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RE: Salary Survey

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While I will readily admit I would like to make more money, I believe just
raising fees is an overly simplistic solution.

First of all, I'm sure a lot of design firms are salivating at your
suggestion hoping that their competitors price themselves out of the market.

Second, personally, if the design fees had to be higher, I would hope that
additional time would be spent in the field. Junior engineers would learn
how to design connections that actually fit (what a concept) and project
engineers would verify that the structure was built according to the intent
of the designer.

After all, what do we (as a society) get by crunching more numbers? A better
structure? Somebody's gotta prove THAT to me. I still haven't received that
design example that shows where a structural failure would have been avoided
if it were designed using a rigid diaphragm analysis instead of a flexible
one. Sure, there have been improvements in the code and weak points have
been reduced, but, really, anything to warrant that (in)famous "this chapter
has been revised in its entirety" phrase?

Please, someone attending the SEAOC convention this weekend and specifically
the wood panel discussion on Saturday morning, please, at some point, just
stand up and at the top of your voice shout: "Where are the bodies?" I would
appreciate it and I know Frank Lew would smile just a little. Don't worry
about being embarrassed. Almost all of your colleagues will be expecting
someone to do this. Let it be you.

More than design fee, the 1997 UBC appears to be an expert witness' dream.
This code is less straight forward than all its predecessors. This can be
illustrated by the fact that there have been (at least) three seminars put
on by ICBO and SEAOSC in addition to three design manuals either already
published or in the works. Does this mean this is a clearer code? Easy to

I know the flexible vs. rigid diaphragm for wood framed construction is NOT
a 1997 UBC issue (but the 10/lw is), but it would have been *nice* if SEAOC
would have seized the opportunity and established a position on this subject
in the 1999 Blue Book. Mind you, they may have, but I have not read it yet.
>From what I understand, SEAOC was surprisingly silent on this issue. Also,
from what I understand, this issue is not so silent in the 2000 NEHRP.
Hmmm...the 2000 NEHRP won't be referenced until the 2003 IBC which won't be
adopted until 2005. This sounds like the period in time when automotive
engineers were trying to figure out how to make valves last and engines run
with lower compression in cars for unleaded gasoline during the early 80s.

No, George, you just can't throw dollars at this one.

Bill Allen, S.E.
Laguna Niguel, CA

|| -----Original Message-----
|| From: George Richards, P.E. [mailto:george(--nospam--at)]
|| Sent: Monday, September 27, 1999 10:28 AM
|| To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
|| Subject: RE: Salary Survey
|| The six percent solution.  Six percent of the cost of
|| construction.  If it
|| is good for the RE agents then it is good for us.  By the
|| way, I think that
|| a lot of the complaining about the new 1997 UBC code (as it
|| relates to wood
|| frame) has not so much to do with the fact that takes more
|| work to design to
|| but that engineers will make less per project.  In
|| accordance with the law
|| of unintended consequences, the new code not only increases
|| seismic forces
|| but it increases seismic fees.  Tell your clients the truth,
|| you must now
|| charge more because the new code requires more work of
|| you!!!!!!  Look on
|| the bright side, when lose a job to a low baller, he is
|| probably going to
|| cry the most about how little he is getting paid.