Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

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

RE: Tangshen - My last word

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
Alright, I give up. For one last time - Work from the bottom up, not the
legislature down. How do you expect "the people" to vote on legislation to
protect them if they do not know that they are at risk?
The engineering community establishes the methodologies based upon what we
professionally perceive as a problem that needs a resolution. The
engineering community chooses or tried to find a member of legislature to
foster the bill so that it can be voted on by the public.
Rather than debate the politics of creating safe measures, let me ask you a
simple question or two:
1) Is the Conventional Framing section of the Code complete? Does it contain
every provision for a layperson such as a contractor or owner/builder to
adequately construct a home?
2) If it does, who designs the headers? Is there a table that dictates the
minimum header size to width of opening?
3) Do you believe that any family purchasing a new home is aware that there
is a difference in performance between a conventionally framed home and one
designed by engineered provisions? Simpler - Do you believe that the public
even knows that homes can be built without a professional involved?
4) Do you feel that the potential buyer of this home has a right to know if
his home will perform comparably to a minimally engineered home?
5) Do you believe that apartment buildings with known cripple wall
deficiencies should be protected from disclosure?
6) Who actually reads the Conventional Framing section of the code and who
is responsible to relay it to the owner/builder wishing to use it?
7) Who becomes responsible for damage incurred from omissions in the code?
8) Name a residential contractor or non-licensed designer that owns a copy
of the code and has read the Conventional Framing section? (alright, I'm
being cynical here).
With this said, I am withdrawing from this conversation. Yes, I'm head
strong on this issue because I work in residential construction almost
exclusively. I get to see the abuses and even get paid to fix some of them.
I am not suggesting that I need or want any additional work from this. I am
clearly stating that I know of the deficiencies and that they are currently
protected by code and abused by builders. I am in full favor of any
prescriptive method that will provide adequate assurance to the home owner
that his investment will perform at least to a standard that is equivalent
to a minimum engineered solution.
John Rose wrote: "Dennis, I believe the answers to your questions about an
engineered approach to conventional construction are covered in the Wood
Frame Construction Manual (WFCM) published by the American Forest and Paper
Assn. (AF&PA) in Washington, DC.  It has both engineered and prescriptive
provisions, and all framing, connections, shear wall and truss hold-downs,
etc. are covered based on a complete computer-engineered analysis for
residential buildings of all
configurations up to a fairly large size.  The manual covers high wind
and Seismic Zones 0-4.  And yes, there were a few surprises along the way.
believe this manual is being used for conventional construction upgrades for
IRC.  NAHB Research Center is also well aware of this manual.
John Rose/APA, Tacoma"
Therefore, the final question is; Why are we not using or at least
referencing the WFCM rather than a poorly completed UBC prescriptive

I'm sure you will all be pleased to know that I won't pursue this any
longer. If the community as a whole is happy with the provisions of the
code - then I guess there is not much left for me to do.

Dennis Wish PE

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert J Bossi [mailto:rjbossi(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 8:58 AM
To: seaoc(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Tangshen - Response to Frank Lew

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
> protect building owners from unnecessary financial devastation.

Wait a minute Dennis.  What do you mean "We"?  This is a policy not a
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
an  important role and obligation in forming public policy by providing
appropriate and cost effective technical standards, the decision to
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
changes - like insurance.  The National Flood Insurance Program is an
If the only alternative is, in your opinion, to make buildings "earthquake
proof"  then we might as well add tornado-proof, hurricane-proof and
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
have been carefully studied.

Bob Bossi