Larry Hauer wrote the following response to the Lateral Design program
(Keymark's) thread that put a chill down my back as it relates to our
responsibility and subsequent potential for liability that we have been
Larry's specific comment was "I think their logic was that they had put an
enormous amount of time and energy into the program and now, with the
implementation of the '97 UBC,
just about no jurisdiction is actually requiring the rigidity analysis, so
no one is that interested in these types of programs."
This was the point of my post on Testing the Waters in Court. The engineer
is responsible to submit or design to the minimum level of compliance
stipulated in the code. I think we all agree that getting from point A to
point B is not as important as the results obtained. In other words, Los
Angeles ST-12 suggests an alternative method (requiring less tedious work)
which is intended to match or exceed the minimum level of full compliance
within the UBC.
However, many cities are accepting less than full compliance - essentially
exposing engineers to the expense of defending themselves against a claim
that damage may have resulted from non-compliance with the minimum code
standard. The explanation of what the building official is willing to accept
is of no real defense.
In fact, there is no reason in my mind to believe that an ultra-conservative
envelope solution will yield any better results to insure life safety or
prevent major structural damage. The "loop-hole" is that the building
official asks for less than full compliance, and the engineer believes that
this is all he needs to provide. The building official can give as much
incorrect advise as he or she wishes and still take no responsibility for
the results. However, the EOR is expected to use his engineering judgment
and to follow the code as the minimum requirement for design.
This is an excellent example of what I was trying to show as a reality
expressed by many engineers who do not understand, or have not followed the
discussions and believe that they need only satisfy the requirements in that
city. It is not a two way street - the only protection that an engineer has
is to comply with the minimum published code and no less.
Somehow, this education needs to make it to the professional community who
are not following these list discussions - which I fear is a great many who
are priming the pumps for legal pursuit.
Finally, if you are protected by liability insurance and decided to submit a
design that turns out to be less than the published code, you will most
likely find that your insurance company will not defend you or a the least
refuse renewal of your policy. I think most who carry insurance need to find
out what the policy is IF you design to a lower standard.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
From: Larry Hauer [mailto:LRHauer(--nospam--at)compuserve.com]
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2000 8:05 AM
Subject: WOOD: Lateral Design Software
Keylat recently reduced the price of their software to $250.00, which
includes a one day seminar on how to model the buiding being analyzed. I
think their logic was that they had put an enormous amount of time and
energy into the program and now, with the implimentation of the '97 UBC,
just about no jurisdiction is actualy requiring the rigidity analysis, so
no one is that interested in these types of programs.
Still, eventually we will all have to perform the elaborate rigidity
analysis, (municipal building, etc.), so it is probably good to know how to
use these porgrams. I have purchased the Keylat, but have yet to use it or
attend their seminar. I will let you know my opinion of the program once I
get further into it.
Larry Hauer, SE