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RE: Seismic Design Manual - Vol. 2.

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Shafat
I would thank you for the compliments you expressed to the volunteers of the
Seismic Design Manual #2, however, I would prefer to make it clear that the
majority of the volunteers were not involved in, what I consider to be an
ill advised decision, to publish this book with the flaws in tact. I would
rather donate the $50.00 so that ICBO can build a financial fund to publish
an accurate work than put my practice at risk duplicating the errors that
occur in the manual and believing them to be correct.

It seems we've learned too much from the software industry who feels that it
is appropriate to sell software that is imperfect and allow evolution to
correct the mistake at the expense of the users. Lately, this ideology seems
to be manifesting itself in a great many aspects of our lives. We accept
imperfect code rhetoric and expend a great deal of energy arguing for
justification after the fact - when the damage has been done. We allow the
quality of construction to deteriorate in the name of lobbies who, stronger
than SEA, would rather allow poor performance in homes than more regulation
by the engineering community. We believe it best to create more complicated,
restrictive codes that increase the gap between architects/builders and
engineers rather than address the issues of education. We just had a thread
that depicts the quality of our engineering work as seriously in need of
repair. We accept the pressures within the industry to produce to be
justified by the growing demands of our clients to produce work without
regard to accuracy - that is until the clients been paid and all that is
left is our responsibility for the errors we created in haste.

I strongly disagree with Shafat. Concepts like the Seismic Design Manual are
not new territory as instruction manuals have been around for a long time.
Spending money for a book that is suppose to provide me with commentary and
answers to important questions as how to interpret the code should not be
flawed or in error. This is an affront to our professional intelligence and
an attack against our practice that can not deliver work without resolution
to the problems the book was suppose to solve. The book isn't living room
art - intended to sit on coffee tables and be browsed and admired for the
quality of it's graphical elements. It's a reference, a companion to the
code (albeit with the same imperfections as the code), it's a long awaited
work of the community that was stillborn. The effort is worth very little in
practice and even less to a collector. It simply doesn't deliver what was
promised any more than the first volume.

I don't blame the authors of the problems as their work simply represents
the same ambiguity and flaws that exist in the code. If there is no
solution, the author of the example problem is not responsible in him or
herself to find the solution. The work done on the wood and steel problems
(the three or four examples that I am most familiar with) represent a great
deal of effort. I know the people who created these problems and the
solutions represent their interpretation of the code, which as we have been
discussing for almost a year is seriously flawed. Therefore, their work only
reflects what actually exists in the code. The volunteer reviews of these
problems where, like jurist acting to a judges instructions, limited as to
what was expected of them - often restricted only a comparison of the code
section to its representative depiction in the design example.

I hope that my name in the book is not construed as participating or even
approving of the manner in which the decisions were made to bypass further
revisions and publish the work as is. The volunteers who checked these
problems and reported the errors had no knowledge beyond the accuracy of the
problem at hand and were told that problems with portions of the examples
that were addressed in either volume one or in other examples in volume two
were to be ignored and considered the responsibility of another team. Thus,
the issues related to Chapter 16 of the UBC were the responsibility of
others as our task (in my case steel stud design) was only to address the
accuracy of the published section of the code and how it related to the
design problem. Although promised a follow-up review and additional
revision, nothing was delivered. We received letters, mine from Scott
Stedman, that informed me a revised copy of the manual would be arriving in
a week - that was in January or February and it never was sent.

In contrast, I purchased a design manual for the ASD/LRFD seminar which
contained example problems to explain the LRFD approach. Now consider this;
1) it was written by one professional using Mathcad templates, 2) appears to
be accurate, and 3) was published years before LRFD is to be a mandatory
part of the code.

The responsibility rests on those who decided and controlled the decision to
publish with known flaws. Those who decided to go forth with this
publication should be men and woman enough to own up to their responsibility
for the flaws and vow improvement rather than be praised for an effort that
costs $50.00 a shot plus the cost of an errata.

Sincerely,
Dennis S. Wish, PE