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RE: [AEC-Residential] FWD: In Re: "The ICC and NFPA's Tug Of War"

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Very little consideration is given to the small office practioneer in terms
of cost of manuals. I've been told that this is a matter of "choice". I
choose to own a small office and practice as an independent, therefore I
choose to place myself in a position of purchasing my own references and
should not "bitch" about the cost. I have also been told that I have been
more fortunate than most because our area uses the UBC exclusively and until
the 1994 UBC, all previous versions contained enough design methodology for
steel, masonry, concrete and wood. The SBC was not so fortunate, I've been
told, and had never included design formulas. Furthermore, (and I don't
remember if this started in 91 or 94) ICBO considered publishing design
methodologies in the UBC redundant - a simple decision that boosted our cost
of reference four or five fold at the very least.
Most of us specialize in a couple of areas of structural engineering and do
very little design in other areas. It has been my hope that the industry as
a whole would recognize a need for an online reference resource which would
do what the UBC had done in the past - provide sufficient information to
design by, but leave the more intensive and creative design to the material
organizations publications.
As an example, I recently had a need to reference the APA's criteria for
over-nailing panels. I know most by heart, but what I needed was a simple
paragraph to place in my general notes or reference on the web site. While I
know that if I e-mail John Rose or most anyone with APA, they will be more
than happy to respond, I was dismayed that I was not able to find the
information on the APA website. While I realize that the APA Technical
document where this may be stated is for sale, I was not interested in the
"novel" only the "TV-Guide" summary.
Before I get flamed, I used APA as an example because they have never,
historically, withheld information from me when I have asked. I have
purchased documents, but most are available for free on their website (and
linked to mine). I only used APA as an example because most other
organizations are very sensitive on giving away information.
While on the subject, AISC's latest move was (you may not realize)
monumental. For those who did not know, they started to release some of
their documents for free download on their website. When I see an
organization represent and support the design community, my first thought is
"This is where I should be paying the money I put aside to support my
profession" and I am more apt to join that organization - you do something
nice for me and I'll show you my appreciation.
I've been outspoken on ACI, but do understand their need for cash flow to
keep up the services that they offer all practioneers. I do feel their
document prices are outrageous, but I also found out that if you have a
questions that requires a reference, they will usually be happy to provide
it too you.

There needs to be more attention paid - not to the code development process
which, as Bill points out, is pretty much on its own, but on the
practioneers who promote the materials and need design information in small

Flame Away!>)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-aec-residential(--nospam--at)
> [mailto:owner-aec-residential(--nospam--at)]On Behalf Of Bill Polhemus
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2001 9:14 AM
> To: SEAINT; Aec-Residential@Polhemus. Cc
> Subject: [AEC-Residential] FWD: In Re: "The ICC and NFPA's Tug Of War"
> Not knowing if this letter to the editor of Structural Engineer magazine
> (regarding their article on the apparent competing building codes--IBC and
> NFPA 5000--with which we are apparently going to have to deal) will be
> published, I thought I'd post it here for perusal and comment:
> ----------------BEGIN FORWARDED MESSAGE-------------------------------
> I just read with interest the referenced article.
> As an owner of a one-man structural engineering practice, I'd
> like to give a
> little input and perspective about an implication of this controversy that
> is likely NOT uppermost in the minds of the movers and shakers of the
> code-writing bodies.
> I live and practice near Houston. Texas does not have a
> state-wide building
> code. The City of Houston uses UBC, but most other outlying cities and
> unincorporated areas use SBC. However, one of the larger suburbs,
> Pasadena,
> uses NBC!
> So I have to have the appropriate volumes of EACH of these building codes
> available in my library, and of course must update them as subsequent
> revisions are issued and adopted. This is NOT an inconsiderable
> expense for
> a firm like mine, where every dime has to be squeezed for what it's worth.
> Add to that the necessity of keeping up-to-date versions of the
> applicablle
> ACI, AISC, AISI, AF&PA, TMS and other design standards, and it is
> quite easy
> for me to spend thousands of dollars just in keeping "state of
> the art" with
> my design reference works each year.
> I have not yet spent the money on the IBC, as it isn't even on the horizon
> yet in my locality, but I'm sure it will be eventually. But it would have
> been nice to think that I was only going to have to worry about
> purchasing a
> single building code update from time to time, but with the
> announcement of
> NFPA 5000, it looks as though there will have to be at least TWO. Again,
> this is not an inconsiderable expense for my small firm, and I
> would venture
> to guess that there are many, many others in my predicament.
> As a sidebar, with the promise of NFPA's offering, I may well see the time
> when I have to juggle FIVE building codes (as some of the smaller
> jurisdictions won't bother to adopt the later codes) just to make sure I
> have the standard needed for a particular project! What a mass of
> confusion!
> Sincerely,
> William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
> Polhemus Engineering Company
> Katy, Texas
> Phone 281-492-2251
> Fax 281-492-8203
> ----------------END FORWARDED MESSAGE-------------------------------
> _____________________________
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