"So if we allow the Building Officials the choice between flexible or rigid
diaphragms, they will always opt for the more conservative method."
Before you paint all building officials with the same wide brush, I
recommend that you talk to a few of them to get a better grasp of how they
feel about this issue.
I was one of the first ones to speak out on this issue when it originally
surfaced in April of last year and have spoken against rigid interpretation
of the code requirements on this many times. Just as there are strongly
different opinions in the design community on this, there is a wide spectrum
of opinions among the code officials on how to best address this issue.
Many of us have been also been working together to come up with reasonable
alternate methodologies that would be hopefully enforced throughout the
jurisdictions in California. You will probably still get building officials
who will be passionate proponents of the most conservative interpretation.
But that's life. You will run into all types of people with differing
opinions in every facet of life.
An interesting parallel to this story, in my opinion, is the whole new
millenium issue that was also discussed at depth on this list and elsewhere.
Some people apparently felt real strongly about identifying and referring to
the real start of the new millenium, which is year 2001. But if you look at
it with perspective, it does not make a bit of difference in how history
will be made whether you call year 2000 or 2001 the real millenium.
The same goes for the Y2K bug. The other night I saw Ed Yardeni, an
economist with the Duethche Bank (the most vocal proponent of preparation
for the Y2K disaster) apologize on CNN for his out of proportion emphasis on
the calamity that he had claimed the bug would create. $100 Billion was
spent on this and he could not even claim that was money well spent. I just
hope that some of the strong proponents of rigid wood diaphragm analysis
will someday eat humble pie and admit that all of this was much a do about
nothing, as far as life safety is concerned.
Ben Yousefi, SE
Supervising Plan Check Engineer,
City of San Jose, CA