Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Before Frank Lew jumps up and says "where are the bodies", I must say that
it appears that, in a lot of cases, our designs are "competing" against the
Conventional Framing Provisions which of course, based on construction costs
alone, is a fight we cannot win. As I believe my friend Dennis Wish has been
attempting to point out is that, apparently, the Conventional Framing
Provisions were drafted at least 50 years ago and are currently being
extrapolated to apply to structures for which the original authors did not

Bill Allen

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Brown [mailto:mike.brown(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 1998 11:18 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Architects Doing Engineering -Enough!

Bill Allen wrote:

>If the true culprit is the Convention Framing Provisions, what we have here
>is a case of a simplified method (which costs less in terms of man hours)
>being the least restrictive. This application is a true gift for the
>untrained designer (and building official) who unknowingly subscribes to
>concept of "ignorance is bliss".

I believe the above statement is 100% true.  The simplest portion of the
code to follow should not be liberal, it should be highly conservative.  If
structural calculations are being more restrictive as compared to
"conventional construction," then either the conventional construction
method is way under designed or our structural calculations and details are
over designed.  What's the structural history for structures built using the
conventional construction provisions?  If there are a lot of failures, then
we have a good argument for making this section of the code much more

I can tell you this much, if I were a developer, I would definitely use the
conventional construction provisions of the code rather than hire a
structural engineer.  Lets face it, not only are the construction costs less
(the money adds up when more than one structure is being built), but I
wouldn't have to pay an engineer and therefore put more money in my pocket.
The majority of the people are driven by greed and if something is socially
acceptable, I.e. building unsafe structures that abide by the code, then
their conscience will be clear.

Bottom line, we as engineers need to prove to the governing bodies that the
conventional construction practices are unsafe by supplying statistical
backgrounds of common failures due to following this practice.  Once this is
accomplished, the conventional construction shall be re-written to be highly
conservative as to reduce failures.  Then if the developer/owner wants to
try and save some construction dollars, an engineer who understands load
paths can be hired to provide accurate engineering.

On the other side of the coin, if there are no more failures due to
conventional construction as compared to structures that have been
engineered, then maybe we are being too conservative.  But, I highly doubt
that this is the case.

Just couldn't resist and had to throw my 2 cents in.

Mike Brown, P.E.