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Re: Wood: Are you as confused as I?????

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At 10:55 PM 8/16/99 EDT, Dennis Wish wrote:
>So, here is my question for the day:
>How many 'small' offices (less than 5 employees) have submitted projects 
>since the first of July using the new code provisions? What type of plan 
>check corrections, if any, are you receiving and what are the plan check 
>technicians asking for?
>How many of you have had one-on-one plan reviews and did you have to debate 
>issues with the plan checker? If so, what was the most confusing issues that 
>you could not seem to agree upon?
>I'm curious since I received calls from three of the six or eight engineers 
>in my area and so far not one of them is totally clear on how to resolve code 
>Dennis Wish PE


I've read five other replies so far, and I agree with them that one cannot
make sense of much of the 97 code for seismic in woodframe because it does
not make sense with itself or with the realities if that type of construction.

But first, Bill Allen asked about
>The seismology committee meeting minutes from the August 13 meeting (did
Frank Lew's proxy show up?)>

Frank sent me a message privately about this meeting and the flexible vs
rigid issue as relates to wood diaphragms; he had looked up the message
traffic on this in the e-mail archives. I learned from him that there were
concerns about this very matter at several stages in ICBO deliberations in
1986 when the Ed Zacher -originated definitions were newly introduced.
Frank, you see, was the chairman of the ICBO Seismology Committee in 1986
when the omnibus SEAOC seismic package to the '88 UBC was processed.
Although doubts similar to today's were raised at that time, there was
nobody interested in pursuing the matter then who had both the knowledge of
the subject in woodframe and the clout to take on the SEAOC Seismology in
the eyes of voting ICBO members. And the SEAOC rep offered no solution either. 

Nothing in what Frank said to me suggests that the unhappiness and dismay
now being expressed about SEAOC Seismology Committee with respect to
residential and similar woodframe is other than right on target. 

Back to the question about satisfying the building official: Below is copied
in the list opinion of 6-1-99 of Ben Yousefi SE, of the City of San Jose's
building department, and who holds an ICBO chairmanship in structural
matters. It is a good faith perspective, and I add it in here in that
spirit, even though I don't feel the remedy offered is sufficient for more
than getting past plan check in jurisdictions like his. I would urge that
any "deal" made with the building official be prominently memorialized in
the calculations as a defense against future allegations that the design
outcome violated code.

Ben said,
>My final comment is regarding code language and how we interpret it. Codes 
are written as general guidelines that set basic criteria for how things 
should be designed. Thus the "shall" language addresses only the clear cut 
situations without considering other relevant facts. It is not intended for 
the code, nor is it possible, to address every possible condition in real 
life design and analysis of a building. 

>Therefore, the judgment of the engineer of the record in conjunction with the 
code regulating authority is of utmost importance in order to implement a 
sound application of the code. I agree wholeheartedly that all things are not 
black and white and there are many shades of gray. But we can't expect the 
code to address all those shades. There are clear mechanisms in the code that 
allow for application of sound engineering judgment in those cases. Please 
refer to sections 104.2.7 and 104.2.8 regarding Modifications and Alternate 
material, design and methods of construction. 

>Having worked in a building department environment for the past 12 years, I 
have sat on numerous preliminary design meetings with architects and even 
electrical and mechanical engineers to discuss interpretation of code issues 
to their unique design. And on numerous occasions, applications are filed for 
the alternate methods and materials used. Conspicuously absent from these 
meetings are structural engineers. This has always baffled me. I urge the 
design community to consider discussing issues with the building officials, 
and others in a regulatory environment, when there are gray areas and work 
together to come of with an interpretation that is mutually acceptable and 
that "meets the intent of the code". In the meantime those who are not 
satisfied with the current code requirements, such as in the diaphragm 
flexibility determination, are encouraged to put their ideas forward and 
hopefully come up with better language in the future codes.>

That is what Ben suggested. Hope it works. What else is there?

Charles O. Greenlaw SE  Sacramento CA