Our time is best
served attacking the actual problems related to earthquake and wind damage - the
high cost of labor and the subsequent use of unqualified and untrained
laborers who are unable or unwilling to
follow structural details. We should also be focusing our efforts on raising the
standards on prescriptive conventional construction and insuring that the damage
we are attempting to correct in the new code is enforceable on low and middle
income structures which will most likely be built by the least restrictive
methodology. The engineering community needs to understand that the more we push
conservative engineering the more we drive away otherwise responsible developers
who feel they can not compete with competition as the cost of their buildings
rise in cost. The engineering community needs to understand that a 2% rise in
construction cost can easily ruin a family's ability to qualify for a loan. This
is a business that does not realize the life safety and performance concerns of
the engineering community as long as a prescriptive, greatly inferior method is
at their disposal and requires them only to make a few minor design changes to
qualify a conventional structure.
lacking is a direction by the Seismology Committee to provide facts and methods
rather than supposition and opinions. We don't need arguments that
everything can be done that conforms to the principles of mechanics.
Research does more than look at simple models. We are in a heated debate where
one side claims that holddown failure is a function of simple mechanics based on
the post and connection while the other side argues that the whole
system is dependent on independent elements or variables that
comprise the performance of the system. Still, there is no solution which
adds to the argument that we should never have gone the distance unless we could
substantiate the outcome - and we can not.
In the mean time, I am sure to receive a
great deal of direct, clear and infinitely concise critism from members of
that committee for speaking so harshly about them. Possibly what I should do is
set up a Listservice for Seismology members to submit their criticism for
my review. I will give then very thoughtful consideration post my
opinions on a website for their edification.
Finally, I only hope that the time and
effort in the new Wood E-Committee which many engineers are expecting to
volunteer their efforts will not end on deaf ears.