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Re: American Know-How

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> From: h.d.richardson(--nospam--at)

> > 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.

>       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.

This is only partly correct.
1) As American companies (or any other large company) expand beyond the
borders, their engineers tend to specify known codes, as a minimum, for
design and construction in foreign venues. IF the target country has a
well implemented system of codes and standards, those will be applied.
More frequently, the void in developing countries is filled by simply
adopting the specified US code or standard for the project. Therfore,
the standards tend to follow the money flow (e.g. Texas to Saudi Arabia,
New York to Shanghai).
2) As American military bases spread throughout the world, they took
their engineering with them and "loaned" it to their host countries
(e.g. again, money flow - Pentagon to Phillipines). Because of special
treaty conditions these facilities are generally outside the
jurisdiction of the local building authority regardless of the existence
of well developed codes and standards.

Previously, the BS were more common following the British commercial
expansion (money). Colonialization (extending British legal rule) was a
way of protecting their commerce.

>       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

>       Let me tell you how our Canadian codes are co-ordinated because I think

> 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

Unfortunately, as much as the NRC tries to get good regional consensus
for each aspect af the NBCC, we are seeing more provinces "adopting with
revisions". Typically this does not affect the structure as much as the
architecture. Does Alberta still have their own modified climatic load

>       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

Alternately, they should be encouraged to adopt (in lieu of developing
their own) other codes and standards that might be more suitable to
their culture, geographic location, economy and political structure.
Unforatunately, translation issues and English as a broadly accepted
alternate language impair the separation from US based codes.

One of the major hindrances to applying US based model codes
extra-nationally has always been the fact that load maps were US-only
and frequently the known loads in the target region were based on other
measurement (fastest mile, hourly average, 3 second gust) or return
probablilities (10, 30, 50, 500). There are probably many structures out
there that, despite honest intentions, haven't been designed to the
appropriate forces.

Paul Ransom, P. Eng.
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
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