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Appeal to those who created the code

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The April 1999 issue of SEAOC Plan Review goes a long way in explaining
some of issues that this thread has been addressing.  The publication
includes an interview with the Seismic Design Manual's project Manager, Ron
Gallagher, which should show a better side than what he has recently been
maligned with.

There is an announcement of an ATC and SEAOC seminar for "Improving the
Quality of Seismic Design and Construction" .  These seminars will be held
in Concord, CA on June 17th and Commerce City, CA on June 21st.  A good
chance for some of the outspoken practitioners to get some hard answers.

The SEAOC Seismology Committee Chair, Saif Hussaif has a report on their
planned activities for the 1998-99 year.  Quite impressive.  At the bottom
of the page there are some comments about their long term strategies, i.e.
the 2000 Blue Book, "simplified seismic design code", and the publication
of "white papers", periodicals, etc.

Finally there is a very good report from Norm Scheel, S.E., concerning the
first NCSEA Code Advisory Committee meeting.  Two paragraphs are very
appropriate for this forum:

"The committee is actively looking for and eagerly recruiting members in an
effort to gain more representation from states not presently involved in
the code development process.  The time to have an influence on what gets
into the code is now ( a better time was before now, but that's history).
As an organization representing practicing structural engineers, we need to
review, and, when necessary, speak out on code regulation.  Complaining
about code provisions (bad engineering, poorly worded, ambiguous...) after
the code is written and adopted by the jurisdictions is counterproductive
and most often a very frustrating uphill battle."

"It is important to remember that much code text and many code change
proposals are devised by people other than practicing structural engineers.
 Building officials, industry and related building material interests,
insurance representatives, and various trade groups and professional
organizations (NAHB, AIA, etc.) all influence the code for which we are
held responsible.  A lack of input and influence from practicing structural
engineers (i.e. those who design buildings for a living) results in a code
likely to become bigger and less friendly with each cycle of "change".  The
academicians tend to introduce theory in the code with less regard for the
design and construction problems inherent with this increased complexity.
The building material industry representatives must keep their products
competitive, and the code is the primary vehicle in which to do so.  We, as
PRACTICING structural engineers, have a duty to understand and make sense
of this document for use in designing structures, all while still making a
profit (or a living).  Our work also has to be legally defensible."

Finally, the last two pages provide a summary of the Legislative Bills that
SEAOC is currently tracking.  I think that it is important to be aware of
what might be coming in the future.

Neil Moore, S.E.
Neil Moore and Associates