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RE: Question for East Coast Engineers

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Thanks for posting this to the list. This needed to be stated for
clarification that it may not be our profession at fault (as many of us
believe) but the politics from outside that controls. I realize that we have
a small vote, but we need to create a snowball and get it rolling downhill.
It would seem to me that the Insurance industry can provide the financial
stimulus that might be necessary to show that damage has as much an effect
upon the public as structural failure. How many live in damaged homes
because they can not afford the repair? How many walk away from their
investment because they can not afford repair? How many file bankruptcy
because they can not meet the added stress of repayment loans? How does this
affect the values of properties in communities where homes are left to
Rick, as the IBC comes closest to being an acceptable specification for
Conventional Framing as far as I am concerned. Still, there is no way to
enforce Developers or Contractors to display competency in this area. I have
also stated that buyer is the one who suffers since there is no disclosure
law as to the performance rating of one building over another.
These facts, if supported by organizations such as SEAOC can help create new
legislation to protect the homeowner and potential buyer. I don't seem to be
able to get this off the ground and feel as though my efforts are swept
under the rug. Furthermore, I feel that those who can change or at least
help to initiate change consider me simply a loudmouth and trouble maker -
or simply don't feel that this is a problem.
The '97 UBC begins to define the intent of the code by adding, in addition
to life safety, the intention to design without structural Failure. This is
not enough. Simply put, the codes have been concerned with where we work,
play and assemble, but not where we live (unless it is a high occupancy
building). But a very large percentage of the population of this country are
in Single Family Residences. Just because these are traditionally
constructed structures does not mean they should be neglected. I think that
most will agree that in the past when labor was affordable and material
costs had not skyrocket to what the market will bear, builders constructed
better quality homes. We have cut the fat from every part of our lives
including our buildings and homes. This places the SFR on a performance
line. One side heavy damage, the other much less. Engineers and homeowners
need to define which side of the line to live on - not developers. How may
developers are still around ten years after the fact?
I could go on and on. You know I'm passionate on this subject. I spend my
life building and repairing single family homes. I like this part of
engineering more than commercial and industrial, retrofit or multi-family
buildings. I feel that the homeowner needs to be represented by our
community so that they don't think we are around to pick up the pieces after
a disaster and line our pockets in the process.

Help me to make this an issue that SEOAC and other engineering organizations
will take seriously enough to publicly take a stand on. I'm sure that the
Insurance industry would be happy to work with SEAOC in an effort to reduce
their liability.

Thanks for the support

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard_Ranous/OES(--nospam--at)
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 1998 7:58 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Question for East Coast Engineers


On the issue of professionals allowing the codes to be passed, you need to
realize the we do not get to vote on the issues.  We can address and
discuss them before the voting members, but that is all.  One of the main
reasons that these provisions do not change, or change very little, is the
fact that we cannot show examples of catastrophic failures.  The closest we
have come has been damage from Northridge.

The National Association of Home Builders have been very successful in
keeping significant changes from being approved on the basis of "show me
examples," and the "unwarranted additional cost to homes."

Keep on the bandwagon, eventually we will prevail and convince those who
need to be convinced that we are saving money in the long run by reducing
the potential for severely impacting a family when their home is badly
damaged and not habitable.