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Re: American Know-How

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Mark Gilligan, Fellow Engineers,

	You should not be amazed by the extensive use of American construction
codes throughout the world.  You Americans lead the world in the
development of building construction science and related codes because
you lead the world in the need to use building construction science and
related codes.  It's only logical that developing countries that do not
have the resources to develop their own codes and standards would choose
to copy yours.

	The only deficiency in your codes is that there are too many of them
and that they are all too independent of one another.  An added
complication is that there are also too many internal barriers to free
use on a national basis and too many political jurisdictions made up of
non engineers who want to do their own thing.  Unfortunately, no one saw
the need to make this part of the Canada - U.S.A free trade agreement a
few years ago or we would all now be better off using the same codes.

	Let me tell you how our Canadian codes are co-ordinated because I think
we've done a better job in this area than you have.  More than half a
century ago we in Canada developed an organization called Canadian
Standards Association (C.S.A.) which serves as a clearing house for all
Canadian codes and standards and which fills some, but not all, of the
roles of your A.I.S.C., A.C.I., A.S.T.M., and a number of others. We
still have our own technical societies, such as E.I.C., and local
chapters of some of yours such, as A.C.I., but they do not prepare codes
in Canada.  In Canada we have the C.S.A. National Building Code
Committee which has several subcommittees, one each for steel, concrete,
timber, etc., etc.  Now this has a number of advantages: all of our load
factors are the same whether we are designing in concrete, steel, or
whatever;  engineers can be more mobile because they don't have to spend
months learning a new code for each region; they also can learn faster
and keep up to date more easily because there is only one code to
learn.  In fact, he only disadvantage that I can think of is that we no
longer have a competitive advantage over non residents who don't know
our codes.

	I encourage you all to promote action to follow our lead in
centralizing the development of codes and standards; it can only lead to
our mutual economic advantage.  At the very least, those of you in
private practise will have less codes to buy and everyone will need to
spend less time keeping up to date on code developments.

	You say the Philippines is using the 1988 U.B.C.?  Good start!  They
should now be encouraged to upgrade to the 1997 edition.  You may be
interested in knowing that the Cayman Islands is using the Florida
Building Code but I don't know what edition.

				Respecfully submitted,

				H. Daryl Richardson
				Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Mark Gilligan wrote:
> Another instance of blatant American Code Imperialism . : )
> >>>For Reinforced concrete design, we use Ultimate
> Strength Design Method based on ACI 318-83. In my
> opinion this is pretty much same as ACI code and it is
> totally acceptable if you use ACI code for reinforced
> concrete design.<<<<
> It amazes me the prevalence of American construction codes in use in other
> countries.
> In the Philippines the structural code is a literal copy of the provisions
> in the 1988 UBC.
> In Saudi Arabia they accept, and seem to prefer, US Codes in spite of  the
> fact that the  British had great influence in the past.
> A few engineering students go to college in the US, return to home country,
> become responsible for major projects where they need to adopt technical
> provisions, So they use the US codes that they are familiar with.
> Note the number of foreign chapters of ACI.
> American Imperialism is not dead it is just transformed. : )
> Mark Gilligan
> Berkeley, Calif.