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RE: AISC EDI Standard

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You are correct.  It is going to be an uphill battle.  However, the adoption
of an EDI standard for the exchange of structural steel project
information - covering all phases from the conceptual phase through the
erection phase - offers great potential to the entire structural steel
industry.  It is encouraging that the larger engineering firms, such as
Fluor Daniels, Black and Veatch and Bechtel have already made great headway
in the direction of the implementation of EDI of project information.
Several fabrication businesses throughout the U.S. have already adopted the
EDI of project information to some degree.  The prospect of selecting a
standard, eventually, will create new markets to accommodate all sizes of
engineering, architectural, fabrication, etc... firms.  Therefore, in time,
similar to the pricing of computer hardware, competition between software
development firms will drive the pricing of the EDI translators down,
therefore making this an economical solution for all firms, independent of
size.  The benefits of adapting and using and EDI standard to the structural
steel industry are obvious - reduction in project schedule time, reduction
in duplication of efforts, possible alleviation of AutoCAD design drawings,
interactive access to current project status, etc...

Time will tell.


Steven E. Hamburg, P. E.
Software/Electronic Communication Director
American Institute of Steel Construction

e-mail:  hamburg(--nospam--at)
fax:  (312) 670-5403

-----Original Message-----
From:	Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Friday, July 31, 1998 8:53 AM
To:	SEAOC Newsletter
Subject:	Re: AISC EDI Standard

>I recently received a notice that AISC is looking to establish an
>data interchange standard" for structural steel project information.
On the face of it, a great thing, but you could say the same thing about
IGES and ISO. Some people use them and some don't, as practicable and
convenient. I love the idea of one universal standard format that will
make data interchange seamless and transparent across political
boundaries, computer software and platforms, but US engineers have proved
hard to wean away from 'what's always worked.' I hear that even LRFD is
having a tough time being accepted, even though it's so good that a lot
of people really can't say how good it is (sorry...won't happen again ;->

Point is that economic clout is the only thing that makes these things
fly. .dwg files are the standard for CAD only because AutoCAD has so much
of the market. Same for Adobe PostScript. Used to be the case for .wks
files with spreadsheets before Lotus and Excel went head to head. The US
still uses inch standard pipes and rolled shapes and fasteners and cotter
pins, because the economic impact is too great to change. Remember our
flitation with the metric system during the Reagan years? The only change
left is whiskey by the liter, I suspect because a liter is less whiskey
than a fifth and sells for the same price. If the AISC standard can
convince bean counters (techno-bean counters, too) of an improvement in
next quarter's earnings, it'll be on like a flash. Otherwise it's going
to be a long uphill battle.

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)