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RE: Liability - Less than minimum code standard

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As far as the building code enforcement aspect of this is concerned, the
building official can make modifications to the strict letter of the code
per section 104.2.7 of the UBC. For example, in the particular case of
diaphragm rigidity assessment, if it is determined by the building official
that plywood diaphragms in certain types of light frame wood construction
generally behave as flexible diaphragms, he/she can generate an internal
policy that would allow this, without asking the designer to go through a
rigorous exercise to prove this on every occasion. On cases that he/she
feels that calculations are necessary the engineer may still be required to
provide them per letter of the code.

This can also happen on a regional basis. For example a group of building
officials in a region can decide to adopt a policy after due consideration
and consultation with applicable authorities (i.e. ICBO, SEAOC, etc.). This
is a much more flexible and expedient way of handling issues in the interim
compared to going to the code development process.

I still think the code development process is the proper way of addressing
this, but in many cases it may take years to bring a much-needed change to
fruition. 

Ben Yousefi

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	Ron O. Hamburger [SMTP:ROH(--nospam--at)eqe.com]
	Sent:	Thursday, May 06, 1999 3:01 PM
	To:	seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
	Cc:	seaocboard(--nospam--at)seaint.org
	Subject:	Re: Liability - Less than minimum code standard





	Dennis Wish wrote:
	An interesting conversation ensued this morning when I discussed the
new
	wood
	frame requirements in the 97UBC with an engineer in my area who is
	adamantly
	against some of the provisions. It is our belief that the engineers
in our
	area which services over 100,000 people would agree with our
position as
	well as those discussed on the SEAINT List. My friend explained to
me that
	this can be discussed with the local
	building officials in order to pass local ordinances that adopt a
lesser
	standard for design. This would require seeking local city council
	approvals
	which might be easier than working in a larger municipality such as
Los
	Angeles. How liable would we professionals be to adopt a measure
that is
	less than
	that indicated in the published code? Would this liability extend to
the
	local building official and city if the local city council adopted
the
	measure?


	Dennis -

	In California, you and any municipalities you wish to adopt such
	ordinances, are legally precluded from doing this.  A few years ago,
the
	California legislature (with the signature of the governor) put into
law a
	requirement that all Cities and Counties within California adopt as
a
	MINIMUM  standard the same model building code as adopted by the
State into
	the California Code of Regulations. This must happen within 6 months
of
	adoption of the code, by the State.  This means that this June,
every City
	and County must adopt the 1997 UBC.  They can adopt something more
	restrictive, but not less.


	What steps would we need to plead our case and is this a valid way
to
	attack
	those provisions in the code that we feel are excessive while
working with
	SEA and ICBO to revise them in future code publications.

	Your best bet (despite the need to do this face to face rather than
	electronically) is to present your case to the SEAOC Seismology
Committee
	or the SEAOC Code Committee.  Perhaps, if you are persuasive, they
can work
	with ICBO to put forward some sort of modification or supplement.


	Does the SEAOSC board and the SEAOC board (or BORPEL) perceive the
existing
	noncompliance by the professional community as a potential liability
and
	are
	they willing to address this issue publicly to help alleviate the
potential
	liability leading to a rise of frivolous law suits?

	Intentional non-compliance is clearly a potential liability for
those who
	choose to do it.  As a member of the SEAOC board, I would request
that you
	work your issue through the aforementioned committees.  If they
advise the
	Board that you have a valid point, and recommend action by the
Board, this
	will occur.