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Re: Committee on Wood

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Ron-

Thanks for your input on this issue.  While I concur
with much of what you said, I do have some differing
opinions I feel I would like to state.

"Ron O. Hamburger" wrote:

> The entire process, takes about 4-1/2 years.  During this
> 4-1/2 years there is ample chance for interested parties to make comment and
> also to run example problems, and challenge the validity of various proposals.

If the "process" takes 4 1/2 years to make a change
to a portion of the code that is known to be
incorrect or in error, then the "process" itself is
broken and should be fixed.  That is why some have
suggested that the State of California issue an
emergency amendment to the Code to take care of what
otherwise is a lengthy and UNNECESSARY bureaucratic
process for change.

"Ron O. Hamburger" wrote:
> to suggest that the code committees are
> unconcerned or unknowledgable in design issues is ludicrous.  Further to suggest
> that because some one designs a specific type of building on a regular basis,
> they do so properly, is also incorrect.  

I agree with you whole heartedly on this.  However,
the seismology committee is one part of the broken
"process".  Martin Johnson cannot really on his own
change or short cut the process working from within. 
It is unfair for list members to take personal pot
shots at him or any other members of the committee
unless they have some personal knowledge about
specific issues.  

"Ron O. Hamburger" wrote:
> 
> This is not to suggest that any of the individuals who have been active in the
> list server are inexpert in design.  Since I have not personally reviewed their
> work, I would have no way to comment.   However, I am familiair with the work
> with many of the members of the State and National committees and can attest to
> their competence and legitimate concern and desire to improve professional
> practice.

While I do not have a broad knowledge of the work of
many of the engineers on the list and the engineers
on the committee's, I do have some knowledge of
several of these people.  I would say that most if
not all are competent engineers.  I have worked
closely with some of these people, and have reviewed
their drawings and calculations in the course of
doing peer reviews and seismic studies and retrofits
of existing buildings for which they were the
engineer of record. One thing I can say for CERTAIN
is that good knowledgeable engineers will strongly
disagree with each other on some of the most basic
seismic engineering design principals.  I could site
many examples of areas where even the most well
respected engineers cannot find consensus about
seismic design issues.  This list has been a hot bed
of discussion for some of these issues.  In my
opinion, what the engineer is saying, and not what
his or her reputation may be, should be used as a
guideline for acceptance or rejection.  Let us not
get caught in the trap of categorically dismissing
opinions stated by some engineers just because they
have not have the best reputation.  

"Ron O. Hamburger" wrote: 
> 
> I would like to conclude by requesting that members of the list server continue
> to make known their concerns with the code and issues of pratice, but to do so
> in a manner that is respectful of those members of our profession who care
> enough to donate hundreds of hours of time to participate in the process, rather
> than try to tear it apart.
> 

I think this is very important.  I am very grateful
for those who find the time to participate on these
committees, and would not want to do anything to
discourage people from getting involved.  I hope to
be more involved myself when my children get to the
age where the demands of family obligations are not
so great.

At the same time, the committee members must be able
to accept constructive criticism and not to set
themselves up as "know-it-all" benevolent dictators
and try and shove their version of how things should
be down the throats of practicing engineers (I'm not
talking about Martin Johnson here).  They also ought
to be able to look at the possibility that some of
the "process" of which they are a part may in fact
need be torn apart and put back together so it works
better.

I would encourage SEAOC to look into finding ways to
quickly amend known "broken" sections of the Code.
To tell us to continue to use the Code "as-is" for 4
1/2 years knowing full well it is in error is just
not satisfactory.

Lynn