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RE: UBC/LA City Code and Lateral Desig

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Dennis Wish wrote:

Assume for the minute that the engineers who are designing by historic
method and who believe that he current, more elaborate method, does not
provide additional levels of safety. Therefore, they continue to design as
they have in the past and ignore the requirements of the present. As you
noted, this may be considered the standard of practice.

Now, consider that a major earthquake occurs and even one of the homes
designed by the conventional or historic method fails and life is lost. The
engineer is sued for non-compliance to the current code. Still, it is not
known if the increased scope of the new code would have provided further


I would say that the builder is in *big* trouble if none of the houses 
designed in historic (hysteric??) times by historic methods did not fail and 
only this one house failed.  I would say that the engineer is in *big* 
trouble if only houses that that engineer designed which were built by 
different contractors failed and that similarly designed and built houses by 
other engineers and contractors did not cause a loss of life.

Now, if this criteria is so critical, are you notifying all of your clients 
for whom you designed houses based on historic methods that the houses were 
designed inadequately and that they should be upgraded?

I would worry more about whether I am doing the best job in the best way that 
I know how than to worry about whether I am going to be hauled into court.  
It seems to me that those who worry about covering their ass and smearing 
disclaimers all over the place are more at risk than those that direct their 
energies at doing the best job in the best way that they know how.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona