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RE: SEAOC seismology opinion regarding 10/Lw factor for calculatingrho

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I don't believe I was out of line to state an opinion. The truth is that I
am aware of the process and have had correspondence with Martin Johnson and
others for over a year. Rick, by defending the process, you imply
justification for blindly writing code and mandating a design methodology to
include a material that has not received the degree of study or
understanding of performance comparable to masonry or concrete structures.
Wood has become the bastard son of the Seismology Committee who by nature of
their ignorance demanded that all wood structures conform to the same neat
package of design based criteria that has proven so effective in the design
of concrete, steel and masonry. This was a leap of blind faith, an
afterthought and wrong.
The same committee, in the writing of section 805 of the Blue Book
demonstrates the contradictions within their own profession by those who
specialize in residential or wood structures and those who have less
understanding of the actual problems that occur in the field.
Irresponsible acts are those, like these, that are impulsive and not
seriously thought out. Admission of this appear in the Blue Book.
"Most designers continued their past practice and most building officials
continued to accept this practice. This is one area where a divergence
developed between common design practice than a structured interpretation of
the code. With the adoption of the 1997 UBC this divergence has now raised
enormous consternation among designers of residential structures which
Who is to be believed, the few self-professed experts in wood design on the
Seismology Committees, or the thousands of engineers who design wood
structures for a living and know the performance of these structures. Where
are your facts to justify such an unsubstantiated change in methodology -
certainly not FEMA or SEAOSC since these are the same groups that vindicate
the past code from over $20 Billion in damage and place much of the
responsibility on field reports  after the Northridge earthquake that lack
of compliance to detail and poor construction quality are the primary
You defend a process that retards the progress of designing safe and
economic structures with mandated ambiguities, defective practices, annoying
and costly waste and then preach that it is the practicing professional who
just doesn't understand how the system works. Most of us are too painfully
aware of how the system works. Unfortunately, perpetuation of this problem
is allowed (as it is in all bureaucratic systems) by the failure of the
majority to act by simply being apathetic and uncaring.
The one thing that I do know is that it is money that greases the wheel.
Without my dues and those of the thousands who design wood homes, the
Seismology Committee would be greatly impaired. I can speak with my dues and
you have my promise that if a solution is not expedient in arrival, I will
work to rebuild SEA from the ground up by resigning my membership and
seeking out other professional organizations willing to act in the best
interest of their members and the public.
The beauty of sitting on the outside and looking in is that I don't have to
buy into this philosophy - I can change it by creating a wave of opposition
that will impede future bastardization of what is an ambiguous code for the
design of wood structures.

As I said before, it is the Seismology Committee that does not understand
that their actions are irresponsible and unfitting the structural profession
who are empowered to protect the public's trust that must be embraced and
defended rather than ignored. Good intentions include taking responsibility
for correcting well intended mistakes.

Dennis S. Wish, PE
SEConsultant(--nospam--at) <mailto:SEConsultant(--nospam--at)>
(208) 361-5447 Efax

-----Original Message-----
From: NDZ28(--nospam--at) [mailto:NDZ28(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 5:00 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: SEAOC seismology opinion regarding 10/Lw factor for

In a message dated 11/23/99 10:04:32 AM Pacific Standard Time,
Rick.Drake(--nospam--at) writes:


 You have a misconception about how quickly the code change process works.
 think it would be appropriate for you to learn a little about the
 Building Code (IBC) change process before you accuse Martin Johnson or
anyone of
 being unmotivated.    Clearly, you have never met Martin and your comment

 Rick Drake, SE
 Fluor Daniel, Aliso viejo.
I cannot believe all this bureaucratic double-talk I have been reading on
this board lately!!!!!!. It appears that a mistake has been made with the
intent of the code. To wait an additional several years until the harm can
undone is totally foolish  and unnecessary! What I want to find out from the
members of the Seismology Committee for once and for all (if they will
respond) has the intent of the code as it applies to wood structures been
misinterpreted in the code?  Has a mistake been made?  Do changes need to be
made? If the code as it was adopted needs to be modified, or certain
removed, than lets get it done now!!!!!!!  The same Committee should contact
the Governors office to have specific sections of the code repealed on an
emergency basis immediately. How hard is that?  All we need is to get the
Seismology Committee to help out. Am I missing something here?  As a sole
practitioner, having to make instant decisions, and putting out fires on the
spot all the time ..... am I wrong for expecting others in responsible
positions to do the same?