Bill, placing a value on information is something that we have grown
accustom to but is not a requirement for obtaining information. It is more
of an ideology based on greed - especially when a value is placed upon
information to avoid cutting waste or establishing a reasonable relationship
with those who represent your needs.
Let me ask this question. Why is it not the practice to generate the total
cost to support groups like AISC through the Mills in the cost of Raw
Materials. A uniform increase from all Mills will have very little impact on
competition from foreign materials - especially considering those companies
who have moved their manufacturing plants outside the US. The independent
engineer has neither the resources nor the income to compete with the
financial resources and possible contribution that the mills can make to
organizations like the AISC.
I would be interested in seeing figures that show the percentage of actual
income to AISC as broken down by contributor. I would say that the smallest
percentage is from independent engineers on a per person basis.
The same is true of any other industry that develops standards for the
materials industry. The costs get passed along to the consumer in some
manner or other - if not by increased cost of engineering, then by increased
cost of materials. The difference is that it is easier to accept an increase
in material cost than it is for the building owner / developer to accept the
increase in engineering services. With the exception of the large
engineering firm, the smaller firms and independents end up being squeezed -
often losing work to low bidders, foreign labor (outsourcing) etc. The fact
that Outsourcing is attacking professional fees makes it that much more
difficult to afford the seemingly small cost of a product like that AISC
I am expecting criticism from those who work for companies that produce a
lot of steel structures and who don't feel that it is an unreasonable
expectation for professional firms to financially support the
representatives of the Mills - (organizations that publish standards).
However, these are the firms that can best justify the cost as their fees
are commensurate with the work and their employees rarely if ever feel the
financial crunch or paying for these resources out of pocket.
How about a sliding scale based on annual income that a firm makes in the
percentage of the construction costs that can be attributed to wood, steel,
concrete, masonry etc?
The "nothing is free" ideology is a passive attempt to promote apathy so
that the community will feel as if there is no choice but to buckle under to
the pressure of the industry. This is a sad state of affairs for groups that
at one time in history could not survive without the support of professional
Dennis S. Wish, PE
PS. Find something on the Structuralist.Net that you have to pay for - at
least something's are still free.
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bpolhem(--nospam--at)swbell.net]
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2001 6:48 PM
Subject: Re: Copyright Infringement
We need to remember there is no such thing as "free". I know that seems
but it is nevertheless very true.
Someone is paying. The cost doesn't just disappear into the ether.
I guess the steel producers finally figured out that they got very little
for their buck by giving away AISC manuals. They, like many other businesses
the last twenty years, looked around for places to cut costs, and I'm sure
"free" design manuals looked like a no-brainer.
Robert Shaffer wrote:
> Any one who produces a product has an obligation to the consumer that
> product will be used safely. It is the steel producer who should, IMO,
> providing me with a FREE copy of information critical to the proper use of
> their product.