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Re: ICBO California Legislative Alert

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I'm with Fountain Connor and Roger Turk. There is excessive and unnecessary
complexity added in each successive edition of code, there is increasing and
unresolved ambiguity, and there appears to be an ever-growing hasty, remote,
cocksure and yet unvalidated nature to the deliberations.

Another commenter usefully asks, "where are the bodies?"  Mr Conner already
answered: IT'S THE ENGINEERS' BODIES... Engineers whose small jobs
--residential and storefront commercial-- are ensnared in the tangled web of
obtuse code provisions that mis-fit the situation... Engineers whose work is
closest to the layperson consumer property owner, not the engineers who
populate the codewriting committees and whose professional work is so much
better sheltered from legal attacks of both kinds: Attacks to recover money,
and attacks to revoke licenses.  

Congress gave small-time taxpayers several choices in short-form tax
preparation formats. Who will allow us "Seismic E-Z"?  Not our own kind, no
sir. 

Then there is Rick Drake's clearly sincere and not incorrect answer, which
concludes,
>     The IBC process has been an open process.  Any interested party could 
>     have obtained a free copy of each draft from ICBO (and probably the 
>     other model code organizations also).  The drafts had clear procedures 
>     for submitting proposals.  Those of us who submitted proposals were 
>     sent a copy of all proposals and were invited to participate in the 
>     approval meetings.  The process for IBC changes appears to be every 
>     bit as slow and deliberate as the UBC code process.
>     
>     If we don't like the 1997 UBC or 2000 IBC, maybe it's because we chose 
>     not to participate in the process.

I'm sorry, but even if this be 100 percent true, it is still a "Let them eat
cake" answer. It is lame, evasive, self-justifying, and ignores the reality
that an individual virtually has to make a passionate career of code work to
have significant effect on code detail, let alone code direction. I am on my
local SEAOC section's Code committee. This committee's influence lately is
nil, and its members share my frustration. I have submitted code change
proposals on my own, and duly received my copy of all proposals and the
Final Draft. Participate in the "approval meetings"? Sure. Fly across the
country for 30 seconds argument against the prestige of SEAOC and NEHRP?
But if you don't your proposal is ignored out of hand.

Avenues for dissent have just about been eradicated within SEAOC, due to the
success they had when occasionally used. One Regional Section of the four
could thwart any new code provision. Been in on it myself, twice. A coerced
Bylaws change appears to have ended that mechanism. It is hard to know for
sure, because of the careful way all notice of controversy is vetted from
official SEAOC communications to the rank and file. 

What membership benefits remain now? And what else can NEHRP and FEMA
provide? I already keep the IBC 2000 Final Draft (and 1955 and 1991 UBC's
for comparison) on display where I meet with clients, and I let them
consider the "gravity" of what's coming. What's left but to give out SEAOC,
NEHRP, and FEMA crying towels? 

Charles O. Greenlaw, SE   Sacramento CA
----------------------------------------

Fountain Connor wrote:

>I have to echo Roger's sentiments on the IBC.  I got a copy of the "Final
>Draft" of the IBC.  I am reluctant to read any document that I can't lift. 
>From the comments I'm seeing on UBC '97 seismic provisions, I wonder if
>anyone can "get it right".
>
>Is there any hope of "progressing toward the past"?  Even tho' we can
>generate numbers to incredible precision, are we really getting a better
>design -- especially when we are trying to hit a moving target?  Could it
>be that "best available technology" is no better than slide-rule-accuracy?
>
>I confidently predict a field day for attorneys, and foul weather for
>engineers.
>
>My 2 cents,
>
>Fountain E. Conner, P.E.
>Gulf Breeze, Fl. 32561