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RE: SEAOC seismology opinion (10/Lw)

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We agree in concept that something needs to be done. However, I disagree
that the code is not aimed at economy. In fact, the 1997 UBC is the first
code to have the basic philosophy changed from life safety to life safety
and major structural damage. This was first pointed out to me at the ICBO
seminar for the '97 UBC. Major structural damage, if not a life safety issue
can only be an economic issue. Therefore, the new code does in fact consider
the economics resulting from the performance of the building.
This appears to be a preparation for SEAOC's basic Performance Based concept
for Vision 2000. This is, most definitely, economically motivated.
Other than this, we are starting to have support from some very influential
members of SEAOC like Ron Hamburger and Bob Bossi. My feeling is that if
there are two alternatives - wait four years for change or create an
emergency code change, I opt for the later.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Valley [mailto:mtv(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 1999 10:35 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: SEAOC seismology opinion (10/Lw)

The purpose of the code (1997 UBC, Section 101.2) is aimed at safety
NOT economy.  That being said, it IS important that codewriters keep
in mind the economical realities under which we designers must work.
However, EMERGENCY code changes to promote economy (as opposed to
addressing a major safety concern) are inappropriate.  When a serious
safety problem is found, an emergency code change MAY be appropriate.
When an issue of economy is found, we must work through the normal

In answer to Andrew's question:
NO, the intent of the code as it applies to wood structures has not
been misinterpreted in the code.  Rather, 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

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Michael Valley                                   E-mail: mtv(--nospam--at)
Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire Inc.                  Tel:(206)292-1200
1301 Fifth Ave, #3200,  Seattle  WA 98101-2699          Fax:        -1201