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RE: Mill tests

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"In the US, the order of precedence is Federal, State, Local.  Federal laws,
courts, etc. ALWAYS have the highest jurisdiction.  The current case before
the US Supreme Court is a prime example."

That's not a bad rule of thumb, but under the constitutional system we have,
it is not always true.  Note that we do not have a national building code,
but instead ratify various codes at the local jurisdicational or state
level.  Some (one might even say most) powers are reserved exclusively to
the states.  The current case before the U.S. Supreme Court is a prime
example.  A number of the justices are on record expressing doubts about
whether there is a federal question in the case.  For the most practical
engineering point of view, though, the owner and contractor may have a
number of different authorities that could be knocking on their door, taking
issue with a design, or issuing fines.  If the most restrictive rule is
satisfied in most cases, then there will will be fewer knocks.   

Paul Crocker