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RE: Two Codes !!

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Stan

Your assessment of the situation and how it is evolving is quite accurate
based on my observation too. I too, shared your desire of one code adopted
uniformly throughout the country. Having been involved to some degree with
the IBC development process, I believe there is some merit to some of the
objections certain groups had with the process. The main word that comes to
my mind is "exclusion". 

At least as it related to structural( and in particular seismic) issues it
was very frustrating to get the anything changed during the IBC code
hearings. The committee was comprised of people mostly without an in depth
knowledge of structural design. So, with any new proposal they looked to a
group of advocates that they knew, and relied mostly on their input for
making a decision. Most obvious were the seismic provisions and the reliance
on NEHRP folks. No individual or entity had a prayer of changing anything if
theses folks were opposed to it. In my opinion no individual or group has a
monopoly on intelligence or knowledge and we should always be open to hear
from anyone who may have good idea. Unfortunately that is not the feeling I
got during my dealings with the IBC structural committee hearings.

Ben Yousefi, SE
San Jose, CA

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	Caldwell, Stan [SMTP:scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com]
	Sent:	Wednesday, September 20, 2000 12:37 PM
	To:	'SEAint Listserv'
	Subject:	Two Codes !!

	For the past thirty years, I have longed for the day when there
would be
	only one model building code in the United States.  Although far
from
	perfect, I thought that IBC-2000 was going to be that code.
Furthermore,
	since IBC-2000 has now been formally adopted as the building code
for
	Richardson, Texas and since various other cities have announced
their
	intention of doing likewise, I thought that my dream was indeed
coming true.
	While I have been vaguely aware for the past few months that NFPA
(National
	Fire Protection Association) has threatened to publish an
alternative
	building code, it never occurred to me that the threat was real.
Boy, was I
	wrong!  I might as well have dreamed of world peace!  Not only is
NFPA
	developing a building code, but it now appears likely that the NFPA
building
	code will become the predominant building code. 

	All of this was explained quite clearly by Emile Troup at the recent
NCSEA
	(National Council of Structural Engineers Associations) Conference
in San
	Antonio, Texas.  For reasons unrelated to technical competence and
public
	safety, NFPA withdrew from the ICC (International Code Council)
while
	IBC-2000 development was in progress and announced its intention to
publish
	an independent series of codes, including the NFPA-5000 Building
Code.
	Their work is well underway, and the first draft is already
available for
	download at http://buildingcode.nfpa.org/ (three PDF files totaling
3.4 MB).
	You can also read all about the NFPA code development process and
schedule
	at that website.  The NFPA-5000 Building Code is scheduled to be
available
	for purchase in September, 2002.

	Then what happens?  Very simply, there will be a mad scramble to
seize
	territory and it is likely that NFPA will "win" the majority of
states and
	municipalities.  Why?  First, it appears that NFPA has more
resources (i.e.,
	money) than the three constituents of ICC, even when their resources
are
	combined.  Second, and more importantly, NFPA appears to generally
have more
	influence on a local level.  Each city council will ultimately be
asked to
	choose between IBC-2000 and NFPA-5000.  Their building official will
	strongly support the former, but their fire chief will just as
strongly
	support the latter.  Which individual has more clout?  In most
cities, it's
	the guy with the big staff, the multiple facilities, the expensive
vehicles,
	and the cute hats and sirens.

	NCSEA has been, and continues to be, heavily involved in the
development of
	IBC-2000.  Since May, 2000, NCSEA has been involved in a similar
capacity in
	the development of NFPA-5000.  This is not an endorsement of two
building
	codes, far from it.  Rather, it is an effort to ensure that if there
must be
	two competing codes, that these codes be as similar as possible with
respect
	to structural engineering matters.  In other words, it is the goal
of NCSEA
	that NFPA-5000 be as much like IBC-2000 as possible, and that it
adopt (by
	reference) the same widely recognized structural standards and
	specifications.  Please urge your SEA to actively support this
effort!

	Now then, I hope that I haven't just ruined your day!

	Regards,

	Stan R. Caldwell, P.E., F.ASCE
	Vice President
	~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
	Halff Associates, Inc.
	8616 Northwest Plaza Drive
	Dallas, Texas  75225
	Phone:  (214) 346-6280
	Fax:  (214) 739-0095
	Email:  scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com 
	Website:  http://www.halff.com
	~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~











	  

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