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Re: Residential Engineers and Architects Council on Housing

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At 08:28 PM 9/15/98 -0700, Dennis Wish wrote:     [my replies indented]
>I have been in contact with a representative of the NAHB who is discussing
>the creation of a new association - Residential Engineers and Architects
>Council on Housing. I have been asked to be a part of the creation of this
>organization with the hopes of bridging the gap that exists between
>Architects, Engineers and Home Builders. It is intended to find a common
>ground where discussions and goals can be set that may ultimately create new
>standards improve the quality of home construction.

        Admirable purposes. I don't know why there should be any gap, or
lack of common ground, or antagonism among Architects, Engineers and Home
Builders. The Council idea seems splendid.

>It was evident from my conversations that NAHB understands the problems
>associated with conventional construction, but has not looked into the issue
>from an engineering position. Conversely, I discovered the process from
>permit issuance to inspection that is used in other area's of the country
>and which lends itself to many discontinuities between the professions that
>lead to quality failures.

>NAHB is considering starting a listservice for Architects, Engineers and
>Builders to discuss these issues and to try and work out a solution that
>will improve construction quality and define the rolls that each profession
>plays from design to finish.

        Good idea. 
>
>I feel that SEAint is in a position to help establish this listservice. I
>think it is in keeping with our goals to help unite those professionals in
>the building industry. Here are some questions I'd like to pose and get your
>opinions about:
>
>1. Is it appropriate to open our present list to Architects and
>non-professionals in the building industry who wish to participate in
>discussions related to construction (any type of construction)?

        I hadn't ever suspected that these participants and this type of
topic were not already welcome.(Especially compared to political opinion
eruptions.) But the identity of our list's sponsor --a SE Association-- may
chill rather than encourage participation by non-engineers in the
homebuilding business, in which SE participation is rather spotty.
>
>2. Should SEAint work with NAHB on establishing a web and listservice
>presence so that we can keep issues that involve engineering closer to home?

        What do you mean by "keep issues that involve engineering closer to
home"?  If this means to ride herd on the dialog or control things, it might
not be helpful in closing that gap you alluded to.

>
>3. The problems we have discussed with conventional framing are due, in
>part, to the lack of voting power on the floor of ICBO. NAHB is a political
>organization with clout. The NAHB prepared the research work for AISI which
>was adopted as the Cold-form Steel design section of the '97 UBC. This was
>done with the help of LGSEA but was organized by NAHB. It seems important to
>me, should we be able to propose revised prescriptive codes that we have the
>support of NAHB who is closely linked to other building associations as well
>as the AIA. Because of this, should SEAint take an active interest in the
>work done by this organization?
>
        It's hard to answer this one without buying into all the premises in
the preamble. Regardless of that, it is a good idea to get along with NAHB
if interested in influencing the engineering of homes. But is SEAint an
entity that can interact in that way, or is it a device for facilitating
communication without having a mind or position of its own?

>These are some of the questions I think we need to address. As of this time,
>our list is technically oriented from and engineering point of view. Are we
>receptive to these types of changes or should we be considering enlarging
>our scope to include other lists?

        Nothing prevents questions and commentary at present on engineering
with respect to houses. We have ratioed shear walls, harrangued conventional
construction, lamented BORPELS prosecutions, and been challenged to count
the bodies. You aren't looking for questions on wiring and doorknobs, are you? 
        Perhaps someone else should be the host if everything of interest to
the world of NAHB is to be covered. Above, you say that NAHB is considering
starting a listservice. Help them start it. Advertise it in SEAint. Then
don't mess with it. Look what happened when others messed with this list.

Charles O. Greenlaw, SE    Sacramento  CA