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RE: Question for East Coast Engineers

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Now we agree. I thank Rick Raneous for his explanation of "engineers full
employment" and it goes to the root of Ernie's suggestion. I too agree that
certain buildings should be designed by prescriptive buildings. I don't
agree with the wide latitude that the Conventional framing section allows
since there is too much interpretation for creative design that can cause
inadequate details.
What it boils down to is that the prescriptive measures need to be narrowed
down to allow for specific building conditions that do not create
discontinuities in load path connections. Ernie points out some of these
issues including re-entrant corners. As long as there is no irregularity in
the shape that places shear resisting elements out of alignment either
horizontally or vertically there is no restriction as to who can design.
However, the UBC does not address drag connections to re-entrant corners,
nor does it provide adequate shear restraint for "L" shaped building at the
re-entrant corner. I does not provide a prescriptive measure for the design
of headers. And so forth.
This leads to the next question (no your not being baited).
The code does allow an engineer or architect to design elements of a
building. Who is liable if the building is damaged and failure of a member
designed by the engineer results from failure of another member not designed
by the engineer (a shearwall failure leading to a beam or header failure?
Who protects the engineer as he is pulled into court as a cross-complainant?
How does an engineer design an element of a building that he knows does not
come up to compliance with provisions of the code he is normally required to
comply with?

Ernie hit it on the nose. If you are going to provide a prescriptive method,
then you need to provide a specific definition of what conforms to this
method. You must also provide complete prescriptive tables so that engineers
are not forced to compromise their engineering judgment by being forced to
design only elements of the building.
Finally, the public needs to know how their product will perform compared to
other methods used in the design of comparably priced structures.

-----Original Message-----
From: ErnieNSE [mailto:ErnieNSE(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, May 07, 1998 3:01 PM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Question for East Coast Engineers

I still believe that there are some buildings which can be built using the
Conventional Framing Provisions of the UBC. We just need to add a few more
provisions like header table, interior wall bracing connections to roof
diaphragm, seimic ties, straps, drags at discontinuities and re-entrant
corners, etc. We may also need to clarify some of the provisions by drawing
detail sketches simple and clear enough for  contractor or layman to
understand and build.. We also have to be very clear on what type of
are within the scope of these provisions. Any building that does not qualify
must be partially or fully "engineered".

Ernie Natividad