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Charles Greenlaw,

You have done it again.  You hit the ball out of the stadium for a "homerun."

In your May 21, 1999, 12:58:42 am, Pacific Daylight Time, SEAOSC List Server 
posting you stated:

[C.G]  "I can't relate this to FEMA 273 which I don't have and am not 
interest in yet, in observance of the Satchel Paige principle."  

[F.M]  As I recall Satchel Paige is quoted as saying:  "Do not look back they 
might be gaining on you."  Is this the correct quote or did you have another 
quote in mind?

Please do not apologize that you do not have a copy of  FEMA 273.  Keep your 
innocence (virginity) and "just say No."

If you like the 1997 UBC, you will love FEMA 273/274 and 310, a 
"Prestandard."  What is a " Prestandard?"  It sound like a "Prestandard" is 
like a drug that is available to the public that has not been completely 
tested for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Seriously,  As I understand it, the University of California Systemwide has 
designated FEMA 310 as the "de facto" standard for the evaluation of  
University of California buildings.  FEMA 310 is the "Reader's Digest" 
version of FEMA 273.  Refer to Lynn Howard's SEAOSC List Server postings on 
this subject

[C.G.]  "These look like rank guesses, not like authoritative results of 
research.  I hope they are not supposed to be used for other than very rough 

[F.M.]   FEMA 273, Chapter 8 has many numerical values that look like "rank 
guesses."  In FEMA 273, Chapter 8, Table 8-1, Numerical Acceptance Factors 
for Linear Procedures - Wood Components.  Why are the "m" values for Gypsum 
Plaster on Wood Lath, Gypsum Plaster on Metal Lath, Gypsum Sheathing and 
Gypsum Wallboard greater than the "m" values for Structural Panel or Plywood 
Panel Sheathing or Siding?  The authors of  FEMA 273 have told me that these 
"m" values are based on research, but they have not referenced the relevant 
research so one can make one's own evaluation.

[C.G] "Where's FEMA in this? Church, state or is it all the same?

[F.M.]  With all due respect, FEMA 273/274 and 310 are sent from Washington, 
D. C. to help us.  A  takeoff on "I am from the Federal Government and I am 
here to help you."  Call FEMA Publication 1-800-480-2520 for a copy of 
FEMA273/274, but not FEMA 310, which is being handled by ASCE.

I am glad I am not young any more and will have to apply these FEMA 
Guidelines on "real buildings."  George Greenlaw, there is a whole new 
"cottage industry" developing out there.  Establish a "900" number (not an 
"800 number) and provide a peer review or "fee for service" to interpret and 
answer questions concerning FEMA 273/274 and 310.  You will make a million 

One of my pet peeves is how the issue of  "Linear Treatment of Overturning"  
is treated in FEMA 273.   A Draft  March 30, 1999, BSSC Case Studies Project 
Report (Final Copy will be available in September 1999) based on the 
application of FEMA 273 to "real" buildings states: "The provisions for 
determining overturning effect using the Linear Procedures in FEMA 273 are 
not adequate.  Without the use of the sidebar on page 2-38, FEMA 273 
calculated overturning effects produce deficiencies inconsistent with 
observations of past building performance.  With the use of the sidebar, an 
odd inconsistency may result in which the superstructure is not in 
equilibrium with the reduced foundation forces."

I can hardly wait for the comments from the authors of  FEMA 273/274 and 310 
who will say I have "stepped over the line" again by raising questions 
concerning FEMA 273/274 and 310.  I have tried to work within the FEMA 
Committee System, that developed these FEMA Guidelines, to attempt to resolve 
many of the important questions and issues, but with little success, so I 
feel I have a professional obligation to bring these matters to the general 
structural engineering profession for its consideration.

Stay well!  Keep your SEAOSC List Server postings coming.  It is later than 
you think!

Frank E. McClure      FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)   May  22, 1999


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