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RE: California Building Code seismic provisions.

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As a participant in the FEMA/BSSC/NEHRP/IBC code development process, I am
baffled by the perception of some that California is not represented, and
that the IBC is a Big Brother mandated edict.  The BSSC Provisions Update
Committee would be pressed to convene a quorum if the engineers from
California were not present.  And I believe all of the California engineers
are SEAOC members.  SEAOC members are a major participant in the process.
Once the Provisions go to the full BSSC, SEAOC has 5 votes through the
various divisions of California and CSSC has another vote.  Of all the BSSC
member organizations about half are from UBC jurisdictions.  Look in the
back of the NEHRP for a list of those who participate in the process.  The
Canadians were even represented.

I believe that Rick Drake made the point that SEAOC members were active in
the NEHRP Provision development process as individuals.  But there was still
an arena for the various SEAOC organizations to be heard when it went to the
full BSSC for ballot.  Again the various SEAOC representatives are listed in
the back of the NEHRP.  That was how the NEHRP process was developed.  As
TS13 chair, I received comments from some of the SEAOC groups, and I
addressed them with some modifications for the 1997 Provisions.

I will agree that once the NEHRP went to the IBC, it was almost impossible
to change.  I will further agree that there are some warts.  I agree that
from my perspective, the IBC would like to just reference in the seismic
provisions, and that may be appropriate.

I don't think that Henry Degenkolb would be too upset at the process.
Senior members of his firm were (and are) quite active in the development of
the NEHRP.

I am also curious as to how there is a desire for a "more detailed" seismic
code for California after reading the concerns for the lengthy Provisions
and the current IBC.  There was even an effort to develop a "Simplified"
version (which met with mixed success).

The 1997 NEHRP was a major (but necessary) rewrite of how we design for
seismic resistance.  It is bound to have some warts.  But for California to
throw it out would be a major mistake.  If the effort to throw it out is
based on the assertion that there was insufficient representation, the
assertion is incorrect.  

Can the process be improved?  I am sure that it could.  Especially within
the IBC process.  Maybe it would be best to just work on it within the NEHRP
(which is on a 3 year cycle) and have the NEHRP go to a fully ANSI consensus
self contained document.  Then IBC could adopt it by reference. 

Harold Sprague

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at) [SMTP:FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)]
> Sent:	Friday, December 24, 1999 5:06 AM
> To:	Rick.Drake(--nospam--at); seaint(--nospam--at); Robert.Bachman(--nospam--at);
> rjbossi(--nospam--at); edean(--nospam--at); Skghosh(--nospam--at);
> abcourt(--nospam--at); mgreenassoc(--nospam--at); cgreenlaw(--nospam--at);
> ROH(--nospam--at); wholmes(--nospam--at); MWJ(--nospam--at); sde.sf(--nospam--at);
> Joe_Nicoletti(--nospam--at); hbl(--nospam--at); cpoland(--nospam--at);
> danshap(--nospam--at); Fturner(--nospam--at); mtv(--nospam--at);
> seconsultant(--nospam--at); tzsutty(--nospam--at)
> Cc:	FEMCCLURE(--nospam--at)
> Subject:	California Building Code seismic provisions.
> Rick Drake,
> Thank you for your informative message with reference to the SEAOC
> seismology 
> web page concerning the 2000 IBC and the lack of influence of the SEAOC
> and 
> its State Seismology Committee in the 2000 IBC and 2003 IBC seismic 
> provisions.
> I would want to get some input from others before I would formally propose
> that SEAOC consider looking at the use of  the California Building Code as
> a 
> vehicle for providing the seismic provisions that adequately protect the 
> people of California if the IBC and the ICC process does not meet the
> needs 
> of the State of California.
> I realize that it would require some changes in California state laws and 
> regulations for California to adopt a "California Building Code" that was 
> appreciably different from the latest national model building codes, such
> as 
> the UBC currently and I assume the IBC in the future, which is required by
> current California state laws. 
> It would require a considerable lobbying effort to get the California 
> Legislature and the California Building Standards Commission, etc., to
> adopt 
> a "California Building Code" which is appreciably different from the
> national 
> model building code, but if the SEAOC believed that the IBC did not
> provide 
> adequate protection for the people of California, then it might be
> possible.  
> Such a proposal could face considerable opposition from the other groups
> that 
> play an active role in the building industry, such as the building 
> contractors, material suppliers, national material code agencies, other 
> quasi-code development agencies, national engineering organizations, etc.
> I would hope others would comment on this possibility of a "California 
> Building Code" with seismic provisions that are different from the IBC 
> seismic provisions. I believe that Ron Gallagher, Co-Chair of the 1999
> Blue 
> Book Committee, discussed the possibility of using the Blue Book
> Provisions 
> as the basis from the future "California Building Code" seismic amendments
> provisions that differ from national model seismic codes in an earlier
> Plan Review newsletter.
> Some will argue that it is a "done deal" and we are "shipped for the
> voyage" 
> on the "IBC" and we can not turn the "ship" around and go back to the pier
> and board the "California Building Code" ship.  
> Henry Degenkolb warned SEAOC many years ago of the potential problems with
> a 
> national building code that did not properly address the seismic
> protection 
> needs of 
> California because the national building code seismic provisions would
> have 
> to be diluted down in any national building code consensus process.  I 
> believe that is what has happened with the IBC development process seismic
> provisions.
> Again, I would appreciate comments from others on this important subject
> of  
> "California Building Code" seismic provisions which would be more detailed
> than the IBC seismic provisions.  By copy of this email message I am 
> encouraging others to respond to my informal proposal.  I also realize
> that 
> this time of year is a poor time to raise such an important issue, but
> maybe 
> a few will take the time to respond, hopefully after January 1, 2000. 
> Frank E. McClure       December 24, 1999