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Re: FEMA 310, Handbook for the Seismic Evaluation of Buildings --A Prestandard.

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You are not alone in your concerns.  It has been my experience lately that any doucment dealing with evaluating exisiting buildings, especially in relation to seismic, which is being sponsored by FEMA is having similar problems.  My direct experience relates to the new (still draft ATC-43).

I am beginning to believe that FEMA is trying to get their positions in print in publications such as these so they can use the document to justify levels of disaster assistance they provide.  It will be very easy for them to reduce funding and deny appeals by stating that the proposed work, or the condition of the building, does not conform to FEMA 310, ATC-43, or others.  When challenged that the doucment is not a code or a standard, FEMA's reply will be that the document represents the consensus of the engineering community.

My recommendation Frank, is to continue keeping the community informed of these situations.  In many ways we are being USED by FEMA to justify their desire to tell us how to repair and evaluate structures.  Keep up the good work and stay involved with these panels.  It is the only way we can keep informed about what FEMA is doing.

Rick Ranous, SE
California State--Emergency Services

FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at) wrote:

Dear Colleagues,

If you like FEMA 178, 1992, you will love FEMA 310, "Handbook for the Seismic
Evaluation of Buildings -- A Prestandard" prepared by the American Society of
Civil Engineers for Federal Emergency Management Agency.

To obtain your free copy call FEMA Distribution Facility at 1-800-480-2520.

Please look at Section 3.7.16, General Basic Structural Checklist, page 3-113,
in particular the evaluation statements for TRANSFER TO SHEAR WALLS, TRANSFER

I would appreciate your comments on these evaluation statements and other
aspects of  FEMA 310 sent to me at my email address: FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)

I served as a member of the Project Steering Committee for FEMA 310 and wrote
the Chair of the FEMA 310 Project Steering Committee many letters - which were
never answered - pointing out the problems with the above evaluation
statements and other evaluation statements in FEMA 310.  I am getting tired
serving on project steering committees where my comments are not given proper
consideration.  One might conclude that the project managers are just using
our names to provide some sort of assurance that the document must be
acceptable because so and so was on the the project steering committee.

As a member of ASCE since 1941, I am somewhat amazed that ASCE would
prematurely lend it good name to FEMA 310, even though the title "Handbook for
the Seismic Evaluation of Buildings -- A Prestandard" states it is a
"Prestandard" , without FEMA 310 first going through the ASCE Standards
Program process.

For FEMA to authorize the release of FEMA 310 without it going through the
ASCE Standards Program is similar to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
giving approval for the use of a drug without proper testing and evaluation.

Look forward to your comments to FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)

Frank E. McClure   FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)
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