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Re: Conv. Constr. one direction (Residential Engineering)

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Charles Greenlaw wrote:
(snipped prior portions of message/response)

> The major reason residential engineers get undeserved legal grief is because
> they are condemned by engineers acting as accuser experts who come from the
> other, "total-control" end of the practice spectrum and who don't (or won't)
> adjust for the profound differences in residential work, and who don't know
> when the residential work is perfectly acceptable by its own standards and
> codes. That was so glaringly obvious in the two PE Board license revocation
> attempts I helped defend, and in many others I have read the final outcomes
> of, where the Board lost.

I'm feeling like I agree with you Charles, but when I ask myself to put a thumb
on those differences I start to get shaky. I've been on both ends of the defense
team (target and "expert"), and know first hand how plaintiff arguments look to
show non-compliance with code sections for the mental impact those wringing
statements make. Residential consulting is indeed "different" and perhaps
complicated by the seemingly simple nature of it's design. There is less "black
box" respect when following the drawings since many builders (and architects)
are comfortable with their gut challenges to design proposals and arguments. We
are faced with a mixed bag of pressures and willing respond by trying to find
the best solutions at the least cost. We are not often asked to give our best
solution irrespective of cost and consequently have difficulties with being
advocates for suggesting that these qualities deserve "consideration" when
making proposals for structural solutions. I'm off track here from what I wanted
to say regarding trying to flesh out these "differences" between "total control"
practices and "the other kind" of practice. If we understand the real world
differences, can't we find a way to write this presumed latitude into the wood
frame sections? Or are we hopelessly spinning our wheels against the backside of
the code development machine. I prefer to think there are ways to bring about
the changes. Let's not convince ourselves that it's an immovable dead weight nor
that residential structural design "gets no respect". I'm for picking things

> The same failure to understand residential and adjust to it also accounts
> for why Seismology and other SE committees continue to produce codes and
> habits of mind so ill-suited to residential wood framing, thus exacerbating
> the vicious circle of persecutions against residential practitioners.
> Charles O. Greenlaw  SE   Sacramento CA

I believe you've made mention of your past involvement in wood
frame/seismology/code committee work. What would it take to convince you to
chair a virtual committee of passionate, interested engineers perhaps intent on
correcting the imbalances??

Barry H. Welliver SE
Draper, Utah