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Re: Rigid vs Flexible residential diaphragm discussion

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>As I have often sought to substantiate, the merit of much modern code work,
>particularly in woodframe, does seem awfully thin, especially in the rigors
>of intellectual honesty.
This kind of comment is a sign of trouble bigger than the presence of a 
pool hall in River City. I've spent 30 years with pressure vessel and 
piping codes, as user and briefly as committee member. A squabble like 
the rigid diaphragm matter just doesn't happen with ASME codes, at least 
outside of the committees, and it's worrisome. The ASME Codes are first 
rate world standards, as are the power test codes and other standards. 
The ASME is well behind times in a lot of areas, but Codes and Standards 
isn't among them. The economic effects have been entirely beneficial and 
the improvement in public safety has been tremendous. And it's been done 
on a volunteer basis since 1918.

I don't use the building codes much, so it's hard to tell what's broken. 
One day it looks like reluctance to change on the part of users, the next 
like code revisions without due regard for the law of unintended 
consequences. All codes and standards, properly done, are an orderly 
presentation of sound, prudent engineering practice, substantiated by 
test, analysis and satisfactory service experience. Where it stops being 
orderly, sound or prudent it's broken; where unsubstantiated, it's 
wishful thinking, not engineering practice. And if its users can't use 
it, either the code is broken or the users need to look to their skills.

One thing stands out--no one is arguing either way on a particularly 
scientific basis, either citing research results or scientifically 
assessed personal or service experience ('we've always done it that way' 
or doesn't count--no way to distinguish luck from skill). That's a sure 
sign that someone, somewhere hasn't done his homework. One thing's 
certain--a construction code that can't guarantee satisfactory 
performance and be used and enforced, makes the laity unhappy, discredits 
engineers and makes structural engineering more sorcery than a 
profession. Writing structural codes is a big job, but if the structural 
engineer won't take the time to codify their practice, you can bet the 
courts will. 

One other thing makes me curious--where is the ASCE in all this? Judging 
from the UM collection they have a body of research that is second to 
none. How is it that everyone quotes trade associations and manufacturers 
and no one cites the ASCE?



Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant from
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw