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Re: Question for East Coast Engineers

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Politics play and important role in the Building Code writing and enforcement
process. Some Developers and Contractors want to save money by eliminating the
Structural Engineer and simply submitting plans that conform to the
Conventional Framing Provisions of the UBC. Or even if it is not the money
part that matters, they may just believe that for simple jobs, Engineers are
not required. They think that the Code provisions are adequate.

With a strong and active influence, financial backing and political
connections, these Developers and Contractors will fight for retaining the
Coventional Framing Provisions in the Code. It would be hard for the
Engineering Community to beat these guys, even if we educate the homeowners
and general public on the danger of the current situation. Maybe in the long
run after a long, hard fought battle.

For the short term solution, we should just work for the improvement of the
Code provisions. We cannot make it perfect that all possible conditions will
be covered but we can try and do the best we can. We can add more or
clarifiying provisions that we feel are missing or not clear. Or we can
prepare a Commentary or Reference Manual that has more rafter, joist and beam
table for various conditions, sketches of structural connections for all
structural members, seismic and wind bracing details, etc. We distrubute them
to Building Departments so that un-Engineered Plans will have this Recommended
Details as part of the construction package.

For the long term solution, let's work on adding restrictions on when the
provisions are applicable. Hopefully, if only the very simple and small job
will qualify as an un-Engineered project, these guys will not object to
removing the provisions in the code if they cannot take full advantage of it
to save money.

We can discuss this issue for as long as we want but if nobody does anything
about it, nothing will happen. Let's do something about it.

Ernie Natividad