>attempts to make some clear definitions of conventional framing.
>My problem with the code is not one that requires the abolition of it, but
>one that requires stricter measures and effective enforcement.
>Therefore, where do we go to voice our concerns? Do we voice our concerns as
>a consensus of those who agree that there are too many problems with this
>section of the code that prevent equality with other sections of the code.
>With this said, is it not unreasonable to assume that the ones to gain the
>most from Conventional framing are those who profit the greatest from it's
>use - the developer? And, is it not unreasonable to expect that the
>potential homeowner know what level of performance his/her building was
>designed to?
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Lew Midlam [mailto:Lew.Midlam(--nospam--at)]
>Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 1998 6:07 PM
>To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
>Subject: Re: Question for East Coast Engineers
>This thread seems to have brought out a few lurkers.  I see a few new names.
>*I* didn't realize that there were so many non-CA subscribers.  Glad to have
>y'all join in.