Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

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

Re: SEAOC seismology opinion (10/Lw)

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
At 11:34 AM 11/24/99 -0700, you wrote:
>The purpose of the code (1997 UBC, Section 101.2) is aimed at safety 
>NOT economy.  

        This statement of supposed purpose is really lame, and evades the
issue of whether due care is exercised by code writing groups and
individuals. Uncontroverted accounts of how the rho factor came about with
respect to shear walls, and especially wood panel shear walls, clearly show
a record of indifferent carelessness, followed by arrogant condescension
toward objectors DURING the codewriting and adoption process. I have spoken
personally with participating persons who were so treated. In past messages
I suggested that there has been a habit of intellectual dishonesty in code
work by the committee in question; evidence supports this, and I still hold
to that view.

        Like it does with Dennis, It galls me every year to pay dues to a
professional society that piously and persistently makes increasingly risky
my professional practice, with such scant benefits to safety in the results
I obtain. At the June 99 evening meeting of my Central Section of SEAOC, I
charged that the Association and its membership apparently exists to support
the needs of its standing codewriting committees, not the other way around. 

> 10/Lw is an unintended 
>error as it applies to ALL structures.
>It's a real shame that this error was made.  The problem that caused 
>the error is that tens of thousands of people are willing to 
>criticize the code, but almost no one is willing to work at changing 

        On the contrary, the "thousands" who bitch are performing a most
valuable service, since the committee would have done nothing in its
absence. What keeps democratically elected officials in line is the specter
of tens of thousands of voting critics. Unfortunately, there is no provision
similarly empowering the multitudes who get screwed over by self-important
committee members who are far, far removed from any such accountability. 

        Lyndon Johnson once spoke to associates of an annoying critic
thusly: "Better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the
tent pissing in."   Having been inside during the 1982-88 Blue Book rewrite
that yielded the 1988 UBC seismic provisions, I know well how stifling of
dissent this in-tent environment is. Fortunately this Seaint listserve is
outside the "tent." My interests are better served by activities on the
outside, with the rest of the critics, where a most satisfying kinship has

Charles O. Greenlaw, SE