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Re: Tangshen - Response to Frank Lew

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I think we, as engineers, should educate the public on what they are
getting by buying a house that conformed to present Codes which only
address life-safety but not property damage or business interruption as
most layperson expected.  The Code should be modified to include control
on property damage as an option, similar to performance based design,
but that option should be determined by the buyers, meaning the public
not the designers, builders, government elected officials or insurance
co.  we do not necessarily have to go to the extreme of making it
"earthquake proof", which in my opinion, will not be possible.  However,
by adding a few holdowns and a couple feet of shear walls at the front
of the garage, etc. will not have significant cost-impact to the buyers
and the buyers should have the right to make that decisions not the
engineers, builders or government elected officials, etc. 

I suggested that some sort of ratings on the structural performance be
imposed on the buildings, similar to the A, B, C ratings of the
restaurants in California. That rating should be part of public records
and can be upgraded and changed once the owners upgrade the properties. 
In that way, the buyers know what they are getting and the insurance co.
know what they are insuring.  The builders can build whatever the market
demands, whether it's A, B or C.  The definition of the rating should be
clearly stated in the property profile and title report.

Robert J Bossi wrote:
> Dennis S. Wish wrote:
> >  My point was ecconomics - not life safety. Before
> > you jump on the "Code only protects life" bandwagon - I'm saying that this
> > is wrong and needs to be changed - period. We need to expand our preamble to
> > protect building owners from unnecessary financial devastation.
> Wait a minute Dennis.  What do you mean "We"?  This is a policy not a technical
> issue.  In our form of government policy decisions are made by our elected
> officials or by the people themselves at the ballot box.  While engineers have
> an  important role and obligation in forming public policy by providing
> appropriate and cost effective technical standards, the decision to implement
> them when the issue is economics should be made by the people who will bear
> their cost.  There are certainly practical non technical alternatives to code
> changes - like insurance.  The National Flood Insurance Program is an example.
> If the only alternative is, in your opinion, to make buildings "earthquake
> proof"  then we might as well add tornado-proof, hurricane-proof and fire-proof
> as well.  The result; the best damned houses no one can afford to buy.
> "We" should not jump into dictating economic policy until the costs and benefits
> have been carefully studied.
> Bob Bossi
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