Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

RE: Turkey Earthquake and Moral Responsibilities

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
It's intersting how this issue of residential construction for seismic
adequacy is like the proverbial elephant that the six blind men each grasped
one single part of, and from that presumed to declare what the whole animal
was like.

>Dennis Wish:
>Why is not possible to circumvent the construction industy and shepard a
>bill
>that requires the disclosure of methodology in residential construction. The
>public, albeit uneducated in technical matters, will be forced to learn
>about
>what they are purchasing insteading of being bombarded with marketing hype
>that fails to identify the difference between prescriptive and engineered
>designs.

>[R.D.:]
>I think that a buyer would look at required disclosure in a different way.
>If the building was built using the perscriptive method the buyer would say
>"It meets code".  If it were engineered, the buyer would say "It meets code,
>but, for the extra expense of the engineer, I could buy a bigger or fancier
>"perscriptive" house."
>

But as Christopher Wright correctly noted,
>Without serious attention to quality assurance in the 
>product, the plans are like leaves blowing in the wind.

Even with engineered plans, the most that might be said is that the design
shown ON THE PLANS "meets code."  And that was before the 97 UBC and its
Design Manuals came out. Now, as evidenced by several enduring threads,
nobody can agree as to what code requires in the way of engineering design.
What actually meets code cannot be stated from any sound basis. (Regardless,
in most jurisdictions the resulting engineering simply blows away with the
leaves, and who knows what the house has left in it that the engineer
specified?) 

This engineering code chaos only serves to widen the gap between
prescriptive and engineered provisions, making worse both the temptation on
builders to avoid engineered design, and the temptation to evade installing
those engineered features that were forced on them and that were supplied by
over-cautious engineers spooked by being caught in a crossfire.

I blame the engineers, particularly the career committee denizens who every
three years look the other way hopefully and turn the screws ten more turns,
like it was a torture rack, and thereby let the sufferings from uninformed
and unintended consequences grow ever longer.

When these same engineers tackle changes to prescriptive code, much the same
result ensues. Provisions often poorly fit the many realities of house
construction, lack any basis in necessity, provide no lower bound of
applicability (below which the concern doesn't matter), and are vague about
whether engineering may be supplied to merely remedy non-compliance with a
given prescriptive provision, or must be comprehensive throughout the
project, or what. 

No wonder the various national house building interests are avoiding the
blind, elephant-grabber engineers from Out West.

Charles O. Greenlaw  SE    Sacramento CA