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RE: California decides not to adopt the IBC (for now)

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I, also, have mixed feelings about this news.  The base shear issue is a
double edged sword.  While there are some areas in California where the base
shear will be lower, there will be many areas where the base shear will be
much larger properly accounting for source proximity.  The mapping efforts
for the 1997 NEHRP were as devoid of politics in this effort as ever.  If a
region of California feels that the base shears are too high, they should
look at the New Madrid Seismic Zone which is the new king of seismicity.
The USGS and the NEHRP technical subcommittee did an outstanding job.

Regarding the NFPA.  The NFPA will be using the ASCE 7-02 as a reference
which also draws from the NEHRP as does the IBC.  There will be no salvation
from the more complicated seismic design provisions, only a reprieve.

I personally find it uncomfortable designing structures using the 1997 UBC
knowing that they may be inadequate when comparing the provisions using the
ASCE 7-98 or the IBC 2000.  I also find it uncomfortable using seismicity
maps of the 1997 UBC based on technology from the 1960's.

Disregarding the state of the practice may be acceptable to the State of
California, but it poses an ethical dilemma to the practicing engineer.  The
State has the comfort of sovereign immunity.  The engineer has an ethical
obligation to public safety.  It kind of makes me want to get a law degree,
and wait for the ground to shake.  (I'm kidding.  I'm not that much of a

It is also a great opportunity to rehabilitate brand new structures when the
State finally passes something.

Harold Sprague

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Yousefi, Ben [SMTP:Ben.Yousefi(--nospam--at)]
> Sent:	Monday, November 06, 2000 10:03 AM
> To:	'seaint(--nospam--at)'
> Subject:	California decides not to adopt the IBC (for now)
> The California Building Standards Commission has decided to stay with the
> 97
> UBC for another 3 years. 
> <> 
> The 2000 IBC was scheduled to be adopted statewide sometime in 2002.
> However, by delaying its adoption, the 97 UBC will most likely stay in
> effect until 2005 in California.
> personally, I have mixed feelings about this. The 2000 IBC is a much more
> reasonable and progressive code in regard to life safety issues. However,
> structurally, while more complicated, it is not really much of an
> improvement over the 97 UBC. the format for earthquake provisions is not
> easy to follow and it could also effectively reduce base shear in much of
> California. 
> This will probably be a welcome reprieve for many designers and code
> officials. The 97 UBC was a substantial change to the 94 UBC and many are
> still struggling with the intricacies of the new code. To adopt a brand
> new
> code in a year and half, and start the learning process all over again,
> would have been too much too fast. 
> With the emergence of NFPA as a possible national code it is not clear
> whether IBC will even be adopted at the next code adoption cycle in
> California.
> Stay Tuned.
> Ben Yousefi, SE
> San Jose, CA