OPEN LETTER TO SEAINT ON LINE EDITOR, Dennis Wish
You have rightfully challenged the members of the SEAINT List Service to make
more effective use of the Internet, SEAINT Listservice and other "On Line"
capabilities to communicate among design professionals and with the national
I am asking you to consider establishing a "standard" format for SEAINT
Virtual Committees so that SEAINT can play a more effective role in defining
and resolving some of the major issues affecting our professions.
Specifically, I am suggesting you establish a Virtual SEAINT ASCE/FEMA 273
Committee similar to an "On Line" SEAOC Seismology Committee. FEMA 273 is
the "NEHRP Guidelines for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings." I am
not sure whether many of the SEAINT Listservice members are interested in the
subject, "Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings", but the ASCE/FEMA 273 Project
is entering a critical stage and would be a good test to see if SEAINT can
effective establish a "Virtual" Committee Structure and make a difference in
the national codes and standards that will affect our professions and
The SEAINT ASCE/FEMA 273 Committee would provide for exchange of thoughts,
opinions, recommendations, etc. concerning the direct input in the
development of this proposed ASCE/FEMA 273, American National Standards
Institute (ANSI), Standard before this proposed standards is "cast in
I have not communicated with ASCE, but ASCE might answer that there is an
established ASCE Standards Committee procedure for input into ASCE proposed
Standards and such an SEAINT ASCE/FEMA 273 Committee is unnecessary and
redundant. However, the ASCE Standards procedures, which have been
established and tested through years of experience, preclude publishing the
addresses (email, US Mail, etc. address) so that members of a particular ASCE
Standards Committee can effectively communicate (except by going through ASCE
Headquarters that manages the ASCE Standards Committee procedure) with the
other members of the same or other ASCE committees for fear of overwhelming
the members with unsolicited messages attempting to influence their thoughts
and votes on particular ASCE Standards issues. I could be wrong, but the
above thoughts are my interpretation of how the ASCE Standards process works.
I welcome J. Rossberg, ASCE Standards Coordinator, comments.
The ASCE/FEMA 273 Standard development is just getting started and is being
managed (under a FEMA grant to ASCE) following the ASCE Standards procedures
under the ASCE Standards Committee for the Seismic Rehabilitation of
Buildings, Mel Green, Chairman. This ASCE Committee membership, I believe,
is now closed under the ASCE Standards rules, but SEAINT Listservice can
provide important direct input into the development of the proposed ASCE
Standard and make a significant difference before the ASCE/FEMA 273 Standard
The ASCE/FEMA 273 has a website, http:www.degenkolb.com/ascefema273.html,
which is under the control and management of Degenkolb, Consulting Structural
Engineers, email "degenklb(--nospam--at)degenkolb.com." Yes, I checked again and it is
"degenklb(--nospam--at)degenkolb.com" according to the web site "Home Page."
I am suggesting that you and other SEAINT Listservice subscribers log in to
this web site and learn more about the ASCE/FEMA 273 Prestandard Project.
My specific request is that you or your designee set up a "standard format"
for use by the SEAINT Listservice subscribers to submit comments and
recommendations concerning specific wording for review and revision of the
ASCE/FEMA 273 Standard.
Hopefully, SEAINT can provide a stronger and broader coordinated base for
input into the ASCE/FEMA 273 process than individuals submitting their
comments in an uncoordinated format.
Based on your more complete knowledge concerning the effective use of the
Internet capabilities, etc., I asking you or your designee to set up a
"standard format" for identification, tracking, sharing and archiving SEAINT
Listservice subscriber's comments and recommendations.
Without any pride of authorship and subject to your careful review and
editing, I am proposing that comments, recommendations, revisions for SEAINT
Listservice subscribers follow the following "standard format."
For example, on the subject line of the email message, it would read
"ASCE/FEMA 273 (version date), Section x.xx.x with some kind of author's
initials or other ID."
The email message would be sent to the seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org and
degenklb(--nospam--at)degenkolb.com or other Degenkolb email address.
In the body of the email message, use Discussion Sections, "Classification",
"Discussion" and "Recommendations", etc., which follows approximately the
ASCE/FEMA 273 Global Topics Report format, click on "GT Report" on web site.
Example: " Subject: ASCE/FEMA 273, April 12, 1999, Section 2.11.4, fem."
In body of the email message:
"Classification" (Refer to website for options for various classifications.)
"Discussion": Upon completion of the Guidelines, it was recognized that the
provisions for Overturning were inadequate.....etc."
"Recommendations": "Revise Section 2.11.4 to include the sidebar overturning
as commentary. However, with the use of the sidebar provisions, an odd
inconsistency may result in which the superstructure is not in equilibrium
with the reduced foundations forces. To rectify this dilemma with the Linear
Procedures, it may be necessary to develop a modification to the analysis
procedures that establishes the force/displacement at which rocking occurs.
If the demand forces exceed this value, then the analytical model used for
determining member compliance could be modified to include rotation springs
at the foundation that are adjusted to produce an effective secant stiffness
which reflects a proper estimate of the soil-structure compliance effective
attributed to rocking. Taken from the BSSC Case Studies Report, March 30,
For the current April 12,1999, First Draft of ASCE/FEMA 273 Prestandard
wording, click on "First Draft", scroll through this document to find the
particular sections of interest for comment, recommendations, revisions, etc.
(As a member of the ASCE Standards Committee for the Seismic Rehabilitation
of Buildings, I just received my requested hard copy on May 27, 1999 of the
I am suggesting that SEAINT play a more active and coordinated role in the
ASCE/FEMA 273 Standards process than just having individual SEAINT
subscribers respond in an "ad-hoc manner" and then waiting for the ASCE
Standards process to be completed and asking for public comments, after the
time for effective and meaningful comments and recommendations has passed.
Hopefully, you will give the above thoughts your careful consideration and
provide SEAINT with your wisdom, guidance and recommendations. The effort
involved can be daunting, but, I believe, that FEMA 273 will be the "de
facto" standard for the seismic rehabilitation of buildings in the future and
SEAINT should "get on board before the ship leaves the dock."
Frank E. McClure FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)aol.com May 28, 1999