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Re: Code is the standard of care

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In response to David Merricks comments:
I believe that my clients have a right to be represented by an engineer who 
is willing to do everything in his power to represent their good will (safety 
and financial). This includes being an activist when the engineer feels that 
the code may not reflect the building owners best financial interest.

Experience confirms that there are problems associated with construction 
defects, historic conflicts between architects and engineers and liability 
issues that shape an engineers practice. In my opinion, it is not appropriate 
for an engineer to simply except the judgment of others when he or she 
believes that these judgments are made to avoid greater conflict or 
additional work at the expense of the clients.

It is also my belief that when the codes provide presecriptive standards that 
can and often create sub-standard construction practices that affects a 
sizable portion of homes distinguished by ecconomic class, the intent and 
purpose of the code is at fault. Engineers who understand or see the abuses 
created by those who know best how to manipulate laws or code in their best 
interest should be stopped. The codes should be changed and engineers should 
not rest until these faults are corrected.

If the code is a standard of care, than I should recommend to my clients that 
if they make their building width or roof trusses a few feet shorter so as 
not to exceed 34 feet from bearing to bearing, they can eliminate all of the 
engineered solutions (assuming no other irregularities), including probably 
60% of the hardware and the cost of an engineer or architect by following 
conventional framing prescriptive measures. They would jump at this - but I 
doubt that the prospective buyer would approve if faced with having an 
engineered home or a sub-standard prescriptively built one.  My point here is 
that most of these homes are already finished by the time the buyer comes 
into the picture and none of the information is disclosed.

If code is considered a standard of care, there should be a responsiblity 
applied to it when allowed to create the consistent level of construction 
associated with the majority of homes damaged in diseasters like Northridge.

The current standard of care that we are discussing increased the chasm 
between prescriptive and engineed solutions and creates the greatest risk for 
middle and low income families. At the same time, it imposes additional 
expense which may not be appropriate based upon other information received 
which evalutates past performance.

I just believe that we have a responsiblity to act or to change something 
that is flawed.

Dennis S. Wish PE