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Seismology Committee Web page - Rigid/Flexible Part II

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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.
 
What is 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.
 Regards,
Dennis S. Wish, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
(208) 361-5447 E-Fax