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RE: I Agree with Fred !

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At 15:47 5/27/98 -0700, Bill Allen, S.E. wrote:
>Try some REAL engineering like a custom home in So. Cal. (apparently my
>colleagues in No. Cal don't do many custom homes) where no walls stack, all
>the exterior is glass, the owner is personally involved and the contractor
>doesn't have a clue or desire about how to read plans.
>Bill Allen

[Bill Cain]  Although we are not as verbal as our SoCal bretheren, you just
described the typical Northern California custom home project.  In Northern
California you can also add the desire by many architects to have cathedral
ceilings with no means of support (they want to do it using the existing
rafters by simply removing the ceiling joists and hanging rock on the bottom
the rafters and have already promised the owner it can be done at little cost
and of course "why would anyone need any holddowns.  Aren't they just in the 
way?"  And "why can't I land a post (carrying 6 to 7K ) on a 4" thick
concrete patio slab?  There are no cracks anywhere."  Sound familiar?  I 
suspect our experiences (NoCal & SoCall) are quite similar.  

I haven't responded during the architects doing engineering and
conventional construction threads as you've done a masterful job of telling
it like it is.  While Frank Lew is right to ask the question: "Where are
the bodies" to frame the discussion, more and more, I'm hearing from owners
who understand the building code is a minimum, want a performance level
above just "life safety" and are willing to pay significant construction
costs to achieve it.  The 1990 projections by USGS of at least a 28%
probability of a Magnitude 7 on the Northern Segment of the Hayward Fault
by 2020 may have a lot to do with it (And from what I hear about the work
of the Working Group on Earthquake Probabilities, these projections will
probably go up significantly when they release their report on the 10th
Anniversary of the Loma Prieta EQ (Oct. 17, 1999)).  

The only apparent difference I see between north and south is that I think
our building officials tend to support the engineer a little more than
yours do from the discussions I've read.  If they are not sure if something 
is conventional construction or not they tend to require that engineering be