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Re: Turkey Earthquake and Moral Responsibilities

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In a message dated 8/22/99 8:04:46 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Nd1942(--nospam--at) 

<< Much worse, in my opinion, are the lazy and corrupt politicians on the 
 level of every country who thwart what are basically well-meaning laws and 
 codes, either by corruption or indifference.
 David Owens >>

Why is it so difficult to disclose factual information to the public? Barry's 
comments were well taken, although I think that he may have misunderstood my 
post regarding building owners. I do believe that the building owner desires 
safety for his family as well as all of those who occupy the building.
My complaint is more toward the developer / builder who is only interested in 
meeting minimum expectations and yet maximize his or her profit by using the 
weakness of the code to their best advantage -  namely non-disclosure. 
The owner of a building has every right to choose the level of compliance 
that he wishes to construct to. However, if his building is to be used for 
occupancy by others, he should have an obligation to post the level of 
performance for the knowledge and safety of the general public who may be 
seeking refuge in the time of a natural diseaster.
My complaint addresses lack of proper implimentation of the structural design 
and the possiblity that some (in my area many) smaller developer / builders 
will choose the conventional prescriptive methodology to avoid compliance to 
more restrictive and costlier construction - regardless of who the owner ends 
up to be. The fact is that I don't know of one developer who, when 
investigated as to construction quality, demonstrated full compliance to the 
engineers plans. Corners were cut, omissions occured and the final owners 
were never the wiser. Now that the engineering community is required to 
provide observation and methodologies will yeild more conservative results, 
these developers will be forced to adopt prescriptive methods of Chapter 2320 
to avoid the additional protection of the code. 
The line becomes much more important as the cost of compliance to a more 
restrictive code infringes on the developers profits. Very little change is 
needed in a typical tract design to eliminate an irregularity or unsupported 
truss length so as to make a sturcture compliant to prescriptive methods. Yet 
the builder or developer is never required to disclose this to the public.
This may not seem like a problem to most, but I need to focus my attention on 
the thousands of available properties in the small towns around my area that 
are affected by this problem. I receive calls daily from owners in 
communities that believe they have structural defects when most is simply 
poor quality of constructions.
One of the largest and most prominent of housing communities in my area has 
just one a suit against the developer / builder who was found to be negligent 
and did not comply to more than 60% of the structural load path details that 
were to be built. These were not cheap homes - they start aroung $250,000.00 
and up to around $500,000.00.  The home owners associations has limited funds 
to retrofit these homes since the award, after legal fees, is still not 
sufficient to strip the homes and rebuild the structural systems.  The 
project is expected to take 3 to 7 years and impacts 1233 condominium units 
along with certain common area's. As the client stated in the request for 
"In general, the construction defect repairs will include but not necessarily 
be limited to life-safety issues, structural corrections, improper building 
component installations, code non-compliance, mechanical/electrical 
deficiencies, concrete failures, and problem soil conditions."
This is pretty scary considering that these were engineered products that did 
not required observation or inspection by the engineer at the time of 
construction. The design was not wrong - the construction was deficient.

The best thing that we can do for the public is to rewrite the conventional 
framing section so that it truely complies with a minimum engineed solution. 
I don't suggest abolishing the prescriptive approach - just bring it up to 
date so as not to give the profiteer a choice to wrongfully promote his 

Dennis S. Wish PE