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Re: Questions about Residential design and 1997 UBC

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-----Original Message-----
From: Robert J Bossi, PE <rjbossi(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at) <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Date: Friday, October 02, 1998 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: Questions about Residential design and 1997 UBC


Dennis S. Wish PE wrote:

4. Prescriptive Residential Construction Vs New Design Standards -I feel that them as equivalent complying products.

It is true that conventionally framed buildings won't "calculate".  So what.  It is how they perform that counts.  Conventional construction has a long history of ........  

 .................................identify any areas where the answer is yes, then that is where the code need to be changed.   Anything else is regulation for regulation sake.

Remember, we can always add to the code to make construction more expensive but only at significant social costs.

Bob Bossi, PE
Past Chair, Conventional Construction Task Force


I too pay cognizance to the "where are the bodies ... etc" school of thought, however, with the very real increase in pressure, and liability, to be an "expert" in the any given structural situation, I am more and more returning to my previously discarded reasoning that, within reasonable accuracy, calculation must concur with "conventional", "gut-feel", "empirical", "experience", ... etc.  IMO it is no longer enough to say that "this is the way it's been since Adam was a cowboy and if it works don't mess with it ........ yada yada".  IMHO, as engineers, we should/must be able to align calculation with empirical.  Obviously the simpler a "unified" theory is the better.  Theories of relativity, gravitation etc are following these lines.

Is this not the basis of "scientific proof"?

Recently it was recognized that conventional trusses worked fine with allowable stress methods while it seemed that  Limit States Design indicated otherwise.  The discrepancy lies in the available fixities of the plate joints.  "Calculation" aligned with "experience".  Although a sample of 1 QED.

I am overjoyed that Dennis has initiated this (to me) very important discussion and that I am able to "listen in".  I wish that Canadian engineers will follow suit.

Thor A. Tandy   P.Eng,  MCSCE,  MIPENZ
Victoria, BC, Canada
e-mail: <vicpeng(--nospam--at)>