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RE: '97 UBC Design - Are you too old to change your ways???

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There is "practicing" and then there is "practicing".

For example, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the contributions
Dick Phillips has made to the seismic code over a long, long period of time.
However, Dick is the author of the infamous "10/lw" component for
calculating the redundancy factor for shear walls. Dick works for a large
engineering firm and I doubt if he has designed many wood framed residential
structures lately. Only recently has he been made aware of the implication
in the language of the code where short shear walls are penalized by this
language where he intended only to "help" long shear walls. Dick will be the
first person to say that the language did not come out just right.
Unfortunately, he may not have realized at the time, he had to get it right
the first time because the next opportunity he had to correct the language
would be in the 2001 IBC Addenda.

As I have stated before, I know there is no benefit for criticizing the code
authors for the problems in the 1997 UBC. If all we do is criticize them,
they will stop volunteering to do this thankless job then where would we be?
The unfortunate part is that we have lost the dynamics of the interaction of
administration, research and practice in a time where the rest of the world
is becoming more dynamic. The crime here is that there are few (if any)
opportunities to edit and embellish code language for whatever reason
including the application of common sense. I sit here at my desk and can
only dream how nice it would be if someone like SEAOC (who else?)
could/would publish something like the "Masonry Chronicles" that would
assist design engineers, plan check engineers alike (IMO, the 1997 UBC is a
wonderful tool for the expert witness) to design and build safe and logical
structures as well as to help foster an environment where we can still
afford to practice this profession (i.e., KISS).


Bill Allen, S.E.
Laguna Niguel, CA

|| Chris Poland
|| ps:  Check the roster of the code writers.  You will find a
|| lot of practicing
|| structural engineeers who care enough to volunteer.